No parent really wants to clean up pee – off the floor, the couch, the car seat, or anywhere! Not only that, we’ve attached so much meaning to pee misses, it can be hard not to let it make us feel like a failure. First off, pee on the floor does NOT make you a failure, mom and dad. But it does have meaning! Tune in for today’s episode, where I’ll teach you how to be a pee interpreter.
You Will Hear:
- Common reasons your LO might be having pee misses during wrap-up or potty training
- What information can be gleaned from these kinds of misses
- How to keep things progressing in a forward direction so you have more pee in the potty
- Why your mindset as the parent/caregiver is critical to your kiddo reaching potty independence
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Dealing with Inconsistency in Elimination Communication - Podcast #166
- Diaper-free Time - Podcast #125
- Wet pants! Okay or not okay?? - Podcast #200
- Inconsistency in Potty Training! - Podcast #167
- Go Diaper Free Book
- Tiny Potty Training Book
- Mini Potty
- Wrapping Up EC MiniCourse
- “Passing the Baton” Young Toddlers EC Program
- 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 257: What it really means when there’s pee on the floor
No parent really wants to clean up pee – off the floor, the couch, the car seat, or anywhere. Not only that, we've attached so much meaning to pee misses it can be hard not to let it make us feel like a failure. First off, pee on the floor does not make you a failure, Mom and Dad, but it does have meaning. Today I'm going to teach you how to be a pee interpreter. This is episode 257, What it really means when there's pee on the floor.
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. I'm Nicole Cheever and this is the Go Diaper Free Podcast. This is episode 257, What it really means when there's pee on the floor. You can find the show notes over at godiaperfree.com/257, download the transcript, see links to anything I'll mention there, and you can leave us comments and ask us questions. If you are watching on YouTube or listening on your favorite podcast player, please make sure you subscribe so you can find out when our new episodes air.
All right, who is this episode for? We're talking about pee on the floor and what it really means. Of course, we don't want there to be pee everywhere all the time. That's not helping anybody. But there probably is going to be some pee on the floor at some time and it's really helpful to interpret what it means so you can know how to move forward.
If you are practicing elimination communication but you're not yet wrapping up, you're still just either starting out or in the midst of it, your child isn't walking yet, and you're not getting close to that 18 month mark, earmark this for later. You'll still get some little pearls of wisdom from it, but it's probably going to help you more a little bit down the road. In the meantime, you can check out episode 166 if you're dealing with a lot of misses, that's Inconsistency with EC, and that can help you. Or if you are worried that you might just be teaching your child to pee on the floor during your diaper-free time, that's going to be podcast episode 125 to make sure you're not doing that. We definitely don't want to just teach them to pee on the floor. That's the same as teaching them to pee in the diaper, it's just a different area and a little bit messier.
We also have podcast episode 200 for those of you who are midstream with elimination communication and need help with pee interpretation, and that's Wet Pants: Okay Or Not Okay? Now, if you're already potty training or you've tried in the past and you need help getting things back on track, we also have podcast episode 167 and that's Inconsistency in Potty Training, and how to nip that in the bud.
So all of you that I just mentioned, I am talking to you a little bit, but mostly those who are wrapping up elimination communication, you're wanting to complete the process, or if you're starting or restarting potty training. So what does pee on the floor mean? It could mean a variety of different things, but in general, as Andrea always says, "A miss gives us information.” It tells us what could be going on and how to move forward.
One thing it could mean is that your child is experimenting. Especially in the toddler phase they start to learn how long they can hold their pee by holding it so long that they can't hold it any longer, and there it's on the floor. If you're in that naked teaching phase or you're doing some diaper-free time, it's going to end up on the floor. With that, we just matter of factly say, "Oop, pee goes in the potty," and you can clean it up. If you have a child who is doing it really consistently, you might make it very boring, like asking them to help you clean up the pee, going kind of slow with it, and delaying them being able to get back to playing. That can teach them that, "Oh, this doesn't get me a lot of fun attention. It's kind of boring. I don't really want to do that anymore."
