Thursday, December 16, 2010

Trust me. It is easier.

It is amazing how one's interests can suddenly change.  After a brief little blogging break, I am back to talk about poo.  Or better yet, how to avoid cleaning up poo.

(And whatever kind of audience I may have had at the beginning of this post, now has left.)

So, I would say that I skirt the edges of the really crunchy, Attachment Parenting, motherhood circles.  I cloth diaper, I nurse on demand, I have recently decided that I'm not really in favor of "crying-it-out."  However, we don't co-sleep, and I don't EC (elimination communication).  Until recently that is.

Skirting the edges of the crunchy momma circles, I was familiar with the concept of elimination communication.  Basically, elimination communication is a process of learning your baby's signals as to when they are about "to go" in conjunction with you as a parent communicating to your baby when it is appropriate for them to do so (i.e. over a toilet, or basin.)  I could appreciate how this could be a really good thing--less diapers to change, less cloth diapers to wash, etc.  However, as a first time mom, the idea of trying to learn my child's signals and trying to "catch" their pees and poos was just extremely daunting.  Really, I was just trying to maintain, not try anything new and earth shattering.  So while I was supportive of my friends, I was not going to go there.

But then, I had a conversation with my sister about a book that she had just read: Diaper Free Before 3.  (She was looking at potty-training her 1.5 year old daughter.)  The premise of the book is that you introduce the potty to your baby at 6 months--when they are old enough to sit up by themselves but not too mobile as of yet.  (This is quite different than EC where 6 months is actually really late in the game--babies have already been "trained" to eliminate in a diaper at this age.)  You introduce the potty as part of a routine--at times when it is likely that your child will need to use the toilet (after naps, after feeding, etc.)  You sit them on the potty, you read a couple of stories, they do their thing or they don't, and you diaper them back up and go about your business.  At some point they are going to relieve themselves in the potty.  And then, over time, they will make the connection that the potty is where they do their business.  And slowly but surely, you work towards potty training your child.

For some reason, this approach resonated with me.  It seemed like a very laid back and easy way to introduce the potty.  With this approach, I didn't have to worry about reading and missing "cues."  Plus, at this point, I was pretty knowledgeable about when little Finn needed to do his business.  As it was, I could tell when he was about to let loose with his fire hose or fill his pants with a juicy and very messy poo.  Prior to using a potty, I was either grabbing something to cover the fountain of urine that I knew was going to erupt, or I was waiting for the inevitable sounds indicating that I needed to change him.  How much easier I thought, if I could just stick him on a potty and let him go to town?  So that is what I started doing.

People!  This is the way to go!  I can't begin to describe how overjoyed I am when Finn takes a dump in the potty verses his diapers.  Especially now that he is at the squirmy, I don't want to lay here quietly even for one second stage.  I don't have to pin all four appendages down while I attempt to manage the poo that has exploded all over his backside and onto his clothes.  I don't have to worry about little hands reaching down to get all poopy and then move to the direction of the mouth.  It is bliss!  And if you don't understand how a poopy potty can be blissful, then you obviously haven't changed enough diapers.

Literally, all I do is put him on the potty after he wakes up in the morning and after naps.  (And at diaper changes when it is obvious that he is about to go.)  That is it.  And that takes care of the majority of the dirty diapers.  Sure, some days we miss--I am too late getting him from his sleep or he decides to have a giant poo at some random time of the day--but most days I can catch 90% of all that is leaving him.  And more importantly, I think he is getting it.  I think he is understanding the point of the potty.

(Granted, I don't know what this means for actual "potty training."  I am not really sure at this point how we will progress.  At some stage of the game, training pants will have to be involved, and I am sure I will have my share of messes to clean.  But, the potty won't be some foreign object or concept.  And I think that will help a lot.)

So, I was talking with a friend about my new found Love of The Potty! and how wonderful it is not to clean a poopy diaper all of the time.  I really wanted her to embrace the wonderfulness of this concept.  But she instead she was like, "but don't you have to clean out the potty?"  And my jaw sort of dropped, and I stared at her like she had sprouted three heads.  Because, I honestly don't see the comparison between changing a poopy diaper and rinsing out a poopy potty.  But hey, in case you have a similar concern, let's break it down.

Poopy Diaper:

TIME: maybe five minutes on a good day?  15 minutes if a shower/tub needs to be involved.
SUBJECT: excessively squirmy.  Could scream bloody murder.  Could laugh evilly while thwarting your attempts.  Definitely not cooperative.
EXPOSURE THREAT: extreme.  Poo will most likely be ingested by baby and possibly you.  Clothes will need to be changed on both you and baby.

Poopy Potty:

TIME: 30 seconds?  Maybe?
SUBJECT: completely inanimate. 
EXPOSURE THREAT: none, unless you lack the motor skills needed to lift and dump.  You might have to wipe down the toilet seat if it splashes.

Do you see?  Do you see how incomparable they are?  Go out and get a little potty for you babe.  Do it.  And then you can thank me when you are no longer poo-splattered on a daily basis.

(FYI: Ikea makes wonderful little potties for the price of a song: $6 or so.  Much better if you are starting with a small child versus a toddler.)


Angela said...

Interesting concept. I know understand the picture of Finn on the toilet. Sounds like it's working well for you guys. Can't wait to see you all in less than a week!!

Janssen said...

We started making Ella cry a couple of weeks ago when she switched from being a DREAM to put to bed to suddenly fighting it like crazy - we'd spend easily two hours trying to get her to go to bed. Now she rarely cries when she goes to bed and if she does it's only for a couple of minutes and I'm not on total edge after putting her down living in dread of hearing a peep from her. On the other hand, the crying the first few days nearly destroyed my soul. It was so so hard on me and I never thought it would be.

Anyway, I'm really interested in this. . . does he just sit calmly on the toilet?

Jaimee said...

Ah ha! I knew you'd be hooked after those first few catches! :)

I would argue, though, that what you are doing is in line with EC. You mention that you know when he's about to firehose or when he's working on a poop... these are cues you are in tune with. Putting him on the potty at the likely times you mentioned is EC by timing. I don't see any reason to shy away from the term unless you don't like it. :)

I think it's worth noting that the routine/process you describe can easily be started at birth (on up). The only difference being you will need to assist them over the potty. We started Austin at 4 months. The earlier you start the easier it is, though I definitely understand needing time to simply adjust to parenthood first! :)

We potty trained Avalon at 20 months and I can say from experience that child temperament is a huge factor in how the potty will need to be approached. Sitting on the potty reading books? Great idea for some kids, in fact several that I knew. But, that was NOT happening with Avalon. We had to follow her around with the potty instead. I just keep thinking if we had introduced the potty from a very early age as part of our normal routine that it would have been so much easier!

Anyway, keeping it light and without expectation makes EC so easy. Celebrate the catches, don't worry about the misses, and remember that any potty time is a good thing! :)

Oh, and Ikea potties are only $4! Great deal for a nicely shaped and good sized potty for babies. They also worked great for Avalon when she was training.

Washington Hills said...

I have never enjoyed reading a post about poo more. Lady Susan, I could read your blog all day. (I've never personally been interested in this theory. To each their own and all of that, but with the way OliverBoy turns red and grunts, I think I could catch a poo on the first try. I'm tempted just to see if I could do it.)


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