There are some community members I will never forget, and daddy Coach Selby (StretchExpert) is one of them!
He asked me many years ago: What is the one thing you would tell people to keep in mind when doing EC?
And my answer hasn’t changed much since the first time I wrote this way back when:
The most important thing I can share with people is this:
“When I’m focused on EC, we become disconnected. When I focus on connection, EC flows smoothly.”
I have to admit that I read something like this somewhere and adapted it for my own use.
But it rings true, doesn’t it?
In other words:
Avoid potty-centeredness at all costs.
Try to be “diffusely aware” of potty needs,
and don’t hover or helicopter or obsess
over pottying or offering pottytunities…
while still somehow paying attention.
Like you do with feeding, sleep, and warmth.
When we become child-centered, potty-centered, or anything-centered, our babies pick that up as a set of emotions including fear, uncertainty, incompetence, annoyance, and paranoia.
To get a handle on why child-centeredness (ie: helicopter parenting, hovering, etc.) can negatively affect an EC practice, please read this post on my thoughts about Continuum Concept, child-centeredness, and EC.
And I wanted to share with you something I wrote a while back which demonstrates how potty-centeredness (or hovering, waiting for a pee catch, all day long) at any age can backfire on you, and why…which is my top advice on EC, by far!
Here ya go:
If you’re ECing an early toddler (she is walking or close to it), or will be some day, you’ll want to prepare yourself. Keep in mind:
You’re ECing a little person who is very much trying to do things for himself now AND yet who isn’t quite yet capable of doing things on his own just yet.
You’re ECing a tiny being who is hyper-aware of all of her parents’ moods, attitudes, desires, and fears.
You’re ECing a small human who really doesn’t want to do things that aren’t on HIS agenda, or in his present-moment-myopia.
The most important thing to realize at this stage is that potty-centeredness is the root cause of EC problems with an early toddler.
It underlies all resistance, all pausing, all refusals to sit or be held…everything that might go wrong when your baby begins her walk towards independence.
You’ll want to nip this one directly in the bud.
How to prevent or correct potty-centeredness?
1. Be matter-of-fact about your pottying. Don’t make it a big deal. Don’t overtalk.
2. If your life feels like “all potty,” it probably is. Think of ways you can stop that…right now.
3. Offer less pottytunities. She doesn’t need to go as much as she did when she was 4 months old!
4. Offer more strategic pottytunities. Think through your usual daily pattern and select those which make the most sense. It can be based on baby’s signals (if any), baby’s current natural timing and rhythms, generic timing (or timing that works with YOUR day and routines), your intuition (including what you’ve learned so far about ECing her), or a combination of any of the 4 (it could just be one, or be all four if they work for you!).
5. Try not to let on that you’re always thinking about pottying. Your baby can sense it.
6. Drop the idea of perfectionism. You will NEVER be perfect at ECing. If you try to be perfect, you will fail. There is only learning from your journey…and making choices for the next steps of your journey. There is NO perfection. At anything in the parenting realm, for that matter!
7. Your EC success is NOT a reflection of you. Don’t judge yourself or allow others to judge you based on how “well” you EC or not. In fact, if you consider EC a measure of *your* success, it will surely backfire.
8. Do not tell others that you’re doing EC. This = less performance anxiety and less hyperfocusing on EC.
9. Focus on connection with your child and fulfilling his other needs. Realize that pottying is only one in a whole spectrum of your child’s needs. You don’t hyperfocus on eating or naps, do you?
10. If need be, take a break. Either choose only a segment of each day that you’ll commit to ECing, or take 2 weeks off and start again fresh later. Don’t quit altogether, but if it’s necessary, a break can help everyone “re-set.”
And one thing I’d add after all these years of helping 100,000s of parents with elimination communication:
11. Give privacy. Turn your back, busy yourself with something else, while your child sits on the mini potty or big toilet seat reducer. Babies start to want privacy soon after crawling...because after that, in an intact indigenous culture, why would they need your help any longer?
I hope this helps you prepare to avoid problems with your baby when she’s an early toddler…or to solve a current problem with a now toddling child. :)
So, there it is. My best advice for anyone doing Elimination Communication with a baby or young toddler:
Don’t hyperfocus, don’t hover, and don’t revolve your life around your child.
Your child is part of your life…an important one at that! Give her the gift of some psychic space. ;)
Thanks for your question, Coach Selby!
Do you have any thoughts about potty-centeredness that you’d like to share? Any experiences or advice? Please share them in the comments section below!