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EC with a VERY active toddler?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi mamas,

I just wanted to get some opinions/feedback from experienced ECers. My son is 15 months old and is very active---constantly in motion. He's in cloth diapers but I've been trying out EC on the weekends and when I'm not working. So far, no success. I either miss his warning signals or he doesn't give any. Anyone been able to successfully practice EC with a super active toddler?

post #2 of 6

When did you start EC? Wasn't clear in your post....it makes a difference as to what I should suggest. :o)


Our 12 mo old is extremely active but we've been ECing since birth so we have some communication history behind us. In any case, here are some thoughts on ECing an active toddler:


1. If you have an outdoor area, get or make some split crotch pants out of regular pants with a hole cut out, use a pattern (there's one listed on the Resources section of my site), or cut the crotch out of baby tights; or leave him bottomless. Or if you have hardwood floors, try it out one day when you won't mind some misses! Then....

2. When you see him peeing, state matter-of-factly "you're going peepee on the ground." You can make reflections that include your own emotions, but do not praise or scold...just be neutral and reflective. If you're indoors, say "peepee goes in the bathroom" and take him with you. Or tell him, "let's peepee outdoors next time" if that's an option.

3. Try various diapering or trainers or underwear options....some babies signal ONLY in a diaper, ONLY in undies, ONLY naked...it really depends. You might discover a signal if he wants you to help him get out of whatever he's wearing to not soil himself. (If you started after 5 or 6 months old, he may never signal...but I've definitely been wrong before!)

4. Try diapering him in just a prefold folded in half, held in place by a diaper belt (they are very inexpensive). That way, you'll know immediately when he's wet and can make a reflective statement and change him right away.

5. Communicate a bunch, but don't hover. Reflect, reflect, reflect.

6. Do diaper-free time often and let him experience "cause & effect"....even if you NEVER catch anything for quite some time, know that the process IS working!! If he has been diapered full-time beyond the sensitivity period (0-4 months), then it will take some time to unlearn all of that. Be patient. :)

7. Potty books and games ARE helpful...but never force your baby to sit on the mini potty. Try a potty reducer too. Have an open-door bathroom policy and eventually he'll WANT to do what you guys do!


I hope some of this will help you.....let me know if you have any questions about what I've shared... <3


post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Andrea, Thank you so much for all of your helpful tips! We've just started EC....my son has been in cloth diapers since he was born. I try to let him run around naked outside as much as possible and have also been diapering him without covers so that I can tell right away when he's wet. I've been trying to catch the little guy in the act and narrate what's going on so that he makes the connection between what he's feeling and what''s happening. Sometimes he will look down in surprise/interest when he's peeing, so I'm hoping he's gaining some awareness. Thanks for sharing so much valuable information! I may contact you with questions as they arise. :)

post #4 of 6

It sounds like he IS getting the connection, by looking down and showing interest...yay!!


Even in cloth diapers, babies get used to toileting in the dipe, being wet and sitting in it...so it will take some time and some patience to help him "unlearn" this. That's why conventional toilet training is so challenging...babies become conditioned and lose their sensitivity after about the first 5 months in diapers, cloth or disposable.


That said, you are taking ENORMOUS steps toward unteaching him and I look forward to hearing how it goes for you both! Just remember, it will happen in his own time. He is very active and distractable. Keep up the diaper-free time, the communicating, the cover-less diapering when not diaper-free, and the being gentle and reflective. You're doing great!! :) I'm subscribed to this post so comment or PM with any more questions....



post #5 of 6

I have just started using cotton trainers with my crawling age baby.  He just discovered this wonderful new skill (crawling) so you can imagine how much interest or care he has right now as to where or when he eliminates.

Yesterday it took him 2 changes in location to do 1 poop.  (we started on the potty, when he tried to get away I moved him to the toilet, finally he finished pooping over the sink where he could look at himself in the mirror!)   So I had to clean the sink and the potty afterwards... but DSs bottom was clean. :)

I imagine the special challenge of this age will be finding ways to keep LO busy to stay in 1 place long enough to do the job....or even getting them to a toilet place in the first place!    But on the other hand, because they are busy, they deserve plenty of time to not have to wear a cumbersome, wet diaper--IMO.  I love that DS has more freedom of movement without his diaper on and I love that I can easily check that he is not playing in a wet diaper.  Ever hold a wet diaper in your hand and marvel over how heavy it is?  I don't want my mobile baby having to lug something like that around with him as he learns to crawl, walk, climb, etc.  So even on the days when we don't have many "hits", I feel good about what I am doing.  Even if it takes you weeks to catch the first pee, or if you never catch very many till your son is PT age, you will still be doing him a great favour by changing him frequently, giving him diaper free time, and helping him get some awareness.

BTW in generations past, this was a common age to PT... altho this might not be the right "age" to start EC, it is not the wrong age by any means...  According to Montessori, 12-18 months is the "sensitive" time for toilet training when toddlers want to imitate grown ups.  You might want to read up on the Montessori toilet training method too--it involves using underwear, allowing kids to do it themselves as much as possible, and fitting potty times into your routine (such as after waking or eating).  The way accidents are treated (dealt with immediately, in the bathroom, with LO helping with clean up) is as much a part of the method as getting LO to the potty on time (at least that is how I understand it).

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks heatherr30--so good to hear about your experience. I will definitely look into Montessori's approach to PT. I try to incorporate a lot of the Montessori technique into my work (I'm an early childhood ed teacher) but I never thought to research PT. My son is definitely at that age where he wants to imitate everything we do and is also very curious whenever we go "potty" (we allow him to come into the bathroom with us.) Best of luck keeping up with your new crawler--what an exciting development!

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