EC today vs how "it used to be done" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 72 Old 09-15-2009, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is something I've been thinking about since I started EC with my girl at 4.5 months old. She's now 12 months old and really nowhere close to where I wanted her to be. She might pee if I sit her on a potty, and she almost always seems to hold it if we're out of the house (but I carry her, and offer her the potty every time before setting her in the carseat), but she doesn't signal AT ALL to me that she needs to, or has already pee'd.

Years ago (1950's?) the average age for a child to be out of diapers was 12 months (18 for boys). The use of disposable diapers obviously plays a very large role in this, but what I can't seem to find an answer for, is how they were done differently back then, and why some of our "full time EC'd babies" are still in diapers past the age of 2.

If I knew that my daughter would still be in diapers until 2+, I would still maintain the communication of explaining to her what's going on down there, but I wouldn't have put in HALF the effort with the potty. I would keep her as dry as I could, but I would wait until she was older and "potty train" a toddler.

It would certainly eliminate mounds of frustration that I see many of you (including myself) go through with potty strikes and older EC'ed babies who don't seem to be getting it. Especially for those of us doing it full time.

Does anyone have any articles or can explain to me why this is? I've done hours or searching, but haven't seemed to find an answer.
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#2 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 12:13 AM
 
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Hmm...

Don't know if this helps much, or if there's any accuracy to it, but speaking as a full-time EC'er whose mostly ditched diapers at home by 13 months and is now starting to venture out in public without trainers at 18 months, I have a strong suspicion that it has to do with our expectations of what potty training means, and how "perfectly" potty trained a kid needs to be before you can ditch diapers. Back when everybody was getting rid of diapers before age 2, I doubt very much that that meant that toddlers were never having accidents. Just like newly potty trained three year olds sometimes have accidents. But if most toddlers were out of diapers by around 12 to 18 months, it wouldn't have been a big deal if a 15 month old peed on the floor--I mean, no bigger a deal than it is when an older toddler does it now. It's rare, but it happens, and, well, ok, you deal with it. Even if it happens at the grocery store. Accidents happen--they're potty training. But in our society, the reaction would be shock and horror--why is that kid not wearing a diaper?!?--so it's a lot harder to risk it in the grocery store. We expect kids to wear diapers until they're able to do everything perfectly--dress and undress themselves, wipe themselves, etc.

My DD doesn't really tell me she needs to go unless she needs to poo, although she almost always tells me right away if she has a miss. But I can keep her dry almost all the time by timing it and taking her regularly. I tell people she's "mostly potty trained" and I use waterproof trainers almost all the time in public and underwear at home.

Incidentally, at 12 months, my DD was exactly where yours is now, from what I can tell from your post. Around 13 months she and I suddenly had a breakthrough where I realized that if I took her potty every hour, she would go, and she would stay dry all day. That was when we started using underwear at home.

And there's another thing, too--maybe I shouldn't say this, and I hope nobody will be offended by this--but I really do think we just aren't as good at EC'ing as people used to be, because it's so fringe and unexpected, and so we mistrust the process a lot. I read a great thread on the EC yahoo group about how there's no such thing as potty pauses (according to this old Chinese woman who practiced EC with all her children and grandchildren). And I think that we sometimes are too quick to "back off" from EC'ing and to put diapers back on because it's just not acceptable in our culture to have a child peeing on the floor, ever. In EC cultures, it's a normal part of the process, and it's not such a big deal. I think we go back to diapers because it's "normal" for us...instead of really working to find what's not working and work through the process, we take a break, because we need it. And that's okay--I mean, we ARE part of this culture, and we can't help that, and a lot of us--even EC'ers--are just not comfortable with pee on the floor. But I think the fact that we always have it in our minds, maybe even subconsciously, that we're doing something kind of weird and fringe and we'll go back to diapers if we need to, makes it harder for us to get our toddlers completely out of diapers. Because it seems so abnormal to us to not have them in diapers.

I really hope nobody takes this as a criticism. I'm talking about myself here. I still feel like an EC failure because my daughter wasn't out of diapers by 9 months--supposedly that's the norm in rural China.

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#3 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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On a slightly different note: I totally understand how you feel, because I could have written your post six months ago. I always planned on having my daughter out of diapers by around a year, because, I mean, that's what EC'ers do, right?!? And in retrospect, I think the "breakthrough" that I felt like we had at 13 months was just as much my determination as it was her ability. I definitely had a day or two of lots of pee on the floor before I figured out the timing thing. And I kind of felt (still kind of feel) like an EC failure because I'm basing it much more on timing than on her signals. But for me it was almost an issue of respect to have my toddler out of diapers most the time, even if it meant messes to clean, because I just didn't want that stuff held against her body.

Like I keep telling my friends with not-yet-potty-trained three year olds who ask my advice: it's really easy to get your kid out of diapers. Just take the diapers off.

