EC was going great. Then… BAM! Suddenly you’re out of sync and you just can’t catch a break - or a pee! Tune in to today’s episode, where we talk all about why this happens, and what you can do to get back on track.
You Will Hear:
- Why baby’s timing can become tricky to read
- Strategies for making catches without relying on timing
- Small mindset shifts that will help you get through this phase with less stress and more connection
- Tips for managing EC when schedules and situations have changed
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Tiny Undies small baby underwear
- Tiny Trainers
- Go Diaper Free Book
- The Log app for iOS and Android
- YouTube Easy Catches series
- The Wake Up + Pee - Podcast #28
- The Diaper Change - Podcast #29
- Poop - Podcast #30
- Ins and Outs - Podcast #32
- TinyUps cloth pull-up covers
- Super-part-time EC success story - Podcast #82.5
- Mini Potty
- “Tiny Potty” board book
- “Movers + Shakers”Potty Time Master MiniCourse
- The Premium Course Pack for EC
- The Bundle - All 7 MiniCourses
- Easy Start Guide for EC - Free Download
- 3-day Primer for Starting Potty Training - Email Series
- Tiny Potty Training Book
- Go Diaper Free Store
- Tiny Undies Store
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
EPISODE 235: What if I can't read my baby's timing?
Hello, and welcome to the Go Diaper Free podcast. I'm your host, Nicole Cheever, Go Diaper Free Certified Coach and mama to three kiddos who all went through EC and potty training at different ages and stages.
Hey, there. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm Nicole Cheever with Go Diaper Free, and this is Episode 235, What if I Can't Read my Baby's Timing? When you're done listening, head on over to godiaperfree.com/235. You can find the show notes and transcript over there. You can also leave us a comment, or ask us any questions you have.
Today, we're answering a question from Terry. Normally I would play the audio for the question, but it was a bad connection. It's hard to hear. So, I'm going to go ahead and read it.
Terry says, "Hi there, Andrea. It's Terry from Belgium. I started my daughter at six months old. We put her on the potty because I saw a pattern. Every morning she goes number two on the potty. So, I put her on the potty every morning, and she almost always does her thing. It's complicated now that we've gone back to work. I would like to see and notice when she wants to go, but it's really hard. We put her on the potty because we want to do it consistently, but most of the time I can't read her yet. I find it hard because I need to go to work, and I also have big brother, who is six. I don't know. That's my question, 'How do we read our daughter better with complications around us?' Thank you."
Thanks so much for the question, Terry. I want to reassure you that this issue, especially at this age, is very common. That may not help you feel better, specifically, because it's still an issue, but that does mean that there are lots of different ways to troubleshoot this issue. When a lot of people have gone through the same thing, there are a lot of creative ways we've compiled to help you out with it. I'll give you a few that I have in mind for your specific situation, and let's see what might work for you.
First, your baby is six months old, and that's a huge milestone. Right around six months, give or take, they're becoming more mobile. She's probably learning to crawl. She might have even mastered it by now. There's a lot of distraction going on because of all of the brain development that's happening at this stage. If we were still in an intact culture, if we were living in a jungle, in a hut with a dirt floor, your baby would be crawling their way out to the potty space by themselves. As soon as she became mobile, she would be going there on her own. If she had a pee miss on the floor in the hut, you would be shooing her out and having her go by herself over to the potty area. So, developmentally and biologically, our children's instincts tell them that they don't really need our help anymore, at least not with pee, right around 6 months.
Many people see that their baby's signals disappear at this stage. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't. Often they're different when they come back. Those are the main reasons, just because developmentally she's focused on other things. She's got a lot going on with either learning to crawl, or mastering it, and there's just a lot of distraction. It's a whole new world once your baby becomes mobile.
What I would love to see you try, at this point, is to rely on your other three roads to potty time. The four roads are: signals, natural timing, generic timing, and your intuition. You don't see a pattern right now. You can't see her signals so go with natural timing, which is about how long your baby can go after waking, or eating, before needing to use the potty. This might require a little bit of naked observation on your part, which can be harder with a mobile baby. You can use a different back-up like undies. Especially the darker or brighter colored undies, that we have over at Tiny Undies, can really show pee very quickly.
