Finding Motivation to Start Elimination Communication or Potty Training

Motivation to Start

It’s never to early to start

I just toured the birth suites at the hospital where I will be giving birth to baby #2 in May and I’m already imagining what our stay will look like. Among the baby items on my list to pack for our hospital stay are a small potty and a soaker pad. I imagine sitting on the bed with my new baby laying on the soaker pad, just taking in his expressions and learning about him. I’ll be hoping that I can observe that small fuss or wiggle or twist of the lips before a pee or poop starts. I envision myself or my husband cuing along with a “pss” or a “mm.”

Then I stop my daydreaming and second guess myself. Do I really want to start EC while still at the hospital, recovering from birth? Won’t I be too tired? Won’t I be in too much pain?

Then I reassure myself. Of course I will want to start! The 3-year-old will be with the Grandparents and my only job for those first couple of days will be to take care of my new baby: snuggling, nursing, and pottying!

But why even start? Diapers are just so. much. easier.

Finding motivation to start – my top 10 reasons to start today.

  1. Landfills and the environment – Do I really want to fill holes in the land with disposable diapers? No. I already feel guilty enough about the trash we produce on a weekly basis, I don’t want to add any more if I can help it. And please, put the poop in the potty. Human waste does not belong in a landfill!
  2. Saving money – Depending on your favorite brand of diapers, what size you use, and how often you change your baby’s diapers, a years worth of disposable diapers can easily cost a family $500 – $1000 or more. After 10 minutes of shopping on the most expensive diaper I found was a size 6 diaper at $1.04 each. I also learned that diapers go up in price as the size increases, which makes sense since they use more materials to make. Just that fact alone is encouragement to get out of diapers at a younger age to avoid the added cost due to a bigger size!
  3. Saving time, energy, and water – For those of us who choose to use cloth diapers, we have a significant financial cost to get started, but then the cost changes to time, water, and gas or electricity used to clean the diapers. Depending on how many diapers you purchase and how often you change your baby, you could be doing a load of diapers every 2-3 days! How many gallons of water does your washing machine use per load?
  4. Easier time with potty training later – The biggest hurdle with potty training is changing habits of both the kid and the parent. For the kid, peeing and pooping in a diaper has been all they have ever known. Peeing and pooping without a diaper feels weird and for some it can be upsetting. For the parents, you have to add this new care taking step to your daily routines. Changing habits can be hard, but if the kid is already used to peeing into a potty chair or toilet and if the parent is already used to being aware of the kid’s potty needs, the transition to no diaper back-up can be easier. And the earlier you do it, the less time overall the kid will be in diapers (see #1, #2, and #2 above!)
  5. Elimination Communication is respectful of your baby’s natural instincts – have you ever opened your baby’s diaper just to have them start peeing? That is no accident. Babies don’t want to pee on themselves, and even as newborns they fuss or cry or somehow signal their discomfort to us when they need to pee. We teach them to ignore their natural instincts by conditioning them to use a diaper. EC helps your baby stay in touch with their body awareness and honors their natural instincts.
  6.  Babies are capable of learning EC – EC is a partnership – baby signals or baby has a natural rhythm to their elimination. Parents have schedules and parents have fine motor skills. Babies can communicate their needs and parents respond. Parents can communicate through positioning and sound cuing that “now is a good time to pee” and babies respond by releasing. It is amazing – these young beings are active participants in getting their care needs met.
  7. Parental pride – Although there is no race to be the first baby out of diapers, we as parents can feel some pride that we are doing something special (by today’s standards) for our babies.
  8. Counter cultural – On that same note, by practicing EC and early PT, we are resisting consumerism and advertising. We are not going to fall for the diaper industry’s “wait for readiness” myth which only benefits the wallets of the diaper companies.
  9. Reduce or eliminate the diaper rash – More fresh air on the tush! Less time spent sitting in pee or poop! I think you get the idea.
  10. How do you really feel about your baby sitting in their waste? Now that I know it is preventable, I personally get grossed out by the idea that babies and toddlers are spending any amount of time sitting in their own waste products. Yes diapers are convenient, but what is your child’s true experience?

And part-time is just as good as full time!

I’ll admit that the way we live is super different than how people lived 100’s of years ago – no tribal communities, no multi-generational homes, few older siblings and cousins or even neighborhood kids running around. So it is really easy to feel overwhelmed that you might be the only person who is becoming aware of your baby’s potty needs and taking them to the potty.

I get it. I was there too.

So the answer is, figure out what you are able to commit to, tell your baby about the plan, and then stick to it.

Maybe your commitment is to practice at home only. Maybe it is just nights and weekends when you’re not at work. Maybe it is to only offer the potty before and after sleep, or before and after a bath.

The important things are to just get started today and to communicate your plan with your baby.