But, of course, now that I've posted all this, tomorrow my DD is going to have a regression and poo on the floor all day...

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#4 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 12:52 AM
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IMO, the process of infant potty training back in the day (especially in the US and Britain, probably also applicable to chunks of Europe) was nothing at all like ECing as it is practiced today.

For example, John B. Watson's 1928 classic, The Psychological Care of Infant and Child recommends strapping a child to the potty seat and leaving him there alone for however long it takes to produce the morning bowel movement. He admits that, some mornings, a kid just doesn't have to poop. So after 45 minutes or so, you can let him up.

From this and a few other sources, it appears that, in the early 20th century, parents were encouraged to set children on the toilet at strictly scheduled times and demand that they eliminate. Or wait until they did. Faced with this regimen starting between 6-9 months, children learned to produce on schedule (and, frequently, were punished when they didn't, or when they had accidents). But it's hardly the consensual, child-driven ideal that most parents are thinking of when they talk about EC these days.

This is why Benjamin Spock's recommendation that parents slap a diaper on the kid's behind and relax about potty use was viewed as a welcome revelation in the 1950s - it was dramatically less punitive than earlier advice.
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#5 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I find it so interesting to learn how it used to be done in comparison to how it's done today.

I agree that back when cloth (rags) was used, it was much easier to be in tune with your child's needs to eliminate. Mothers didn't work, and I would assume often wore their children around the house while getting their chores done. I speak from experience when I say that it's easy to sense my daughters body language that she needs to pee when I'm holding her, making it for a guaranteed no miss (which is likely why we have no misses when we're out of the house).

It was also encouraged that your child poop (often by use of a soap stick), but the idea of doing this today doesn't compute. I had NO idea about the strapping onto a potty chair for morning defecation.

I just can't help but wonder (in today's times) how we (canada/usa) differ from the countries who practice on a daily basis (asia, india, etc), and have their children out of diapers by 12 months. And note that I said out of diapers... I'm sure that accidents still happen, but my point is that these children, at one year of age, more than likely have the ability to hold it (for short periods) and communicate the need to go. Or maybe they just run around with no pants on, and have learned to squat in appropriate places.

Regardless, the skill is there. Yet we EC from birth, some of us full time, and yet some children are at the same level, yet others struggle as late as even 3 years. And on a related note, I've spoken to people who didn't do EC at all, began "potty training" their kids at 14 months, and had them "fully trained" (in underwear) at 16 months.

Perhaps it's just my mood tonight, but I've been trying to figure this out for some time.
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#6 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lisavark View Post
Like I keep telling my friends with not-yet-potty-trained three year olds who ask my advice: it's really easy to get your kid out of diapers. Just take the diapers off.
haha! I've always had this fear that if I just took her diaper right off (and let accidents happen), that she'd learn to just pee anywhere and toilet learning would NEVER happen. Oddly I feel the same way about leaving her in a wet diaper, AND changing them as soon as they become wet. She'd either learn to like the wetness, or become neurotic about changing as soon as she's wet. Pee, change. Pee, change. Pee, change... IT NEVER ENDS!! LOL!!

A friend of mine works full time and her husband stays home with the kids, and is VERY, VERY lazy about diaper changes (she is not, thank goodness)., to the point where it will hang between his knees (and leaks WILL happen). I babysit sometimes and he's learned to just live with the wetness, that often he'll fight me to even change him. And if I don't change him, he doesn't ever seem to care. And now at 20 months, she's trying to potty train him... and while he does have some success (very little), the drive to learn is completely nonexistent.

If for no other reason, I pride myself (and all of us!!) on being the exact opposite of this. *HIGH FIVE* TO US!!
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#7 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 01:48 AM
 
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I lived in a traditional society when my daughter was two months old to 19 months old.

Everyone, or nearly everyone, ECs.

Lisavark was right about most of it.

First, expectations of what it means to be "trained" are different. Parents remind their children and take them out discreetly and do not expect the child to initiate it herself until much older.

Second, accidents are common.

Third, people don't take toddlers out and about very often at all. Not to places where an accident would be a big deal, like a ceremony, wedding, or whatever. Their immature toilet habits as well as inability to be quiet are no doubt a part of that. However I twice saw toddlers being changed at weddings, during which they had peed themselves because their parents were distracted.

Fourth, there is no diaper back-up, but not only that, there are no washing machines. Mom gets a huge incentive to pee baby all the time, to get baby's signal. This pressure, in the form of explicitely negative feedback, is transferred to the child. I personally did not see any children becoming "anal retentive" (that's a Freudian term, by the way, in case you don't like Freud, you can forget it ). That's right, she complains to baby when s/he pees the floor. Nothing mean, but a clear expression of dissatisfaction. That has got to have an effect.

