EPISODE 066: When daddy won’t do EC
Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast where we're all about helping you potty your baby as early as birth. I'm your host, Andrea Olson, author and mom of five ECed babies. This is episode 66, When daddy won't do EC: How to get your husband on board with toilet training (and possibly save your marriage).
Today, I want to talk about daddy and husband. I mean, any partner who is male-identified, to be totally PC with you guys. In my household, that is my husband. When the father of your child will not do EC, there are some very male specific things that are going on here, and the dynamic between female and male is very real even in today's inclusive society. I would like to start by saying that we are talking about dads today. We are talking about, I use the word husband throughout this, but this can apply to opposite sex partner, same-sex partner, if you have a husband, whatever. This is for dealing with guys who don't want to do EC, okay? The show notes are at godiaperfree.com/66. There's a full transcript there and a video version of me recording this podcast and a bonus video from my husband to other husbands about EC.
Sometimes husband, my husband won't do it. He won't do EC. The other night I asked him to take the baby to the potty as we were getting ready to leave this really nice restaurant. He felt so offended and disrespected, and I felt so upset and unloved and terrible about it because he didn't want to do that in public. There are some very real things, very serious things going on behind the scenes there that don't make my husband a bad person, but this is a very common thing, and maybe you've had some experience with this. Other men are reluctant or cynical about it as well, about EC. I have some tips from readers as well at the end of this episode I'll share with you too.
The point is, men are different than women, obviously, and they have a very strong need for respect, whereas a woman has a very strong need for love. Doing women's work for men can feel degrading to them at the core, and it is something that you might see as chauvinistic. Bear with me, and I'll explain. The point is, if both you and your partner have animosity, and he's harsh, and he shuts down and stonewalls you, he shuts down and won't finish a conversation with you, he walks out of the room, or you cry a lot, or you feel unloved a lot or slighted pretty regularly or just kind of pissed off all the time, or often enough to make it uncomfortable, your husband may already feel disrespected, which will make him resist any suggestion you make, including EC, including something that infers that he is not a good dad or maybe a failure or just not good enough.
I have a question for you mamas listening out there. Do you feel like you deserve unconditional love? Raise your hand if you do, unless you're driving. I do. I feel like I deserve unconditional love. Of course. Hands down. Well, do you believe that your spouse deserves unconditional respect? "Oh, only when he earns it." Well, what if he said about you, "She only deserves love when she earns it, when she's lovable." That would be terrible, right? Well, he feels the same about respect. He feels that he deserves it unconditionally as well.
Think about it. If you have a son, would you want his future wife to talk to your son the way that you talked to your husband sometimes? Would you want your future son to feel emasculated like sometimes you make your husband feel, even though you think he deserves it because he's a harsh jerk sometimes? Well, yeah, you wouldn't want your son's future wife to treat him like that, right? We're just trying to get ourselves into the male's shoes to understand this a little bit.
If any of this resonates with you, and I promise I will get to the point of how this relates to EC in a husband or spouse or daddy, I want you to get Love & Respect, the book. I don't work for that company. I've just use it in my own relationship. It saved our marriage last year. I don't care what religion you are - it is extremely Christian and fundamentalist - you can apply this book to any religious, nonreligious life view. Get past that. Don't let that keep you from learning it if you're not particularly Christian.
In this book, I want you to learn how to treat your husband better. The result is a much more loving husband who will treat you better. No manipulation needed. Mamas, I'm telling you, if you're feeling like your husband isn't helping out that much, especially with EC, you need to read and apply this book. It doesn't matter if he ever picks up the book. You just do your part. You be the big person. You be mature. I promise you, it totally helps. We're reviewing and reading the book again together right now.
Also, once he feels respect as a protector of everyone in your family, as the one who would take a bullet for you and your baby, as a provider, whether he's succeeding at providing or not, he has that ingrained need, and as a man, you can help him feel needed by asking him to study up on EC and be the potty point person because dads are really good at EC. It gives him something to do while you're doing all the breastfeeding and putting the baby to sleep. This can give dad a real strong role in the family, and once he's on board, he's great.
All right, so when telling your husband about EC for the first time, don't get emotional or demand that we do it. If he says, "Oh, that's a terrible idea," especially if he always naysays everything you say. See the other podcast, number 31, “How to talk about EC to others.” Listen to the advice in there, and just focus on this statement like this. "This will help our baby be the most healthy and feel the most respected and have his dignity. This is what people do where there aren't diapers." You want to mostly appeal to his provide-and-protect sensibilities as a man. "This will make our baby comfortable, less fussy, and no poopy diapers, because we don't want to deal with those, right?" And leave it at that as we'll discuss next, the proof is in the pudding, or the doing.
