Potty learning success at 21 months!

toilet learning potty training 21 months early

the days of bulky cloth diapers are over!

Yay! Jack has finally graduated to full-time underwear!

Here is a recap of our journey as well as my thoughts about organic underwear for little toddlers:

Birth-1 year: we did elimination communication part-time, and used cloth diapers which I tried to change as soon as they got wet.

1 year- Jack started to be almost accident-free with pooping on the potty but was only peeing once or twice a day, and resisted going during the day if he was playing. He mostly went in the morning and after nap.

18 months- Jack started staying dry through the night all by himself!

21 months- I tried to motivate Jack to use the potty more often with a special song, keeping books by the potty, and with raisins. I was getting tired of doing cloth diaper laundry every 3-4 days so I finally started giving him half an organic gummy bear any time he sat on the potty and it worked instantly! He started only having one accident or so per day from then on.

22 months- now Jack has 0-1 accidents per day. He still doesn’t always tell me he has to go, so often I have to ask him. I try to see each accident as a learning experience and they have been decreasing. We’ve used his compostable little potty in the library and in the trunk of the car and it’s worked great!I’m SO excited to be able to do laundry once a week now!

It has been tricky to find tiny underwear though. There are some organic ones we tried:

H&M has the cheapest, and many have cute pictures

Burts bees has high quality little boxers which are mid-priced

Polarn O Pyret has great quality more expensive ones

For most of them I had to sew the waist to make it a little smaller since Jack is small (23 pounds) Also many of his pants don’t fit as well! The Kate Quinn ones fit well, but the H and M and Burt’s ones are pretty big now

Update at 18 months

6.24books

 

I can’t believe how fast time is passing and that Jack is already 18 months old! I remember when he was a tiny baby we’d always be the youngest ones at meetups and things, and now he is definitely a toddler! I try as much as possible to be present and enjoy each day because they really fly by, and even if we have another child it’ll never be the same as having all my time to enjoy just Jack. Some things that have been going on lately:

  • Talking: Jack is saying about 10 words or so now. It’s on the low end of normal, but hopefully he’s just a later talker like his dad was. I make sure to narrate what we are doing all day and wait for him to respond to questions so he has the opportunity to practice talking. While he says 10 words he says the same 3 most often- ball, mama, and car. So it really doesn’t feel like he’s that grown up yet, I think once he is using his words all the time it will really feel like he’s not a baby any more.
  • Eating: Jack has gradually been eating more solids. He likes most things that are breaded such as organic chicken nuggets or fish nuggets. He is also eating more fruits such as peaches. Our meals are still pretty random things at this point though, like raisins and peanut butter for breakfast.
  • Babywearing: I still wear Jack for usually either a nap or to get him to sleep for bedtime. I also use the Tula a lot for when we are walking to of from a store or part of the time we are walking our dog.
  • Breastfeeding: Jack still nurses a lot! If I’m gone for 4-5 hours for work I start feeling engorged. He also nurses every few hours at night. Once his teeth are in I’ll try to cut that down, but he keeps having teething pain at least a few weeks a month so it doesn’t seem worth it to deal with the crying and lack of sleep of night weaning just to go back on it a week later when he has horrible teething pain all night.
  • Clothes: we have still been able to stick with 100% organic clothes! I’ve been happy to find toddler clothes at H&M, Frugi, Burt’s Bees, and some random stuff on amazon.
  • Cloth diapers: Jack is wearing mostly Bumgenius 4.0 pockets now because they are easy to change while he’s standing or walking. He goes to the potty when he wakes up in the morning and usually after nap and we get almost all poops in the potty.
  • Movement: Jack is almost running now which is cute. He is also climbing nonstop! He can push a chair to the kitchen counter and climb up on it which is scary. We are looking for a used learning tower for him to make standing at the kitchen sink a little safer.
  • Playing: Jack still prefers playing with containers or laundry over mot of the toys he has! Some favorite toys that actually get used often are books, his wooden cart, and his pounding toy which he also likes to remove the pegs from and put them places.

Overall he can entertain himself for longer and longer now- sometimes 10-20 minutes, so it’s getting so much easier for me! I can now cook in the kitchen sometimes while he plays in the sink or with some containers, or I can clean while he “swiffers.” He also sits in his high chair long enough for me to eat an entire meal often, although sometimes I have to give him a little container with a lid for him to put raisins into to keep him busy at the end.

I love how he learns new things almost every day, like how to make a new animal noise. He is starting to get upset when we tell him he can’t do things, but luckily after reading a ton about positive parenting (I love the book Peaceful Parenting) I feel pretty well equipped to deal with it and help him learn to calm himself down so far. I’m sure it will get harder (but in some ways easier) as he gets older though!

