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Elimination Communication

Giveaway: L’il Baby Chaps and Prefold Belt from EC Wear — $28 ARV {9.8; Worldwide}

This is a joint giveaway with Vibrant Wanderings and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked “Win it!” for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.

EC Wear is offering our readers a giveaway of some great, EC-friendly clothing: a pair of L’il Baby Chaps and a Diaper Belt, a value of $28.

L’il Baby Chaps are split pants with an open design that allows babies and toddlers to potty quickly and easily, and caregivers to notice when a diaper is wet so they can change it without a hassle. Diaper belts are designed to hold a prefold in place while still allowing easy access for diaper changes and potty visits.

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When my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter was born, I knew I wanted to practice elimination communication (“EC”) with her from the very start. What I didn’t know was how much of a hassle it would be to remove and replace a cloth diaper every single time she needed to pee — especially given her sincere distaste for being diapered at all. I was determined to stick with it, but wasn’t quite ready to ditch the diapers altogether, so I started researching solutions. Enter EC Wear, an online shop selling EC friendly apparel, where I found some cute infant training pants to try. Not only did I end up loving the trainers, but I was so happy with the shop and its friendly and knowledgeable owner, Marija, that I couldn’t wait to place another order and try out a new diapering solution or two. I was thrilled to know that EC Wear is owned and operated by a mom not unlike myself, and that she makes a special effort to source products that are responsibly produced and fairly traded. Continue reading

Respectful Approaches to Potty Learning: Montessori and Elimination Communication

Many Montessori-leaning parents like myself find that elimination communication is a respectful and logical way to meet their baby’s toileting needs. But what if you don’t hear about EC until later in your baby’s life, or just don’t feel it is the right approach for you? Fear not, because somewhere between sticker charts and full on diaper free-dom, there is a middle ground!

Before I dive in to the how-to of this middle way, I’ll add the following disclaimer: we have used elimination communication since our daughter’s birth. As she is getting closer to full potty independence, I’m finding that much of what we do is in line with Montessori-style potty learning, but I have not used this method from the beginning. The information I am sharing about the early stages of potty learning comes from reading and peripheral observation of the Young Children’s Community in Montessori schools where I was a Children’s House guide. It’s hard for me to say how the early use of elimination communication has paved the way for where we currently are in our potty learning journey.

What’s the difference between potty training and potty learning anyway? There is no cut and dry, agreed upon definition of any of these terms, but potty training generally involves some sort of positive or negative reinforcement in an effort to help a child begin eliminating in a potty or toilet instead of diapers. Many parents, including most Montessorians, prefer a non-coercive way that does not involve rewards or punishments, but matter-of-factly introduces toddlers to the potty and helps them learn how to use it at a pace that is comfortable for them. Of course the lines are blurred, and it truly doesn’t matter what you call it. The end goal is a happy, confident child who knows how to stay clean and dry on their own.

When to Begin
Elimination Communication can be started at any stage of infancy, but most of the advice out there suggests that you begin as early as is possible or practical. For potty learning, the popular book Montessori From the Start: The Child at Home from Birth to Age Three, gives the period between twelve and eighteen months as the “Sensitive Period  for toileting” and recommends starting the process prior to fifteen months. Of course it makes sense to follow your child more so than the calendar, so it would be wise to look for readiness signs like an expressed interest in what parents and older children are doing in the bathroom and in dressing and undressing oneself. It’s definitely advisable to be ready well in advance, however, so you don’t miss your child’s individual window of opportunity.

Making Preparations

Our 18 month old’s current potty set-up

Cloth diapers are believed by many to make potty learning easier, and this does make good sense. Disposable diapers are designed to keep moisture away from the child’s skin, so they often feel dry, even when they’re wet. This robs the child of valuable feedback, making it hard for them to associate the act of urinating with the wetness that follows. Cloth diapers are certainly worth considering for this reason, among others.

