Go Diaper Free with Andrea Olson
And when I became pregnant, I definitely wasn’t prepared for what that would be to have a new baby. And I knew for a fact that I did not want to change poopy diapers. So my whole background of why I’m even in this business is because before I had my baby, I found out about EC. And when he came, I found that it helped me to become a confident mum in this sort of foreign land that I had no idea what I was doing.—Andrea
This is Andrea Olson. She’s the founder of the Go Diaper Free Movement and together, we have a fascinating chat about what it means to Go Diaper Free and Andrea’s passion for teaching parents about baby potty training. We also spend time exploring what Andrea calls ‘elimination communication’ and this super mum of five shares a bit about her experience on her journey of going diaper free with her children all the way from birth.
Well, welcome to Sense by Meg Faure, the podcast that’s brought to you by Parent Sense, the app that takes guesswork out of parenting. If you are a new parent, then you are in good company. Your host Meg Faure, is a well-known OT infant specialist and the author of eight parenting books. Each week, we are going to spend time with new mums and dads just like you to chat about the week’s wins, the challenges and the questions of the moment. Subscribe to the podcast, download the Parent Sense App and catch Meg every week to make the most of that first year of your little one’s life. And now meet your host.
Meg: Welcome back mums and dads, as always I am delighted to have you here. As you know, each week, we sometimes talk to mums just around what’s going on in their lives. And then other times we have people who I would consider somewhat experts in their fields, a specific field of parenting, and that’s what we’ve got today. And I am super excited for today’s conversation because I don’t know if you know this, but one of the most search terms on the internet, and certainly my top subscribed webinar is the one on potty training. Now I think that the reason that it’s so incredibly popular is that we actually fear the whole stage of moving our babies out of nappies or diapers. And so if you think that potty training a two year old is an insurmountable task. Well, imagine my surprise when my co-founder of Play Sense, Lara Schoenfeld told me after the birth of her third baby, that she would be potty training him from birth.
Well, actually she didn’t say that, she said she’s going to be doing EC. And now I had absolutely no idea of what EC was. And I’m sure most of you actually don’t either, but today I’ve got an incredible treat for you. EC stands for Elimination Communication. And today I’m joined by Andrea Olson. Now, Andrea is a mum to five and she is a seasoned elimination communication expert. She’s the author of Go Diaper Free, which is in its sixth edition. And she’s the founder of the Go Diaper Free Company. And since 2010, she’s worked with hundreds of thousands of parents worldwide to solve the biggest EC challenges and make the practice of potty training their babies efficient, effective, and most of all enjoyable. She also has a Master’s degree in Psychology. She’s based in North America, in the USA, and I’m absolutely delighted to have your on board with me today. Hi Andrea.
Andrea: Hi Meg. Thanks so much for having me on.
Meg: It’s a pleasure. I really have been very excited for this episode because it’s something that I guess a lot of people would consider to be a little bit fringe. And in fact, I would say a good number of the mums who listen to me actually have probably never heard about it before. And so before we kick off, I’ve got a hundred questions, but before we kick off, I’d love you to just tell us all a little bit more about yourself.
Andrea: Yes, well, hi again. I have just a background in so many different things. Dance movement, just really been aware of my body, my whole life, just really dove deep into all of that. And when I became pregnant, I definitely wasn’t prepared for what that would be to have a new baby. And I knew for a fact that I did not want to change poopy diapers. So my whole background of why I’m even in this business is because before I had my baby, I found out about EC. And when he came, I found that it helped me to become a confident mum in this sort of foreign land that I had no idea what I was doing. And so my background is psychology and in business and all this other stuff that I ever did. But when I had a baby, I totally changed gears into being interested in how babies communicate from birth, about needing to do this and how we’ve lost that wisdom and how we can regain it even in little ways, even if we don’t do EC.
So that’s kind of become who I am and what I do. And I have five children, myself, their ages, 3 to 11. I’m a single mum, it’s a lot and I feel like EC has simplified so many things and really enabled me to have so many children and have just a sense of—I wouldn’t call it mastery, but just contentedness with my mothering.
Meg: It’s amazing. And you know, it’s made up of two words, elimination and communication, and of course, for everybody who’s listening, and I think everybody who encounters it, it’s the first word elimination that kind of occupies the center of the stage. But in actual fact the more I’ve got to know about it, it’s actually all about communication and it’s a very clear communication strategy. And so your mastery, and I know that none of us are masters of parenting because we were all floundering—but your mastery was probably around the fact that you’d learned to understand your little one’s signals more than anything else.
