Elimination Communication

ECLet’s talk about Elimination Communication (EC). Some people call it “potty training a baby”, however those idiots are wrong. EC is not potty training in the traditional sense. Actually, I would describe more as potty training the parent.

Don’t start getting all weird and judgmental!

There is so much written about EC, so to keep it simple, I stole this description from Wikipedia:

“Elimination communication (EC) is a practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant’s need to eliminate waste. Caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies’ bodily needs and enable them to urinate and defecate in an appropriate place (e.g. a toilet). Caregivers may use diapers (nappies) as a back-up in case of misses some or all of the time, or not at all. EC emphasizes communication between the caregiver and child, helping them both become more attuned to the child’s innate rhythms and control of urination and defecation. The term “elimination communication” was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures.  Some practitioners of EC begin soon after birth, the optimum window being zero to four months, although it can be started with babies of any age. The practice can be done full-time, part-time, or just occasionally.”

I have potty trained 34 kids and one cat, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try EC. I just haven’t had the chance to be around one baby 24/7 in order to establish that relationship. But I gotta tell you, I really want to try it!

I believe wholeheartedly in Attachment Parenting…which has become a bad word for some reason…which is weird because when I hear people talk about how terrible attachment parenting is, they don’t seem to be describing attachment parenting, so much as helicopter moms…but whatever, that’s another topic.  At any rate, I think people should breastfeed, co-sleep, and wear their babies, and I see Elimination Communication as an extension of that.  Plus, I would LOVE to see fewer shitty diapers in landfills, and less poop stored in people’s homes.

Sure, EC is not for everyone. You need to be completely in sync with your baby, and let’s be honest, that’s hard to do with all of the crazy bullshit we have going on in our lives. However, I sincerely urge you to keep an open mind about this. If you think about it, it makes a hell of a lot more sense.  And don’t worry, it’s not an all-or-nothing endeavor.

1. You introduce your child to the toilet early, which means far less fear down the road
2. You develop a relationship with your baby that most people will never have, and I imagine this makes it easier for your baby to communicate all of her needs
3. It is NOT any grosser than changing a diaper, so if that’s your deal, get over yourself
4. Imagine the savings on diapers
5. You’ll be like a fucking ninja mom, which will surely impress your friends. Be honest, you know moms live for one-upmanship

Of course, if you’re the only mom who does EC in your mommy and me group, just know that the other moms will judge you for it. Only because they’re bitchy and jealous, not because there is anything wrong with practicing EC. To them you can just say, “Bitch, I didn’t say YOU had to do it! So, why don’t you not worry about the loving, trusting relationship I have developed with my baby, and have another fucking fruit snack!?!”  Wave your finger around and move your head a lot for emphasis.

There are like a billion websites out there, I encourage you to check them out, if for no other reason than to educate yourself. Look, here are some now!

Diaper Free Baby

EC Simplified

If you have practiced EC, I would LOVE to hear about your experience.

PS – Before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I am NOT saying that this is what every parent should do, and if you don’t, you child will be ruined forever.  I FULLY RECOGNIZE THAT DIFFERENT FAMILIES HAVE DIFFERENT  NEEDS!  So pipe down.  I am merely sharing my thoughts and information.

Temper Tantrums

tantrumYou know how I tell you “NO FREAKING OUT?” Nowhere is that more important than here.

Does your child sometimes seem as if they may need an exorcism? Have they mastered that high pitch squeal that gets the neighborhood dogs barking? Does it seem like your child is intentionally trying to embarrass you in public? Can they cry for hours on end? Do they tell you “NO!” like a billion times? Great! Congratulations, you have a typically developing child!

Temper tantrums are one of the “givens” in parenting. They ARE going to happen. They are. So get used to it.

You might go for a long time without any tantrums. and then one day…fucking Damien shows up.

Before you call a priest, let me break down the temper tantrum for you.  Believe it or not, tantrums have a purpose.  It’s true that a tired or hungry child is more prone to tantrums.  And it does appear that they grow more willful with every passing day.  However, at it’s core, the temper tantrum is about survival.  Yes, survival.  I’m talking about caveman shit here.  Basic survival.  Read Dr. John Medina, he’ll tell you.

