Other than ones about how I started Cedar on solids, the “baby thing” that I get the most questions about is how we have gone about “potty training” Cedar from the age of six months (also known as “elimination communication” or ECing). For the first six months of the training, I gladly shared our experience with the hopes that other people could also enjoy the benefits of their babies going in the toilet. From about the time he was eight months old, we had to change about one or two poopy diapers a week, as opposed to one every day…and I’ll be honest, it was really nice! I was so excited that this whole infant potty training thing was actually working and I was a definite convert.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. Now past his first birthday and getting way more mobile, Cedar just wasn’t interested in going on the potty anymore. Before, when he was younger, I could read his cues and get him to the potty in time and he would sit there and go. Now, when I think he needs to go, I’ll take him to the potty (oftentimes at the expense of leaving his play – which he does not like!), sit him on there and he won’t go. Take him off, put his diaper back on and he ends up going in his diaper ten or so minutes later, no cues or anything. Needless to say, despite trying not to get frustrated about it, I often do…and we’re back to changing one or more poopy diapers a day. And I’m at a total loss of what to do. I don’t want going to the potty to be something Cedar hates doing, and at this point, it’s becoming that since getting into everything is so much more interesting than sitting on the potty. Before, dirty diapers used to bother him and seemed to motivate him to go on the potty. And now, even though I obviously change them as soon as I discover that they’re dirty, they don’t seem to phase him…again, probably because exploring is just so interesting. I’ve read other ECing moms ‘ experiences and this sudden lack of interest around his age seems to happen pretty often…so I’m hoping that it’s just a phase and that in a couple months (hopefully after the baby is born), we’ll be back to using the potty regularly.
All that to say, writing this post will be humbling for me, and that’s why it’s been so long in coming. With so many people asking me about it, I’ve been meaning to write it for several months now, but haven’t really felt “qualified” anymore since my baby stopped going on the potty. But, like my husband encouraged, that doesn’t mean that I’m not qualified to write it…it just means that I’m actually going through the hard parts of it right now, I’m writing “from the trenches” in a way. So, I’ll share what we did, what I would have changed, etc. with the hopes that it will be helpful to any who are interested…and we’ll see where our little potty situation is at in a couple months!
As I mentioned earlier, our infant potty training (or ECing) journey began when Cedar was about six months old. I had heard of ECing from several different people over the years, and I had helped train an older baby when I was living in NZ, but I was rather intimidated at the thought of doing it with my own little one. However, when a blog I read published a (very helpful!) piece called “How to Potty Train Your Infant“, my interest was definitely piqued again. And several days later, when Cedar had his first real solid food poopy diaper…that put me over the edge and we began.
From the beginning, I wanted to get Cedar used to going on the toilet (as opposed to in a little potty on the floor), but it was quite a strain on the back to balance his chubbiness on the edge of the toilet seat, so we got a potty seat and it was a life-saver! For the first couple days, I didn’t catch anything in the toilet and I was a little discouraged. Six-months-old is pretty late to start infant potty training as he had essentially been trained to go in his diaper for the last six months. I think that definitely attributed to his slow start at it as I have several friends who started earlier (between birth and three months) and had more immediate success. However, as the days and weeks went by, and I learned to read Cedar’s “cues”, we caught more and more in the toilet and it was very exciting!
Unlike many ECing moms, my goal wasn’t to get Cedar completely diaper-free by a certain time and therefore after the first week or so, I mostly focused on having him poo in the toilet and I wasn’t so concerned about catching pees. I don’t mind changing wet diapers and to me, taking him to the toilet every hour or so to catch all his pees seemed like too much of a hassle to me for what it was worth. That was obviously just my personal decision and I was very happy with only having to change the occasional poopy diaper when I missed a cue or wasn’t fast enough.
As I said earlier, up until a couple months ago, I was very satisfied with how potty training Cedar was going and I wouldn’t really have changed anything that we were doing. However, now that he’s “regressed” (or whatever you want to call it), I’ve wondered if we had done anything differently if that would have prevented it. When thinking about what we’ll do with the new baby, I’ve considered starting them earlier, but probably no more than three months or so. We’ll see what happens…
The main thing that I’ve learned through this whole “journey” is something that I’ve ended up doing and then regretting…stressing about the whole deal. And I’ll admit it, a big part of the cause of that stress was my pride. When your eight-month-old regularly uses the toilet and people are just in awe…it boosts your mothering ego quite a bit. And then, five months later when they just start going in their diaper again, your pride can take a beating (a needed one, believe me!). And in reaction to that, I started to get quite frustrated with it all (and, yes, as horrible as it is, I got frustrated with Cedar too), which was definitely the wrong thing to do. Now that I’ve just accepted that he’s currently not interested anymore, and being okay with that, poopy diapers don’t frustrate me as much as they used to. And I’m determined now, both with the new baby and especially with whatever Cedar ends up doing with it all, to not stress about it and to just take what comes…potty training and dirty diaper definitely are not worth having a bad attitude over!
And thus ends my rambles about infant potty training…I hope it was helpful to some of you. If you have any questions, I’d be glad to try and answer them with what I’ve learned through our ongoing experience.