It’s also a good idea to be ready with cloth training pants or underwear. I have written about the pros and cons associated with the different types of cloth training pants we have used, but the most practical and inexpensive option for at home potty learning with a toddler is probably the Gerber training pants that can easily be found in mainstream stores. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Under the Nile and Hanna Andersson make an organic and higher quality version and both companies are certainly more deserving of your hard earned money. These underpants shrink in the wash, so it’s best to buy a larger size than you think you need. If they fit too snugly, they’ll be difficult for your child to pull up and down on their own.

In most Montessori toddler programs, toddlers are diapered while standing up. This is intended to make the child a more active participant in the process, and give them the opportunity to observe the goings on. A mirror can help this process, too. If you imagine what it’s like to be diapered while on your back, it seems it would be very difficult indeed to gain a concrete understanding of how wet pants are exchanged for dry ones. To help your child better understand what’s going on, you can also talk them through the diapering process as you go along. “I think your diaper may be wet. Let’s pull your pants down so that we can check. Your diaper is wet. You peed. I will pull the tabs so that I can take it off…” It’s also a good idea to diaper your baby in the same general area that you want them to use for toileting as they get older so that they can make this association early.

Montessori From the Start suggests placing a potty in every bathroom well before you plan to begin the potty learning process so that your child gets used to seeing it. For young toddlers, the Baby Bjorn Little Potty is a popular and economical choice, but I love the concept of the Beco potty, since it is made from plant fibers and can be buried in your garden for compost when your child no longer needs it. As toddlers get older, a seat reducer is a great thing to have on hand. Now that our daughter is 18 months, she no longer likes to use the little potties, so we use the seat reducer on the toilet exclusively.

Misses are an inevitable part of the potty learning process: sometimes urine will get on the floor. It’s a good idea to think about a system that will work in your house for cleaning it up and make sure it’s one your child can participate in. The child should be an active participant in the cleaning process so that they can connect the wet floor with the action of having peed somewhere other than the toilet or potty. Cleaning up should never involve blame or shame and it’s not intended to be an unpleasant process. The adult can just make a simple statement such as: “Oh, I see that you peed. Now the floor is wet. I’ll help you change your pants and then we can clean the floor together.”

Now that my daughter is no longer in diapers, her prefolds are getting a second life as cloths for cleaning the floor after misses. We use these and a spray bottle with a vinegar solution to clean up and the prefold and wet pants go in the pail for later washing.

Getting Started
With potty learning, as with elimination communication, you can decide whether you’d like to put the diapers away full time, or make a more gradual transition. If you’re not ready to stop the use of diapers entirely, a great way to start is by using timing to help your child have their first potty successes.

There are common times when many toddlers will need to use the bathroom and you can invite your child to use the potty during these times to familiarize them with the concept before switching them to training pants. Good times to try are: right after waking in the morning, after naps, when returning home from outings, shortly after a meal, at diaper changes, or at any other time that you have noticed your child regularly goes in their diaper. If your child is hesitant to stay on the potty for long enough to actually go, reading a book or singing a song together can encourage them to stick around without a struggle. We keep a basket of books next to the toilet at all times.

Many families who practice elimination communication use diapers much of the day, but also have a designated time for their child to go “diaper free.” This is another strategy that families can use in the early stages of potty learning as it enables both parents and children to begin to develop an awareness of the child’s lead-up to elimination, and the sensations that accompany the actual release of the bladder or bowels. If the child makes it to the toilet – wonderful! If they don’t, it is still a valuable learning experience for everyone. It’s wise to choose a time of day when neither parents nor child are likely to be stressed or overtired, and when there will be plenty of time to calmly and matter-of-factly clean up together if there is a miss.

Reading on the little potty as a young toddler

We chose this gradual approach to diaper freedom in our practice of elimination communication, and used diapers less and less as our daughter’s awareness and independence increased, putting the diapers away altogether somewhere in the neighborhood of two months ago. I definitely feel that there has been a direct connection between time without diapers and increased awareness and independence on my daughter’s part, but I’m sure age is a factor as well.

Montessori From the Start advocates a less gradual approach, and this approach is what I have seen used in Young Children’s Communities. To quote, “Parents tell us that positive toileting comes faster if the child is in underpants both during the day and at night. Thus the child is not confused by a concept she cannot understand: sometimes it is all right to have diapers on and other times it is not.”