In a typically developing child, here’s what they’re thinking:

“Well, I’ve been rolling happily along, doing my infant/toddler/preschooler thing like a boss, but something is different.  It’s like, I know more, I’ve learned a new skill, I’m bigger, I can reach the counter top now, I couldn’t do that before…  Something about me is changing.  This is fucking great!  And also terrifying!  Hmm…if I’m changing, I wonder what else is changing?  Does everything change?  Is my world completely rocked?  What about mom and dad, are they changing too?  I better find out…but how?  I’VE GOT IT!  I’ll check to see if the old rules still apply by trying to do something I know I’m not supposed to, and if they don’t let me, I’ll scream and cry and kick and throw shit just to be sure.”

Your child is counting on you not to break.  They are counting on you to be the constant.  They are counting on you to be completely stable.

Don’t dismiss the fact that they may have forgotten the rules even though you have told them 14,000 times.  Don’t be surprised if they seem to selectively know the rules when it suits them. Young children are…well, scatter-brained, to say the least.  They’ve got all kinds of neural pathways taking them on wild rides day in and day out.  Some days they work better than others.  No matter what though, even when they seem to know what’s going on, they need constant, gentle reminders and constant, gentle guidance.

This is why you make clear, consistent rules early on.  This is why you don’t fucking bend or break them depending on how tired you are.  This is why you enforce them clearly and consistently.  Your child needs to have boundaries.  Your child needs to know that it’s okay for them to grow and change throughout childhood, and you will still be there, and you will always be stable.  Your child needs to know that their relationship with you is still intact no matter what is going on in their brain…Because, how can they move forward comfortably and confidently if they’re not sure that they will still have that stability?

As your child gets older, they will learn the perfect ways to test you.  And they WILL test you.  But they HAVE to, so that they continue to feel safe in the world.

So what do you do?  You start early, with clear, consistent boundaries.  You teach your child feeling words, and use them yourself, so that your child can say, “I’m angry/sad/mad/frustrated/scared!”  You always stay calm.  You remind your child of those clear, consistent boundaries throughout childhood.  When something DOES change, you tell them, “Now that you’re bigger, you can do this thing that previously you couldn’t on account of your age and developmental level.”

Most importantly, you approach them with empathy.  Now that you know that their tantrums, most often, come from a place of insecurity and fear, you will be better prepared to stick to the rules.  “I know you’re angry, but you may not play with my belt sander, because it is not safe.”

Now, don’t freak the fuck out thinking you’ve made your child feel insecure and scared.  Or maybe you did, but that’s a different topic.  Tantrums are a natural part of development.  Tantrums are how your child reassures themselves that they ARE safe and secure.

For the fucking love of all that is holy, DO NOT give in.  Do not feel like you need to calm them either, sometimes they just need to get it out.  So, let them have that, let them be.  Do YOU want to “talk about it” all the time?   If they are tired and/or hungry, they are going to have more tantrums, that’s true.  Sometimes they are going to have a bad day, or a bad moment.  Guess what?  SO DO YOU!  You just happen to be lucky enough to have excellent verbal skills which you can use to express your needs.  You have fully myelinated neural pathways that have been reinforced through years of use.   You have the gift of life experience which allows you to put things into perspective.

Young children are people.  They have the same range of emotions as anyone else.  Except, they have to learn EVERYTHING.  They need time to practice and process EVERYTHING.  We expect A LOT from children in the early years.  Hell, it took me seven years to finish college, and I already knew how to walk and talk and write my name.  I’m just saying, cut them some fucking slack.  How would you feel if you landed in a completely foreign land and didn’t know the language, or the customs?  You would fuck up a lot until you figured it out, I can promise you that.

When it seems that your child just isn’t listening to you…or doing anything that you ask; give them a visual, an auditory, and a tactile cue.  For example: If you have told your child “It’s time to put toys away please.”  But they are ignoring you, you need to walk over to them, squat down to their eye level, put your hands on their shoulders (tactile), make sure they have seen you (visual), and tell them, “Please put toys away.” (auditory).  Whenever you need your child to do anything, give them a visual, an auditory, and a tactile cue.  It works wonders.