Andrea: Absolutely, yes. And when he came out, I was like I don’t know how to play with this child. I don’t know how to do anything. I didn’t feel equipped or prepared; our culture doesn’t I don’t think particularly prepare us for being new mums or even for birth. But I had a natural home birth. I had him there with me. I didn’t have anything else going on. So I just made it a practice of observing him for the first couple of weeks, especially all the things, all the aspects, what went in, what came out, all of that and really caught his first poop on like the first day or two that meconium one. And I was pretty hooked. I was like—.
Meg: That’s pretty sticky. I can imagine. Was that not messy?
Andrea: Yeah. It wasn’t messy at all. It was just in the potty and it was really easy to clean. And I had olive oil on his bottom just because my midwives were like, oh, you don’t want to have to clean that off a diaper off, off his rear. So I was prepared, but I didn’t realize that he would start looking to me and signaling right away. I mean, it was unbelievable. And I started to decode. Okay, what means he’s he wants to nurse? What means he’s tired? What is this? What do all of the signals and the noises, and they all sound the same at first, I wanted to decode him so that I could really be a good responsive parent. And again, because I didn’t know what I was doing; I was relying on my baby to tell me what he needed. And it did take me probably a good five months to really get a handle on my part of it, but he came out knowing he came out, teaching me and communicating with me.
Andrea: And you know, not all babies signal, but all newborns do. So we do EC from zero to 18 months, but all newborn signal, it’s just, if you’re a brand new mum and you’re also trying to figure out all the things, it can be confusing. So, and we’ll probably get more into this, but the way that I kind of decipher also has to do with what event just happened, what is biology saying? Like my baby just woke up, when I wake up, I need to go to the bathroom. I started to put together the pieces and just treated him like a fully formed human instead of like a baby doll who was passive in the process
Meg: That’s communicate. Absolutely.
Meg: And so what are those early—I mean, you were going to talk about later EC, but let’s talk about EC from birth. So EC is, I mean, how do you know when your little one wants to peep, how do you start to recognize those signals? And is there kind of a universal type signals that you’re looking for or is it every baby very different thing? How does that work?
Andrea: So I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Dunstan Baby Language?
Meg: I have, over the years.
Andrea: I’m sure you have. So the one that’s discomfort is the closest thing that I could come up with that is—I can’t remember the vowel sound for the discomfort cry, but when I listen to my own, it sounds like that there’s a discomfort. Basically when a newborn baby wakes up, the antidiuretic hormone wears off and all humans, all mammals really, and bladder fills and we need to pee. So I take the babies that are newborns, right when they wake up and I make the noise, which is pretty universal. We all make this running water noise, or maybe some grunting and in between that, they hear that. And they’re in this position of a deep squat and you’re basically holding them with their back against your torso and your hands under their thighs, just very gently, very like cuddly and holding them over something to let them relieve themselves before they nurse or feed, however. And that way they get a full feed because one of the signals or signs is that they pop off the breast because who can poop and eat at the same time. Some, they always pause and most of them pop off so you think you have lactation issues and really, you might just have a baby who needs to go to the bathroom and doesn’t want to do this at the same time.
So generally the order I do it is a newborn wakes up, I offer the potty. Usually they go, because they’re new. And then I nurse, and then the first fuss after nursing is a signal every single time. So you can kind of—that’s the only reason they would be uncomfortable. They have a full belly. They’ve already woken up from a nap. So you think kind of logically, what else could you be crying for? It’s because that breast milk has been processed and it’s a tiny system and they need to go to the bathroom already. They need to pee. And usually it is a pee. And so if we just do wake up and the first fuss after nursing with a newborn, that’s most of the practice.
And then I think everybody listening knows when they’re baby is pooping. Even if they’re kind of a stealth pooper, you still know, even in the middle of it. And every time you see that happen, you can either decide to let the diaper fill up and change it after. Or you can decide to take the diaper off, even if they’ve started and say, wait, just gently, wait, hang on a second, get their diaper off, hold them over something and let them finish there. Newborn babies, especially before walking, any baby is going to start to look to you because they would much prefer to go away from their own body.
So a lot of times we try all these different things and ways of soothing a baby. And we’re trying to figure out—new mum, brand new mum—I don’t know why you’re crying. Ugh. And I try everything. I stick them on the boob, they pop off. I try to put a pacifier, they don’t want that. I try to rock and shush and finally they stop. And then you check the diaper and they’re wet or they’re dirty. And you’re like, oh, you were crying because you’re wet or dirty. You needed changed. But if you rewind just a second, they were crying because they actually didn’t want to go on the diaper. Just like when we create train a puppy, mammals don’t like to go on themselves, you or their space, their sleep space, their den. So they will cry. Like a puppy will try to wriggle out of your arms. And right when you put them down on the carpet, they pee on it. It’s the same kind of thing. If you can think of it as like, have you ever seen a puppy, you see they start to get really fussy and just want to get away from you. And babies are the same, they want to get away, but they can’t get the diaper off. So eventually they give in, eventually they start to use the diaper because you don’t give them another option because you don’t know any better. You don’t know any other.
