Everything Eco-novice Knows About Early Potty Training

{This page is continually updated.}

Early potty training isn't about never putting a diaper on your newborn. It isn't about getting your 9-month-old to pee every single time in a potty. It's about sometimes giving your baby an opportunity to do her business somewhere besides her diaper. Early potty training is as simple as taking off your baby's diaper and plopping her on the potty.

I first delved into early potty training (a.k.a. elimination communication) when attempting to potty train my first child around the age of 2 1/2. I found it maddening that he would sit for 30 minutes on the potty, put his underpants back on and immediately poop in them. How could that be normal? Out of frustration, and just for the heck of it, I decided to put my second child (then 8 months old) on the toilet and see what happened. She pooped, and I was hooked.

This page includes every post I have written about early potty training, including:

So if you are interested in learning more about early potty training, read on!

Early Potty Training 101

A Brief History of Potty Training
In addition to outlining a brief (and enlightening) history of potty training, this post discusses why you should ignore the AAP guidelines for potty readiness, which are based upon myths and theories that have been proven false in published medical studies.

10 Benefits of Early Potty Training
This post describes various medical benefits for early potty training, as well as Eco-novice's own view on the greatest benefits of early potty training.

How to Potty Train a Baby
This post introduces three basic stages of early potty training.

The AAP guidelines for potty readiness (e.g., child can put on/ take off clothes) are based on outdated and debunked theories about potty training. So I decided to create my own list of signs or indications that now is a great time to start putting your child on the potty. See if any of Eco-novice's "signs of potty readiness" describe your child!

Tips and Tricks for Successful Early Potty Training

Top Ten Tricks for Early Potty Training Success
Just want a quick summary of my best tips and tricks for early potty training success? Start with this recent post. It includes links to more in depth information for most of the suggestions.

The Best Potties for Early Potty Training
Most potties are designed for toddlers. This post describes our favorite potties for potty training those less than one-year-old and up.

Favorite Potty Training Stuff
An earlier post that also includes our least favorite potties as well as training pantsbooks and DVDs about potty training and prizes.

I Love Board Books of Baby Faces
Entertainment is an important part of success with early potty training. These board books have served me well during potty training.

Comparing Brands of Reusable Training Pants
A comparison of four different brands of cloth training pants test driven extensively on kids from 9 months to 3 years. I discuss materials, absorption, how waterproof they are, ease of pulling up and down, fit, bulk, comfort, when we prefer each variety, and price.

Absorbent Yet Trim: Hanna Andersson Training Unders
Our new favorite! Hanna Andersson's Training Unders are an absorbent training pant that fits and feels like underwear and is made of 100% organic cotton.
These are times during the day when it is either especially easy to put your baby on the potty or when he is especially likely to use the potty, or both!

Top Methods of Entertaining a Child on the Potty
How to get your child to sit on the potty and stay on the potty long enough to relax and do her business: this is one of the central dilemmas of potty training. Whatever age your child may be, here are some ideas for getting them to take a seat and make a deposit.

What clothing you put on your baby influences how often you are willing to plop her on the pot!

How to Clean the Potty
Cleaning pasty poop off the potty is a lot more fun than cleaning it off your child's bottom.

Early Potty Training My Third Child

My latest adventure in early potty training.  If you'd like to read an overview that shows the process from beginning to end, this post provides a summary of my experience potty training my third child from 4 months to 2 years. The links below provide the gory details for each stage of the process as I lived it.

Early Potty Training My Second Child

My first adventure in early potty training. Read a tale of early potty training from start to finish!

Potty Training My First Child When He Was a Preschooler 

This experience provided the motivation for trying early potty training with my second child.

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How to Make Letting Go of Clutter a Little Easier

Naming your clutter can be the first step on the road to freedom.

I finally checked out The Happiness Project from the library. I know everyone else has already read it and discussed it in all three of your book groups, but it takes me a while to get around to reading the bestsellers. At any rate, I enjoyed the chapter that addresses clutter. While working to reduce the stuff in her house, author Gretchen Rubin identified types of clutter she and others have trouble getting rid of. Several categories I immediately identified with.

Types of Clutter
  • Bargain clutter: things that you bought because they were on sale
  • Freebie clutter: things you have because you were able to get them for free
  • Nostalgic clutter: momentos from the past
  • Aspirational clutter: things that you own and aspire to use someday
  • Buyer’s remorse clutter: things that you bought which you later realized you didn’t need or want, but you hang onto it rather than admit that you wasted your money on a bad purchase. 
  • Conservation clutter: things that are theoretically useful but currently useless to you

Celebrate a Special Day with a Special Breakfast

I love breakfast, so for special occasions like holidays or birthdays or even just the arrival of the weekend, I love to celebrate with a special breakfast.