Fifth, and this is hugely important and a big part of why gentle discipline is so freaking hard in a nuclear family: most children are growing up amongst many other children who are a variety of ages. Not only the parents, but the six and three-year-old, are there to shame the 18-month-old who has a "miss". The toddler sees everyone going and aspires to be like many older brothers, sisters, cousins.

In my experience, that helps with ALL KINDS of learning, potty learning being one of the least important related to say, whether it's okay to hit a cat or whatever.

And FINALLY (deep breath) the adult-kid ratio in most houses, or at least the over-twelve to baby ratio in most houses, favors the Bigs, whereas for us it favors the Littles. Many a time a young person who was not the child's mother would escort a pre-school aged child or take a toddler to potty. Moms were busier than we were but they had MIL, SIL, SIL2, SIL3, BIL1 (might be fifteen, not yet left the house), etc. etc. there to help. So of course this reduces misses because the child grabs his crotch and if he's near BIL's jacket, wanna bet that BIL is going to at the very least order his little sister to take the kid out to pee somewhere safe? Oh yes he will.

Sooo... that's all I have to say about that. My child was out of diapers at 12 months, back in when we lived with a relative in the U.S. at 19 months for one month when she went on "strike", and out of diapers at 20 months, fairly independent at 21 months.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#8 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. Thank you for this information!!
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#9 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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great thread!!

i do think it is hard for us to imagine living in a literally diaper-free culture. how we would feel, and what our motivation level would be if we didn't have that as an option. also, how different it is when you are surrounded by people who do the same thing, have watched younger siblings and cousins being raised in this way, etc. it's a lot like breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding. if you're having trouble latching or whatever newborn issue, your sister, your mom, your aunt, your grandma, your cousin... eveyrone has experience and advice to offer. when you live where everyone nurses toddlers and preschoolers in public, you don't feel weird or even think twice if your child needs to nurse when they're that age. and i think the same is true of pottying an infant or small toddler.

i know that just 35 years ago in the US, my mom was a very gentle parent, definitely no strapping us to potties or anything but we were in undies by about 1/8-20 months. but she has said many times that she offered a lot as well as us initiating, being "potty trained" definitely meant something different back then than it does now, and no one was surprised by an 18 month old having an accident out in public, which people would totally be appalled by right now.

i have a friend who grew up in a rural town in Russia. She has talked to me a lot about how they did toileting there, and it was EC on many levels, though it was much more of a timing based system, and there wasn't necessarily that respect for the baby as individual, and there was definitely shaming with older infants and toddlers who had accidents. and they were seen as accidents, not "misses."

i think our modern EC is in fact a gentle parenting adaptation of a much less gentle system that is used around the world. the basic idea that babies do have awareness is where we both start, but i think the progression towards potty independence can look a lot different. after all, the Pearls advocate a form of infant potty training here in the US, but it is most definitely *not* EC in my opinion.
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#10 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to clarify, my views on potty training (or becoming fully "trained" -nb learned) really only applies when a child can tell you when they have to use the bathroom, be able to hold it until they get there, and go a minimum of 6 months without a "miss/accident".

From what I understand (from this thread), shaming the baby for having misses/accidents is probably the biggest difference? Which I think is disgusting behavior no matter how old the child. Or is this simply in regards to other cultures?

I'm interested about the differences between how we EC now, and how our grandparents (/great-grandparents) did it. I understand that other cultures still do it today and it's VERY different than the way we do it, but this is not the basis of my thread. Although it too is interesting to discuss!
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#11 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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definitely not just in reference to other cultures. it was the main reason for Brazelton's backlash against early potty learning that started all the later and later potty learning (i believe that happened in the '60s).

my mom also told me that when she was little, her high chair was also a potty, and that the babies would be put in the high chair to eat without their pants on, and would not be let up till they peed or pood (similar to what a pp mentioned about being strapped into the potty chair, though she described it slightly less punitively). and i don't think they really expected signals from the child or knew how to see them, it was more of a system based on timing. and really, with an older infant, if you forced them to sit on the potty every x number of minutes all day long, once they accepted that they weren't going to get out of it, i'm sure it would work to keep a child virtually miss-free. i was able to keep my DS pretty well miss-free with timing from probably about 15 months on, the only misses we had were times when i spaced out and forgot to offer at regular intervals. when we were out of the house was different, especially play dates and at the park and things where he would get distracted. my DD2 has been virtually miss-free for months at home, i think maybe 6x since her first birthday has she had a miss at home - a combination, in that case, of her telling me and me offering. but if she didn't tell me i'd offer more and we'd probaby still be in about the same place.

also, we as a generation leave the house a lot more frequently than people did back then. house work was harder, cooking took up a lot more time, and SAHM's were expected to stay at home for the most part and clean and cook when they weren't taking care of the kids. so there wasn't as much stress about misses out in public, i don't imagine, like there would be now.