And then eventually you have to train them out of those diapers. And that’s where people are feverishly googling, potty training and going, oh my gosh, I don’t even know what to do. I’d do this. And they’re not doing it until three or four years old, and it’s way too late. Even two is a bit out of our range, but like it’s easiest between 12 and 18 months to just wrap up this process naturally. And I know we have so many working mums and we’ll probably go through a lot of those kind of practicalities, but even just once a day is such a great exposure technique that just lets them get used to something else.
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Meg: So you’ve obviously mentioned, I mean, I think the biggest nightmares that I ever heard that ever thought about when I thought about elimination communication was that my baby doesn’t have a nappy at all, but actually it’s not that. They’re in nappies and you are just watching signals and take the nappy off quickly when they’re ready to go. Is that how it works?
Andrea: Yeah. So we use a diaper or a nappy.
Meg: We call them diapers here, but—.
Andrea: Yeah, same, same. We use them as a backup. So once you start doing EC, even if you don’t want to do it full time, your diaper is now a backup for when you miss each other or when you choosing not to do it or when they’re at daycare or whatever. It’s no longer a full-time toilet. So it’s just a shift in perspective. We still use diapers, but we stop using them kind of aligned with Montessori principles, when they turn 12 months old and they’re in that 12 to 18 month class; they put them into cotton pants and you know, like training pants or underwear. I recommend the same thing when they start walking or they’re 12 months old to stop using diapers in their daytime. And every baby I’ve seen that has already done some EC and then the mum or dad picks off the diaper at that time and just pretends like they could never buy another one, that child rises to the occasion because developmentally this is the sensitive period for toilet learning is 12 to 18 months.
And in two generations, our diaper companies and nappy companies have convinced us that we have to wait for readiness. And honestly that’s just to sell more diapers. And I don’t like parents getting taken advantage of just to make a buck. What really is happening is in 1957 in my country, in the United States, we had 92% of children were out of diapers, toilet trained, done by 18 months. That is almost a hundred percent by 18 months they were using cloth diapers, but what else was different? There was no marketing telling them you have to wait for readiness. That is not true. If it were true, what would all babies of all human history have done? Would they have waited for readiness and let them pee and poop everywhere? No, we wouldn’t have survived. We would’ve died out a long time ago. So I kind of get on a little tangent of this, how do we even get here? But really diapers are completely a tool, which is what they’ve been for history, like in cold regions you would use. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to make them live day and night locked toilet.
Meg: I know, I mean, it’s so interesting because, I mean, I can think about why in 1957 or 1952, whatever you said, why that would happen. So first of all, if I’m a mother and I’m dealing with cloth nappies, I mean it’s disgusting. It smells, and as soon as you can get them out of the nappies, you’re really motivated to move them through that process. I can remember my nieces were both in cloth nappies and every time I went into the house, the whole house would smell of Milton, which was this kind of sterilizing fluid into which you’d throw the nappies before they went into the washing machine. And it was a terrible smell, you know. And so as a mother, you’d be motivated to get them out of that as soon as possible, it’s irritating.
But as a baby, there’s a sensory aspect to it as well. And that’s the old-fashioned nappies, like the cloth nappies just didn’t wick away the moisture, they didn’t remove the moisture as much as the current ones do. So they were actually uncomfortable, so babies didn’t really want to stay in them either. And I think what modern nappy companies have done is by kind of adding in all the substances that actually aren’t bio degradable that absorb all of the urine, they’ve actually made babies very comfortable in their nappies. And so that, we definitely see that the baby are actually resistant to going to the toilet because they’ve actually got used to this. And it’s one of the reasons why I don’t like delayed potty training. So when I talk about potty training, little ones, I’m talking about 18 months , but I don’t like it going late too much later than two years. And the reason for that is that they get more and more comfortable in this in these nappies that really are waking away the moisture. So it makes sense to me that things have changed dramatically without even the marketing conversations which another thing.
