I heard of EC when I was pregnant and didn't really read up on it then, and now that DD is 12 months, I am kind of following my intuition about her elimination needs. I got her a potty and have been putting her on it at times that I think she will pee, and she usually does. She's not walking completely yet, and once she is we will do the naked all day to see when pee/poo happens thing. For now I just put her on the potty when I think she might have to go, and I do think she has some level of understanding of what it's for. SO, if we were friends and I was asking you over lunch how you do EC, from soup to nuts, what would you tell me? What are these cue words, does DD learn to say it? Should I teach her to sign potty? At this age, is it potty training or still EC?
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Bummer, I just typed this all out and lost it. I probably wouldn't talk about EC until after lunch, since potty talk is frowned upon at the table.
EC with toddlers is a bit hairier than with infants but not as hairy as potty training 2 year olds. Their neurons are growing a mile a minute and they can move! My 15 month old has been walking for 6-7 months and he is just getting back to the place where he is willing to sit on the pot more than after wake ups. We read a book on the toilet after wake ups, after wet pants, with lots of gas and when he requests it.
We used a gentle shhh sound, like running water, and a farting sound in the beginning. 2 of my kids made the farting sound as a signal before 6 months, so it was cool for us. Toddlers may choose to sign or use a different signal. Mine says "boo" when he needs to go and when he is wet.
I don't think people in the EC community call it "potty training", because essentially a baby is "potty trained" from birth..they just need someone's help to use it, whereas a child that's worn diapers all its life and then exposed to the potty is considered to be potty training. ..Does that make sense? I mean... this is just what I've read from different sites. Honestly I've used the term myself in referring to my son. I personally considered him potty trained when I stopped having to squat him over the toilet and he was using his potty when I brought him to it. He still has accidents, but then again, so do potty trained kids who were in diapers for the first 1-2 years of their life.
If we were friends, I would tell you... When I started ECing my son at 3 mos, diapers screwed up my mojo. It was the strangest thing... if I had a diaper on him, I couldn't tell, not body signals from him, not verbal cues, I had no single clue when he had to go. But when I was holding him diaperless, I *could*. I mean..it was a faint intuition because no one in my family has done EC and I as utterly and completely alone and going at this by myself. Because it was June when he was 3 mos, I walked around with him outside diaperless and squatted him over the grass when I thought he had to go. First and second tries I was usually wrong. Third tries I was usually right. So I felt the intuition..but it's taken MONTHS to pinpoint it.
I would also tell you... when you feel like they have to go, DO. NOT. WAIT. That little voice in the back of your head that says "he/she can wait a minute while I finish this paper.." Is WRONG. Tell it to stuff it. They can't wait that extra minute. They really, really can't. I would also tell you, at least for me, TVs and computers have been my bane of ECing my son. They're too distracting for me. 9/10 of his accidents are because I was too focused on one or the other to realize he needed to go.
If we were friends I'd tell you diapers are the bane of THEIR potty learning. Who wants to wait for someone else to come over, take your pants off, take your diaper off, and bring you to the potty? Honestly, if my son is running around diaperless and sees a potty, he'll sit himself on it, use it, get off of it and go back to playing. If he's wearing a diaper, he will not initiate using it at all. I think the idea of chinese open crotch pants/ or ECing split pants is downright brilliant. I don't have them, but I totally wanna do it next child around.
Also, don't get hung up on looking for signs. I think teaching her the potty sign is a great idea, but for us, we taught it to him when he was too old and he just..never really picked it up. I looked for verbal and visual signs when we started.. and it didn't get us anywhere. Go on intuition. If her doing something or other gives you the inkling she needs to go, flow with it. If she doesn't do that and you just..feel, out of the blue that she needs to go, go with that. Of the times to take her beyond that... after she wakes up, after she's been drinking a significant amount of liquids, during/after eating, before bed, when YOU have to go, if you feel a warmth spreading across your lap(this one is weird, but it was like... THE most right-on sign that he had to go), and if she shows a major interest in the potty.
Did that cover everything?
Also, babylegs are a godsend because its cold out but pants would add an extra step to getting her to the bathroom and thus would result in many more misses.