Elimination communication on an airplane!

IMG_20140618_183701449We just got back from a 6 day trip to Philadelphia to visit family (and managed to take only carry-on bags again!) I had my mom buy some whole foods disposable diapers for us to use there because people didn’t want us to wash our cloth diapers at their houses, and Jack ended up with his first ever diaper rash by the end of the week. I had packed 3 pocket diapers just in case, so the day we were traveling home I put him in a pocket diaper and figured I would cloth diaper him until we ran out and then put him back in disposables. I definitely didn’t expect it, but I managed to have Jack use the toilet for our entire trip!

Jack is 18 months old now and at home he always poops in the potty but often does not want to pee in the potty if he’s in the middle of playing, so we still rely on diapers most of the day. I also admittedly get lazy about taking him to the bathroom, especially in public places. But after this trip I realized I’m 99% of the reason Jack isn’t totally out of diapers!

Here’s how we handled EC on the trip:

Before we left I had Jack pee in the toilet of my mom’s house. I hold him over the toilet facing backwards in the “EC” hold.

At the airport, I found a family bathroom which makes things much easier and had him pee right when we arrived (it was 1.5 hours since he last peed). He also went again right before we boarded the plane (about another hour or so had passed). If he was hesitant to go, I found that turning on the sink helped him.

On the plane, I took him to the bathroom about every 2 hours so that ended up being twice during the 5 hour trip. It was a super tight squeeze in the plane bathroom! I found it helpful to bring a plastic bag with an extra diaper (in case I needed to change him) and hang it on the hook on the door. Then I put his pants in the bag while I was holding him to pee.

I took him to the bathroom again in the airport once we arrived, and then he stayed dry on the hour-long drive home. I was so proud of us for making it work over such a long day! I’m excited for Jack to continue getting better at communicating and I’m sure when that happens he’ll be out of diapers soon. It will be nice to stop doing all that laundry :)

Elimination communication update- staying dry at night!

IMG_2375¬†I have been doing elimination communication with Jack since he was a few weeks old, and now he is 17 months. Elimination communication involves following your baby’s cues for going to the bathroom and teaching them signals, but uses no external positive or negative reinforcement (no skittles for using the potty!). Babies are motivated to learn because no one naturally likes sitting in their own waste- we just train kids to be ok with it when using diapers.

Within the past month Jack really started understanding the sign language sign for “bathroom” and will do it if I ask him if he has to go! If he’s really involved in an activity he doesn’t like to stop for the bathroom (understandably!) but he uses the potty at least a few times per day. Yesterday he only had 2 wet diapers all day!

I was surprised to notice that in the last 4 days he has been waking up with his diaper totally dry, and then peeing in the potty. I never thought he could not pee at night at this age because he still breastfeeds often at night, and sleeps for about 11 hours. My husband and I were worried he was dehydrated initially, but he does breastfeed all the time, so I think he just naturally started staying dry at night. I’m excited about the diminishing laundry load!

I ordered Jack his first underwear yesterday which I’m excited about. I think we can try them around the house, but keep using diapers outside until he gets more consistent about communicating. I looked at several organic options, and chose these 100% organic cotton ones from Under The Nile. I heard they run big, so I hoe they fit! Hanna Andersson has some organic ones but they seemed too big based on reviews

under the nile trainers

under the nile trainers

Imse Vimse also had some I was thinking about because they had a layer of PUL which makes them more waterproof. I might order a pair and try them out as well

imse vimse organic trainers

 

I can’t believe how fast Jack is growing up! It really makes me want to savor every day with him (while he still wants to hang out with me!)

 

Attempting minimalism with a toddler

the majority of our toys and books

the majority of our toys and books

My husband and I try to be minimalistic with our possessions, but it’s been a challenge to keep that up once we had a baby! Now that Jack is 16 months old and a toddler, I wanted to update how we’re doing. You can see a post about minimalism with a baby here or about our minimalist baby registry here.

Diapers: we are still cloth diapering which saves tons of money and decreases our daily trash by a huge amount! We love it, and while we had ammonia issues now that Jack is peeing more, the poop is also SUPER easy to clean now that it’s solid- you just plop it into the toilet (or since we do EC Jack poops in the potty most of the time which is even easier).

Food: we do baby led weaning which minimizes the need to buy special baby purees or machines to make purees (although we already had an immersion blender). Jack eats what we eat, or we buy snacks from the dried foods or cereal section of Whole foods (like unsweetened organic corn puffs). We did buy a few stainless steel espresso spoons for Jack and these thick glass shot glasses he can drink from that are hard to break. We’re skipping sippy cups since dentists don’t recommend them, and just use a water bottle on the road.

