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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I have a 14 month old daughter who is not yet walking. I am completely new to EC. I thought about her learning to walk, which she will be doing soon, and did not want her to be encumbered by a bulky diaper.
We started EC only 4 or 5 days ago. I am following the advice to just observe. So I have her in just a cloth diaper, no cover, or completely bare on the bottom, all the time now. I've been watching her, looking for signs of when she might go, but I have only been able to predict when she is about to poo once or twice. Peeing, I've only spotted after the fact. It's hard to tell sometimes. I've said the cue word to her the few times I've seen her in the act of peeing or pooping, but out of all of the times she goes a day, it really isn't that many.
She has no discernible schedule to me. This is a baby who has never fallen into her own schedule. Even as a tiny baby, when my lactation consultant would tell me that she would fall into her own nursing and napping schedule, she never did. It changes every single day....seriously. The kid keeps me on my toes.
I will watch her for 30 minutes, an hour, it doesn't matter. I never catch her. As soon as I look away, or go get a drink of water, that's when she goes. It doesn't feel like I'm hovering or psyching her out. I don't want to stress her, although I am a bit stressed because I want this to work.
I feel like I'm failing at the first step. I can't even catch it when it's happening so I can teach her the cue words. All the advice online assumes that you are able to catch it and your baby is going in a potty or bowl, so now all you need to do is teach the cue words. I haven't even been able to catch her in the act, let alone move her to a potty!
I put her on the potty after the fact. I also have been putting her on the potty after she wakes up from naps (although by the time I get to her, her diaper is already wet), 10-15 minutes after nursing or meals, before naps and bed, or just every hour or so. She has not yet gone on the potty at all. I feel like she has no idea that she can go on the potty, and I have no idea how to teach her that.
She peed on the floor twice today, and after each time she stopped what she was doing and insistently told me "poo poo," which is her word for a dirty diaper. So I think she knows when she's peed and pooed (She's been telling me about dirty diapers on her bottom.), she just doesn't know that she's supposed to do it in the potty, and right now, the way I'm doing EC, it feels like she is not getting the message and I am failing.
If anyone has any advice, after my very long ramble, please offer it. I want to be on the right track!
Thanks,
Brooke
 

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I'd start with a search for info about starting late, and see if you can find some support groups for late-starters because a lot of the "starting out" info is geared to tiny babies who haven't been diaper trained yet.

And secondly (though really, firstly) cut yourself a WHOLE lotta slack :thumb EC isn't the norm in our culture and it's a huge paradigm shift even when you're starting out with a tiny baby, like I did (that one is now 15 yrs old). The idea is simply to do what you can to keep your baby clean and in tune with their body. She's spent over a year getting used to going in a diaper and it will take some time for her to get back in touch.

Do as much nakey time as feels comfortable for you (summer is so great for this!) and maybe adopt a 3-strikes limit on misses. I did that for days when I just wasn't with it enough and was getting stressed about puddles so on the 3rd miss, the diaper would go back on until I could pay more attention.

Oh, and the communication part is really important so it's great that she's telling you when she's gone. Talk to her about it back :)
 

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Yeah, starting this late could be more difficult and some of the advice meant for newborns just won't apply. The goal of starting out observing is not to know when she's going to go, but really just to observe. It can take weeks of observing to make the connection between whatever her signal is and that she needs to go, keeping a diaper/potty journal might help you suss out what to look for. Also, it can be really tricky to get yourself in the habit of observing without stressing about it. So take it easy on yourself.

My son is 2 and has been totally diaper free since 17 months. Some of his cues are very subtle - glancing at his crotch, fidgeting with his pants, standing very still in a certain posture, a sleepy look in his eyes, a little shiver, etc. He's very verbal and does often, though not always, tell me when he needs to go. But when he does it's quite often in a whisper and when he needs to go right that second, so if I'm on the phone or busy across the room I don't hear him and sometimes we get a puddle.

For now, if you want to continue EC, I'd suggest letting her be naked on the bottom as much as possible without even a diaper. Don't sweat the misses. When she goes just talk to her about putting her pee/poo in the potty next time and maybe have her try sitting on it so she makes the connection. At this age she is understanding nearly all of what you say, so don't worry too much about specific cues just tell her something like "it's potty time now, let's put some pee pee in the potty". Also, share with her your own potty needs. Having her sit on her potty while you sit on yours can be very helpful.

Remember, EC is an ongoing process of communication not a task you complete with success or failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you rubelin and LTurtle for the support and advice! I'm doing lots of naked time, and I like the three strikes idea, too. It's easy to get overwhelmed and feel defeated, so that's a good way to give myself some slack. And thanks for the reminders on what this is all about: body awareness and communication. When I look at it that way, I think we are doing great. Thanks for helping me put a more positive spin on our journey!
 
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