Andrea: Yeah, exactly. And then, a lot of pediatricians will tell mums that you shouldn’t even start potty training till two or three. And you and I both agree that that’s beyond— that you get into so much power struggle and then they’re also just used to it. I mean, that is their entire life that this is all they know, and it’s comfortable, it is comforting to have—their waist up against their skin is what they know. And I think that with 12 to 18 months being the time, if people are listening and want to start EC and they’re in that range, it’s great. You’re basically starting and finishing at the same time.
Meg: So let’s talk about that in a bit of detail. Now, I’m a mum who’s listening and I have not chosen to EC from birth and there might be mums who left listening and they’re still pregnant and they still wouldn’t do EC from birth.
Andrea: Right. Yeah.
Meg: But they hit a year of age and kids, first of all, start to show a real indication at that age that they do want a change and they start to pull their nappy, their diaper velcros off. They start to pull their diapers down. They start to be fascinated with you when you’re sitting on the toilet. So in my mind, they’re showing all the signals that they’re ready. And so in that event, I’ve got a 12 month old. What does EC for 12-month-old mean?
Andrea: Well, so for that, I would do, and I said earlier, I’m very body based myself. So the potty training I have for people who find me too much beyond that EC window, I have a potty training book. So what I’ve done is kind of made a hybrid of EC and potty training. So at the 12 to 18 month range, you might want to do a day or two of naked teaching, which is basically every time you have them diaper free from the bottom or waist down, every time they start to go, you move the potty towards them or them towards the potty, and it’s only during the act of going. So if you have carpets, it’s kind of a little bit more complicated. If you can do it outside, but still use a toilet or a mini potty. We want to give them a little bit of practice doing this and then assign a word to it. It’s like banana or hungry or whatever. And you might want to do a sign language, which is the ‘T’ shaking for toilet.
But really we just want to do a day or two of just some training, some teaching of how to get to the potty when this is happening. And at 12 months, you don’t have that resistance and you don’t have that fear, and you don’t have this medical side effect of constipation on all these other things that happen after too. What the expectation should be for you though, is from 12 to 18 months, is they’re not going to just start telling you every time they need to go; they might not even be verbal, but they can be complete with this process. So you’re basically going to start filling in all the pieces. And I like to call these the four easy catches.
So at 12 months I would stop using diapers during the day. I would do an experience of a day or two of teaching them the movement to the potty. And while they’re going saying pee-pee or whatever you want them to say to you, and it gets a little more complicated than this because every baby is so different. And I’m imagining the sensory personalities have a lot to do with it as well as we found out when we talked earlier. But basically when they wake up, they get an opportunity to go to the bathroom just like you and I. If you’re still using diapers, because you want to ease into it, then you would do it at diaper changes. If you have a wet, an accident, you would offer the potty at that time. Before and after the high chair or the car seat or whatever, you always want to give an opportunity when it would be convenient for you as the parent for them to be comfortable longer.
And when you see that they need to poop, this is definitely the time to take them and to say we’re going to poop in the potty now. We don’t want to over-explain, we want to be very matter of fact; it’s more, they already know what’s going on, they’re not stupid. So they already know that you’re going to the toilet to do your business, and they’re highly interested in it. Stick a mini potty next to your toilet, and every time you go to the bathroom, bring them along and have them sit on theirs. And it becomes this thing of, okay, you’re just turning the boat a little bit to this direction and you’re going, okay, this is what we’re doing now. We’re no longer going in the nappy and we’re now going in the toilet.
Some babies don’t like the mini potty, they’d rather be on a big toilet where you go on a toilet seat reducer. So we troubleshoot a lot of that. My book only hasn’t always has come with my forum because there are things that you will come across that you’re just like, I don’t even know what to do because nobody I know does this. So we have quite a good community that helps each other out, but basically you’re going to start teaching them the things that they need to be able to do it themselves. Because at that age they just want all the keys; they’re just focus on doing one thing over and over and over again to the best of their ability, and then when they feel complete with that task and move onto something else. Well the whole potty routine is something that can be taught.
Meg: So that’s so just to be very clear, you’re actually literally taking them out of nappies for daytime completely and putting them into cotton panties?
Andrea: Yeah, cotton pants.
Meg: So that’s quite interesting because I teach a potty training course, obviously for—it isn’t elimination communication, but it it’s potty training. But what’s very interesting is that I always say to mums and dads, you’ve got to move them into cotton trainers or cotton panties, actually not even the tiling trainers. And the main reason for that is that one of the reasons why little ones don’t potty trainers, because they don’t even know that they’re actually going to the toilet because it’s worked away so quickly. So they have that sensation of there’s something happening, but then there’s no end product because the moisture’s just taken away so quickly by the nappy or the diaper. And yet when you actually put them into cotton panties and they get the signal and then, oh my gosh, there’s something that actually happens then. And it’s that kind of realization that, okay, so that signal means that something’s going to happen. And I think that’s also critically important.