Of course, we also want to make sure that the process is actually clicking. You'll read more about that in the Go Diaper Free book, in the Wrapping Up section, or pretty much the whole Tiny Potty Training Book talks about how to make sure that things are clicking with your child and you're moving on appropriately. As long as there are clicks, and you know that your child is understanding at least part of the process, and they're progressing in the either wrapping up or training process, it could just be experimentation. So just keep an eye out for that. We kind of know our children and we know when they're testing and they're experimenting.
Another thing we'll probably be able to tell pretty well is if they might be distracted. Pee on the floor can happen when your child is distracted and they don't want to leave what they're doing. Allowing them to either pee right there in the playroom by having a Mini Potty right there so they don't have to go too far, or if they have a smaller toy in their hand, allowing them to bring it to the potty and get back quickly, can help with that. You might also recognize distraction because they're doing a lot of what we call a “pre-pee,” which is they have to pee, they don't want to stop what they're doing, so they just let off a little pressure. They just do a trickle and then they keep holding it. That's usually a telltale sign that they are distracted. Either allowing them to bring something with them, or go pee and get back to it really quickly, can help avoid this. Of course, they're children, they're going to get distracted at some point or another. That's why we're there and we can notice their pee pee dance and prompt them and help them get to the potty.
If you absolutely know things are clicking, but you're still getting a lot of pee on the floor, it could mean your child wants privacy. This can be really hard to identify for families who've practiced elimination communication, because you've been right there during potty time with your child so much that you might not notice that sudden shift, or even gradual shift, that they need privacy. Your child isn't usually shooing you off, at least not this early. Maybe when they get closer to two. But they're usually not pushing you away or saying, "I want privacy," or, "Leave me alone." They will just pee because they're feeling like you've looked away. Or maybe they'll run off and pee. So those are telltale signs that they need privacy.
I'll give you a few tips for that in just a minute here because some of them also tie into the last point, which is: pee on the floor could mean your child needs more independence. Maybe you're going through the wrapping up or the potty training process a little too slowly for them, or you're still hanging on to too much of the responsibility. This is especially evident if your child is suddenly seeming not to care that there's pee on the floor. That is usually a big red flag that they need more independence. If your child can't get onto the potty or to the potty on their own, they're not even going to try sometimes. It depends on their personality, but that's usually a pretty telltale sign. This is really big for EC families. If you are still doing a lot for him that he can do for himself, why would he do it? Why would he even bother?
A little caveat to this is if you are doing way too much here, there might not be any pee on the floor, so you might not be realizing that this is an issue. But then there's also not any learning happening. For some kids, the pee on the floor is actually critical to the learning process. If your child has been in diapers their whole life and now you're potty training, they are needing to go through a progression of realizing that they've peed, to noticing when they are peeing, to noticing that they have to pee before it happens. For some kids, they have to see the pee coming out in order to make that connection, to reconnect their mind and body like they were as newborns, to be able to notice that urge, that feeling in their body of having a full bladder and needing to pee. If you have a child who's peeing on the floor and looking down and being fascinated with it, that could be because they're rebuilding that connection. If you are in potty training, you want to follow the plan in the Tiny Potty Training Book and make sure you're airlifting every single time. We don't want to just let them pee on the floor. But a way that you can notice that's what's going on is that they're really observing that pee coming out.
That need for independence is usually pretty evident by them not really being bothered by there being pee on the floor, and the privacy can be evident because they're running off or they pee as soon as you look away. So we want to make sure we're really handing over the reins at this point. We want to make sure we're letting go of as much as possible. Head to the Building Blocks of Potty Independence, which is where you're going to find most of the wrapping up information in the Go Diaper Free book. In the teaching section of the Tiny Potty Training Book this is going to be during your naked teaching. You're really wanting to pass off those reins. If you need a deeper dive, we have a Wrapping Up MiniCourse. If you're here and you haven't started elimination communication, but your child is between 12 and 18 months, of course the Go Diaper Free book is going to be for you. There's a hybrid plan in there as well if you've got a real go-getter toddler. Then we have the Passing the Baton EC Program that will get you started with elimination communication and wrapped up in that 12 to 18 month time period.