Clothes: I try to buy as much gender neutral organic clothing as I can so we can hopefully use it for another child down the line. We do laundry about every 5 days, so we try to buy only the amount of clothes we need to last us that long. Jack has a few gender neutral shoes as well.

Toys: I have a secret: Jack prefers to play with things that aren’t even children’s toys ūüėČ We have a few nice wooden toys for him, and my dad has a bunch at his house which they bought. Jack spends a lot of time playing with our pots and pans, kitchen paraphernalia, ¬†putting things inside bowls or ceramic vases, pushing our ottoman around, or playing with our dog’s (nontoxic) balls. I think we have never bought him a toy ourselves, but it’s harder to get relatives not to buy him toys and instead give him clothes or donate to his college fund. We go to the park or library playroom at least once a day, so Jack gets to play with different things there too.

Books: We have a handful of board books, most that were from my childhood and are in different languages so they can’t be found at the library. Once he gets a little older we plan to get most books from the library instead of buying them. (For my husband and I, we almost always buy ebooks now).

Sleeping: We still have our crib sidecared, and in the future may buy some kind of natural full size mattress for a floor bed. We use my old cell phone as a while noise player.

Transportation: We have a convertible car seat in each of our cars, and my dad has one also. I’m storing our Orbit nontoxic infant seat to hopefully use with another baby. We still use the City Mini stroller sometimes, but only maybe once a week. ¬†I use baby carriers multiple times a day though! I love my Toddler Tula and Bamberoo, and also use my ring sling for quick trips to the library (love the pocket which works as a purse). I put Jack high on my back in a woven wrap while I vacuum so he can see what’s going on.

Bath: Jack has showered with me since day one, or sometimes if he just has food on him I’ll do a rinse in the sink. We rarely use soap on him, and put coconut oil to prevent diaper rash and dry skin. He uses our organic towels, we don’t have any special baby bath things. For bath toys we have some bowls and a ball or two that rotate as bath toys.

Babyproofing: we bought some cheap light switch covers and a few string things to keep drawers closed, but other than that we don’t babyprrof most things and instead watch Jack and teach him to “be gentle” with the low-hanging art, or “let’s not touch the toilet water, it’s wet” etc. It’s been working well so far, but we’ll see if we need to change the plan as he ages.

Things we skipped buying: baby gates, baby monitors (we cosleep), a play yard, baby bath tub and bath products, and baby swing.

Daily schedule at 14 months

2.5

 

Jack is 14 months old now, and I thought I would write out a typical day for us so that I can remember what it was like later. Yesterday I wrote down what time everything happened at, but it does vary day to day. He takes 2 naps and usually sleeps from 7 or 8pm to 7am (waking up about every 2 hours to eat). He nurses about every 3 hours during the day.

7:30am- wake up, use the potty, play, eat some organic unsweetened cheerios, walk the dog around the block

8- I cook breakfast

9- Breastfeed

9:20- I eat some breakfast while Jack eats some freeze-fried fruit and corn puffs, then clean up Jack, do dishes, and clean the eating area

10:20- put Jack in the carrier and he sleeps within a few minutes. I eat the rest of my breakfast/brunch

11:30- Jack wakes up, breastfeeds, and uses the potty

12-2:30 go to my dad’s house and spend time with grandparents, grandma takes Jack for a walk with her dog, and my dad watches Jack while I exercise a little and do a small sewing project

2:45- arrive home and breastfeed

3-4:10 nap in carrier while mom eats

4:10 Jack eats his dinner, clean up afterwards

4:45- walk the dog for a longer walk

5:15- take a bath

5:45- breastfeed

6- walk to Trader Joe’s to buy groceries

6:20- playtime and clean the kitchen

7:10- I cook some somewhat healthy dessert for tomorrow

7:30- bedtime routine (books, change diaper, breastfeed)

7:45- put Jack in the carrier and he falls asleep after a few minutes, then transfer him to the bed. I sit next to him on my laptop and relax and watch a TV show with headphones. He wakes up to eat once every few hours.

Just imagine how exciting our laundry days must be!

