It finally happened. We’ve been practicing elimination communication since her birth, and at a year and 7 months, Lydia is finally using the potty full-time. We are done with diapers.
And no, we never “potty-trained.”
Being done with diapers is ah-freaking-mazing.
I never though I minded diapers all that much (we used cloth) until I was done with them, and then I realized how GREAT life is without them.
I can’t decide which is my favourite part about being diaper-free:
- Being able to put regular pants on her, instead of the leg-warmers I used to facilitate easy pottying and diaper-changing. Pants are so much cuter and don’t leave her upper thighs bare.
- Not having to do laundry every other night.
- Not having to fight with a squirmy kid who doesn’t want to lay still for a diaper change.
But I think this is my ultimate favourite: not having to bring a diaper bag with me everywhere I go. I just keep a small wet bag and and extra pair of pants in my purse, just in case. Minimalism at its finest.
* * *
As happy as I am to be done, I have to admit that I still feel like it took way too long, since we started at birth. I honestly believed we’d be done with diapers a long time ago. After reading all the literature on elimination communication (EC), I thought for sure we’d be done by a year — at the latest. In fact, I even contemplated NOT BUYING DIAPERS after we were done with the first pack of newborn disposables we’d been given at Lydia’s birth. Can you believe I was that crazy?! That’s how much I believed in EC, though.
So when you look at it from that expectation, taking all the way to 19 months actually feels kind of humiliating. Talk about an epic failure. It took between 6-18 months longer than I anticipated.
So many times throughout our journey, I wanted to give up. I felt like a complete failure. I regretting having ever started — it took way too much mental energy. I was an idiot and a washout.
Now that we’re here, though, I think I’m glad I did it.
So here’s the story of how we finally finished up with diapers. I’ve written about earlier phases in our EC adventure: at two months (really optimistic), and here’s a more recent one at 15 months (really frustrated).
A Happy Ending at Last
This part of the story starts with Lydia at about 18 months old, and me LOSING MY MIND. She was still peeing in her diaper several times a day. She still never signaled that she had to pee — EVER. This was something I’d been led to believe she would have started months and months ago. The only reason we ever got pee in the potty was because I relied on timing — she generally peed upon waking, and then about every hour she was awake.
She still peed 10-12 times every day. (Note: my research suggests that this is not typical. Most toddlers pee closer to 5-6 times a day, which would have been a lot more manageable.) So even though we got half the pees in the potty, I was still changing diapers and cleaning up puddles constantly. (I almost never had to clean up poop, though. It was usually obvious that she was starting to go, and we’d just whisk her to the potty).
She didn’t seem to be even slightly bothered by sitting in a wet diaper, which went against everything the literature told me.
I tried putting her in underwear, since everyone said the dramatic wetness would be so alarming and uncomfortable she wouldn’t be able to help but start signaling. Wrong. She just soaked her pants without a word and kept doing what she was doing. She would even pee on my lap without a sound — another thing all the EC-ers said babies didn’t do.
I felt like a dupe. Either someone had misled me, or I was some kind of moron who couldn’t figure it out. This whole EC thing was a sham.
Finally, in desperation, I contacted one of the only EC-ers I know — a fellow (former) blogger. I asked her how things were going with her daughter, who’s about 8 months older than Lydia.
Turns out, her little girl hadn’t been done with diapers until she was about Lydia’s age, either. And she mostly still relied on timing, too (though it was a lot less frequent than Lydia’s).
That conversation made me feel a little better about where we were at. I was able to relax a bit.
She lent me her copy of Oh Crap: Potty Training to look over, in case it had any helpful advice.
I started reading it, and was really thinking I’d like to put it into practice as soon as we got back from our Tennessee trip in a few weeks.
And suddenly, for no discernible reason whatsoever, we went a whole day without a single wet diaper.
I continued to be diligent about putting Lydia on the potty every hour (and upon waking), and for the first time ever, she peed in the potty every time. It was a miracle.
We had a few misses the next day, but then we had another miss-free day after that.
I was feeling super-optimistic. I started putting her in pants without a diaper. We’d go to the store with just training pants. As long as I stuck to the schedule, we stayed dry.
But the real magic happened while we were on vacation. We were driving for 6 hours at a time to our destination in Tennessee. We had her in just pants — I was that confident in our abilities now.
Suddenly, at one point a few hours into the drive, she yelled, “Peepee!” We hurried to a rest stop, but were too late. Just as we were pulling in, she peed her pants.
But we were still in good spirits. She’d told us she needed to go!
This happened one more time before we headed straight for the nearest Ikea and got her a little potty to keep in the van.
And from then on, she has told us when she has needed to pee or poop (sometimes getting the words mixed up), and we’ve helped her do it in the potty or the nearest toilet.
We’d done it while on the road, while in the grocery store, when walking by the library. She’s usually going commando, but sometimes I put on her training pants as a safeguard.
We’ve been out of diapers for about a month.
We still have occasional misses — sometimes once a day, for a couple days in a row — and it usually happens because I’m in a different room or (*cough*) on a different floor in the house. Sometimes she forgets until she’s already peeing, in which case she yells out just as a puddle is forming at her feet. After all the pee I’ve cleaned up, that’s nothing.
And other times, we manage to stay completely dry for several days straight.
So we’re done with diapers. They’re packed away in a closet for some other baby to use.
But not this one. This baby is no longer a baby.
I still want to wrap up my thoughts in a short follow-up post, where I reflect on what I’m glad I did, what would do differently next time, what I regret, etc.
Have you tried EC, or early potty training? What was your experience? Do you think you’d give it a try, after hearing our experience?
Linking up with Your Green Resource at SortaCrunchy.