Pottying: an alternative approach to potty training

Baby pottying, also known as "Elimination Communication" (EC), offers an alternative solution to traditional potty training. This method can be a breath of fresh air in your child's potty training journey, a journey of cooperation and communication with your child.

Baby pottying – a deep dive

EC is based on reading your child's signals for when they need to go to the bathroom and assisting them in doing so in an appropriate place. A potty, a toilet, or even a sink – the main point is that it should be a safe place where the child feels comfortable.

Advantages of baby pottying

EC can offer several advantages:

  • Reduces diaper usage: Contributes to reducing the number of diapers used, which can be beneficial for both your wallet and the environment.
  • Strengthens bonds: Increases communication and interaction between parent and child, potentially strengthening the mutual bond.
  • Promotes independence: May encourage early independence and self-confidence in the child.


Getting Started with Pottying

Create a safe place

Use a location that you're comfortable with. For very young babies, this might mean holding them in a squatting position over a sink, or on your lap over a potty or bucket. For older children, a smaller potty or toilet seat ring can work well. Remember that the place should be safe and child-friendly.

Observation and understanding

EC begins with careful observation. Notice when your child appears uncomfortable, restless, or shows signs of needing to poop or pee. Every child is unique, so the specific signals will vary. It could range from tugging at the diaper, squirming, crying, or even a certain gaze. The key is to become familiar with your child's individual signals.

Try pottying

When you notice these signals, take immediate action. Hold your child securely over a potty, toilet, or other suitable place. While in this position, communicate with a specific sound signal or word. This recurring signal helps the child associate it with the action of using the potty.

Establish routines

Routines can make pottying much easier. Offer the potty at specific times of the day, such as after meals, naps, and diaper changes. Even if nothing ends up in the potty during these times, the routine helps the child become comfortable with the process and will eventually align with the child's natural timing.

Patience and positivity

Patience is key here. Remember that there will be progress and setbacks. Some days will work perfectly, while other days might not go as smoothly. But stay positive and encouraging. Celebrate small successes and don't make a big deal out of mishaps – they are part of the learning process.

Keep going and adapt

EC isn't an exact science, and what works for one child might not work for another. Be prepared to adapt, change your methods, and adjust to your child's needs. Listen to your child and trust your intuition. Remember, you and your child are learning together in this process.

With these steps in mind, you can begin your EC journey with your child. Keep in mind that this method promotes trust and understanding between you and your child. It's a natural process that fosters communication between parents and children – a communication that can be immensely rewarding.

Common questions about EC

When is the right time to start EC?

You can start EC at any time, even from your child's first days. Some parents start early, while others wait until the child is a few months old. The key is to start when you feel ready.

Do I need to completely stop using diapers if I start EC?

No, not at all. Many parents who practice EC still use diapers, especially in the beginning. Over time, as you and your child become better at EC, you can start reducing diaper usage.

What do I do if I miss my child's signals?

It's completely normal to miss signals occasionally. Nobody is perfect, and it's part of the learning process. If you miss a signal, just keep trying. With time, you'll get better at recognizing your child's cues.

Is EC time-consuming?

It can be, especially at the beginning before you've learned to read your child. Many parents choose to offer the potty as part of a diaper change – it's not uncommon that when the diaper comes off, the child chooses that moment to do their business. But remember, it's an investment in both your child's independence and your relationship, and be humble in the face of changing routines.

EC is an alternative potty training technique that comes with many benefits, but it requires time, patience, and commitment from the parents' side. By listening to your child and responding to their needs, you can build strong communication and strengthen your bond. Whether you choose to practice EC full-time, part-time, or sporadically, remember that every little progress is a success in itself. With time, you'll find routines and methods that work best for you and your child in your potty training journey. Good luck!

If your child is over 12 months old, you can read and get tips on potty training here.

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