A few little points on this. The diaper companies have made us all terrified of pee and poop. And, yes, even cloth diaper manufacturers. The fact that we have a full-time diapering culture, pee on the floor can be really hard for us. I just want to acknowledge that. If you are having pee on the floor and you're being really stressed out about it, it can really disrupt and prevent you from interpreting it and understanding what it means and what's going on and how to move forward.
It's important to recognize that having most of the children in our society in diapers full-time has really destroyed our confidence in our kids and our trust in the potty training process. We hear it all the time, "Oh, we've been potty training, but we have a wedding to go to, so we just put a pull-up on just in case." Or, "We're going to a friend's house, we're traveling, so we're going to just use the diaper for now just to make sure we don't have any misses." Well, unfortunately, that's sending major mixed signals to our children, and really it's setting unrealistic expectations, and that only brings frustration and impatience with our children.
We can't expect children to be completely miss free in potty training. It's just not realistic. They have to learn, and part of learning is making mistakes. The Tiny Potty Training Book – and Go Diaper Free, both of them – but especially if you're potty training, the Tiny Potty Training Book sets you up for a process that's going to allow you to move ahead when your child is ready. Not when you want them to be, not in this weird three day timeframe. Not every child is going to be able to make that. It gives you goalposts for when it's going to be appropriate to move on. We want to go swiftly through the process so we're not dilly dallying and confusing our kids, but we want to only move on when we know it's appropriate so that we're not rushing it either.
When we're frustrated, when we're impatient, that brings even more anxiety to the picture, which often causes pressure. Pressure and potty learning just don't mix. Those three-day plans, they just put so much pressure on the parent to wrap it up in a certain amount of time, and it's not always realistic. When Andrea wrote the Tiny Potty Training Book, she borrowed some aspects that work from some of those plans, but she always says you're going to be potty trained in an average of seven days, because it really depends on family life. It also depends a ton on your mindset.
Your mindset as the parent is what potty training or wrapping up success hinges on, way more than your child's capability. If you are wrapping up or potty training, it's because your child's met a developmental stage where we already know that they're capable. That's not a question. The question is: where is your mind at? Are you so fixated on the pee getting in the potty that you're still doing everything for your child and you are the one making sure the pee gets in the potty? Or are you giving your child the space and the freedom to actually learn the process themselves?
When we're going through this and we know it's clicking but we're still having some issues with pee on the floor, it's really important to – it sounds counterintuitive – release our attachment to the pee or the poop making it into the potty. Because, yeah, that's the end goal, but if our child never learns how to do that themselves, then it's not going to get there. You're going to be taking your child to the bathroom or putting diapers or pull-ups on them for a long, long time. Because you're here, I can tell that that's not your goal. So try to release your attachment to the pee always making it in the potty, and try to invest yourself in the learning process, and you're going to get much farther. Help only as much as necessary, and then release. Your child's not going to get it the first time, they might not get it the fifth time, but they will get it. You need to show your child that you trust her, and show her consistency in order for her to know that she can take ownership.
All of this is in the Go Diaper Free book and the Tiny Potty Training Book. That one also has an amazing pep talk that will really help you with your mindset. It's assuming that you haven't done any elimination communication and you might need a little bit of encouragement if you're starting at 18 months or older with potty training in this day and age, and it will give it to you. The Wrapping Up MiniCourse is going to help you with EC if you want a deeper dive. If you're just starting out and your baby is 12 to 18 months, check out that Passing the Baton EC Program to get you started and wrapped up all in that six month period.
That's everything I have for you today. Thanks so much for hanging with me and diving into this. This one was a little bit deeper, but it's just so important. Mindset is so important when we are handing the reins over and helping our child become potty independent. Please head over to godiaperfree.com/257. Check out the show notes there and leave a comment. How does your mindset around pee on the floor need to shift? Please share your thoughts with us. Thanks so much. We hope to see you next time. I'm Nicole Cheever with Go Diaper Free. Take care.
Want to catch your first pee today? Grab Andrea's free Easy Start Guide and do just that. It's only one page and it will change your world. Get it at godiaperfree.com/start. We'll see you next time.
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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.)