Daniel and Georgia Julian live in a tiny house Macgregor in Canberra, Australia with their daughter Imari Rose and two dogs, after having moved back home from 2 years living in New Zealand.
They first came across EC while out shopping for more cloth nappies when Imari was about 5 months old. Daniel is a Landscape Architect and Georgia is a HypnoBirthing practitioner and WAHM.
“It made me feel like I was doing a better job at learning how she communicates. Before I heard about EC, I had come across Attachment Parenting (AP). With AP, communication and attachment is key and by learning EC and helping Imari to learn it too. I realised that it was helping me and her to bond better and be more secure in the attachment. I know that Imari trusts me because of my attachment parenting and I think that this has made our EC journey a lot easier.”
I started practicing EC with Imari when she was about 9 months old. It took me some time to digest the “how to” and believe that I could do it once I’d discovered it, and since we are living with my mother while we are building a house I thought it might be difficult to EC Imari. But I bit the bullet one day and just started. We read lots of books on EC as well as Charndra’s wonderful website so I was “intellectually” prepared for the journey.
Imari has always been part time nappy free anyway because I didn’t ever want her to get nappy rash and fortunately she never has. I would just put her onto a couple of towels and let her roll around with her toys. If she wet, it didn’t matter because the towels soaked it up.
As for number-2’s, Imari has been pretty regular since she started solids so I knew that once it was done I most often would not see another one till the next day.
I used the infant sign language for “toilet” whenever I offered it to her, and I said “wee wees” and “poo poos” and “potty” to her so that she would begin to learn the words for it. I have one potty in the toilet, and one potty in the lounge room where she usually plays.
Also, while she was on the potty I would make little grunting/straining noises – just like she does when she does number-2s and I very gently squeezed her tummy. She caught on very quickly.
I also had a book called, “Whose Poo?” by Jeannette Rowe which was a great book to read while she does her business, and keeps her on the potty for a few moments longer because sometimes she would leave her number-2s half-done and I wanted her to learn to finish it off before rising!!
I also spent several days just “listening” to her to see if she makes any particular sounds before or during elimination and mopped up the messes while I was learning.
We used Bambino Mio nappies for the first few months of her life because mum bought us a kit. They’re rectangular cotton pre-folds. They were “ok” but could never handle the nappy explosion which was so common during breastfeeding…
Then we moved to Canberra and I found Mandy Mac nappies and Bumwear Covers which worked very well together and I never had another problem with nappy explosion ever again. I also tried Cushy-Tushies and Mini La La all-in-one nappies but decided I liked the Mandy Mac bamboos the best…
However, Mandy Mac are not a “fast removal” type of nappy and there were times when I just couldn’t get her nappy off fast enough to catch her elimination. Eventually, we went to training pants and bought about 10 pairs of fluffies (cheapo towelling ones with a bit of foam in the crotch from places like Best and Less, or Target), and 7 pairs of Bright Bots that have a little bit of plastic in the crotch. At home we’d use the fluffies, and when we’re at friends houses we use the Bright Bots so that there is a bit more protection for their furnishings.
After beginning EC, Imari caught on to what we were doing and started becoming a bit more obvious in her noises. At 10 months old she still wasn’t speaking but she was crawling around and would sometimes play with her potty. Everytime she did so, I would put her on it so that she learned that you “sit” on it. Once she began walking at 12 months, she would voluntarily seek it out to sit on.
In day-to-day life it made me feel like I was doing a better job at learning how she communicates. Before I heard about EC, I had come across Attachment Parenting (AP) and realised that this was the kind of parenting style that I preferred rather than leaving Imari to “cry it out”, be transported in a pram, or be left alone for any length of time which is common in Western society.
With AP, communication and attachment is key and by learning EC and helping Imari to learn it too. I realised that it was helping me and her to bond better and be more secure in the attachment. I know that Imari trusts me because of my attachment parenting and I think that this has made our EC journey a lot easier.
This is where our EC journey had to take a pause. I was doing my best to EC Imari, but as we’re living with my mum and she is very iffy about getting her house dirty I really felt like I was in her way and not respecting her wishes. Mum never showed any interest in supporting my EC journey and our house-building was taking so long that I stopped EC for a couple of weeks when she was 13 months old.
I had become proficient in catching all Imari’s poos and would often go a whole week without a poopy nappy but I wasn’t so good at catching her wees because Imari is so active that it is physically impossible to keep up with her roving around and around the house (Mum’s house goes round in a circle, with lots of sliding doors that Imari can open, so it was just like having a circuit racing baby going round and round, poking her head into each room as she came across them). It was so tiring!
However, Imari didn’t stop wanting to use the potty and although she was nappied, she would still come across the potty and put herself onto it. (Bless her!) Eventually at 15 months, I had to re-start because our nappy covers have worn out and I’m not prepared to go and buy any more because I’m sure that she will not need them very soon!
In really busy times I use cloth nappies when we go out shopping, because I found it hard to get to any toilet fast enough if she gave me her signal. I change her as soon as she’s done a wee and I can get to a change room. And if I’m really busy at home it doesn’t really matter.
If I’m outside, I let her roam around with a pair of shorts on that I cut the crotch out of (like Chinese babies have) so she can wee wherever she likes out there. I also have some leggings and trousers that I cut the crotch out of for winter, and about 5 pairs of baby leg warmers so only her bum is exposed in cold weather.
Indoors, we have wooden floors so wees are easy to clean up. Since Imari is an attachment baby, I have her with me almost everywhere I go. The only time she’s not with me is when she’s sleeping in her own bed. This means that I’m “there” for her to watch and mop up messes if I get it all wrong.
I can’t imagine how much it would have cost us to use disposables. We have only used them very occasionally when travelling and we know we won’t have access to a washing machine. Some say that you can save thousands of dollars over time by using cloth nappies and EC.
We dry-pail any nappies that we do use which reduces water, we use soap nuts so that we don’t have chemicals on Imari’s bum and we use tea tree oil drops as disinfectant in the wash. Part time nappy free combined with cloth nappies is a really good option for any busy mum!
Regrettably, an area of significance has been in the reaction of some people who I thought were my friends. People who think they know everything, or people who believe everything that their paediatrician has told them. Babies being “ready” for toilet training does not happen at 2 years old – contrary to popular opinion.
The baby is ready at birth – it is whether the PARENT is ready to deal with it that is the true issue! I’ve been accused of being a “stupid hippy”, a “Neanderthal”, and “honestly Georgia, children don’t run around naked in the forest anymore!” – they do in my house 😉 and that I am psychologically damaging my daughter.
I console myself in the words of John F. Kennedy…
“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth: persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
If these people did their due diligence, they may question what their paediatrician tells them and do what they think is right, and instinctive for their child.
You definitely need to be light hearted and relaxed. You also need to NOT care about pooey accidents and wees all over your favourite collection of books. Your child is more important than any material goods. However, if you’re patient and willing to give it a try it is worth it in the end. The key is to remember that you are NOT Potty Training. You are training YOURSELF to respond to your child, and through this your child will respond to you in ways that makes it easier for the two of you to communicate your needs.
I know that for my next baby (whenever he/she graces us) I will start from birth. Imari started at 9 months and although she is 15 months now, she is not completely nappy free yet – but I’m not concerned or worried. I believe that if I show signs of worry or concern she will pick up on it and this may detract from the learning we’ve both done so far. However, I do have a friend who EC’d her 3 children from birth and they were all out off nappies completely before 12 months! It’s exciting when we, as parents, get it right and the confidence it gives children is beyond measure.
BA, DipEd (Sec), HBCE
HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator
HypnoBirthing & Prenatal Classes
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