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DH and I use EC in a desultory fashion with DD age 4 months. We started at 3 months with a BBLP and only do it at home, mostly just for poops. DH is awed that DD will signal when she's done. It makes cleanup SO much nicer than with diapers! He evangelizes it to other parents.<br><br>
But today a friend whose kid is 1.5 years old asked, "Are you still doing that thing without diapers?" We answered all her questions (including "I thought little kids didn't have sphincter control" and "I thought you weren't supposed to start potty training until age two" and "did you come up with this on your own?") but I was baffled by an undercurrent of "danger, beware!" in her questions.<br><br>
So what is she really asking? She works for a health insurance company; I've been using naturopaths for the last decade and when I was pregnant she was really worried about my homebirth ideas. Why does she think toileting is perilous?
 

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This can be a hard thing for many of us to understand, but I think Ingrid Bauer does a really good job of explaining where the "danger" undercurrent comes from. Hers is a historical reason, which I can summarize here, and will. But my own reason is that folks are usu. sceptical of anything that seems so simple and natural... and so contrary to what they have decided, even if by default, is "right." There is so much riding on parenting decisions-- each of us wants to believe that we are doing "right" by our kids, and so practices that are opposite or even just really different from what we are doing can be not just different, but challenging and threatening.<br><br>
Ingrid's reason, though, is doubly convincing. She discusses how in the 40's and 50's in at least the US, the potty training trend was to start early (4, 6 months) and try to be done by 18 months. Mothers were told, even by a government publication on childrearing, that their children should be eliminating according to a set schedule. They were encouraged to keep children on their potty chairs until they went (seen the vintage ones with "play trays" that act as restraints?) They were encouraged to use a cold soap tray or bar of soap to stimulate "reluctant" bowels to move. Add to this the fact that many children of this generation were chronically constipated or had chronic diarhhea due to formula or worse alternatives to breast feeding, and you have some pretty unhappy kids and some unhappy moms. It's not hard to see why when T. Brazelton came along (the pediatrician responsible for the "wait til they are ready" theory that is behind conventional potty training today) he was welcomed by moms as a saint. His message would have been so more in keeping with the natural mothering instinct when faced with the "early potty training" option. Many people, when they hear of EC, hear "early potty training." Even if they aren't familiar with how brutal it could be, they've probably inherited the belief that it is dangerous and unhealthy for kids, who often did "revolt" against such an upbringing as soon as they could at 2 or 3.<br><br>
In any case...<br><br>
I have gotten questions like those your friend posed before, but I find the worst case scenario is the person who *doesn't* ask the hard questions but just raises their eyebrows and thinks you are just crazy. Grr. It can be hard to just let it roll off. I let that energy motivate me to be a EC evangelist in my own right--- but I try to do it quietly! I find it is best if people learn that it really isn't all that different (or at least doesn't have to be) from conventional diapering.
 

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What a great explanation, thanks!<br><br>
So...people might think it's a cruel form of potty training ("You call that bladder control? Bad baby!") or naively optimistic (they think we're playing Mozart in the background while baby sits on the pot and reviews calculus flashcards).<br><br>
"skeptical of anything that seems so simple and natural"...yes, I can think of other things I've done in my life that have received raised eyebrows, even when they were clearly gentle methods.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ElsieLC</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10734225"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What a great explanation, thanks!<br><br>
So...people might think it's a cruel form of potty training ("You call that bladder control? Bad baby!") or naively optimistic (they think we're playing Mozart in the background while baby sits on the pot and reviews calculus flashcards).<br><br>
"skeptical of anything that seems so simple and natural"...yes, I can think of other things I've done in my life that have received raised eyebrows, even when they were clearly gentle methods.</div>
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That is basically it!<br>
It was very hard for me to finally take our EC out into the world because of peoples views on it!<br>
The thing is - its not potty training at all! Thats where I think many 'mainstream' parents get confused and misconceptions when it comes to EC.<br>
I just explain as such. I said 'Its not potty training at all - its just not using nappies...which means you have to provide them another appropriate place to do thier business'.
 

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We say that we don't like the thought of her stitting in her wee or having poo stick to her bum so we try to catch as many wees and poos as we can in a potty. That usually puts a lid on it unless someone wants to know more becusae that is something they can relate to.<br><br>
We have done 18months mostly nakey bum though and this has put off several relatives from visiting at various times as they "couldn't hold the baby".<br><br>
We already have a long history of being odd and having an almost 15yo who has turned out to be a perfectly acceptable young man cuts down on the negative vibes and parenting advice<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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I call it gradual potty learning. This way, they know we are not expecting results right away and that we are being relaxed about it. We also use diapers as backup and I just emphasize how much less washing I do.
 

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I always emphasize that it's not about the diapers; it's about the communication. One can still have their baby "wear" diapers (and I'm not about to give up our cute patterns,) for fashion or cultural appropriateness, and EC 100%. One might go diaper-free, but it's not about an aversion to the diapers. It's because the communication is that good.
 

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I already posted in another thread, but I keep getting good feedback, so I'll put it here too-- I have a very short intro to EC posted in my son's website (first link in my siggy) that folks are welcome to use for those doubters in their lives!
 

