What if you do everything “right” with elimination communication, but it doesn’t work out the way you planned? Was all that work for nothing? Should you just give up and potty train later? Tune in this week to hear Nicole’s experience with EC disappointment, and get some tips on how to resolve those regrets and recover your EC practice.
You Will Hear:
- Nicole’s personal story of overcoming disappointment
- How you can still benefit from any amount of EC practice, even when it doesn’t go “as planned”
- Tips for resolving feelings of guilt or disappointment about your experience
- Resources for recovering or restarting your EC practice
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Elimination Communication and Siblings - Podcast #242
- Top Hat Potty
- Go Diaper Free Book
- Tiny Potty Training Book
- Go Diaper Free Resource Guide
- The Bundle - All 7 MiniCourses
- The re-set - Podcast #46
- I potty trained my toddler after starting EC with my second baby - Podcast #250
- Easy Start Guide for EC - Free Download
- 3-day Primer for Starting Potty Training - Email Series
- Find a Local Coach or EC Group
- Private EC Support Group on Facebook
- Private Potty Training Support Group on Facebook
- 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 251: What to do when EC doesn’t go as planned
I found out about EC 10 years before I had my first baby. I knew for sure I wanted to do it. I bought a book, I read through it while I was pregnant, I did everything right, and I still didn't do EC from birth, and I still had two under two, both in diapers.
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 everyone, it's Nicole Cheever with Go Diaper Free. Thanks so much for joining me again today on the podcast. Today I'm talking a little bit about my own experience and bringing it back to what to do when EC doesn't go as planned. This is episode 251. Of course, when you're done listening, please head over to the blog, godiaperfree.com/251, leave comments, ask us questions there. You'll find links to anything I'm going to mention in today's episode, and of course, if you are listening to your favorite podcast player, please subscribe, and if you're on YouTube, hit that subscribe button as well so you'll find out about any new episodes coming up.
Today, I'm talking a little bit more off the cuff. I really work hard to make sure these podcasts are informative, they're chock full of helpful links and details, and that is my style. But today I'm just chatting with you through one of my experiences, or I guess three of my experiences since I have three kiddos now. It's inspired a little bit by an episode I did a while back, I think it was episode 242 Elimination Communication and Siblings, and we had some comments on there of some really disappointed listeners. They were struggling through the later months of their pregnancy trying to wrap up a toddler. The EC timing just didn't really line up for them, and they were hoping for some magic wand they could wave and poof, it would all be easy for them. I would love to give you all that, I really would. I wish that everything in parenting could be easy like that, especially pottying. There are a lot of things that can be made easier by practicing elimination communication. There are a lot of benefits to it, but just like anything else in life, there are also struggles.
So I want to tell you a little bit about my experience today, bring it on back to what you can do and also just let you know that you're not alone. You might listen to the podcast and think, oh, Andrea and Nicole have it so together. I have done a ton of training under Andrea to have the knowledge and the experience that I have. And Andrea, she's a bit of a pioneer in the elimination communication world, but even she has struggled with some of her kiddos. She was very honest with this last pregnancy with Marilyn. I think they didn't catch anything in the Top Hat Potty for the first six or eight days, and that was humbling for her. You think after five kids, you've really got this thing down, but again, it's life, it's parenting. They're all different. So please, the last thing I want you all to do is listen to this podcast and think like, oh, well, if I can't be like them, then it's not going to work out. I really want you to take away from this that there is a way to do EC and have success and have all the benefits no matter what your set up, no matter what your lifestyle, no matter what your situation.
I knew about EC 10 years before I ever got pregnant with my first baby. I had a friend who practiced it with both of her girls, the first one starting about three months and the second one from birth, and they hardly used any diapers with their second baby. They were out of diapers so quickly. I can't even remember exactly the ages. But I was resolute, I knew for sure that this was something that I wanted to do. And again, I got pregnant. I bought a book, I got a Top Hat Potty. I was all ready to go, and I did not practice EC. Not until I went to visit that same friend when my baby was already four months old.
So we got into it starting at four months. We had some success. We were doing a morning pee and usually a morning poop every single day after he woke up. Then I went back to work, and then we moved, and there was just a whole bunch of other things that happened that I've talked a little bit about in other episodes. Really the point of the matter is, I ended up, after I had his little sister, with two kids under two, both in diapers, full-time in diapers. That's not what I wanted to do. I was trying to wrap him up after I got settled. I was pretty heavily pregnant, I really wanted to wrap him up when he was about 15, 16 months old, and it just didn't happen. I couldn't get the support and the scheduling and everything that I needed done to be able to have that time to do the naked teaching, or to do the concentrated wrapping up process with him.
I really, honestly, if you get down to it, I lacked a lot of confidence. This was my first baby. I just had a huge complete life change. I was ready to give birth to a second baby, totally overwhelmed, and it just wasn't going to happen. I went for a while having a lot of regret about that and really kind of feeling down on myself like oh, this was something I wanted to do. It was going to make it so much easier on me and my children. I had a lot of really deep negative feelings about it. It was actually something Andrea said that helped to pull me out of that, a teaching she was doing where she said, "You couldn't have done. If you could have done it, you would have done it."
Absolutely. If I could have gotten him wrapped up, I would have done it. I was so ready to, I wanted it, but I couldn't. The way my life was going at the time, all of the factors combined, I couldn't do it. So that really helped me to let go of that regret. It really, really helped me to let go of that should, coulda, woulda. If I could have done it, I would have. I didn't. I ended up doing the potty training experience with him at 28 months old, and it went fabulously and it really ignited my passion for this. Now I'm sitting here today where I love to help parents with their first, or second or third, doesn't matter, kid. I love to help them get that kiddo out of diapers as quickly as possible, as young as possible, even if they've had a bunch of attempts before and it went miserably.