from the kind of definition that i think my mom had about being potty trained, and what i think others considered potty trained in the past, i think my baby was potty trained at 12 month and my DS at 18 months, my DD1 who i did the least EC with and started the latest was maybe 20 months. but that's not when *i* considered them a graduate, IYKWIM.

my DH's grandmother has been telling everyone that Elowyn's potty trained since she was like 6 months old LOL i've only ever had to change a diaper around her once or twice since then. in her estimation, it seems that if most of the elimination goes in the toilet, they are trained, regardless of who is initiating. and she was never surprised by the couple of times DS had a miss at her house after that 18 month mark when he was 'trained' in her eyes, she just shrugged and "oh well, that happens sometimes." not like "i thought you said he was potty trained?! WTF?!" LOL
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#12 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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Hmm...

Don't know if this helps much, or if there's any accuracy to it, but speaking as a full-time EC'er whose mostly ditched diapers at home by 13 months and is now starting to venture out in public without trainers at 18 months, I have a strong suspicion that it has to do with our expectations of what potty training means, and how "perfectly" potty trained a kid needs to be before you can ditch diapers. Back when everybody was getting rid of diapers before age 2, I doubt very much that that meant that toddlers were never having accidents. Just like newly potty trained three year olds sometimes have accidents. But if most toddlers were out of diapers by around 12 to 18 months, it wouldn't have been a big deal if a 15 month old peed on the floor--I mean, no bigger a deal than it is when an older toddler does it now. It's rare, but it happens, and, well, ok, you deal with it. Even if it happens at the grocery store. Accidents happen--they're potty training. But in our society, the reaction would be shock and horror--why is that kid not wearing a diaper?!?--so it's a lot harder to risk it in the grocery store. We expect kids to wear diapers until they're able to do everything perfectly--dress and undress themselves, wipe themselves, etc.

My DD doesn't really tell me she needs to go unless she needs to poo, although she almost always tells me right away if she has a miss. But I can keep her dry almost all the time by timing it and taking her regularly. I tell people she's "mostly potty trained" and I use waterproof trainers almost all the time in public and underwear at home.

Incidentally, at 12 months, my DD was exactly where yours is now, from what I can tell from your post. Around 13 months she and I suddenly had a breakthrough where I realized that if I took her potty every hour, she would go, and she would stay dry all day. That was when we started using underwear at home.

And there's another thing, too--maybe I shouldn't say this, and I hope nobody will be offended by this--but I really do think we just aren't as good at EC'ing as people used to be, because it's so fringe and unexpected, and so we mistrust the process a lot. I read a great thread on the EC yahoo group about how there's no such thing as potty pauses (according to this old Chinese woman who practiced EC with all her children and grandchildren). And I think that we sometimes are too quick to "back off" from EC'ing and to put diapers back on because it's just not acceptable in our culture to have a child peeing on the floor, ever. In EC cultures, it's a normal part of the process, and it's not such a big deal. I think we go back to diapers because it's "normal" for us...instead of really working to find what's not working and work through the process, we take a break, because we need it. And that's okay--I mean, we ARE part of this culture, and we can't help that, and a lot of us--even EC'ers--are just not comfortable with pee on the floor. But I think the fact that we always have it in our minds, maybe even subconsciously, that we're doing something kind of weird and fringe and we'll go back to diapers if we need to, makes it harder for us to get our toddlers completely out of diapers. Because it seems so abnormal to us to not have them in diapers.

I really hope nobody takes this as a criticism. I'm talking about myself here. I still feel like an EC failure because my daughter wasn't out of diapers by 9 months--supposedly that's the norm in rural China.
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#13 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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Re: other cultures.

Laurie Boucke does mention in Infant Potty Training that in China, there's an age that is called "the time of many misses," I think between walking and around 18 months of age. Plus, Chinese babies use those split crotch pants, and if they're outside and squat they don't make a mess or get their pants wet, so it's no big deal.

Also, an ECer on the yahoo group said she lived in Africa for a few years with a host family. Once she started ECing and getting peed on, it clicked in her memory that she'd often see the mom in the family hang out a wrap-skirt to dry on a line and that probably what had happened was that the baby had peed on her and she had changed her skirt. But, it wasn't a big deal.

I think what PPs have said about compartmentalization and busy pace of our lives, the number of places where it's not okay to pee versus where it is okay to pee, and the relative lack of help are all factors in our culture's kids being "trained" later.

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#14 of 72 Old 09-16-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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sgmom, I think what you described as your idea of "potty trained" is the general definition in our culture. I think that EC cultures (including our culture in our great-grandparents' time) have a very different definition of what it meant to be "potty trained." So when you hear an EC'er say their child has "graduated," they probably don't mean what you're describing. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that young toddlers don't do all those things, no matter how much they're EC'd.