You can use undies or training underwear. We have the Tiny Trainers that also will show fairly quickly, but they can also hold up to a medium size pee. You can also do a sumo style diaper. You can find the instructions for that in the Go Diaper Free book. Or, you could just go somewhere where a miss is not really that big of a deal, like if you have a hard floor area in your house. I usually trap myself in the kitchen with my baby, at least for a little while, to try and nail down that natural timing. You can either note it on paper, or you can get our free Log app, which is available for Apple and Android, and you can mark it in there. It gives you buttons for eating, sleeping, pee, and poop. You just click when they happen, when baby goes to sleep, or wakes up, when they eat, when they pee or poop. It gives you a log at the end. It'll even give you nice little graphs. It'll calculate an average. Very fancy. So, if you want to explore using natural timing, just do a little bit of observation so you can kind of figure out what her window is. It could have shifted, also, since the last time you did any observation.
You can also rely on generic timing, just the generic times throughout your day when most babies are probably going to need to go potty. These are kind of your easy catches, which we'll talk about in a second. Then lastly, your intuition. If you just have that feeling that baby needs to potty, go ahead and listen to it, and see if you're right.
The easy catches, there's four of those as well: the wake-up pee (or poop in your case), poops in general, diaper changes, and ins and outs. It's important to not try to catch every single easy catch. Don't overdo it, especially at this stage. That can cause some resistance. We don't want to try and go for every single possible pottytunity.
An example is, even though ins and outs are an easy catch,getting into the car, getting out of the highchair, any sort of baby container, the carrier. If I just pottied my baby, got her in the car, and drove five minutes to the grocery store, even though I'm now getting her out of the car, I'm probably not going to try to potty her again, especially if I know her natural timing is about a 15 or 20 minute interval. If I over offer that can cause resistance. So, just try to be strategic about the pottytunities that you do offer. Try to only offer those that really make sense. You could be wrong sometimes. Maybe she did have to pee again within five minutes. Maybe she didn't fully empty her bladder the last time, but that's what you have the back-up for. That's what you've got either a disposable, cloth diaper, training underwear, TinyUps, whatever you have. That's what it's for, those cases when you're not quite right with your intuition, or with your timing.
When my baby was six months old, we lived off of easy catches, especially the wake-up pees. I have two other kids. There's a lot of distraction in our house, so I understand how that is. And a dog! So it was really easiest just to focus on the wake-up pees, poops, diaper changes, things like that. Even for those of us who practice full-time EC, we really don't try to catch 100%. That's really unrealistic in this day and age, and in our modern society with all of the conveniences and things that we have like carpets, car seats, and all of that. So, don't stress out about trying to catch everything, number one. Number two, just stick to those easy catches that make sense, that fit into your lifestyle, and that work for your family.
Along with that, I also have a note to not be totally focused on baby, just generally aware. Again, that's what the back-ups are for. For when you're distracted, when you're having to deal with something else going on, maybe you're preparing a meal, or helping your older child. It's important to accept that there are going to be misses, especially certain misses, when and where they're necessary.
For me, when my baby was just a few months old, I knew that I was going to miss the breakfast pee. We would do the wake-up pee. Then when I was preparing breakfast for my older two, my baby would usually be on a play mat, or in a little bouncer, those little chairs that kind of lay baby back with the toy bar over the top. She would fuss at some point, while I was in the middle of getting breakfast for the other two. I would just say, "It's okay, baby. Go in your diaper." Even though she didn't understand that, she can still learn that that tone of voice and that intonation means, "I'm not going to be able to get to you right now." She would use her diaper. She was usually not super happy about it, but I would get to her as soon as I could. That's, again, what that back-up was for. I knew that it was just too much for me trying to get breakfast for everybody and trying to potty her every single time she fussed, so we just accepted that one. We just let that one go.
I also want to encourage you not to sit baby on the potty just to try to be consistent with sitting on the potty. I love that you want to be consistent, that's fantastic, but sitting baby on the potty when she doesn't need to go doesn't have really any benefit. That's why it's important to shoot for those easy catches, use those other three roads to potty time, and try to only sit her down when you're reasonably sure she probably has to go. Sitting baby on the potty again and again, without that need to use the potty, detaches those things for them. It removes that cause and effect. When we're teaching baby that the potty is to use for pee and poop, we do that by putting them on the potty, usually when they need to pee and poop. Again, we're not going to be perfect, but that's the goal, so they start to catch onto that pattern. If you're just sitting her on the potty because you're worried that you're going to have a miss, or you just really want to try to catch something (trust me, I know that feeling), that can undo that work for you. It can dissociate those two things. It can separate those, and it can cause a little bit of resistance because baby doesn't really know why they're being sat on the potty. So, try to only sit her when you are reasonably sure she probably needs to go potty.
