Updated: Sep 13, 2022
I’ve been in a practice called Elimination Communication with Anaiyana. From two weeks after she was born, I began paying attention to her elimination cues, responding to them by holding her over the sink and making a “psssst” sound as she peed and pooped. This practice supports her in her body awareness as well as deepening our communication and her feeling my responsiveness and honoring of her needs. She’s been consistently peeing in the sink for many months, as I hold her legs in a squat position. Obviously not catching all her cues but staying consistent with the practice.
A couple months ago I noticed a resistance in her about being held over the “potty." I’m not interested in forcing anything upon her, so I honored her resistance and didn’t push her to keep peeing in the potty. I’d offer the potty again with words and sign language and she still said “no” with her body. I felt curious about why she had all of a sudden stopped being open to being held to pee.
I realized she was wanting more autonomy in the process. Just like I’m witnessing in so many other areas of her life now she wants to try to do things on her own. And, she wants to assist me in life activities like emptying the wash, cooking, and other daily activities. She started walking when she turned one, so her literal ability to create more independence is naturally occurring. The umbilical cord of our connection continues to stretch. So it makes sense in the arena of pottying needs she would be desiring more sovereignty.
So I set up her tiny potty on the floor of the bathroom and introduced her to it. She loved being able to climb onto it herself and sit and pee. And she did so with eagerness and enjoyment. In hindsight it seems so obvious now.
"I notice this is my ongoing practice as her caregiver: to stay updated with where she is developmentally."
I notice this is my ongoing practice as her caregiver: to stay updated with where she is developmentally. I was still treating her like a baby and she’s actually shifting into toddlerhood. What had been working no longer was current. And my outdated approach created resistance and pushback on her end. Without having words to say “hey mama, meet me where I am now,” she used her best communication which was a refusal to let me hold her over the potty anymore. I recognize this is a continual practice on my part of seeing my child for where she is at now. It keeps me active in my presence. It keeps me growing with her. It keeps me staying in connection and attunement with her.
It is in my continual curiosity, my paying attention, and my genuine desire to feel connected and in communication (which is a two way conversation) that I could allow myself to pivot and discover who is here now. Not trying to stay fixed in my ways but to be malleable so that I too can grow, shift and keep transforming in my relationship with her. Feeling her resistance shift to enjoyment and her unwillingness shift to curiosity was the greatest satisfaction.
Synced back up again. Ahhhh.
And now, after a month of her peeing in her little potty, she has graduated to the regular potty that adults use. She will often let me know she has to pee by making the psst sound, touching her yoni, or if I ask her if she needs to go potty, walking with me to the bathroom with a big smile on her face. I help her climb up on the potty and then she sits there by herself and lets it go. I hand her toilet paper and she wipes, and drops it in the potty. And then we close the lid together and flush. The whole process is completed by arms in the air and a “yaaaaaay."
And a month later from that, she once again likes when I hold her over the potty. When we head into the bathroom I point to the three options, the potty on the floor, the potty inside the big potty, or the sink. And lately she’s choosing the sink. Full circle we’ve gone, lol!
I’m grateful for the continual learnings inside of mamahood. The practice of being present and not fixed on an idea of how something needs to be. Through unfiltered listening, I realize the the solutions are right here. Continuing to hold a large enough container for her to expand into as she blooms and grows.