That's a big passion of mine and I love helping people, and I would never have gotten this opportunity if I didn't have that experience. I have that in my back pocket now, having potty trained that child and being able to help friends, family, and strangers because of that experience. So I've found a way where I could turn it around and actually be grateful for it.
I then wrapped up my second baby at 18 months old. We did a quick potty training experience with her. I would say it took about a month for her to be really solidly potty independent, but I was thrilled with that as well. Then I was able to jump in with both feet with my third baby when she was only 10 days old. So that's a little bit of my background, so you understand where I'm coming from.
Back to these comments with the episode on elimination communication and siblings, there was just a lot of disappointment floating around in this chat in the comments. Some of it on our private platform, if you're not a book owner yet, we have a book owner's area where you can go in and talk to coaches. Whether it's the elimination communication Go Diaper Free book or the Tiny Potty Training book, both of them have private online book owners' areas where you can get support from other parents and from coaches.
So the chats in there were just so disheartened. "Oh, I'm heavily pregnant. My oldest is," however old, I can't remember. 14, 15, 16 months. "I really wanted to wrap up. I don't have the energy. I'm exhausted. I'm nauseous. I don't have the support at home." I mean, these are all really, really real things people, and I definitely experienced many of them myself.
Again, we can't just wave a magic wand and say poof okay, well, you can just completely ignore your EC'd baby and everything will go great, and they won't regress when the new baby comes along. I wish we could do that. That would be so great. I would love to just reach right through that screen and give y'all a hug too, but it's just not reality.
So what I want to do today is really encourage those of you going through EC disappointment. If things didn't line up, if you had a surprise pregnancy earlier than you wanted to, and so you just aren't able to dedicate that time to that older child to wrap them up before the second baby comes along. Trust me, I know the feeling, of kind of feeling guilty, like I robbed my older child of part of their only child experience because I had baby sister so soon. I've gone through all that. Again, there's no point in living there. There's really no point in living there. All it does is drag us down. My kiddos are four-and-a-half and five, and three quarters he will tell you now, and they're the absolute best of friends. Just even thinking about having separated them more breaks my heart. I would never do it. So there are absolutely silver linings and benefits that come from all of this.
The point is, if you have been practicing EC at all, it doesn't matter when, doesn't matter how much. Full-time, part-time, you took a break, it doesn't matter. You still have all those benefits from EC. We get in this mindset of like, oh, I did all this work and now it was for nothing, and that's just the wrong way to look at it. I hate to tell you, it's just the wrong way. It is not for nothing. It absolutely saved you diapers. It built a very strong bond between you and your child, that trust that you are going to tend to all of your child's needs no matter what they were. Maybe not every time, maybe you're practicing part-time. That still built trust with your child. It built awareness in them for what their body is telling them. It allowed your child to maintain that connection, that brain body connection so that they're aware of what's going on in their body. They know when they have a full bladder what that feels like, and have been working those muscles, even if it's only a little bit.
That brings us to everything that you get to avoid because you didn't do conventional, full-time, a hundred percent using the diaper as a wearable toilet. You get to avoid a lot of the pitfalls of modern conventional potty training like pee and poop withholding, which can cause medical issues. There's not going to be fear of the toilet because your child's been using it already, even if they're just a little bit familiar with it.
So these are all things that are going to benefit you regardless of how long you did EC, when you did EC, if you didn't do it fully all the way through. If you're having to put a diaper on and just use it as a backup while you're heavily pregnant, laying on the couch, nauseous, whatever it is, when you're in that newborn phase with your baby. I recommended in that episode that if you can wrap up your older child before the new baby comes along, absolutely do it. Because I had every great intention in the world and thought that I was going to be able to wrap him up when my second baby was still young. Well, it took me almost a year to be able to potty train him and wrap him up after my second baby came along just because of life. So that's my recommendation.
But I very purposefully said, “if you can,” because you're not always going to be able to. So if you can't, accept that, appreciate it, and figure out what's going to work for your family. Our page, the books, the podcast, all of the resources, the MiniCourses, our coaches, everything is here to help you find which situation, which setup is going to work for you. So please don't just listen to one podcast episode and go, oh, I can't do it because Nicole said only do it this way. Please hear me very clearly. There's no one way to do it. That's like saying there's only one type of baby. We all know that's not true. There's no one way to do it. We will help you find something that works for your family. Don't give up. Keep looking.
The worst thing you can do is just give up and say, “well, I'm not even going to try anymore.” You know that's not a re-set. A re-set is not giving up and saying, “I'm not going to try anymore.” A re-set is taking a very intentional, conscious break so that you can try again. So please hang in there, keep moving forward. Use the resources you have and we have here.
Head on over to godiaperfree.com/251 and please, I'd love to know, have you gone through EC or potty training disappointment and how did you deal with those feelings? We do a lot of talk about practical solutions here on the podcast, but this is for us parents who, sometimes we struggle, and that's okay. Let's build each other up and encourage each other. How did you deal with those feelings? How'd you pull yourself out of that? I shared my story and I'd love to hear yours.
Next week, we have another contribution from our coach in Montreal, Quebec, Lisa "Dee" Perusse. Please tune in for that one again, we loved her episode last time. So catch that on the podcast next week. Thanks again for joining me. I hope you liked this little heart-to-heart we had today. Again, I know it's a little different from a lot of the episodes that I have published, but hope you enjoyed it. Let me know over in the comments. I'll catch you all next time.
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.)