Regressions
With elimination communication, it’s very common for a child who once consistently signaled their need to eliminate in advance, to go back to having frequent misses. Generally this occurs during times when energy is focused on the achievement of some major developmental milestone, when the child is sick or teething, or when there is extra stress from a disrupted routine or change in the home.

Regardless of the method used for potty learning, it seems that many children hit similar periods. Montessori From the Start makes a wise statement about the role of the parent in instances where the child is struggling with potty leaning: “The appropriate response of parents whose child is having difficulty with toilet awareness is not to give up on her but to redouble their efforts to help. Just like parents of a child having trouble with reading or mathematics, parents of a child having difficulty with toilet learning need patience and must use their resources and ingenuity if their child is to succeed.

In the earlier days with elimination communication, I found that I handled these temporary changes better when I remembered what the true goal was: building a relationship of trust with my daughter so that she knew she could tell me what she needed and I would do all I could to help her get it. Now that we have reached this later stage, I’m constantly reminding myself that the goal is not necessarily to never have a miss or a mess, but to foster my child’s independence and nurture her self-confidence so that, when she is ready, she can use the bathroom without assistance, in full understanding of her body’s signals and needs.

What strategies for potty learning have worked for you and your child? What age felt ‘right’ for you? 

I’m linking this post up with Montessori Monday at One Hook Wonder and Living Montessori Now


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If you’re getting started with elimination communication or potty learning, you may want to enter my giveaway. The book EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy is rich with respectful ideas for parents!

EC Simplified: Book Review and Giveaway ***Closed***

***This Giveaway is closed. Stay tuned for an announcement of the winner, and scroll down to the “Buy It” section to learn where you can find the book.***

I bumped into Andrea Olson, author of EC Simplified, in the comments section of a few articles on Elimination Communication and her insights piqued my interest enough that I clicked through to her website. Excited about her then soon to be released book, I introduced myself and was honored and thrilled when she agreed to send me a copy to review.

Having practiced EC for the past seventeen months, my daughter is now almost completely dry during the day and goes through phases at night, but is dry more often than not during sleep as well. EC has worked wonderfully for us, and I feel that we have been pretty successful. That said, I looked forward to reading Andrea’s perspective and finding another resource to recommend to parents who are considering elimination communication, but I didn’t expect to learn any new strategies. Silly me – I thought I knew it all, but boy was I wrong!

Andrea’s book has proven to be a hugely valuable resource, even at this stage of the game. As mama to an almost one year old, she has practiced EC herself, but it’s clear that she has gone much further than simply drawing on her personal experience. She has researched the way other cultures potty their infants, and has spoken to many parents in the US who practice EC as well, and she has combined all of the wonderful insights this research has given her to create what is arguably the most valuable book on EC to date.

I am amazed by how well Andrea managed to cover every issue and question I myself have asked about EC, as well as just about everything I have ever seen come up on message boards and in real-life discussions with moms practicing, or thinking about trying EC. She has truly thought of everything! She addresses common issues like what to try if you’re offering pottytunities and your baby isn’t going, but peeing on the floor two minutes later instead, or what to do if your baby doesn’t usually signal. She includes a number of great lists, with every idea imaginable for potty receptables, signals your baby may make, waterproof bed or diaper free area setups, EC positions, and so much more. She also includes great photos that make it much easier to visualize everything she talks about.

While EC tends to be most common in attachment parenting circles, Andrea is careful to take different styles and situations into account. She offers tips for parents who are practicing EC full or part time, parents who work, parents who choose or do not choose to use EC at night, late starters, EC while babywearing, and much more.

The book also gives readers access to a special section of Andrea’s website, rich with resources for the ECing parent, including logs you can fill out as you work to determine your baby’s natural timing, a sample letter to alternate caregivers, and much more. There are also a number of exclusive how-to videos that are becoming available in this section of the site throughout the year. In addition to all of the great info that Andrea herself has written, she includes a thorough list of books and other resources that parents looking for more information or support can turn to. She has even coordinated with several companies offering EC supplies to provide coupon codes for her readers. If you have training pants and puddle pads to buy, this book can pay for itself in coupon codes alone!