Andrea: It is, it’s cause and effect, and that is why in Montessori schools they do it. And it’s not about how many accidents or wets you have in a day. It does not matter. It’s about the fact that your child is going through a learning process and they’re getting information. And as a social animal, we don’t want to be doing that around other people. It’s almost like there’s this automatic peer pressure in the family system or even in a group of children where you want to mind your own hygiene even at that early of an age; at eight months we see babies wanting privacy. So there’s a lot to the social aspect of it.
Meg: Yeah, absolutely. And so, I mean obviously one of the biggest benefits we’ve spoken about is that yeah, you can actually get your little one out of nappies or diapers sooner than they would, which means that you’re actually probably going to be more successful more quickly because you haven’t got them, like you said, living in their diapers for so much more of their life. But there are lots of other benefits. You also alluded to, you felt a little bit more mastery, but what else if I’m a mum considering this, what else are the benefits that you think should be highlighted?
Andrea: Well definitely potty training later is going to be a lot easier if they’re exposed to the potty and it’s not just sprung on them later. So that’s one thing. I’ve saved about $10,000 in disposable diapers across five children, because it’s about 3000 per child here and that’s probably gone up since then. So that, but also it’s a huge time saver. So if you’re starting, and the majority, I say about 50% start between zero and three months at this age, because I’ve helped a lot of people know that it’s possible before, you don’t find out about it until like your child’s two, maybe with the next baby, you try it. But even part-time like starting in some way, between zero and three months, you save time. But you also learn about your baby and every single parent reports a deeper connection. And it’s not that it’s better or worse than doing EC or not. If you listen to this and you’re like, okay, that’s not for me, but I’ll totally potty train at 18 months, and maybe use Meg’s course and we’re going to get it done, that’s great. It’s such a time saver though; and with a new busy mum to be able to save, having to change blowout diapers literally every day because that’s what newborn poop does. It just blows out everywhere, and that in and of itself is huge, so it’s a huge time saver. It takes something off of your plate when your plate is already overflowing. You’re like, oh I don’t even know how to do it. I can’t even imagine—. But if you knew how to do it, it would simplify your experience of mothering so much.
The other thing is, is a great way to involve dad because dads are expert pottiers, they’re great. So that deeper connection is because you’re communicating and your baby sees that you are able to take care of one of their very core needs. So you’re feeding, sleeping, giving love, and you’re minding their hygiene, which they are born signaling for. They don’t want to go on themselves when they see that you get it, I mean, they literally, they start smiling so early, they see and they look towards you and they’ll toot or whatever. And it’s just like this, this amazing connection, and communication. I believe it strengthens communication, but also the absence of a diaper, they’ve done studies on this where it improves gait immediately. So you’ve got the lack of this bulge between their legs really vastly improves development. And then we have overall health.
So you’re going to be able to—people in our community always are telling me, oh, we found out about this medical issue early because changes in their potting. We see their poop and pee every day. So we know if there’s something wrong, as opposed to it just being mushed into the diaper and you can’t really—I don’t know how to explain it, but if you’re breastfeeding and doing EC, this is an ideal situation. If you’re able to do both, then you’re able to navigate what’s going in and what’s coming out. And so you’ve got a handle of your baby’s health in more dimensions. So there’s just more information you have as a parent.
Meg: Yeah. And what happens if you’re a working mum? I mean, it sounds like the ideal, but obviously you’ve got mums who are not there all the time. And in South Africa we have a situation where we have a lot of nannies who actually are in with our children because we are very fortunate with having a lot of well, unfortunate having an unemployment issue, but fortunate because that means we can employ nannies and they’re not as expensive as for instance around the US. So if it isn’t you looking after your little one, so your little ones are with a day mum or they’re at a crèche and you’re at work, how do you fit EC in then?
Andrea: Well, I run two businesses, so I’ve always worked halftime and so I’ve always had in-home caregivers and the cool thing is if you’ve got somebody who’s from a country where they probably do this natively, then you can ask them if they’ve already had experience with some form of EC. And in your country, it’s highly likely that they have and then, okay, well please do that with my baby. I don’t want to do—you can just let, them go for it. We’re very close to Mexico and Guatemala and South Africa or South America, we have a lot of people in our country who also did something like this in their villages. So we want to also first invite and see if that’s the case. If we have an in-home caregiver.
