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A Graduation Story

A Daytime Graduate at 24 Months
by Ksenia Barton

When my son was 2 years old I came to the realization one day that my son Wolfgang was a daytime graduate and had been for a while. We almost never have misses and my son takes responsibility for telling us when he has to go. We don't have to remind him or figure out the timing of the next “pottytunity.” Even during a recent very bad bout of diarrhea that lasted for a couple of weeks, there were no misses. We help him with clothing and keep him company and read during poops, but he is even starting to pull down his own pants and underwear often, and will head towards the toilet himself (we use the Freedom Trainer) if we are too slow to help him.

We started at birth but struggled to notice any signals other than his passing gas. Wolfgang peed extremely frequently and generally was "hard to EC" from what I understand from reading about other babies. Or maybe we just weren't attuned enough in spite of babywearing full time. We used full time waterproof cloth diaper backups for most of the time in the first year. Wolfgang went through months and months of complete refusal to potty anywhere starting at about 8 months and at times I truly felt like giving up were it not for support from the online EC community. Since we ditched diapers completely at 18 mo, my son’s progress with daytime pottying has been very gradual. Ditching the diapers created immediate progress and we went down to 2 or 3 misses per day. The misses gradually became fewer, but all pottying was still initiated by us. Then he gradually started letting us know about poops. And eventually he started letting us know about pees. And he started to take full responsibility for keeping track of his own elimination with no pressure from us.

At 24 months, Wolfgang is extremely strong-willed. I don't know how he would have responded to conventional potty training at this age, but I am positive that if he wasn't thrilled about the idea he would definitely not cooperate in any way at all. I am so glad that we don't have to go there. Mothering him is challenging enough, and I am grateful that I do not have the burden of diapering as well.

When I first learned that 24 months was a pretty typical graduation age for EC’d children, I thought "big deal, that's not *so* early". Looking back now, I realize that I saved hundreds of diaper washings and changes even *before* gradhood. The whole process has helped our communication and mutual understanding. On one hand, I was proactive (responding to timing, ditching diapers, offering different pottying places); on the other hand the process was very child-led, with Wolfgang gradually progressing at his own rate and participating (or not) according to his own preferences.

It is quite rare that I meet non-ECed children of his age who are not wearing disposables full time. I don't feel smug about it, but I do feel sad that those toddlers are not being given the opportunity for being in charge of their own bodies in that particular way. Being in charge of his body is *very* important to Wolfgang and we try to avoid power struggles in that area as much as possible.

I want to give lots of encouragement to all the parents out there who may not be totally in tune with their babies' every eyelid flutter, squirm, and squeak. I want to cheer on moms who look at a huge pile of wet diapers at the end of the day and wonder why they're doing this crazy EC thing. I want to say "you go!" to moms whose babies pee every 10 minutes and can't possibly catch them all. I want to say "hang in there" to moms whose babies want absolutely nothing to do with potties, toilets, sinks, or strips of lawn right now. You *are* doing something wonderful for your baby. Your gentle, loving persistence and detective work *will* pay off. EC *doesn't* have to be perfect to work. It will all click into place - I promise!


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