My new, trusted friend: Andrea and her diaper free baby

It’s hard to find things I didn’t love about EC Simplified, but I’ll note a couple of things you might notice as you read:

Andrea writes in a very informal, conversational style that is not usually something I like in a book. It took some getting used to, but as I got further into the book, I found that it was actually very appropriate for the subject matter and endears her to you as you read. By the time I made it halfway through, I felt as though I was listening to advice from a trusted friend.

The book is not available in a hard copy, which is another thing I usually find disappointing. I love to be able to thumb through a book and hold it in my hands. The beauty of the ebook in this case, however, is that it provides you with an easily searchable resource. Trying to remember what Andrea suggested for the baby who protests pottying at night? Do a quick search within the document for the word “night” and you have what you’re looking for in no time! In the end, I was really thrilled with this format for Andrea’s book. It also enables you to click through to the many valuable links she has taken time to provide within the text itself, putting all kinds of great resources right at your fingertips.

Overall, I can honestly recommend this resource to any parent interested in EC, even if you already have a routine in place that’s working. You may skim over many parts if you already feel comfortable with EC, but you will undoubtedly find a wealth of information that will help you as your journey with EC progresses. If you’re not yet practicing EC, this book will give you a tip or a trick for every situation and you’ll finish feeling ready to give this thing a try.

Buy It
You can buy your copy of EC Simplified, on Andrea’s website: ECSimplified.com. If you don’t have much time for reading, you have the option to purchase the audio book instead. Both options are available at a special discount for the month of August, so if you’re interested, now is the time! You can also earn a special discount by visiting ECSimplified.com and using the form on the right to sign up for Andrea’s newsletter.

Win it
Andrea has offered to give away one digital + audiobook package to one of our readers! To enter to win, follow the directions below.

Mandatory Entry: Visit Andrea’s website: ECSimplified.com and tell us one thing learned, either about her or about EC.

Bonus Entries

  • Post this giveaway on your Facebook page or wall and leave a comment with the link. You can use this status update: Enter to win @EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy @The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps. Giveaway ends September 23 and is open worldwide.
    Be sure to attach the URL for this post to your update: http://teamkemendo.blogspot.com/2011/08/ec-simplified-book-review-and-giveaway.html
  • Follow @NewMommyFiles on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Follow @ECSimplified on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Tweet about this giveaway (up to 5 times total, at least 24 hours apart). You can tweet this text: #Win a copy of @ECSimplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy from @NewMommyFiles http://bit.ly/obNmDB {9.23; Worldwide}

Rules

  • This giveaway is open worldwide
  • You must leave each entry as a separate comment. We will count each comment as one entry only.
  • The winner will be chosen via random.org after the giveaway closes and notified via email. Be sure to use a valid email address when you comment so that you can be contacted if you win! Giveaway closes at 11:59pm PST on September 23rd

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Disclosure: I was given a free digital copy of EC Simplified for this review. Because I have many readers who are interested in EC and I believed that Andrea had a valuable resource to offer, I invited her to participate in this giveaway with me. All opinions expressed are my own, and I don’t benefit directly from purchases of EC Simplified. See my full disclosure here.

The Reflection Post: What’s New, What’s Broken, and What’s to Love

The power went out around here at exactly five minutes past blog o’clock yesterday, so I missed you all, but hey – I’m here now! For this edition of what’s new Wednesday Thursday, I thought I’d take a look at some of the broader goings-on around here. We’re swiftly approaching miss Annabelle’s (one and a) half birthday, so I have been spending a lot of time looking at what works, what doesn’t, and what I’ve learned that I need to remember for next time. Perhaps my successes and missteps could be helpful to you, too?

I sort of went over breastfeeding last week, so feel free to refer to that post if you’re curious and missed it. If you want the Reader’s Digest version, it’s going well, but I’m sort of done with nursing to sleep. If there’s one breastfeeding related thing I’ll do differently next time, it’s finding loving ways to soothe my baby to sleep that don’t involve nursing.

