7 myths about infant potty training/EC

4 month old on potty

My first son starting the potty at 4 months old

Infant potty training, or EC (elimination communication) is becoming popular in some parenting circles, and being poo-poohed by others (pardon the pun!)

Whatever you think of it, if you have an infant or if you’re expecting a baby, you can’t help but be curious. And once you learn what the possibilities are, it’s rather hard not to give potty training a try with your baby.

Here are the top misconceptions I think surround the baby potty training wave in the Western world today.

EC is messy

The image of pee and poop flying all over your house and furniture is sure to play through most people’s minds. I know it did mine at first. EC certainly could be messy if you don’t use any sort of backup. But taking your baby to go potty doesn’t mean he or she can’t wear a diaper in between for those times you can’t make it.

And would you really consider the regular way of cleaning your baby after a poopy diaper not messy? It really feels great when your baby does his business in the toilet, leaving a near-clean bottom. And most people find getting the baby to the potty for poops is even easier than for pees!

Babies can’t hold it

Newborns do have very small bladders and some will pee every 20 minutes. But as your baby grows, so does their bladder and muscle control. By five months old, my baby would wake to eat after four or five hours, with a dry diaper. He would then nurse for five minutes, waiting to pee until I took him to potty. Then back to sleep in the same clean diaper. I was no less amazed at this than you are.

A baby can’t be “ready” for potty training that early

I’m not sure how it’s come to be thought that you have to wait until age two or even later to potty train your child, but in the words of EC guru Andrea Olsen, “Your baby was born ready!” Seeing to their bathroom needs is just another facet of parenting, following how you tend to their basic sleeping and eating needs.

Babies don’t care where they pee or poo

We only think they don’t care, because we are not in tune with how they tell us they have to go. In reality, babies prefer not to soil their own clothing, their caregivers and where they sleep. They do make plenty of signals, hoping to be given the option to potty, but we don’t think to look for it.

We are conditioned to expect babies to just go in their diapers. But once you know to look for it, you start to understand some of those cries that were once mysterious – perhaps your baby had to go to the bathroom!

You have to be a stay-at-home parent to do EC

The best part is that EC doesn’t have to be a 24-hour job. You can do it part-time, just when you are around your baby, and you and your baby will still benefit.

EC is hard work

Well, it can be hard if you make it hard. When you find yourself obsessing over your baby’s pee and poop, it’s definitely time to take a step back. Learn the basics, keep a positive attitude, and enjoy whatever early potty training success you have.

It’s not all-or-nothing, and there’s no pressure to finish by a certain age, but you can bet most EC’d babies are out of diapers well before others. There are even certain EC clothes you can get to help make your practice easier!

Seeing most of my son’s friends in diapers for two more years after he’d completely finished, I feel my efforts to get him to the potty when I knew he had to go as a baby were well worth it!

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