Another strategy, besides the whole love and respect thing, is to do EC without expecting your husband to ever do it, and he can see how amazing it is by trying it too, or before trying it too. Then he can come around, and it can be his decision to try doing EC with your child after watching you do it. No pressure, no evangelism, just do it, and don't expect him to ever help with it.
If he tries and he fails, do not correct him. Men are very sensitive, believe it or not. If you feel that you can when you know that it's time for the baby to go bathroom, like for instance, a wake-up pee, "Could you please hold the baby over the sink like this and say pssss or mm, mm while I grab something from the other room," See what happens. Let him be with the baby, and let him... just sort of set him up for success. You know the timing is right. Take off the diaper. You know you usually get a catch there. Tell him a little bit like, "Could you please do this," and then go off and do something else. Give him privacy to discover EC on his own with your baby. I hear my kids come in. Sorry about that in advance if you can hear them.
The next thing, I want you to give them The Dad's Guide that comes with my Go Diaper Free book. It's a new download, newly revised. It has bullet points and nice pictures, and that's what guys love. Men hate failing. Men love winning. We want to set them up for success. You can give them that guide and say, "Here's what I've been doing. You've noticed me doing it. Here's just a little guide that Andrea's husband made for you," and my husband did help me make that.
I want you to also say these words to your husband. "I really admire you for trying to potty the baby today. I think it was sexy. Let me know if you want to know more about EC. I just think it's great. I really respect you for trying something that I suggested." If you use the word admire or the word respect or say, "Thanks, you're my hero," or like, "Wow, Daddy's our hero," because he caught a pee, he will be so inspired to try it again.
My husband made a video a few years ago for your husband, or partner. Check it out on the show notes, godiaperfree.com/66. Just remember, if your husband feels demoralized or emasculated because you've asked him to help with EC or any other little benign thing with parenting, his respect bucket needs filled, and just like your love bucket needs filled, it is your privilege and duty to fill that for him and for him to fill that for you. It goes both ways, a two-way street.
Get the Love & Respect book if that resonates. They also have an audio book. I love that too. They also have a workbook. Just learn your part, and maybe he'll want to read his part too someday. That's fine. He doesn't have to, but if he does, which most men are like, "Whoa, what did you read? I really want to try that," there's also a workbook you guys can do together as a home study. My husband and I are doing it again right now, and they have a course. Love Emerson, love his son. They do a great job. They have a podcast too, so check it out.
But I want you to remember, wives and partners who are women or who have a male partner, don't pressure your husband to try this, to read that book. Just do your part, and in return, you will get the support with EC and every other thing and the love that you really deserve and want to have as well. Off my pedestal. Go watch that video over on the blog where my husband is talking to your husband. Show that to your husband if you want to. Let me know in the comments what you think your plan is, what you've learned, or any questions you might have about this topic, about daddies not wanting to do EC, and what works for you. I want to hear the good news there in the comments, godiaperfree.com/66. I look forward to seeing you there, and here are a few tips from our readers before we go.
Melanie said, "My husband was very skeptical, and I was a bit scared if I will be able to stay committed through the whole process. I told myself I can commit for one month. After one month, it's part of us, and I can't imagine life without the potty anymore." This woman has four children. First EC baby is their baby-baby, two months old. She says her tip is, "Read Andrea's book and just give it a solid try for a month. It's really not that difficult."
MM from Massachusetts, "My tip is that babies are smart enough to learn who will potty them and who won't. Our baby always cues for me and my husband, but she doesn't bother to cue at daycare. It has helped us to make part-time EC a success, and we don't have to worry about her communication efforts going unheeded at daycare." Again, if your husband won't do it and you just do it, then you're doing it part-time and that's good enough. The baby will eventually demand that daddy take her too.
Then Amanda from Central Indiana, "Always offer. We offer the potty after nursing, wake-ups, before naps, sometimes in between. The times I slack off and I just let him go in his diaper, he always poops. My husband even reminds me of this. Of course, when I remember to take him, he doesn't always poop, but catching those few poops makes it totally worth it, right?" This one, her husband is on the same page with her, and that is our goal, you guys. We really would love unanimity with this, a united front.
Then lastly, Jasmine from Wisconsin, "I found your website through some natural mothering site and was totally intrigued. I went through your newborn class before my little guy was born," that's called Baby Meets Potty, it's a mini course, "so we were ready to start from day one. My husband was ambivalent at first, but I didn't tell him that EC was a thing so he could just see how natural it is for the baby to use the potty." She didn't overexplain it, she just did it. "Now we both think that people who knowingly let their kids poop in diapers are the crazy ones. That's my best tip to get your partner on board. Don't make a big deal out of it. Just show him that it works, and it's completely natural for the baby. It's first-class treatment." I love that so much. Thank you so much, Jasmine.
