I realize it has been a very long time since I have posted about our EC journey. We have been full time EC’ers since little h. was 2 days old. (If you don’t know what EC is read more about it here) Here we are 2 years later! I wanted to share an update for those of you curious as to where we are now and I also wanted to share some honesty about our journey with elimination communication.
So, I am happy to say that at 2 years old we are consistently going on the little potty or “big girl” potty 100% of the time. My 2 year old is in normal toddler underwear day and night and has been for a little over 6 months. We haven’t had a number 2 miss since she was a little under a year (even those were few and far between) We did have our minor setbacks of pee misses between one and two (you can read about that here) I don’t want to jump the guns and say graduated though. My definition of “graduated” seems to be a little different than the average ECer or even potty trainer of a toddler though I do believe. Let me explain;
What the average EC parent of a “graduated” 12 month old doesn’t tell you.
I want to be very honest in my story of EC and tell you the things that the average blogger and mom who brags on EC boards fails to mention time and time again about elimination communication. I saw so many posts and blogs stating that children are typically potty learned or graduated by the 12 month mark. So lets talk about the actual definition of “graduated”. My main goal in Elimination Communication like most others is the communication part. However, we all want our children to someday be able to go to the potty independently.
What no one ever seems to mention is that a 12 month old typically CANNOT pull their own underwear up and down. For me, potty independence is knowing when to go, how to get to where you need to go, and the process of at least getting your own underwear down and sitting on the potty all being part of the independence and graduated process to me.
So what I have a hard time wrapping my head around is how a 12 month old is “graduated”? My daughter at about the 16 month mark was virtually miss free and in non waterproof trainers 24/7. But to me we still were not done communicating the elimination process. We still had not mastered communicating how to get those pants down. I think in many ways this is something that at this age isn’t really attainable yet. It’s something that comes a little later in the growing process.
It’s one of those things that I think would have made going past 12 months a little easier for me to feel confident about had it been talked about more in the community.
So here I am saying that if your child is still having a few misses here and there it’s okay. It happens to everyone. Kids are busy, they WILL get distracted every once in awhile still. In my daughters case, she still at just a few weeks over 2 will fumble getting her pants down and have a small miss of pee in them. She usually follows up with an “uh oh” or a loud yell of “pee pee!!” What we must always remember is that they are still learning and we still need to communicate with them.
Drop all the labels. No one needs them.
I know with our next child I will not be reading into the hype of “graduating” or “learning” at 12 months or earlier. I really feel like there is so much stress and competition in labeling when an EC’ed kid is graduated from it. Honestly I really don’t believe any kid is totally miss free at such a young age. Especially after going thru the process with our own child.
I will be much more gentle on myself as the mother practicing EC with my little the next time around. I will also be sure to share with others interested in the process that it isn’t a race. That you don’t have to feel the pressure to be free of EC at a specific time. That there will be setbacks and that you are doing a great job just communicating.
So here we are at two years old. We live near the ocean and frequent pools on a regular basis. My daughter refuses to go in either body of water. It’s shocking really. She asks now to go potty when we are swimming. She also will wake up at night singing “pee pee” if she needs to do. However, if she is engrossed in playing with bubbles outside or wrestling around with our bulldog occasionally she will be so distracted she goes the tiniest bit in her pants only to yell and let me know she needs to go NOW. Or she will fumble trying to get those dreaded shorts off to get to the potty in time and will have a small miss. Most ends up on the potty, but what i’m trying to get at is misses do happen. We are still communicating with each other when she needs help.
So for me, at 2 we are still practicing EC. Although in a much less frequent, and more independent way now than we did for example at 3 months. I have a hard time defining when exactly this graduation happens. In some ways we could say quite early if we are talking in terms of just communicating the needs of elimination. However, to be fully potty learned and fully communicating the independence, I believe graduation comes a little later in most tots lives.
So moms, dads, and caretakers of ECer’s, you are doing just fine. Keep up the great work and don’t let definitions change your goal of communication with your littles.