Oh, but you didn’t want to have to get up and walk over to them and squat down, because you’re tired?  Well, then don’t expect your child to follow your directions, because their scattered brain has other plans.

It’s Time for a Potty Break: Part 5


People buy A LOT of crap that they don’t need.  It’s our consumer lifestyle.  So, I thought I’d share with you a bunch of crap you can buy that is actually useful.

The first thing you need is a good, sturdy, tiny-butt toilet seat.  I am vehemently opposed to the “potty chair.”  You’re teaching your child to use the toilet, not shit in a bucket, so use the damn toilet.  I suggest replacing all of your toilet seats with one that has an integrated child seat.   Like this one.  Bemis makes them for round and oval toilets, they run about $40 each.  Well worth it in my opinion.  I’m sure other manufacturers make them as well, just look around for one to fit your toilet, it’s out there.  Depending on how old your child is, and their size, you could need the child seat for quite awhile.  The integrated child seat makes it so easy.

toilet paperThe next thing you will need is a step stool.  Again, depending on the age and size of your child, you may need one with two steps.  You want them to be able to relax while sitting on the toilet, without worrying about falling in.  When your child sits on the toilet, their knees should be bent.  If your child is a little wobbly when getting up on to the toilet, you can get a step stool with railings on the side.  Whatever you do, don’t get those stupid toilet seat/step ladder combos.  They are SO dangerous.  Seriously, worst idea ever.

I also suggest flushable butt wipes, like the Kandoo wipes.  Usually, I think these items are just a marketing ploy; however, these wipes really are easy for kids to use.  You don’t have to buy Kandoo, but just be sure your child can open and close the container the wipes are in.  Remember, the goal is for them to become successful at going to the bathroom by themselves, not fighting with a pain-in-the-ass wipe container.

There are other things that can make life a little easier for you and your child; like foam soap, water faucet extenders, and light switch extenders.  I have examples in my Amazon store. wash hands

If you decide to switch to unders, be sure you’re prepared to stay in unders (with the exception of sleeping and/or illness).  If you find yourself drawn to Pull-Ups, I urge you to shop around for waterproof training pants instead.  Almost every cloth diaper manufacturer makes a version of these, so you should be able to find some to fit your budget.  And even though, the little girl and little boy unders are super cute, you are going to want to get some training pants that are absorbent.  Gerber makes the best for the money.  If you buy the cute unders instead of the absorbent ones, it’s your own damn fault when pee goes everywhere.  Forewarned is fair-warned.

By the way…if you’ve been using cloth diapers, potty training will be that much easier, for everyone.  I’m just saying.  I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on anyone for not using cloth, but cloth really is better for like nine billion reasons.

Something else that is useful, but not absolutely necessary, is the Potette portable potty seat.  It might seem crazy, but in a bind, you will be so happy you have it.  I recommend getting a waterproof bag, like a bag for wet cloth diapers, to store your Potette in the car.  If you can manage it, get one for every car.

Just a little tip; if you’re out and about and your child urgently needs a potty break, it has been my experience that Starbucks and McDonald’s have the cleanest restrooms.  Find one of those.

Once your child starts sleeping in unders, you’re gonna want to layer waterproof mattress pads with bedsheets.  For example: mattress pad, bed sheet, mattress pad, bed sheet.  At least two times.  This is also great when your kids are sick.  Why?  Because if they pee in the bed, all you have to do is take the first sheet and mattress pad off.  SO much better than remaking the whole bed in the middle of the night.  So stock up on waterproof mattress pads and fitted sheets for your child’s bed.

The biggest lesson you will learn while potty training your child is just how important it is to have extra EVERYTHING, and a washer and dryer.  Well, also that your child is not a mini version of you.  They are their own person, so stop acting like they will do things and behave as you would.  They won’t.  So, two lessons learned really.