That's all I have for today. Your husband won't do EC? You can let him listen to this podcast. I love guys. I'm not a male basher at all. I'm quite the opposite. I love to have feminist values, but also this intense love for the male species and how different they are. I feel like we should really support our men with as much respect so we can learn to give because it's foreign for us women to give that. We have never been taught that. We've grown up in the feminist era where we're taught to do much the opposite, but when we give them what they need, their deepest need, they give us our deepest need, love. Honestly, that is a unifying ground in which a really strong marriage is built. From there, asking your husband to pitch in about EC is no thing.
You guys have a great week. I'm Andrea Olson with the Go Diaper Free Podcast at godiaperfree.com. I will see you next time. I can't wait to hear your success stories. Take care.
I think the main motivator for my husband is how much money saved on not buying disposable diapers. He is so impressed at how few diapers diapers we’ve purchased. Now our 19 month old is pottying day and night, and the last box of diapers (pullups) I bought in July… I still have over half left! We have pottied three kiddos so far, and I hope to potty this fourth one from as close to birth as possible. I’ve talked to mamas who’ve ec’ed their babies, but when they got to 4 or 5 kiddos, went the diaper route. We’ve actually found ec is easier than diapers because we’re more tuned in to baby’s needs and using the potty takes so much less time than a complete baby overhaul after a blowout. Thanks Andrea! You’re encouragement and information makes all the difference!!
Hi Mary! That’s fantastic! EC really does save money. I agree, it is easier than full time diaper use. I am so glad to have helped you on your EC journey! xx Andrea
My husband doesn’t do too much with the kids pottying when they’re babies (under age 1) but he’s always the first one to jump out of bed at night if my toddlers need something. He’s also been very supportive of the whole endeavor from the get go.
Hi Isadora! Sometimes people are more comfortable helping young toddlers with the potty It is so great that your husband takes point at night, that gives you a much needed break. xx Andrea
Thank you so so much for sharing this! My husband wasn’t on board with EC at first but through watching me do it and then seeing that it worked he was convinced! Also super important what you shared about Love and Respect. Such a good reminder for ANY issues going on in marriage, not just disagreement about EC. Thank you for all that you do, Andrea!
Hi Allison! Thank you for your kind words!! I am so happy to hear your husband got on board with EC, dads really rock at EC. xx Andrea
I am a through and through feminist, ok, but I CANNOT AGREE MORE about this respect/love paradigm in a man/woman gender role relationship. Another author who goes into this is Rori Raye, and there is no religious talk there whatsoever so that may work better for some women, Ladies, if it makes you bristle JUST GIVE IT A CHANCE.
Re. EC what worked for me is just doing it myself and not overexplaining. (Men are ALLERGIC to our explaining and want to do it their own way or see for themselves what way works). Baby is 9 months, we do part time EC, and Daddy continually surprises me by pottying him without me asking.
It really does work! I’ll have to look into that author, thank you for the recommendation. xx Andrea
start with something very simple and don’t expect. If you have no expectation then you can’t be disappointed! I started by asking mine “if baby pees or poos while you’re changing her, say these cues”, nothing else.
Then two weeks later I asked if he can try her on the potty at diaper changes and say the cues when he was ready it’ll be great. He was so amazed when baby peed into the potty and “on request” that he started pottying her at wake up and every diaper change.
Hi Rose! What a great way to ease him into EC!! Wonderful plan, I’m so glad it worked. xx Andrea
I already own the EC book. How do I get the Dad’s Guide Download?
Hi Sherry! It is on the book owner’s website. xx Andrea
My whole church did the Love and Respect book through our small groups (our church spends a lot of time on marriages BEFORE it’s gets bad in hopes that it never gets bad). The book is as good as Andrea says it is. It has truly worked wonders in our marriage. To piggy back on that, we were told to ask our spouse every night before bed “Did I do anything today to make you not feel respected” when the wife says it. The guys would say “loved” instead. You listen to your spouse and even if you don’t like what they said, you apologize for making them feel that way. No excluded! Just apologize! Andrea, I have a wonderful husband who has been supportive of me doing EC since I first learned about it. It took him a week or so to actually help out with it himself (he’s rocking it…he’s caught more poops than me!). But when I put your podcast on speaker for him to hear you speak about the “Love and Respect” book in your past podcast, you definitely gained his respect. I don’t know your religious preference, but how you are handling your marriage and putting your husband first is spot on! You can’t raise kids together, to the best of your ability, without putting each other first. For those that are divorced, you can still be a strong team raising your kids together, too. I’ve seen many nuclear families do this (my mom and dad NOT included). Well done Andrea and thanks for taking the time to preach on this subject.
Hi Crystal! I am so happy to hear that Love and Respect has helped your marriage, it really is an amazing book. I like the idea of the question at night, keep that communication going. Yay for hubby rocking EC!! xx Andrea