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i haven't been to the EC board in a while, for whatever reason including that my child is in utero and my rabbit (whom i used to EC) is dead (well, the body is, the 'selfhood' lives on, but i don't have to worry about ecing that body <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> ), but this is very timely to me.<br><br>
i usually don't talk about ECing to people, but today we were out with my ILs at the "earth mart" which is a sort of funny earth-friendly "department store" in our local town. cute place, lots of interesting stuff there, and my ILs were into checking it out. they're cute really.<br><br>
so, my MIL sees the diapers there, which are G-diapers. they're made from recycled materials and they biodegrade. having done sposies herself, and thinking that cloth were horrid (you know, back in the 70s they weren't that great! LOL), she pointed them out and said that she would help us pay for them (which was sweet of her considering she is very very stingy).<br><br>
i said that it was very sweet of her to offer, but that we were going to practice EC, and use some cloth diapers in support of that. i told her that it would be great if she looked into the mother-ease diapers that we are looking at, and see if she would be interested in helping out by buying those (she probably will, bless her heart).<br><br>
so, she asks me what EC is, and i tell her. she's very reactive abotu things and doesn't really listen well. admittedly, i don't offer much information because i see when her emotional response takes over and she stops hearing--so i try to keep explainations down to one or two lines. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
in this case i said, "it's been practiced across cultures for many years, and essentially the parents observe the baby to see when s/he needs to eliminate. they then use a bowl, sink, toilet, etc and there's no need for a diaper. until parents figure this process out, they tend to use diapers as back up. some decide to not practice EC after a bit, but most discover that it's a simple process that works for their family. we are excited to try it."<br><br>
i think she stopped listening somewhere around "until parents figure. . ." because later, she said to my husband that there would be poop/pee all over the house and a total mess and unhealthy for everyone and was freaking out about it.<br><br>
my husband told her to take a deep breath, then another, and said, again, that this is a very normal process, that it's not forced potty training, it's about intuiting when someone needs to go. he said "remember pfef (their dog)? how you would know by the way he was walking, even though he wasn't at the door, that he needed to go?" and she said "well, yes!" and he said--babies are the same. parents can notice the signals that they need to go, and effectively encourage them to go--you would open the door for pfef and call him and say "go out pfef!" and he would go out and go. well, babies can be the same."<br><br>
and he then said "and besides, we don't know yet if it will work with our lifestyle. it might, it might not. but we want to try. we figure it never hurts."<br><br>
she said 'i still don't get it' and was a bit grumpy, but at least it calmed her down.<br><br>
i think it's tough on her, because she has very clear ideas about waht she thinks is right and wrong. it was the way she was raised really--which is "my way is right, all other ways must be wrong." she may not even have reason behind it; it's largely social and emotional--based on what her friends do, what the people around her do, what she knows and what the dominate culture says.<br><br>
so for her, she doesn't want us to be "bad" on the one hand, and on the other, she isn't sure if she truly is "right" which she absolutely needs to be in order to feel secure. so if we are doing different, we may be bad, but if we have a logical and convincing explaination, then maybe SHE is "bad" and maybe even worse, we think she's BAD and therefore we don't like her and she's not good enough for us (poor dear, her self esteem is so wrapped up!).<br><br>
my mother is similar. by being different from her, it's as if i'm saying her way wasn't "good enough." truth is, her way was so great that i can be different, that i can ask these questions and choose to go another way. i don't have to be the same, because i always felt free to be myself and question.<br><br>
but for my mom, i would be the same because she was the model! and if i'm not the same, then is that because i don't like my model? and does that mean that i think my model wasn't good enough?<br><br>
wow, i never realized until now how much my mom and MIL had in common in this.<br><br>
my mom is more hung up about the religious stuff than these details, but she was also hung up about my birth plans (in part because she's scared poopless for me, and in part because it's so outside of her frame of reference--UC). and this is "just plain weird" but she can accept that i'm a "free spirit."<br><br>
but in things that are really important to her, part of her identity (like religion)--she's really upset that i reject that religion for mself and for my child. and so she goes into the same pattern as my MIL:<br><br>
surely, since you disagree with me, you think i'm WRONG, and if you think i'm WRONG then you think i'm BAD. and if you think i'm BAD, then you don't think i'm WORTHY, and therefore you will SHUN me, so i will SHUN YOU FIRST! or yell at you or feak out or try to manipulate you to do it my way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
and i think a lot of peopel think this way. i find that most MDCers are really liberal--this is my way, but there are so many ways! no one is really bad, unless they're actively trying to hrut their child. i don't think that diapers are wrong, i just want to try this out and see if it works. and i think it will/does. . .<br><br>
but others take that as a judgement, and so it's a total freak-out dangerous thing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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What you friend is really asking is "Why are you doing something different?"<br>
It's that simple. Many people just can't accept others doing things differently than them. Others find guilt in it, like you are doing something so loving to your child and they are not. And that's not what it's about. You are choosing to communicate with your child. You are not doing it for a show for others. It's a choice you are making. Your friend feels threatened and that's her issue, not yours.<br><br>
When we started doing EC with our first child, the comments were ridiculous. I even remember my friend's husband just ask me, "When are you going to put a diaper on him?" As if he couldn't handle it. I wasn't complaining to anyone. Yes there were many times I found EC to be difficult, but it was a choice I made and I wanted to stick with it. I saw it working and I see it working now with my 11 week old. I love it. And I don't judge others for not trying it. I understand why someone wouldn't want to do it. It's their choice. I don't think I am a better person than them. I just feel like my decision is the best for my child. Just like I think that my decision to breastfeed is best for my child. Co-sleep for my child. Etc. Etc.<br><br>
-Lauren
 
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