I’ve talked about our journey with Elimination Communication (EC for short) here and here. Since Jonah is now 15 months old and rapidly gaining more autonomy each and every day, it’s time for another update! If you’re not familiar with EC, please read the earlier posts first cuz I don’t feel like recapping here. Haha.
Anyhow, about a month ago Jonah started grabbing his diaper right before – or after, if he’s really engrossed in play – he needed to potty. Sometimes he will pull his pants down, sometimes he’ll fetch another diaper and hand it to me, other times he will walk to his potty, but usually he just grabs his diaper and looks at me, and I say, “Do you need to go potty?” and then take him to his little potty chair in the bathroom. We also go to the potty after naps and in the morning, and whenever we get back from being out and about.
Between 12 and 18 months is considered the sensitive period for toilet learning, in the Montessori tradition. I don’t strictly adhere to any one parenting/teaching philosophy, but Jonah clearly is showing signs of readiness! So I honor that. And I do think practicing EC, even part-time, has been really helpful in making using the toilet a familiar, regular part of Jonah’s day. I don’t view toileting as something he has to master in a day, or a month… it’s just an evolving process and as he gains more independence and ability to do things for himself, he will begin using the toilet more regularly on his own. He’s already taking some initiative with using his potty and he is able to control his bowels and wait to pee on the potty when needed. He LOVES washing his hands, too – mostly because he loves water, and he gets a kick out of climbing his stepstool to the sink to wash his hands.
We aren’t offering any candy or other bribes to reward him for using the toilet – there’s also no pressure for him to go, and he still wears diapers, not training pants yet. I also try to limit my praise when he does go now. I used to get really excited, but now it’s more of a normal thing. “Oh look, you went potty! Help Mommy flush it down the big toilet! Ok, now let’s wash our hands.” I still do the cueing noise when he sits down, but he doesn’t really need that anymore. I’ll probably stop doing that soon – it’s really more of a habit for me, not something I think about doing. He sits on the potty and I go, “Pssss, pssss!” – but by now he’s been using the potty so long he’s often already going before I get the sound out. He feels the need to go, and he knows the potty is the place to do it. Well, most of the time. Like with all things parenting/kid-related, some days/weeks are smoother than others. But again, it’s a journey – not a destination. Not yet. He doesn’t have to go in the potty all the time at 15 months of age.
I think he will be ready for training pants in a month or two, once he gets better at pulling his pants on and off. I need to get a little stool for him to sit on, and stock up on more elastic-waist pants! I expect a number of accidents as move forward with toileting, so I want to have plenty of changes of clothes on hand. Jeans and other pants with snaps/zippers are just too difficult at this point, so as cute as they are on him, we need a more practical wardrobe as he gets older and more ready to leave diapers behind!
Oh, and flushable wipes have been awesome! His poop is solid now (usually!) and sometimes sticky. And pretty darn stinky. So I much prefer being able to dump the whole contents of the potty in the toilet and flush it down, rather than having cloth wipes to wipe off or regular baby wipes to throw in the trash. Wipe, dump in potty, flush! Much easier for me. I like being eco-friendly, but when it comes to stinky poo, I’m ok with the flushable wipes. More than ok.
Would love to hear your toilet learning tips and experiences, too! Please share!