Potty Learning With Two Kids

I have been training (‘learning?’) my brain to refer to it as “learning” rather than “potty training.” The word is so medieval, I think. Getting two kids, who are 23 months apart, to use their respective potty has been interesting but, yeah I’ll say it, kinda fun. One kid goes because we started infant elimination communication (EC) at four weeks and the other one has finally associated that mama and dada do not like toddler pee or toddler poop on the carpet. EC and potty learning both share similar concepts but EC has a “window of opportunity” age that the 2-year-old does not fall in anymore so I guess we’re “potty learning.”

potty training with two kids at once.jpg

My first attempts of potty learning began when Humnoy started walking at eight months and we enthusiastically purchased the Baby Bjorn potty chair. It collected dust more than actual human waste for a good long while and mainly for the fact that my effort did not match my unrealistic goal of potty training him within two trimesters of his sibling’s gestation. Once joined by the new baby, I think seeing her “go” inspired Humnoy’s potty learning progress while getting quite comfortable (and successful) with infant elimination communication. Here’s the lowdown on potty learning with two different-aged children at the same time:

What? Elimination communication is the practice of being in tune with an infant’s elimination needs rather than let them go in a diaper. It’s usually referred to as “infant potty training learning.” Potty learning is just a sappy way to say potty training. No, just kidding. It’s actually a child-led approach to transitioning from diapers to potty. They’re similar in that I’m listening for their signals.

How (do I know?) Speaking of signals, both of the kids communicate it to me. Lanoy fusses; Humnoy will straight up say “pee-pee” or “poo-poo.” Bless his heart. Only difference is that Lanoy hates a wet diaper and a wet diaper happens when her fuss sounds are overlooked for that time being be it a busy mama or a *cough* lazy dad *cough-cough* because she always, always sends some sort of signal before needing to go potty. Her signs are breathing fast/heavy, unlatching off the breast, and lastly a whimper or a cry if the first few signs aren’t recognized fast enough. Again, big brother just says the word and we guide him accordingly: to his potty chair. Sometimes it comes after the fact and I have no shame to have “how to clean poop off carpet” bookmarked.

Where? Humnoy has a sweet Elmo potty chair that makes a cool flush sound, which can help with rewards and incentives for going but it’s actually just an annoyance now. The sound, not the peeing. He does his business either in there or we catch toddler poops in the standard potty with the seat adapter from the Elmo chair. Lanoy goes pee in a repurposed Huggies wipes container (one kept next to the family bed and one for car EC), the bathroom sink, or the standard toilet with me sitting backwards on the toilet. Sometimes I get the ol’ surprise of an ass splatter in the sink but then swing her over to the toilet to catch the rest of it.

Why? … am I crazy, you mean? That I can’t answer but I’m really enjoying the successes we’ve had with EC and potty learning. As with both, it’s all natural. Not as in racking up crunchy parenting points but as in natural processes for both. I’m following my children’s leads with their toileting needs, from wherever they started. We’ve had many misses and many a turds hit the ground but I use that as a lesson for me to help my children communicate with me better. It reduces laundry, waste, and hopefully tears on the journey to full toilet independence.

What’s your experience or ideas about potty training or learning?

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12 thoughts on “Potty Learning With Two Kids

  1. I too started ECing my boy at 3 wells old and was pretty amazed by the process. I fell off te path when I started going back to work but catching and communicating pop needs remained consistent. I think he went through a potty strike a few times and now he knows when he has to go and chooses when too communicate. UGH!! But I will say I’m pleased with the process of allowing it to happen naturally. He’s learned his body and we continue to learn how to communicate with each other. I have really learned to embrace the process. LOL with baby number 2 not too far away I’m hoping this diapering thing will be gone soon and I’ll try to be more consistent with the ECing, even if part time for number 2.

    Whoa that got long. I guess I got a bit excited. Good luck with your journey can’t wait to hear more. Oh and I love the huggies idea, I think I’ll cop that style.


  2. We’re doing well so far with Miss L (our first/only child, started at 4 weeks– she’s 11 weeks now). I know there will be ups and downs, but so far it’s been surprisingly fairly (dare I say?) easy. And feels very natural. I mean, there are misses and mis-guesses, we’re still figuring things out and I know her signals will change and whatnot. But it’s mostly no big deal, and takes no more time in the end than diaper changes. (Yeah, pottying takes a tiny bit more time than changing a diaper, but then there’s no diaper rinsing– DH insists!– and less frequent diaper laundry, etc.)

    She still poos about 4-6x/day, so that’s about 40 poops a week, and we get, say, 35+ of those in the potty. Pees, we get maybe 40-70% in the potty, depending on the day. We don’t talk about it a lot except to people who are super-supportive, though– it’s probably the parenting choice that people seem to balk at more than almost anything– even more than homebirth. Which is so weird! But I guess people hear about it and think that you A) let them poop and pee anywhere, run around with no diaper from the get-go, etc., B) force them on the potty or “train” them as in traditional PT and/or C) take them to the potty every hour, on the hour, or some other form of hanging out in the bathroom 24/7. None of which are remotely true, of course.

    IDK, but there’s kind of a (relatively) extreme reaction when people first hear about it (did you see the NYT article?), and they don’t even try to understand, they just balk and laugh and get angry, and it’s kinda baffling to me. Apparently, EC has the power to make people really defensive in a way I still don’t completely understand… it’s so odd to me.

      • Oh, yeah! I actually didn’t think the article was too bad, but a FB friend posted all WTF? and I felt I needed to come out about it, LOL. Luckily she “got” it and all was cool, but some of her friends just perseverated on the whole peeing-between-parked-cars thing, and I was like, look, that’s a tip IF you’re out and no one will let you use their bathroom and IF there’s no other alternative (no portable potty on you, etc.– like what you would do with a PTed toddler). Peeing in the street is not what EC is all about, so getting up in arms about unsanitary hipster children roaming and peeing all over Brooklyn is just… missing the point.

  3. Hahha just yesterday miss em went “poopoo” the was “all done! Down!” So we wiped…. And then she bolted down the hall….and I hear “uh oh mama! Poopin!” …..stick my head out the bathroom door and she dropped a big ol load….directly…on…the heater vent.

    Oh man it was just funny

    • Oh, Miss Em, you and your toddler shenanigans! Humnoy left an undercover poop in his potty the other day. Undercover because I didn’t know he made one until later that night… after many potty-tunities, after bath, and after bedtime. 0_O

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