Listen to me, and listen good.  Say you spent a ton of money on all of this shit, and now your child is bigger, older, and awesome at using the toilet…GIVE ALL OF YOUR USED CRAP TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO NEEDS IT!  All of the things I mentioned can be disinfected.  If you take good care of them, they will last through more than one child.  Sorry, it’s just that we throw away so much fucking shit, and buy stuff we don’t use.  Trust me, if YOU don’t have a use for it, someone else does.  Please go that route instead of the landfill route.

Okay, we’ve covered a lot of potty training topics, but I still have a hell of a lot more to say.  So, in upcoming posts I will be addressing “Elimination Communication”, when a sticker chart is appropriate and how to use it, the actual process of getting you child to go in the toilet, and what to do if you and/or your child freak out.

Thanks for reading thus far.  Please share if you like this blog!

You’re Fine

I am going to step away from the toilet for a moment and talk about a pet peeve of mine. “You’re fine.” I hear this ALL THE TIME out of the mouths of well-meaning adults and I think, “Shut the fuck up.”  sydney smile

I’m not talking about the cat calls regarding my ass, because I like those. I’m talking about the child who has bumped their head, lost a balloon to the wind, or maybe doesn’t feel well. You know what I mean, they start crying and are visibly upset. Then you hear their adult say, “You’re fine.” “It’s fine.” “You don’t have a reason to cry.” You’re okay.”…and so on, and so on.

I’m gonna tell you that everyone has done it, and if you’re not super-focused on the words you use with children, it will creep out simply out of habit. Here’s the thing: Umm…your child is CRYING, so no. No they are not “fine.” Clearly, everything is NOT “okay.” You child is thinking, “Do I LOOK fine to you?  Look at me, I’m fucking sad, angry, tired, hungry, and all other kinds of shit! Validate my fucking feelings!”

Kids cuss A LOT in their thoughts.

Unfortunately, young children have neither the life experience, nor the vocabulary to express their anger, sadness, grief, etc in a way that you will understand. When kids have a problem, pretty much their only way of communicating that to you is through whining and crying. Now you know. You can be prepared for crying.

What should you say instead? Well, what would you say to your best friend or significant other? If you are capable of empathy in any way, shape, or form, you probably say something like, “I’m sorry that happened.” Or, “I’m sorry you’re feeling badly.” Or, “Wow, that really sucks.” It’s called empathy. “I’m sorry you bumped your head. That hurts.” is a 200 billion times better than, “Oh you’re fine. That didn’t hurt.”

If your child could talk, he/she would say something like:
“Don’t fucking tell me what hurts! What are you, me? You’re me now? You feel what I feel in exactly the same way I feel it? Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying. You know how I feel better than I do. Oh excuuuuse me! I didn’t know you already know how I feel. Because if you do, you would have known that I wanted a Kit Kat for breakfast this morning! And while we’re talking about how you know how I feel, get that poop storage system you call a ‘diaper pail’ the hell outta my room!  It is fucking gross! Who the hell in their right mind keeps shit in their bedroom for an entire goddamned week! That shit is crazy!”

See? See how not showing your child empathy can lead to them putting you on blast for things you didn’t even know were a problem? So yeah, you should avoid that.  For those of you who think, “Oh my child fakes it for attention all the time.”  Or, “They’re just manipulative.”  SO WHAT!?!  If they’re seeking attention, or manipulating you, THERE’S A REASON FOR IT!   DUH!

Although, I do agree with your child on this one, you should not store poop in your bedroom for a week.

I want to talk more in-depth about children’s feelings, but that will be a separate post. The point I want to make here is that if your child is showing signs that they are upset, for whatever reason it may be, it’s worth taking the time to show a little empathy. Doing so not only teaches them that they are valued and loved, and that their feelings are important, but it also shows them what empathy looks like. So  when they see someone who is upset, they will know how to respond. They will know that feelings are not “bad” or “scary.” They will become emotionally competent adults. What a fucking concept, huh?

OR try this on for size, your significant other of 10 years up and leaves you, or you get fired from your job, or a loved one dies. Then, I come over and say, “You’re fine. Stop crying.”