But for a daycare or crèche, what I always encourage is, so your baby knows if you talk to them and you say, all right at home, we’re going to do this, we’re going to use the potty and wear underwear. And at the daycare, you’re going to have this on because you’re still learning. And you know, you can just tell them you’re going to wear a diaper here or just, they know; I’m going to wear a diaper when I’m here, and when I’m home, I’m not. Once they’re poop trained you can send them—I don’t have any laying around here, but training pants with a cover on it, something that’s absorbent that won’t ruin their pants or the carpet . And I have a whole course on this because there’s so many aspects and so many differences in daycares, but really, it just comes down to working with the teachers. When you’re doing a diaper change, could you please offer my child the potty instead? And it’s just an offer.
So we call it a potty-tunity; it’s an opportunity to go to the potty and they don’t have to go. But once they know that you’re going to offer every day after lunch at daycare, when everybody else gets changed, then sometimes they start to consolidate and go, okay, well, I’m just going to wait till then or I’ll just use my diaper. We also ask daycares to just change our babies every hour or two instead of once a day, which some places do they wait that long. The other thing I encourage parents to do is to do a foundational pee when they arrive and have them go on the potty there, they can bring a potty seat from home if they want to, to make it more comfortable. And then when they go to pick up their baby, they can offer when they arrive. And during the time of the daycare, they’re just wearing a diaper.
Now I’ve had so many cases where people are in full-time daycare. The mum worked 6:30 to 6:30 and they finished everything up at 18 months at home. So they were completely done with diapers at home, 18 months during the day. The daycare wouldn’t do it until two. So they continued to send the baby or the child until two in a diaper. They even showed her the video. I said, look, she’s completely trained. And they’re like, sorry, it’s our policy. And she really needed the daycare. So she could have changed daycares, but she just kept going. And at two and the child really to be home to poop and really jived with it fine. But then when she hit two, she started sending her without immediately. And it was so smooth. I think she might have done like one day of extra training just to reinforce. So I guess what I’m illustrating is when you’re at home with your child, you can do EC whether you use a daycare or not. If you are a full time, stay at home, mum, great. Do it only in the mornings and on the weekends, that’s all you want to do, that’s fine. Babies really don’t, I mean, they’ll go along with whatever and then when it comes time to wrap it up, they’re going to let you know by starting to take a heightened interest in it.
Meg: Absolutely, yeah.
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Meg: So I think one of the things that really interests me about what you do, because I mean, I think a lot of people may have heard about this and it sounds daunting, but what you do that is so different is you support parents through it. And I noticed something you said earlier on which I didn’t know, and that was that your book in order to use the book, you need to be part of the forums or the communities, because there’s so much more. So your book is called just remind me, it’s called—
Andrea: Go Diaper Free.
Meg: Go Diaper Free, that’s right. So Go Diaper Free is the book and the website for everybody; I’ll mention this again at the end, is obviously www.godiaper free.com. And on there is a myriad of courses and support. So could you take us through exactly what you offer, how you hold our hands, how you get us through this?
Andrea: Yeah, absolutely. At the moment of this recording, we do offer for free coach support. I’ve trained all these coaches all over the world, 300 coaches and some of them man our forums or women our forums, and they will answer your questions every single day of the week. And also the other people on the forum have also read the book and they will help you as well. So when you get stuck, you can easily get unstuck. We also just launched the potty tribe, which is a weekly online zoom group. And I host it once a month and my other coaches hosted the other three weeks a month or four. And there we can actually see each other and troubleshoot together. It’s like having an in living room group and beyond that. So the book comes with the forums and then the group is a monthly fee for the tribe.
But we also have many courses. I surveyed all the people who had done EC with my book and without. And where were the parts where you got really stuck? So most of them, it was nighttime, it was outings, it was, oh, we have potty pause which is where they just straight up start refusing. Usually around walking, they just stop and it’s like, everything was great, and now it’s not. We’ve got ‘Getting Back on Track, because a lot of parents will be like, oh we we’ll just stop doing this for a while, and then they want to get back on. We’ve got, ‘Wrap Up.’ So I created a mini course for each of those seven biggest challenges because everybody was getting stuck and I got tired of repeating myself on the forums, so this is what you need to do to fix it.
Andrea: And a lot of that and one of them is starting at birth as well. So you’ve got a lot of footage that you can’t find on my YouTube or anywhere else of just me with my kids and what we did to get through these hurdles. And then I also just released larger courses. So we’ve got it broken down by different age groups. You’ve got your newborns, which is ‘The Golden Window.’ If you can start then even in a small way, you, the parent create a habit and a pattern that you can stick with. Then we’ve got ‘The Movers and Shakers’ and then the young toddlers, which is ‘Passing the Baton.’ So I have a course for each of those that are very comprehensive; that also outlines baby development. So what to expect, and now this is how it fits into your life.