This might be a little OT, and I'm sorry if so, but there was an awesome definition of phases of EC graduation on the EC yahoo group a while back. I love this, because it really helped me mentally redefine what it means for my DD to be potty trained, and it's enabled me to FEEL successful with EC (for whatever that's worth, lol!). Here it is:

Phase 1: Staying dry pretty reliably with mom's help
Phase 2: Signalling rather consistantly, needing occasional reminders
Phase 3: Independence in going potty
Phase 4: Self sufficient, including wiping.

I would say that our culture doesn't usually even attempt to potty train till a child is able to jump straight to phase 4. But if you accept phase 1 as a true stage of graduation--which I think it absolutely is, since it means you can go to using underwear or training pants pretty much exclusively--then it can really change your own perspective of what it means for your child to be "trained." Which for me has been a freeing experience. Of course, I tell people DD is "mostly potty trained," and what they understand from that is probably pretty different from what I mean. But whatever. Hey, daycares take three year olds potty on a schedule. All kids get too busy sometimes to pay attention to their bodies. We have to remind them to eat, too.

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#15 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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Ok, I'm going to just jump in here. This is a really good thread, I like what everyone has said. It's all very thought provoking and informative.

All I have to offer is my experience with my one ds. We used diapers as little as possible from day one, and never have used 'sposies. We stopped using diapers at home between 4-5 months, and stopped using them altogether at 9 months. We really haven't gone back to them. In part, I think, because diapers are just a pain in my ass. It is so much easier to offer the potty without using diapers, all I have to do is pull his pants down, and then up- we can do it anywhere. My ds is now 15 months and we still have pee misses, maybe twice a week or something, but it's no big deal. He tells us he has to go about half the time (using the american sign language symbol for toilet), and the other half of the time we just offer him the potty when we think of it. All kids are different and will "develop" at different rates; but IMO, ditch the diapers, even if you end up wiping the pee off of the floor 5 times a day. That is one of the biggest differences I see between our society (whether we EC or not), and other cultures.

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#16 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 02:05 AM
 
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Just to clarify, my views on potty training (or becoming fully "trained" -nb learned) really only applies when a child can tell you when they have to use the bathroom, be able to hold it until they get there, and go a minimum of 6 months without a "miss/accident".
wow, 6mos w/out an accident? thats a high standard. I'm sure our grandparents/great grandparents didn't wait for that! my mom is an elementary school teacher and she says that kids have accidents all the time. (not the same kids, but someone is having an accident in the school several times a week.)

that said I can't remember the last time my son had a daytime accident, though he sometimes, due to inattention, pees on his own clothes while he is using the toilet. He was out of daytime dipes all the time by 22 mos but still had infrequent "accidents" well into the 2s I didn't consider it a big deal and certainly considered him toilet independent at that point. Heck, I was still wiping his bum until a few months ago (he's almost 5). That was his preference, though he was capable of doing it himself.

My MIL is the only one who knows anything (or at least divulges it) about her own toilet learning. Her mom apparently took her diapers off her at age 1 and "followed her around" with a potty "all day". Her mom also tied her hands down at night so she wouldn't suck her thumb, which she remembers. So yeah, I'd say we should take it or leave it with the parenting "techniques" of bygone generations.

SO interesting to hear about what people have observed in other places.

dissertating mom to three

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#17 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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WRT shaming, i know lots of moms in our culture who do conventional potty training who end up shaming. i don't think it's their intention necessarily, but when you wait until a kid is 3 because you think they're going to learn in a weekend, and 6 months to a year later you're still dealing with poopy pants, i think sometimes you get this "what is wrong with you?! why don't you get it?!" attitude, and that comes across to the kids.
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#18 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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I think EdnaMarie and the few other moms that have mentioned ECing in places like China are right on. I live in China and have for the past three plus years. We EC'd our daughter starting at six weeks and at 16-17 months I considered her an EC graduate. Of course she still has the occasional miss but in China, that's no big deal.

I don't think that Americans can call what their moms or grandmas or great grandmas did, EC (unless your mom/grandma/great grandma was not from the standard "American Culture") What they were doing was early potty training.

Traditional EC is a philosophy that really incorporates itself into how you live. Because it's so "new" in America and we (Americans) are so far removed from support groups (friends/extended family/etc). It's harder for Westerners to really get how EC works.

In China, EC is the norm. If I go the park with DD and she tells me she needs to pee pee, I know I can take her over to the grassy area, help her with her pants, and have her pee without anyone batting an eyelash or really even looking in my direction. On MDC I saw a thread once about how an asian lady in line at disney land just let her son squat down and go pee (the thread was something like that - forgive me if I missed a few points, it was a long time ago). Most people were appalled that such a thing would happen. This happens all the time in China and it's no big deal. So what if you need to pee on the ground - it's the ground.

For most people here, there is no other way. Diapers are expensive and not a lot of people own washing machines, let alone dryers.