 

Facebook groups for crunchy moms

Since I’ve had Jack, I spend an embarrassing amount of time on facebook while he’s breastfeeding. I don’t know a ton of crunchy moms in real life, so facebook groups have been so helpful in making me feel like part of a community and having people to ask for advice. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Natural¬†Toys¬†and¬†Children’s¬†Items¬†b/s/t

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/402340353149076/
  • This is ony of my favorites and I’ve already mentioned it here
  • B/S/T stands for buy, sell, trade
  • It’s a nice place to find cheaper used wooden toys etc, but also to ask questions about anything crunchy

2. The babywearing Swap

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/thebabywearingswap/
  • This super addictive group is just for buying and selling used baby carriers and wraps
  • I definitely look at it while not even planning to buy anything just because the wraps are so pretty!

3.  Babywearing 102

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/Babywearing102/
  • This is the group where you can post questions about anything babywearing related, or pictures of you wrapping and they will give you tips

4. 102 Off-Topic

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/102OT/
  • This is a group to talk about anything other than babywearing, and the moms tend to be super crunchy, use positive parenting, and know about breastfeeding etc

5. The Wait It Out Method (A toolkit approach to sleep training)

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWaitItOutTribe/
  • This group is for parents not using cry it out for sleeping, and is very helpful when you are at your wit’s end with a baby waking up all the time and want some moral support when everyone in real life seems to be sleep training

6.¬†High¬†Needs¬†/¬†AP¬†/¬†Spirit¬†Families¬†–¬†Babies¬†and¬†Children+¬†…WORLDWIDE.

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/354013614686652/
  • This group is not my favorite, but it can be helpful to ask questions about your high needs baby or see other peoples’ stories to get some perspective

7. Organic Kids Clothes Swap Sell Buy

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/468453759909391/
  • This group probably has less clothes than the group #1 I listed, but is another one to check out if you want used organic clothes

8. Elimination Communication

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/diaperfree/
  • This is useful to ask questions about specifics of EC (diaper free babies) or problem solve if you’re having a potty strike or anything

I also joined some specific groups for certain things like BumGenius b/s/t to buy used diapers of that brand, or Tula love to ask questions about what size Tula carrier to get. It’s a good idea to search for your favorite clothing brand and they might have a b/s/t group, or your favorite small stores may have a group or page you can “like” to see coupon codes occasionally. Hope this helps you waste a lot of time/connect with other crunchy parents!

Elimination communication update

7.20

Things have been going well with elimination communication lately! Jack poops in the potty as soon as he wakes up most days, so as long as I am quick to wake up when I hear him moving I can always catch that. We only miss poops when either he’s not quite done in the morning or if he goes again later in the day and I don’t catch it. Overall I probably only have to wash a poopy diaper once a week or so, which is great! I’ve been washing them and spraying them with a hydrogen peroxide/lemon juice mixture and leaving them in the sun for a few hours and that’s amazing at getting the stains out!

We are still only catching about half his pees (and he wears cloth diapers most of the day) which is ok with me. I’m hoping when he gets closer to a year old he will learn the word or sign for “bathroom” and can communicate more easily when he needs to go.

I bought a cute little wool soaker a few weeks ago, and it’s pretty easy to get on and off to use the potty. (That’s a tree on the back of it by the way). I just pull it down half way and he can pee without it coming all the way off, and then it just takes a few seconds to get back on. I like the soaker style a lot because there is no velcro to scratch his stomach while sitting, and it can be easier than snaps depending on the situation. I think they also look the cutest out of any diaper I have, and can pass as shorts so they eliminate the need for an extra layer of clothes. We have been fine using a trifolded prefold (without snappis because I’m lazy) inside the soaker.

Elimination communication update

IMAG0323

We have been washing our own cloth diapers for a few weeks now, and it’s going pretty well so far. We used a service for about the first 6 months of Jack’s life, but now that he’s pooping in the potty about 75% of the time, it seemed easy enough to do the laundry of mostly wet diapers.

We got this Rockin Green detergent (usually we make our own, but I was nervous to mess up the diapers) and so far it’s been fine. ¬†Luckily Jack is pretty regular with having a big poop in the mornings, so I can catch most of them in the potty right after he wakes up. It feels so great not to have to clean many dirty diapers, and instead just rinse out the potty! We use the little toilet seat too, but the potty is easier since I don’t have to get out of bed!

I started using ASL signs with Jack once in a while, and I try to use the one for bathroom when I remember, but it doesn’t seem like he really looks at my hand when I do it. I’m just hoping that by around 12 months he can either use the sign or words to let us know when he has to go. Right now I take him to pee on the potty a few times a day, but he pees so often that he goes in his diaper a lot, so it would be useful if he could tell us when he needs to go.

We have been dealing with the poopy diapers by washing them and letting them soak, and then just putting them in the regular laundry with everything else. We try not to use too many wash cycles since we have to pay for laundry in our apartment. There has been some faint staining, but leaving in the sun helps a lot. We also made a solution of lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide that I still need to try.