Speaking of sleep…
Oh, goodness. Every time I think I have the beast that is infant/toddler sleep conquered, I am proven wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s hard. I have absolutely no idea how to do it “right.” Some advice leads me to believe that I should be putting Annabelle to bed at 6pm on the dot every evening, and other advice encourages me to wait for her cues and just go with it. No matter which option I choose, we have a frustrating (for me) dance of nursing, peeing, squirming, naming body parts, switching sides, and peeing again that lasts an absolute minimum of 40 minutes, but has gone on for as long as four (yes, 4) hours. Side note: It felt like a very cruel joke when I emerged from the four hour dance and could not for the life of me get my bottle of wine open.

I will say this: cosleeping works for us. When I go to sleep with Annabelle, it’s a breeze and we both awake rested. The trouble is, I need less sleep than she does, and there’s a good, long list of things I can only really accomplish when she’s sleeping. So, it only makes sense that I should help her get settled in for her first stretch of sleep and get me some mama time before she wakes to nurse and I take her into my bed for the night.

I have been trying different things and finally broke down and purchased some sleep books. The No Cry Sleep Solution has been mentioned to me many times, but Anna mentioned it at just the right time, and the toddler and preschooler version is now on its way to me, or more likely in my box. I also purchased a more mainstream book, which I may read a few more pages of before I toss it in the garbage. I think that may be a big enough topic for a post of its own, but feel free to add your sleep advice if you have it! We already have a consistent evening routine and fairly consistent waking and napping times, a bath at night, time outside each day, and all of that.

One thing that is going quite well is EC, or Elimination Communication. We are very rarely using diapers or waterproof trainers now, but opting for training underwear or bloomers instead, even for outings. I have tried to stick with a diaper at night, just to save the mattress in case there should be a miss, but Annabelle protests most of the time. She has been showing for preference for sleep au naturale, which is fine with me. She now lets me know that she needs to go by excitedly saying, “poot!” I think that came from poop, but you never do know. She names everything these days. (Other new words include beer and bra. I’m sure everyone who overhears our chats in public thinks I’m a fantastic mother).

I used to leave a little potty nearby at all times, so that Annabelle could go to it on her own when needed. She never did take advantage, however, so I stopped the practice. Today, there was one sitting out in the living room and while I was making coffee, Annabelle walked over to it and sat down. She sits on them frequently, but never uses them for their intended purpose without taking me with her, so I didn’t think anything of it and continued what I was doing. She then picked the potty up and brought it into the kitchen. This is another thing she does regularly, so again I thought nothing of it. Then I heard a splash. She had gone pee on her own – for the first time – but she had also poured it all over herself and the floor. Poor kid! I suppose I’ll be leaving a potty out all the time now, and watching a bit more closely when Annabelle sits on it.

I am definitely continually pleased with our decision to practice EC, and plan to do the same again if we add to our family. Of course our next will be a completely different child, so we may find that we do things in a slightly different way, but I can’t see myself going back to diapering!

I don’t have any recent babywearing photos, but here’s
Annabelle with the babywearing goddess’ cat :)

Babywearing, I should tell you, has changed. I’m surprised, and even a bit sad, to report that I have fallen out of love with my Beco. It just plain stopped fitting comfortably, no matter how I adjusted it. I asked a babywearing goddess friend of mine for help, as I was sure I just needed to adjust something differently – my favorite carrier ever couldn’t possibly fail me! Sadly, she confirmed what I feared – it just doesn’t work with my frame. She was kind of enough to let me borrow one of her Mei Tai carriers and I love it, so I have arranged to purchase a BabyHawk this weekend and I’m pretty excited about it. That will be my go-to for longer outings and hikes during which Annabelle may have long periods of wanting to snuggle up instead of walk. For short outings, I keep a pouch sling on hand so I can help her get comfortable quickly and easily while I do things like check out at the store, but for the most part, she prefers to be free and unfettered, so I’m not using any sort of carrier all that much these days.