It’s Time for a Potty Break: Part 4

sentencesTHE WORDS
At night when I come back and read what I’ve written, I think of a million things I need to change: too wordy, not specific, just plain poorly written, you get the idea. But all of that will have to wait, because I want to get this all out of my head. Please accept this very rough draft in the meantime.

6. Now let’s talk about the words. Literally words. Like those things that come out of your mouth when you speak. You may recognize some of the words I’m writing here. And here. Here are some more words. We are going to talk about words.

Frankly, words are probably the best and most important parenting tools you have. It is absolutely true that we must choose our words wisely. This applies to everything, not just potty training, but we are going to focus on the words we use when helping our itty bitties use the toilet. They are all important, so I’m just going to dive in.

Stop asking questions. “Do you need to go potty?” “Are you sure?” “Do you need to…?” “Do you want to…?” “It’s time for a potty break, okay?”
Umm…the answer to those questions is usually “no.” You need to make a statement. It doesn’t have to be, “Get your ass on the toilet now!” Remember, children are people deserving of respect and kindness, even if you don’t like them that day.

Try this, “It’s time for a potty break.” Yeah, see? You knew it was going to come up somewhere, right?

The reason I like “It’s time for a potty break”, is because it’s simple. “It’s time for a potty break” is low-pressure. You know, we’re just gonna take a break and sit on the toilet and we’ll see what happens.
It’s important to emphasize that EVERYBODY has to take potty breaks throughout the day. Everybody needs potty breaks. Sometimes I use my potty break to sob in private when I’m at work and think about how poor, single, and childless I am…but that’s another blog. The point is, you can use the potty break to use the toilet, or not. Women use their potty break to change tampons, reapply make-up, cry (or maybe that’s just me), and so on. Hey, what about this one: You get up in the morning to pee, but you’re super exhausted, so you just sit there dozing off for a minute, or 45? Don’t lie to me, you bastards, you know you’ve done it!

So there you go, “It’s time to take a potty break.” Easy, right? No, actually, it’s harder than you think. You want the sentence to be the same every time. Repeat it to yourself one billion times, “It’s time for a potty break.” “It’s TIME for a potty break.” You should even start to say it when you go. At my center, all of my teachers announce when they need a potty break, to drive home the point that EVERYBODY needs potty breaks. “I need a potty break!” “It’s time for MY potty break!” “I’m going to take a potty break!” Luckily, my center is full of children who are just learning about potty breaks, so it totally makes sense to do that. If you work at a bank, or law firm…then maybe don’t do it. I’m just saying.
What if you tell your child, “It’s time for a potty break”, but they refuse? In that case, you repeat it, “It’s time for a potty break.” If they throw themselves on the floor and scream, as is their wont, do not freak out. NO FREAKING OUT, EVER! If you need it to be more firm, be firm, but don’t raise your voice, don’t stress about it, just say, “It’s time for a potty break.” I’m not kidding. Repeat yourself as many times as it takes. You WILL sound like a broken record, get over it.

“First, and then…” Oh how I cherish the day I learned about “First, and then…!” Here’s how “First, and then…” works:
“First, we are taking a potty break, and THEN, we will go outside.” “First, we’ll read a story, and THEN it’s time for a potty break.” Just add “First, and then..” to your vocabulary permanently. It works for everything, not just going to the bathroom.

“First, one thing is going to happen, and then, something else. Two things. Not, “First, go pee and brush your teeth, and then we’ll read a story and go to bed.” “First, it’s time for a potty break, and then it’s time to brush teeth.” First, we’ll read a story, and then it’s bedtime.” You WILL need to repeat yourself, and you MUST emphasize the FIRST, and THEN.

The good news is that you can shorten it. For example, “FIRST, it’s time for a potty break, and THEN we will go to the park.” I repeat that two times usually, and then start to break it down. “FIRST, potty break, and THEN go to the park.” “FIRST potty, THEN park.” No matter how much they fight you, and I mean this, you stay calm, and repeat yourself. The same words, every time. Use “First, and then…” for everything. You will end up loving me forever if you do.