We bought a bunch of used organic prefolds from our diaper service which was really inexpensive, and the 60-70 we got have been lasting for about 4 days since we change him whenever he’s wet. They work well, and the only time we get leaks in sometimes at night, so I’ve been debating if I should buy some wool shorties for nighttime. I think they would give more coverage, but I think they are ideally for use with fitted covers which are more expensive, and I don’t know if they would be harder to change at night. We use prefolds with no snappis which makes diaper changes really fast, but I’m not sure if that means we need to keep using normal covers that fit snugly to hold the prefold in place.

Jack started sitting up by himself this week which is so adorable. Maybe someday soon he will be able to crawl to the potty and sit on it on his own! For now, it’s fun to have him practice sitting with some toys or books and to see how he is happy to have some more control of his body.

7.5

Why I love elimination communication

3.29

Elimination communication or infant hygiene is watching your baby for signs that they have to go to the bathroom and then taking them to a potty or toilet so they don’t have to sit in a wet diaper.¬†Half¬†the babies around the world are potty trained by 12 months (Pediatrics Magazine), but in the United States, the¬†average¬†age is currently 3 years old (webMD).

I got really excited about EC when reading some eco-friendly baby books and thought it made a lot of sense. You watch your baby for cues that they are hungry, so why not do it for going to the bathroom as well? Also, our dog has the instinct not to pee where he sleeps and babies have that as well- they don’t like to sit in their own pee or poop just like other mammals. I did elimination communication part-time with Jack in that we use cloth diapers a lot, but I also take him to the bathroom several times per day.

We started when he was about 3 weeks old, but you can start at any age.

I picked cuing noises of “psss” for when he pees and “hmm” for when he poops because they sound like the noises he makes and were on a list of ideas in the Diaper Free Baby book

Every time I saw Jack pee I would make the noise for a few days, and I kept him naked on the changing pad for maybe 15-20 minutes a day so that I was likely to notice. He also peed often in the bath and sometimes when I took off his diaper.

I started putting him on a potty (which he did not really like) or holding him over the sink with his back against my chest (which worked better). I would make the noise, and he would pee about half the time right from the beginning! It made me really happy to feel like we were communicating and to see that he enjoyed peeing and not feeling wet afterwards.

Now that he’s 6 months old, he pees in the toilet (with me sitting on it backwards behind him) or in the sink a few times per day. I was really happy that yesterday I got all his poops in the toilet too! If we can have that happen most days, it would make washing our own cloth diapers so much easier!

Pros of Elimination Communication:

  • So much less messy with poops! All I have to do it use a little toilet paper or wipe to clean him, versus in a diaper where it gets smeared all over him
  • You really feel like you communicate with your baby and learn how to help them with one of their basic needs like eating
  • I had a rough time with breastfeeding in the beginning, so I felt like we communicated better about elimination than eating, and it helped me feel connected to Jack
  • It’s great to see how happy your baby looks to not have to sit in their waste
  • It’s supposed to make transitioning out of diapers a lot easier. Even if you just have them use a toilet once a day, that’s enough for them to be aware of when they are peeing (other babies lose this awareness that we are all born with)
  • It works well with cloth diapering since they can feel when they are wet
  • It leads to fewer dirty diapers (although a lot of wet diaper changes if you try to change them immediately like I do)
  • Will save a lot of money if we’re able to be out of diapers by 1-2 years instead of 3 years

Cons of Elimination Communication:

  • Takes some time (taking off clothes/diapers and taking baby to the bathroom) but it’s not that much more time than changing a dirty diaper, and saves time in that you won’t be changing a 3 year old’s diaper!
  • People think it’s weird. I don’t tell most people about it except family and close friends
  • It works best with certain clothes. We avoid onesies (or keep them open) and keep Jack in shirts instead because it’s much easier to check his diaper or take it off without undoing snaps or removing pants. We loved using legwarmers in the wintertime!

Tips that worked for me:

  • Trying taking baby to the bathroom after a nap, after taking him out of a wrap/carrier, and about 5 minutes after eating
  • If you think baby needs to pee but they aren’t going, try turning on the sink a little
  • If you think baby needs to go but they don’t want to, only keep them on the toilet for a few minutes- you don’t want them to get upset and have negative associations with it
  • If you go to change a diaper and it’s a little wet, take them to the toilet because they might need to go more
  • Around 6 months or earlier, try using the american sign language sign for bathroom when you take them to the potty so they can tell you they need to go once they learn it