If we have another baby, I think I will invest in a nice wrap for the early days. I was so intimidated by wrapping and tying before Annabelle was born, so I stuck with things that had more structure. I wish I had taken the plunge, however. My babywearing goddess friend has shown me a few different ways of tying wraps and they just seem like the most wonderful way of securely cuddling up to a wee one while keeping your hands free.

Overall, life with Annabelle is pretty fantastic. Yes, I’m exhausted some days and frustrated others, but this kid brings so much joy to my life that those feelings never stick around for long. When we go out, she chirps a friendly hello at every single person who walks past, and when she sees a dear friend she flails her arms and literally shakes with giggly excitement. Her curiosity forces me to notice things I never would if she weren’t around, and I’m regularly blown away and honored when I can learn new things about her. As her mother, it’s my duty to think she’s the bees knees, but seriously guys: she’s the bees knees.

What would you do differently with future children if given the chance? What are the best parenting choices you’ve made? What awesome things are your children doing?

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If you haven’t already, pop over to my facebook page and say hello. I’m giving away some tasty Guam-my treats to celebrate my first 100 blogger followers and 300 facebook “likers.” 

EC Trainers: From Newborn to Toddler

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

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I have to admit that I’m a bit compulsive in that I feel a need to try every cloth trainer on the market. If I see one I haven’t tried, I have to buy it. After all, what if the perfect trainer is out there and I just haven’t found it yet? This would obviously be a tragedy. And so I shop.

What works best for us trainer-wise has changed with each new stage, and is likely to change again soon. What works for the newborn does not necessarily work for the toddler, or even for the three month old. While we use many of the same trainers we have used from the outset, our favorites at each stage have varied. What has worked for us may not be ideal for other families, but may give those planning to practice EC some ideas for things they would like to try. Here’s what each stage has looked like for us:

Newborn
Unique Issues
Size: It’s tough to find trainers that fit properly throughout infancy, but at this stage especially. Most popular brands of training pants are designed for children who have reached traditional potty training age. The smallest commercially available pants usually start at 18 months, but even those can be tough to find. For the infant, I have found the following brands:

  • EcaPants by EcaWare Baby (waterproof or non-waterproof trainers) 
  • Bikini Britches by Daisy Doodles (waterproof or non-waterproof trainers) 
  • WhyMommy Trainers (waterproof training pants, no longer being made, but you can look for seconds or clearance items)
  • EcoNix (non waterproof training pants, often sold out)

Frequency of pees: Newborns “go” a lot, and since families practicing EC usually aim to change the infant as soon as they become wet, this means that you may need a larger quantity of whatever you’re using for backup.

What Worked Best
At Home: Since newborns aren’t mobile, it’s easy to do a lot of diaper free time at home and simply place them on an absorbent blanket, large prefold, or waterproof pad in case of a miss. This cuts down on the number of diapers or trainers needed. When I was needing a break from diaper free time, I preferred a prefold and diaper belt.

At Night: Our daughter has been squirmy from the start, so a prefold was hard to keep in place at night without a cover. My preference for sleep at this stage was waterproof training pants.

On the Go: Waterproof training pants were great, but I wasn’t brave enough to try offering “pottytunities” while out at this stage, so I sometimes opted for a prefold or fitted diaper with a cover instead.

3-6 Months
Unique Issues
Frequency of pees: At this stage, pees are still frequent, but becoming less so, and are greater in volume. This means what used to be absorbent enough may not be anymore.

Increase in movement: As baby starts to squirm more in preparation for crawling, it becomes harder to keep them on a waterproof pad for diaper free time.

What Worked Best
At Home: Prefolds with a diaper belt were fantastic, as were fitteds with no cover, since they stayed in place beautifully despite squirming. Diaper free time was still important, but we practiced it a bit less.

At Night: Our daughter started squirming off of the waterproof pad protecting our sheets at this age, and since misses were of higher volume this caused problems here and there. I had to start adding an insert to our EcaPants, or using a fitted with a cover. A pocket or AIO with side snaps would have been great at this stage, but I did not have any.

On the Go: Waterproof training pants were my preference, as this was the stage when we really began using the potty on the go and these made that much easier to do.