Be consistent. Everyone should use the same words with your child. That means parents, relatives, siblings, caregivers, etc. Do the best you can to get them to use the same words. If they don’t, the world will not end, but it is truly helpful. You gotta remember, your child’s brain is riddled with neural pathways that aren’t efficient in any sense of the word. Simplicity, specificity, and consistency will help you overcome that.

Please and thank you. It should go without saying, but you should be using these words ALL THE TIME with your kids. THAT is how you teach them to say please and thank you, by modeling it. They don’t learn anything when you bark orders at them, “SAY PLEASE!” or, “What do you say?” If you don’t use your manners, your child won’t either, regardless of how much you command them to do so. So, please use your manners when speaking to your child. You will thank me later.

Also, “please” and “thank you” are NOT magic words. I hate when people say that shit, “What’s the magic word?” UGH…that’s just stupid. They’re not magic, they’re words! Words we use to show kindness and respect to others. Magic words…give me a fucking break.

PS – Science isn’t “magic” either, but that’s a different topic for a different day.

Okay, seriously, it’s time for a potty break.

It’s Time for a Potty Break: Part 3

potty training1

So much for my “short answer.”

5.  What to expect…

It never ceases to amaze me that people forget all of the “givens” that go along with potty training.  The “givens” are the things that you know are coming.  Things you know you’ll have to deal with.  The things that are a given.  Like accidents.

You can’t be mad when your child has an accident.  You knew it was bound to happen.  I don’t care if it is annoying, or time consuming, or gross, or inconvenient.  Suck it up.  I know adults who have shit their pants for one reason or another.  I know A LOT of women who pee every time they sneeze.  The point is you’re not immune to accidents because you’re an adult, so stop acting like you are, snob.  What are you, every James Spader character from the ‘80s?  While I certainly hope that you have fewer accidents than your child does, you’re not better than they are because statistically you don’t crap your pants as much as they do.  Also important to keep in mind, kids don’t like to shit themselves any more than you do.  They already feel bad enough, so keep your damn mouth shut.

One of the hardest things for parents is controlling their emotional reactions to their child’s behavior.  Deep down, you believe your child is a reflection of you.  Umm…they’re not.  They are human beings with their own thoughts and feelings.  They are going to behave like human beings with their own thoughts and feelings…and they are just learning this shit.  They are just learning EVERYTHING.  You’ve had lots of practice.  So take it down a notch.

You need to respond to accidents, like accidents.  They’re not good, they’re not bad, they just are.  Accidents are a part of the process.  Expect them.  Be ready.

So your child has an accident.  You knew it was coming so you’re prepared.  You have spare unders and clothes strategically tucked away, in the bathroom, in the car, wherever.  You’ve also armed your car with extra plastic bags and butt wipes.  You’ve made it easy for your child to either clean themselves up, or at least help you do it.  You have an easily accessible spray bottle filled with soapy water and paper towels to give to them in case they need to clean the floor, or any other hard surfaces.  Your child is pretty good at dressing and undressing themselves.

You are calm.  You are focused on the moment, because you knew it was coming, and you know what to do.  You quietly and calmly say something like…”Oh I see you’ve had an accident.  Let’s go into the bathroom so you can get cleaned up.”  THEY are going to be doing most of the work, to the best of their ability.  So, you say, “Okay take off your (pants/unders/grass skirt/whatever they’re wearing), and we’ll take a potty break just in case you have any more (pee/poop/whatever words you want to use) that needs to come out.”  And then you grab what they need, spray bottle, wipes, clean unders, clean grass skirt…  Hey, I don’t know how you dress your child, and I don’t judge.  The point is to replace whatever it was that they were wearing.

They get all cleaned up and redressed with whatever amount of help they need from you.  NOW you can calmly, gently, neutrally say, “We’ll try to put the pee/poop in the toilet next time.”

You’ll want to be sure to clean any surface area that may have been peed or pooped on with a disinfectant.  DON’T GIVE YOUR CHILD CHEMICAL CLEANERS TO DO THIS THEMSELVES!  Kids can start with the soapy water, but you will have to do the disinfecting, for BOTH pee, and poop.  Urine is not sterile when it comes out, as many people think.  So clean everything thoroughly.

