It's been a couple of weeks since Alice wore her last nappy, so I'm pretty confident that she's now 'potty trained,' except there wasn't any real training involved.
I've had numerous comments about how early it is to be out of nappies at 20 months, but in reality the process has been pretty extended. I first came across Elimination Communication when Alice was a few months old, and I already felt I'd missed the boat. I couldn't recognise any of her cues to eliminate, and I thought it would be too much like hard (and messy) work to start. At 11 months, Alice was suffering from bad nappy rash which seemed to be caused by teething. As it healed, I tried to give her as much nappy free time as possible. It didn't take long for her to get interested in her eliminations. I noticed that she would do a little wee, crawl to another place and squeeze hard to wee again. It made me realise that she had more control of her bladder than I thought. Without any real expectations, I sat her on the potty, and we were both delighted when she did a wee inside!
Around the same time, she started making it clear when she was about to pooh. I began sitting her on the potty to catch these, and within a short time discovered that she would hold on until her nappy was off before poohing. It certainly made my washing load easier! Over the next ten months, she usually wore a nappy. I'd sit her on the toilet or potty after naps.
At 20 months old, she started removing her nappy, and showing more interest in the potty. She began to say 'big pooh!' and 'wee wee!' before she eliminated, and I thought we'd try going nappy free at home. There were many accidents, especially if I wasn't paying attention. One morning, I was in the kitchen and heard the sound of splashing. I ran in, muslin in hand to wipe up the puddle only to find Alice sitting on the potty. This was the first time she'd got there herself. That was a majot turning point, and the accidents virtually stopped. Alice chose some 'big girl pants' and wore them while we were out. After a few wet trouser incidents, she suddenly was dry and I began to feel more relaxed about taking her out nappy free.
Although I hadn't planned to cut out night nappies, believing that would be a step too far, Alice led the way by removing her nappy and sleeping until the morning without wetting.
Our transition from nappies to pants has been a very long and gentle one, and it has given me great faith in allowing your child to take the lead. In line with the way we choose to raise her, she's never been praised for eliminating on the potty or toilet. We've done no reward charts or stickers. I've just tried to follow her cues. I realise that this is a thoroughly self indulgent post, as our experience is unique. I'm certainly not holding it up as a method for others to emulate. It was a process that worked well for us as a family, and more importantly, it responded to Alice's needs as she developed. In my mind, that's the most important thing.