For us, it has made a huge difference being able to live in China while we EC. The few times we have visited the states with DD people always assume that ECing means going in the potty . In China, you can EC your baby anywhere. It is soooooo laid back to EC here. Having a really laid back attitude helps as well (as does having NO carpet in the house ) If DD ever had/has a miss - no big deal. We clean it up and we realize "Hey, she's still a baby." We never shame her if she has a miss.

Ideally, when/if we move back, I'd like to keep doing EC with future kids as we've done EC in China. If they need to pee, we take them pee. If there's no potty around, we pee them in an out-of-the-way place. If they have a miss, no big deal, we clean it up. I hope I'm able to live in such a place where this attitude exists as well.
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#19 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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I think we've had threads here and even uptight people like me agreed: if a dog can pee there, a baby can pee there. Provided the baby has not had an unexpected poop in months and months (so you can be sure that human feces will not end up on the ground... that to my mind is unacceptable...) it's fine to pee baby in the bushes in the parking lot.

So when you come back to the States, there's always that.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#20 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This might be a little OT, and I'm sorry if so, but there was an awesome definition of phases of EC graduation on the EC yahoo group a while back. I love this, because it really helped me mentally redefine what it means for my DD to be potty trained, and it's enabled me to FEEL successful with EC (for whatever that's worth, lol!). Here it is:

Phase 1: Staying dry pretty reliably with mom's help
Phase 2: Signalling rather consistantly, needing occasional reminders
Phase 3: Independence in going potty
Phase 4: Self sufficient, including wiping.
I LOVE THIS!

But based on this, we're not even at Phase 1 and we've been doing, what feels like full time EC (I'm a SAHM) since 4.5 months old (almost 8 months). I can't help but get frustrated, wondering why we have SOOOOO many misses. So naturally I wonder how it was done differently (and so successfully), so many years ago.

I love this thread. I've been fighting for a couple months to create this thread or not, but I'm sure glad I did! I didn't think I'd get half as many replies. You guys rock!
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#21 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 03:18 PM
 
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sgmom:

THANKYOU For this great thread and all the other writers!

SOOOOO interesting, I am at stage 1, glimpsing at 2 (he started signaling! a bit!) And I EC from 4/5 mo, he is now 10 mo.

Loving this and reading it over and over........

Mom of two boys, 2.5 y and 5 y
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#22 of 72 Old 09-17-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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LOL, Moonchild, you're way ahead of me; my DD is still at phase one and she's 18 months!

But seriously...I think SO much of enjoying EC has to do with changing your mindset about pee and being laid back about the whole process. I love what gingerbane says about people thinking that EC means pee goes in the potty! Gingerbane, for what it's worth, I live in the U.S., and I have always peed my daughter everywhere. She has rarely pooped out of the house, but the couple of times she pooped on the ground, I just scooped it and tossed it in a trash can. If it's ok for dogs, it's ok for babies--and that applies to poop as well as pee in my book. And I pee her behind a bush at the playground pretty much every time we're there. People don't look at me funny...or, well, if they do, I don't notice it. But there is a sneaky part of me that wishes we lived in China. (We almost moved there--DH had a job but the visa fell through at the last minute--and I think about it every time I pee DD in public behind a bush or something.)

And sgmom, I'm so glad you started this thread! But really, hang in there...like I said, I was totally where you are when DD was 12 months, and then things just started clicking and misses suddenly became much more rare. Not to go off too much on practical things when we're having such a great philosophical discussion , but do you use timing much? Or do you try to wait for your LO to signal? Because letting myself make that switch to taking more initiative and taking DD potty after it had been an hour--even though she hadn't signaled--is what got our misses down. Like I said, I felt--still sometimes feel--sort of like I was cheating on the whole mystical EC thing and how it's "supposed" to be. I actually literally went out and bought a watch solely for the purpose of EC, and I take DD potty by the clock. Even if she says she doesn't need to go, I usually will try to convince her by offering a different location or giving her a fun toy to hold or something like that. If she still insists that she doesn't need to go, I don't force it, and I take her again in a few minutes. And of course I take her every time she signals (she actually says "potty" now, which is so sweet!). But I never wait for her to signal any more. I figure I'd rather keep her dry than be a mystical perfect EC mom who "just knows." I am not that good at EC. My clock tells me when DD needs to go. But hey, it works, and like I said, I respect her if she tells me she doesn't need to go.

On another completely side note, using the clock makes it easy for babysitters, too--my mom is great at EC'ing DD now, because I can tell her exactly what time she should take her pee.

Ok, sorry, please return to your regularly scheduled philosophical and cultural discussion!