In the Go Diaper Free book, there is a section on modifications for mobile babies. A couple of them are the ones I've mentioned here, but go ahead and refer back to that book. For those of you who don't have it yet, this is my weekly reminder that the book has everything. Not only does it have all of the resources you need in it, a wonderful troubleshooting section, you also get membership to our private community where coaches like me answer questions all the time. You also have other parents in there who have gone through the process, maybe multiple times, who are answering questions in there and helping you out. There's video resources, there are links, there's lots of great stuff in the community. If you're on the fence and you're really wanting to get a little bit more concentrated into your EC journey but you're missing a few key components, go ahead and grab that book.
There's also a unique situation section. Part-time is one of the unique situations. You're back at work. I know that's tough, especially when you've been home with baby, and you've been able to really do full-time EC, and catch a lot. This is kind of happening at, maybe, the worst time for you. Not only is it totally normal for a really wonderful easy-peasy EC experience to kind of fall apart at six months, then when you throw the other component of going back to work and completely changing your schedule into it, it can make it even more frustrating. Try to step back, take a deep breath, and just understand that this is happening at a time when it would already be very normal for you to be misreading signals, or for the signals to completely have gone away. So, try not to blame it on your going back to work, even though I know that does complicate things a little bit more. This probably would've happened anyway to some degree.
Go ahead and check out that unique situation section in the Go Diaper Free book. Part-time is great for working parents, and part-time still gets you all the benefits of EC. You're still maintaining your baby's sensitivity to their body. You're still having fewer diapers that you're using, so you're saving money. There are still a ton of great benefits. I'm going to link a podcast here for you, as well. It is podcast #82.5, Super-part-time EC Success Story. This is a story of a family who did part-time EC because they worked full-time. That may give you a little bit of encouragement, as well, to hear how they did it.
One last suggestion that I have for you, if you're not already introducing baby to the mini potty... It sounds like you said you're sitting baby on the potty every morning, and that's great. Go ahead and put that mini potty on the floor as well, and let baby crawl over to it, explore it. You can practice sitting, mounting the potty, or even crawling to the bathroom. Letting baby play with the potty, letting baby explore, is not only good for them to get used to it, but it also could be a signal. At this age, just crawling towards the bathroom, or over to the potty if it's in the play area, could be a signal that they need to go potty. This might not be the signal you're used to. Many babies in early infancy fuss, or cry. Maybe they're active, and they get very still, and that's their signal. Then as they become mobile, their signals will change. So, having the potty out somewhere where your baby has access to it, can practice getting onto it, and can maybe use it as a signal, may be helpful for you.
The Tiny Potty board book was a signal for us once my baby started crawling, as well. I started reading her the Tiny Potty board book, and she would crawl over to the board book and pick it up. I realized that that was her telling me that she needed to go potty. So, I'd sit her on the potty, and we'd read the book. That was one of her favorite things to do while going potty.
If you need a little bit more help, we have the "Movers + Shakers" Mobile Babies EC program. That's a deep dive into this whole phase of development, from six months to a year, when they're really becoming mobile and starting to get closer to where they're going to be independent. That's going to give you everything you need, all of the tools, in order to conquer this phase. There's also the Potty Time Master MiniCourse. That will help you learn when it's time to potty, even if your baby doesn't signal at all. So if you really just have not caught onto any pattern, you don't know the timing, go ahead and check out that Potty Time Master MiniCourse. That can really, really help you.
Thanks again for the question, Terry. That's what I've got for you. I hope some of that was helpful. For everyone listening, I would love to know what has worked for you when you couldn't read baby's timing. What strategies did you implement? Or, if that's happening to you right now, what did you hear in today's podcast that you want to go ahead and try?
Go ahead and go on over to godiaperfree.com/235. You can leave us comments and questions there. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and our email list so you stay up to date on everything that's happening with Go Diaper Free. Godiaperfree.com/start is where you're going to get our free Easy Start Guide, and that will subscribe you to the email list. Don't worry, we do not believe in spam. If your baby is getting close to 18 months or is older than 18 months, you can still go to godiaperfree.com/start. There is a link there that will take you over to the potty training page. You can put your email in and sign up for our Three-day Potty Training Primer to get you started on that. That will also keep you up to date. Thanks everyone for listening today. I'm Nicole Cheever with Go Diaper Free, and we'll see you next time.
Thanks so much for listening. This is the Go Diaper Free podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
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What has worked for you when you couldn’t read baby’s timing?
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)