Great Aspirations

Kids are funny.  You know how they tell you they want to be certain things when they grow up, like a teacher, or policeman.  Sadie’s already practicing for her first (of many, I’m sure) future profession.

She wants to be a ballet dancer.

She can’t quite walk yet.  Okay, she can’t even crawl, but when she’s in her Jolly Jumper she practices her positions.

Here she is doing her croise devant.


This is her plié.


I bet you never thought I knew anything about ballet.  Well thanks to the internet, now I know two things.  Oh wait, three! Standing on your toes a lot makes them bleed.  I think I got that from a movie.

Before I was even pregnant with Sadie, I heard about infant potty training, or Elimination Communication (EC) and I thought it would be fun to try.  Everyone I told about it thought I was crazy, but that’s just because our culture is so ingrained with the idea that you have to use diapers until they’re ready to use a toilet.  I knew there are other countries where they hardly use diapers or have trouble potty training their babies, so I knew it was possible.

Well, I bought a complete set of used cloth diapers just before Sadie was born, but even though she was a big baby, the cloth diapers were just a little too big, so I used disposables for the first three months or so.

I started to try catching a pee in the toilet once in a while.  I let her go diaperless in her portable bassinet with a diaper under her and just watched her for a bit.  She peed within a couple minutes and I gave her a little signal while she was going.  I only did that once, but I started putting her in cloth diapers when we were at home during the day and I watched her more carefully and noticed that she’d get a little fussy out of the blue sometimes, and I’d giver her the signal in case she was peeing.

Then about a month ago, I took the plunge and switched to using cloth diapers almost exclusively.  They’re not perfect and I had to change her clothes more often than I used to, but that was just more incentive to pay attention to when she needed to go.

We quickly got the hang of things and I started catching at least half her pees, but usually more.  Often I only change her diaper a couple times in a day when I’m on the ball, but I don’t stress the ones I miss.  I don’t expect perfection.  It’s just nice to be able to help her when she needs me, and to me it doesn’t make sense to condition her to pee in a diaper and then try to convince her that peeing on the toilet is better at a time in her life when she wants to do things her own way.

And it’s not all about having a baby toilet trained by the time they’re 18-24 months, though that is a nice perk.  It’s about being aware of their needs and helping them when they communicate a need, just like feeding them when they tell you they’re hungry.  It’s not even something you have to do all the time.  You can do it during the day only or on weekends only, or whenever you get the urge.  Spend a little extra time for a few days watching your baby and if they get fussy or quiet or whatever thing they do before they pee or poo (knowing roughly when they go helps a lot, like after a nap or a feeding) and give them a signal.  I use a “pssssst” sound.  Then sometime when you know they have to go, like after they wake up from a nap and still have a dry diaper, hold them over the toilet (or sink or potty or whatever) and give the signal.

Once they realize you’re helping them go, they’ll hold it until you get them there.  Sadie’s only peed on her change table once cause she had to go and I was taking too long.  I still miss lots, but it’s so much better than changing ten wet diapers a day.  Saves on laundry too.

There’s more I could say about this but I will end with recommending a book called “The Diaper Free Baby” by Christine Gross-Loh.  You can borrow it from the library.  I’ve only been doing it for a couple of months now but I would recommend it to anyone.  Sadie prefers it now too.  Maybe she’ll be a professional potty trainer when she grows up.



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