“OH NO!  The poop and pee got on my favorite, really expensive thing that I love!”  Look, I don’t have any sympathy for you.  You knew your child was wearing unders, you know that they’re just learning how to use the toilet; along with many other things such as: receptive and expressive language, how to use a fork, and how to keep their balance on their often wobbly legs.  I’m just saying, they’ve got a lot to think about.  Your nice things really aren’t a priority when their brain tells them it’s time to go one second too late.  Protect that shit until they have better control of their bodily functions.  If that means using a water resistant slip cover on the couch, or not carrying them around while wearing cashmere, so be it.  You KNOW it’s coming.  You are not allowed to get mad.

Here’s the other thing about accidents: Your child can go for months and months never having an accident, and then one day…I don’t know, maybe they had Indian food, maybe they’re not feeling well, BOOM!  Accident.  Don’t freak out.  No freaking out, ever.  This happens.  They WILL, at some point in their childhood, at least one time, have an accident.  They will.  They will, they will, they will.  Even if it’s been a year…

  • Accidents happen.
  • Be prepared.

What do you want to know?

I started this blog because lately, everyone has been asking about potty training. But I can write about any child rearing topic you want. Send me your questions, if I can answer them straight away, I’ll do a little research and get back to you!

Thank you for reading!

If you like this blog, please do share!

It’s Time for a Potty Break: Part 2

potty seatWhere did I leave off? Oh yeah, Pull-Ups suck.

4. Let’s talk about readiness. There is no age that dictates when a child is ready. If your child’s preschool demands they be potty trained before enrolling, then they suck. Seriously, they suck, go elsewhere. Absolutely NO developmentally appropriate, licensed, accredited early childhood program would make such a requirement. It’s downright cruel.

I know, I know, “but this center does it, and that school does it…blah, blah, blah.” I don’t give a shit. They suck. And if they suck at potty learning, then you can bet they suck at other things too. Your child deserves to have a happy, meaningful learning experience, and they aren’t going to get it at the Sucktorium where they demand your child use the toilet before they’re capable. Tell them to go fuck themselves, and be on your way. You could also just say, “We’re not interested in enrolling at this time. Thank you.”

You know why centers do that? Because they’re terrified of potty training. Absolutely terrified. Also they’re probably stupid and don’t know what they’re doing. People are scared of this shit, both figuratively, and literally. As if it isn’t a part of a child’s natural development, and instead is a freakish, horrific nightmare from which they cannot wake.

When are they ready? Well, when they’re ready. The youngest child I’ve worked with on potty training was 16 months old. This does not mean that your child will be 16 months old when they do it. The oldest I’ve worked with was five, yes five. This DOES NOT mean that YOUR child will crap in their pants until they’re five. This has been my experience, and I’m simply sharing it with you. Don’t start freaking out.

It’s not about their age, or the “signs” that they’re ready, it really isn’t. It’s about what is developmentally appropriate for YOUR child. So, don’t worry about what the moms at your playgroup say, they lie anyway. Seriously, moms lie ALL THE TIME to make themselves look like, what they perceive to be, a better parent. If they don’t outright lie, then they exaggerate and twist the facts more than Fox News, and pretty much all other news stations.

“’Developmentally appropriate’, you keep using that term, what does it mean?” I’ll tell you. It means doing what is best for an individual child using evidence-based best practices, information we have about that child’s physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development, and to an extent, their age in months. Age is a guideline only. Please do not get hung-up on your child’s age. For the love of god, please don’t. It will only drive you crazy. Also, when an early childhood professional, like their teacher, asks you how old your child is, don’t say, “two.” 24 months is a far cry from 35 months developmentally. We want to know your child’s age in MONTHS. Know how old your child is in months, at least until roughly 42 months (That’s 3 1/2).

The truth is, you can start your child on the road to the potty very early. I would suggest waiting until they are able to sit confidently. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about “Elimination Communication” here; I will talk about that later.

How do you do it? I suggest getting a toilet seat with the flip down child-size seat attached. Maybe you don’t like that idea, but I’m here to tell you, no one who’s used it has ever complained. However, I do hear a lot of complaints about traditional “potty seats” and “potty chairs.” And remember that they will need that smaller seat for their tiny butt longer than you realize.