We regularly have whole grain pancakes, French toast, German pancakes, or scrambled eggs, for breakfast. If you are used to eating cold cereal with milk for breakfast, any hot homemade deliciousness could be a special breakfast. Around here, I need to kick it up a notch to make breakfast special.

The Power of the Purse

Yesterday I was in the library with my son, looking at books about Cesar Chavez. I flipped one open and read about how they used to spray toxic pesticides on the fields while the workers were in the fields. I closed the book and slid it back onto the shelf. As I often do, I decided to shield my son who is in Kindergarten from this particular detail for a few more years. Reading about Cesar Chavez reminded me of a time several eons ago when I sat in front of a class of 32 fourth graders in downtown Los Angeles discussing the grape boycott as part of our California history lesson. "You see," I told them, "when you buy something, it's like you are voting for it. You aren't just buying a product. You are supporting the companies who make the product. And if you don't agree with what they are doing, then you shouldn't give them your money." I told them what a powerful message ordinary people were able to send these companies simply by choosing to not buy something.

This is the power of the purse. And while public policy and government action must play a major role in order to address many of the most dire problems our planet and its inhabitants face, it is also true that individual choices, including our own personal consumption choices, are often the fastest way we can impact our own health as well as send messages to the marketplace. Businesses tend to notice when they stop selling products and stop making money.

The U.S. – China Greener Consumption Forum

The U.S. and China are the world's two "consumer super powers." And on March 22, 2013 at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., women leaders from both countries will gather for The U.S. – China Greener Consumption Forum to meet and address the environmental challenges their countries face due to consumption. The Forum will convene leading consumer advocates, green entrepreneurs, scientists and public policy specialists to explore ways to marshal the "power of the purse" to protect the planet.

Finding Non-toxic Lipstick Using the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

The only make-up I ever wear these days is lipstick. I like lipstick because it instantly makes you look done up (my sister taught me this trick). Less discerning souls might even think you spent 30 minutes in front of a mirror putting on makeup and trying to look your best.

Recently I decided I wanted to purchase some non-toxic lipstick. Some of you may have heard about lead in lipstick. The FDA has an allowable level of lead in lipstick. Personally, I'd like my lipstick to be lead-free and toxin-free, since I am both constantly eating as well as absorbing through my skin its ingredients. Although I have shifted much of my purchasing to online simply because I loathe shopping with my small children, make-up is the kind of thing I like to shop for in person. So here's what I did.

The Poop Report: Diapering and Pottying at 15 Months


I've been putting my third child on the potty since she was about 5 months old. Now at 15 months, I feel like we are in the home stretch. She goes in the potty many more times per day than she goes in her diaper. In fact, one day recently she exclusively used the potty. She went zero times in her diaper for an entire day! Another day, only one wet diaper. However, then there are the days when she refuses to sit on the potty and then wanders off diaper-free to the living room and pees a huge puddle on the floor. If there is one term I would use to describe this period it is Hit and Miss. It's mostly hit, but the misses tend to be fairly annoying and memorable.

My Favorite Non-toxic Hair Products

My hair after washing with shampoo bar and rinsing 
with vinegar (no conditioner).

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database

To determine the toxicity or safety of products or specific ingredients, I often consult EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, which evaluates the safety of personal products based upon research regarding known and probable carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicants, as well as allergens and irritants. The higher the score, the more potential toxins your product contains. Personally, I pay more attention to ingredients linked to cancer and developmental/ reproductive problems than those that are allergens (essential oils are often potential allergens or skin irritants).

The one problem with this database is that sometimes it is out-of-date or incomplete. Sometimes for the product I am investigating, an old formulation might be listed. I always cross-check the ingredients listed in the Cosmetic Database against a list of online ingredients (either from the manufacturer or from an online drugstore that lists all ingredients such as Vitacost). Other times the product is not in the database at all. Sometimes I use the Build Your Own Report function of the database, which takes a few minutes, but is easier than typing in individual ingredients in the search box. And then you have your custom report to refer back to whenever you please.

Here are the hair products I am currently using.

The Friday Question: How Do You Store Raw Meat?

Ground turkey packaged straight from the
butcher counter into my Pyrex container.

Although I aspire to being disposable-plastic-free, I am far from there, particularly in the realm of food. But I do try to draw a line somewhere, and the line I have drawn is this: I do not buy meat packaged on styrofoam trays. Not even the organic ground turkey at Costco, even though it is quite a good price for organic ground turkey.

When I decided to stop purchasing meat packaged in styrofoam, I resolved to instead buy ground turkey at the meat counter in Whole Foods, so I could have it packaged in my own reusable glass Pyrex containers. After using the meat, I could just put the Pyrex through the dishwasher and store until my next meat purchase. I could also use them for any other raw meat I bought at Whole Foods.

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