6-12 Months
Unique Issues
Volume: The transition from frequent little pees to super soaking wets happened right around six months, so we really had to start thinking about absorbency.

The squirm factor: The biggest changes in this period that affected our use of cloth were crawling and walking. Annabelle had always been wriggly, but when she began walking just before nine months, the squirm factor increased one hundred fold. She was suddenly driven to move. All the time.

Velcro: It was around nine or ten months that Annabelle learned to undo tabs on diapers. This is not so large an issue for the ECing baby as it is for the traditionally diapered child, and in fact it sometimes served as a cue that she needed to go, but it’s still something to consider.

What Worked Best
At Home:  Because the squirminess made diaper changes quite a challenge, we did a lot more bare bottomed time. A prefold and belt was still a viable option, but it was sometimes just too much to fuss with.

At Night: With the volume of misses, and the increase in movement making it difficult to stay on top of the waterproof pad, I had to begin using a diaper with a cover at night. We still had only fitteds and prefolds, so that’s what we used.

On the Go: Waterproof trainers were great for errands that were just us, but they did leak a bit. To avoid getting others and their furniture and clothing wet, if we were going out with friends who may hold Annabelle, or visiting someone’s house, we generally went with a fitted diaper and cover just in case.

Under the Nile training pants peeking
through. Still a little too big, but they w

12 Months and Beyond
Unique Issues
Leaking: Waterproof trainers now leak when not changed promptly. This is by design, but means extra attentiveness on the part of the caregiver is required to avoid damp clothing.

Increased Independence: As infants become toddlers, they become more able to do things, like pull up underwear, for themselves.

Teething and Other Stages: At all ages, there are periods where misses are more common due to things like teething, or the child being engrossed in the practice of a new skill and subsequently forgetting to signal when they need to go pee. For Annabelle, these stages have been all the more common since about twelve months.

More Options: By this time, there are a few more options for training pants since the child is nearing traditional potty learning age.

What Works Best
At Home: We have begun to lean toward training pants that pull up and down easily, both waterproof and non-waterproof. This way Annabelle can practice pulling up and down without as much help from me and her dad. When we’re in a smooth patch where misses are uncommon, we often use plain cotton training pants, like those made by Under the Nile, and even Gerber training pants. I have also found that bloomers from now too small dress sets make fantastic, easy to pull up and down underwear.

When I am particularly touched out, or misses have been frequent because of some other change in development or mood, we opt for waterproof trainers at home, since our heavy wetter goes right through the alternative. Bikini Britches and WhyMommy are the at home waterproof preference since they pull up and down, which means practice for Annabelle.

Bloomers/Underwear on the head, and
Gerber’s waterproof training pants on the
bottom. These are the one thing I wish I
had never tried! Annabelle thinks they’re
hilarious because they make so much
noise!

At Night: Misses are not terribly common, but they were frequently ending in wet pajamas and wet sheets when we tried to use trainers at night, so we switched full time simply for comfort and ease of mind. We invested in a few all in one and pocket diapers which we put on just before bed. GroVias work beautifully since their side snap design makes them easy to pull up and down like a trainer. I just recently purchased some fleece covers that I may try over trainers at night to prevent leaks, but still allow for quick and easy pottying since we usually make at least one visit a night. We’ll see how that goes!

On the Go: Now that using the toilet in public places and others’ homes is the norm, we don’t have to worry about diapers while out. We generally prefer waterproof training pants for ease of mind, but we rarely find that we have to change them while outside the house. A few times I have been brave enough to use non waterproof pants, and soon we’ll probably be able to switch to them exclusively, but for now we err on the side of caution. I love EcaPants for outings simply because public toilets can be so large, making it hard, even with her potty insert, for Annabelle to sit on them comfortably with training pants at her ankles. EcaPants have a drop down flap instead of needing to be pulled down to the ankles, so they’re ideal for these situations.

One of the wonderful things about cloth and EC is that it has taught me to go with the flow. Things are constantly changing, requiring us to rethink our options and find new solutions as problems arise. Each new stage brings a new challenge, and a new excuse to adjust our stash of cloth training pants.

***

freedom of cloth carnivalVisit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

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