And I love it to be customizable to the person’s family and their situation and energy level. So I’m very accepting of all different ways of doing EC. I figure if there’s pressure to do it a certain way, everybody’s going to fail. It has to be your way, it has to work for your family. And then I also have a potty training course as well. And I’m now offering all of those courses as a bundle because some people just are like, can you just give me everything so I won’t have to ask you any questions. That’s amazing, but there’s a lot of support. And then if you want free resources, I have a podcast and a YouTube on it. And my Instagram is super active. I’m constantly giving examples of real babies doing this. Once you know what you’re doing, you kind of get hooked and it’s super easy or it’s simple. It’s not easy, but it’s like, it’s just fun and the babies just love it. I mean, we have a bunch of resources because I want to make sure that it’s literally dummy proof.
Meg: Yeah, that’s brilliant. So if I’m a mum starting off and I’ve got a three week old or I just want to give birth, what do I do? I go onto your website, which is godiaperfree.com?
Meg: And which resource would I go? Where do I hit? Tell me exactly where to go.
Andrea: You go to godiaperfree.com and you can click store and just grab the Go Diaper Free book right there, or even on my website, it says.
Meg: So you just get the book and then automatically gives you entry into the forum. Is that correct?
Andrea: Yeah. And then you get that support and you can immediately start. My book starts not with the philosophy, but with the ‘how to,’ so you immediately get to start doing this. If this sounds good, but you’re kind of just curious and you don’t really know if you want to do it. If you go to godiaper free.com, you can get a free, easy start guide and it’s a one pager and you can probably catch a P with just the information on that. And then if you like it, the people who are serious and who get out of diapers by one are the ones who have my book because it has everything you need. And then if you get stuck, there’s those courses are just there in case you have a common problem with everybody else, you know.
And then we also have little potties. I just have to mention this because it’s really hard to find them. I don’t think we have them in most of your audience in South Africa.
Meg: Probably, yes.
Andrea: Okay. We’re working on that; we’re working on getting all over the world, so maybe we’ll have updates on that, but there—.
Meg: So there potties.
Andrea: Yeah, there’s top hat shaped potties. They look like a top hat, you flip it over, and you put it between your legs and you hold the baby over it.
Meg: It’s like old fashioned potties.
Andrea: Old fashioned potties. Yeah, which might be available still in South Africa. But you can use a mixing bowl, you can use your sink, you can use your toilet. You can do easy with no gear at all. But I love what you said about putting them into not training pants but into underwear. So I have tiny undies.com as my other website because we couldn’t find underwear that fit our babies when they get out of diapers. So I literally had to solve all these problems while having my own babies and trying to work, and trying to EC, and doing all this and magically it happened because it was meant to be. But we just want A to Z, like I don’t care what age your babies are. I want to make sure that you have a way to get out of diapers if you want it. And if you don’t and you’re just getting prepared, there’s a whole menu of options. You don’t have to do it the way that mainstream wants you to do it. You can do it a way that works for you.
Meg: Yeah. That’s amazing. Well, Andrea, it’s been fabulous chatting. And I think from my side, the biggest takeaway is that connection piece. And I mean, I think it’s been the hallmark of my work forever is kind of watching signals, understanding your baby’s state and responding to your baby as an individual. And that’s really been what I’ve always—what I’ve really stood for. And what really strikes me about this is that you are really focusing in on your baby’s signals. And you know, I think one of the things that and this is certainly not to put any guilt on any mums at all, but I think one of the risks when you’re parenting, especially nowadays in our busy world, it’s easy to be so busy and so absorbed in technology and your phone and your social media groups that you’re missing the bigger moments, like smiles, never mind the smaller moments, like an EC communication, like a communication that I need to go to the toilet.
And so I think when you bring in a discipline like this and when parents, I think having to actually really think about it, it actually would adjust or kind of really, really take you a level in terms of all of your watching of your baby’s signals. It’s not just about their going to the toilet, you’ll pick up on all the other stuff, like the delight and the anger and all of the other things that come along. And so for me, it’s not just about the elimination, it’s really about the communication and that’s the big thing.