After you have the tiny butt toilet seat, and your child is sitting confidently, let them try sitting there during a diaper change, even just for a few seconds. There is absolutely no expectation with this, and it will help your child become familiar with the feeling of sitting on the toilet, which as I said, can be totally freaky for kids in the beginning.

Just so you understand here’s how it goes:

· Take off your child’s diaper like you always do, and clean their bottom.

· Next, BEFORE putting the new diaper on, say, “Let’s sit on the potty/toilet/can/crapper/John for a minute.” You should be talking to your baby all the time anyway. You don’t need to act like it’s Disney World, just be matter-of-fact, like, “Hey, let’s try this out.”

· You MUST support your baby while sitting on the can, use BOTH hands, hold them under their arms and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT LEAVE THEM FOR ONE SECOND.

· After a couple of seconds, say, “Okay, all done.” Or something to that effect, and carry-on with your normal diaper changing routine. Trust me; you want your toddler/preschooler to be totally comfortable with the toilet. Show them how it flushes. Yes, even babies.

See, this is my problem. I’m sick of writing again, plus I have to pee. IT’S TIME FOR A POTTY BREAK! …to be continued.

It’s Time for a Potty Break: Part 1

potty training 3People keep asking me for help with potty training, so here is my short answer; a list of tips that should be pretty easy to understand:

1. First and foremost, you need to know what your child does when they go in their diaper. Do they squat? Do they stand in the corner? Do they lay down? You need to know their body position when they pee, and when they poop (they are likely different).

Why do you need to know this, you ask? I’ll tell you why, because of a little son of a bitch who will get in your way to successful potty training before you even know it: muscle coordination. Let me give you an example: If you are a woman, I want you to stand up. Right where you are, just stand up. Okay, are you standing? Good. Now pee. Just stand there, and pee in your pants. No good? It that weird? Is it hard to even imagine yourself doing that? Probably. Because you’re not used to doing it that way! Sure, some of you can do it if you really focus for a minutes or two, but for most women, it’s just confusing. You’re probably thinking, “This isn’t what I’m used to.” “It’s too weird.” Or even, “I can’t relax enough to do it!”

So I say again, in what position does your child pee and/or poop (because they really can be different for each)? That’s the position they’ve been using their entire lives. THEIR ENTIRE LIVES! With the exception of the short months in which they were not mobile. And here you come along with your, “Now I want you to forget everything your body knows, and do it this way!” “I will bribe you, and cheer for you, and make it seem like it’s a party everytime you do it!” But the one thing you will completely ignore is what their body knows, and how their body works.

There are a whole lot of systems that need to be coordinated before peeing and crapping in your pants can happen. Your child needs to be able to recognize that they need to go. They need to find a bodily position that is comfortable for them. And they need to be able to relax enough to let it happen.

This is basic sensory, cognitive, physical stuff. I promise you, the one thing it is not, is your child trying to be defiant.

2. Good. Now that you know how your child goes potty, you need to be sure your child knows that using the toilet is simply what people do. It’s not a fucking party. It’s not a way to earn treats or toys. Humans go potty in the toilet. It’s that simple. A parent’s job is to teach children how the world works, not how to extort prizes and praise from grown-ups. Using the toilet is part of life, everyone does it, and now it’s their turn to learn.

Barring any unusual circumstance, special needs, etc, there is absolutely no place for bribery in potty training.

3. Next, Pull-Ups can fuck off as far as I’m concerned. If you must use pull-ups, call them what they are, a diaper. Perhaps a fancy diaper, but a diaper nonetheless. And just know that switching your child from diaper to underpants as it suits you, is a recipe for delaying using the potty that much longer. They make training pants that are very absorbant. They make training pants with a waterproof covering. There are ways around using pull-ups. Once you switch to underpants, or “unders” as I call them, you don’t go back. The only exceptions may be for sleeping, or illness.

Guess what? I’m tired of writing, so this will have to hold you over until I can write some more…

Don’t worry, there’s plenty more…