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#23 of 72 Old 09-18-2009, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And sgmom, I'm so glad you started this thread! But really, hang in there...like I said, I was totally where you are when DD was 12 months, and then things just started clicking and misses suddenly became much more rare. Not to go off too much on practical things when we're having such a great philosophical discussion , but do you use timing much? Or do you try to wait for your LO to signal? Because letting myself make that switch to taking more initiative and taking DD potty after it had been an hour--even though she hadn't signaled--is what got our misses down. Like I said, I felt--still sometimes feel--sort of like I was cheating on the whole mystical EC thing and how it's "supposed" to be. I actually literally went out and bought a watch solely for the purpose of EC, and I take DD potty by the clock. Even if she says she doesn't need to go, I usually will try to convince her by offering a different location or giving her a fun toy to hold or something like that. If she still insists that she doesn't need to go, I don't force it, and I take her again in a few minutes. And of course I take her every time she signals (she actually says "potty" now, which is so sweet!). But I never wait for her to signal any more. I figure I'd rather keep her dry than be a mystical perfect EC mom who "just knows." I am not that good at EC. My clock tells me when DD needs to go. But hey, it works, and like I said, I respect her if she tells me she doesn't need to go.
I'm going to go off thread for a minute to answer this question. This is sort of why I'm so interested in how it used to be done (and why it's taking so long for me).

She doesn't have ANY obvious signals, so we use the clock. I even have a timer that I keep on my fridge. It's set to 30 minutes (but I change that often), but often if I look over and see that there's 10 minutes left, I'll offer the potty anyway. I also offer at every diaper change (even if she's wet), immediately upon waking, before and/or after meals, before/after a bath, before bed, when I need to use the bathroom, etc.

I decided to back WAY off and tried just letting her get wet to see if she would come to me and complain in hopes that she would learn that potty = dry. It didn't work, so now we're back to the clock (I also take her to the bathroom with me EVERY time I need to use it).

We have horrible luck with bowel movements (haven't caught one in I don't even know how long... months, I think), but I'll catch one or two pees a day (more if I'm lucky). That said, I'll also go through 18 or so cloth diapers in a day, so the misses HUGELY outweigh the catches.

Today I decided to have a diaper free day to see what might happen. It was eye opening to say the least! As it turned out, I had to diaper her for bits here and there (because I was too preoccupied to follow her around), but the diaperless moments were interesting.

She pee'd on me once (something she's NEVER done and I often carry her around without a diaper, sometimes for long periods of time), she pee'd on the floor several times, in the potty twice (the rest was in her diaper or on the floor) , but the interesting part was the last pee. She was standing at the top of the stairs (baby gate) and I noticed a couple drops underneath her. I thought it was just drool, but then she moved and I noticed another couple drops, and her mouth was dry. So I put her on the potty and she pee'd IMMEDIATELY. I'm talking seconds. 3 or 4.

We used to have many, MANY more catches than we do now, but obviously something is working. The problem with watching the clock is that sometimes she'll pee 3-4 times in half an hour, and other times she seems to wait closer to an hour. Without being able to read pre-pee body signals, there is NO way to know when she needs to go.

And if I sit her on the potty on the hour (or half hour), she's more likely NOT to pee, or end up with an already wet diaper. Most (if not all) of my catches come from sheer timing (she's been dry for 43 minutes, I should put her on). And even at that, she won't pee on cue ("pssssss", or if I tell her "go pee"), nor will she pee as soon as I sit her down. There's almost always a waiting game that EASILY lasts 5-10 minutes.

Color me frustrated!

Edited to add: I would be THRILLED if I could keep her dry all day (timing), even if she doesn't signal to me that she needs to go (although that would be nice!!), and I can't figure out why we're not further ahead. Or for that matter, why it seems we've taken SO many steps backwards!
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#24 of 72 Old 09-18-2009, 01:51 PM
 
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have you tried keeping a log? writing down every time she nurses, eats, pees and poos? also sleep times. for babies who eat and nurse and sleep on demand (don't know for sure if yours does, just guessing here), timing can be trickier if you just look at the clock. but if you make a log you might start to notice patterns - like 30 minutes after waking up (even if that can sometimes be 6am and sometimes be 9:30am), an hour after eating, 15 minutes after nursing, etc. i found that to be more productive during periods of time when we didn't have much of a regular schedule as far as when we woke, ate, nursed, napped. there might be patterns that you're not noticing because they're not consistent with the time on the clock.

my DS was the timing king. my girls have been better at signaling so i didn't rely on that nearly as much, and thus haven't really paid enough attention to notice if they have a discernable pattern or not. but DS didn't signal at all until he was at least 18-20 months old, when he could verbally tell me he had to go. prior to that i knew that, for instance, he'd pee when he woke up, then 30 minutes later, then 45 minutes after that, an hour after that. if we were still awake 1.5 hours after that, i'd potty him - or else right before his nap (sometimes he went, sometimes not). in the afternoon it was more spread out, he'd go 1-1.5 hours between pees, sometimes 2 hours in the late afternoon/early evening. but it all depended on what time he woke up, whether he took one nap or two, and how long the naps were, and how frequently he ate and drank and nursed, and in what volume. but once i figured out the patterns, we were dry more often than not.
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#25 of 72 Old 09-18-2009, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been meaning to chart her patterns again since I haven't done it in a month or two, but when I did chart, I could never find a pattern. One day would differ drastically from the next.