Andrea: Yeah. And my pediatrician said the exact same thing. She watched me do it with all mine and she was like, I’ve never heard of this. And she just observed every time we’d come in, she’s like it’s a bonding mechanism, you guys are bonding. I can see how this can help so many mums just be more responsive and more understand what to do. And we didn’t cover the middle age, the mobile baby’s age, they don’t really signal during that time. So how can I get to know my baby on an even more global level? Like there are subtle signs, there are shifts in behavior. And when we turn our phones off and just sit there in our present with our babies, we can learn so much. And I think that that makes for a stronger connection just in and of itself.
Meg: Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. And it’s, I mean, it really is. I think it’s a wonderful thing to do. I think as mums who know me well know that I think parenting has to be practical and I don’t want to put guilt on anybody. And many years ago, having somebody who had was doing a course for me and she was doing that’s the baby signing courses. And so she said, look, I believe in it so much, I’ll give you a course for free because she knew that I was somewhat of an influence in the parenting space. And she said, do the course for free. And I really did find it stressful to try and teach Emily how to sign. And so I abandoned it and I actually wrote a blog on it and I said parenting, you sometimes you just have to take the easier route. But when I listen to you about this, I really do think it is something that can be combined quite easily without the stress. I love the fact that it’s flexible. It’s not all or nothing. It’s not like once you start, that’s all you can do. It’s not that you don’t use nappies because you do. But it is just about that little bit of increased attunement, which I just think is absolutely awesome.
Andrea: Yeah, you can literally offer them one time a day. You can just offer when they wake up and then try to get the poops. If you got the poops and that’s all you got out of this experience and then you party trained in 18 months, do you know how much more pleasant of an experience that is? I’ve never owned a diaper bin—where you throw your nappies in. It’s huge. I’ve never had a diaper genie. I just feel like that’s why I did it. I didn’t want, selfishly, I didn’t want to change poopy diapers. And it really is a matter of just a little exposure goes a long way. And I absolutely would never want anybody to feel guilt because they choose not to do it. But I do want you to know about it because if you didn’t know about it, a lot of people come to me later and, oh my gosh, where were you? I totally would’ve done this. And that’s what I want to make sure that we are all informed.
Meg: Absolutely. Well, you’ve got the most incredible resources your website is. It’s probably, when I think about a community website with resources, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like it because you’ve got something for everything and the free resources. So mums go across to godiaperfree.com. I think you won’t regret it. I think it’s an amazing project. And just by the way you do ship the books to South Africa, don’t you?
Andrea: I do. Yeah. And actually I have a coach down there, so there’s a possibility that we can give her a whole bunch of stuff and make sure your community has a place to get everything. But yeah, we do have everything and it’s also, it was first in e-book because I wanted it to be accessible all over the world.
Meg: So you can’t get electronic?
Andrea: Yeah, and it’s even on audible. So if you have audio books and I sell the audio book on my website as well because new mums, I mean, do you really have two hands free to read a book?
Meg: That’s brilliant. Gosh. While you’re breast feeding, you’re listening to audio book, that’s brilliant.
Andrea: Exactly. Yeah, I would highly recommend it.
Meg: Are you reading it or did you give it to somebody else to read?
Andrea: I read it and I had a professional audio book team help me produce it.
Meg: That’s amazing. Wow, Andrea, you really are quite remarkable. And with your five children, I do not know how you did and I’m sure everybody says that to you.
Andrea: Who knows? I it’s wonderful to be of service. I’m just so I get so on fire, but I
Meg: Just love that you’re just passionate about it.
Andrea: Yeah, I am, just like you are about what you do, which is what I appreciate about you.
Meg: Yeah, that’s wonderful. Well, Andrea, thank you so much. And mums, Andrea has a podcast go on and listen to her podcast. I was actually on the podcast. Do you remember which episode it was? What number it was Andrea? She’ll be able to tell us now and you can go over. We just had the most amazing meeting of the minds around communication and around the way the little one’s personalities influence all sorts of aspects of their life. So do go on over to Andrea’s podcast, which
Andrea: So the quick link for it is godiaperfree.com/186, that’s Meg Faure on Unlocking Sensory Personalities. And we did, we connected so many dots between your work and my work, fantastic episode.
Meg: And just listening to you now, we’re going to have to put your courses into my app because we’ve put courses in our app and I just think we connected so much more accessible there as well. So I think you and I have got a journey together, Andrea, and I’d love to do that with you.
Andrea: Oh, I love it. I’m so excited. I’m so glad to have ever met, I mean, our communities introduce ourselves, our followers introduce us to each other. So thank you everybody who did that.
Meg: So just absolutely brilliant. Thank you, Andrea. And to everybody else, we will catch up another time. Cheers.
Thanks to everyone who joined us, we will see you the same time next week. Until then, download Parent Sense App, and take the guesswork out of parenting.