We had problems with breastfeeding so she's been formula fed since about 10 months. (every 3-4 hours, plus meals - whatever we're eating. Chicken, veggies, etc. Never purees).

I am definitely going to chart again soon though. I didn't think of it or I would have done it yesterday.
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#26 of 72 Old 09-18-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I also take her to the bathroom with me EVERY time I need to use it).
Yep, I read about that on Tribalbaby and itworks 3 out of 4 timeS!

Even sometimes it seems he just pees a bit, "for me" ;-), he also seems to grab his ear (I tap twice on ear for pee, tap twice on nose for poo) and he waves , as we wave goodbye to his pee in the toilet :-)

But, he also pees on me, like 2 times today, I DID not see it coming!
And he peed on the floor 3 times, and 2 in diaper.

Anyway, it is interesting, also if the shaming is important or not??

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#27 of 72 Old 09-18-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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Hmm...sgmom, I second pixiepunk's suggestion: chart again, and make sure you include food, too. I hate to say this (especially since I have never been wiling to go through the effort to figure it out myself even though I know we have issues with this too!), but some of that could be food-related. Peeing multiple times in a half hour is pretty unusual for an EC'd one year old, I think (correct me if I'm wrong). It's pretty normal for a non-EC'd baby, since they often just kind of let it dribble out continuously and don't get it all out at once, but for an EC baby, it could be some kind of food reaction. There's a yahoo group called foodlab that was started by some EC folks to figure out things like that. I don't go there 'cuz I'm too scared to try any kind of elimination diet, but I've heard it's really helpful! Or even without eliminating foods, you might be able to find a pattern of when her misses are more frequent in relation to certain foods. Dairy and citrus are some of the foods that are associated with frequent pees.

I would also encourage you to keep trying the diaper-free days, even though they're messy! It took a couple of messy days like that for me to figure out my DD's timing.

I think that's hilarious that you have a timer for EC, especially since I bought my watch for EC...!

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#28 of 72 Old 09-25-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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nor will she pee as soon as I sit her down. There's almost always a waiting game that EASILY lasts 5-10 minutes.
that seems like a long time. i only put DD on for a minute or 2--if she doesn't go, i try again later.
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#29 of 72 Old 09-26-2009, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Charting is going fairly well! I cut out ALL liquids, except for what she gets in her formula to create a more accurate chart. There's no distinctive pattern, but there is a definite timeline as to how often she goes (every 45-90 minutes, closer to 20 after eating). Solid food doesn't seem to alter this.

However, we're not having any more catches than we were, and if anything, we're having more misses. I just don't understand. She used to pee in her potty several times per day (albeit sometimes it was because she would sit there for long periods at a time), but now I'm lucky if I catch one pee. And forget about poops... She WILL NOT poop in it.

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that seems like a long time. i only put DD on for a minute or 2--if she doesn't go, i try again later.
She sits on the potty every hour or so, every day, for the last 8 or so months, and I think I can count the number of times she's pee'd within the first minute (or two) of sitting.

It's a horrible feeling. Some days I feel like things are good, and she'll get it eventually (or maybe she's already getting it), and other days I feel like a COMPLETE failure.
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#30 of 72 Old 09-27-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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Ok, I'm going to just jump in here. This is a really good thread, I like what everyone has said. It's all very thought provoking and informative.

All I have to offer is my experience with my one ds. We used diapers as little as possible from day one, and never have used 'sposies. We stopped using diapers at home between 4-5 months, and stopped using them altogether at 9 months. We really haven't gone back to them. In part, I think, because diapers are just a pain in my ass. It is so much easier to offer the potty without using diapers, all I have to do is pull his pants down, and then up- we can do it anywhere. My ds is now 15 months and we still have pee misses, maybe twice a week or something, but it's no big deal. He tells us he has to go about half the time (using the american sign language symbol for toilet), and the other half of the time we just offer him the potty when we think of it. All kids are different and will "develop" at different rates; but IMO, ditch the diapers, even if you end up wiping the pee off of the floor 5 times a day. That is one of the biggest differences I see between our society (whether we EC or not), and other cultures.

We've been ECing in a fairly lazy way since DS was two weeks old. He's about to turn one. Since starting solids we have almost never had poopy diapers, but we miss the pees pretty frequently. I know we could do better with that by offering more regularly & frequently. This thread, and the above post have inspired me to just ditch the diapers at home. We'll start on his birthday tomorrow!
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