Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's Potty, It's Potty Time

When my daughter was 11 months old, I went online and bought a potty just to see what would happen if I put her on it. I figured that at least she could sit there [with diaper] while I use the bathroom since she was getting too big and squirmy for me to hold while I go. The first time I put her bare bottom on it she smiled and peed. Thankfully, I got a picture to share:

About a week later came her first poop on the potty. Up until that point, she had been anything but regular, which was driving me crazy being as into Ayurveda as I am. Within the first week of pooping on her potty she was going like clockwork first thing in the morning. Sometimes she would go again later in the day and sometimes she wouldn’t, but always first thing. Finally, there was relief from the worry for me and for her belly.

I have never been so glad I followed my instinct to buy that potty, as it has been a huge factor in her digestive well being. I really just followed her lead. She has always communicated that she was going to poop before she went so it made sense for us to do this as opposed to waiting until 2 or 3 like many parents do. There is research to show that there is a window of time around when a child is learning to walk where you can introduce the potty and make it part of your normal routine. Our experience was that we avoided the typical potty training/power struggle that happens with most of the older toddlers. We got on the potty train at the right stop and it has really worked for us.

Using the potty throughout the day has not only aided her in gaining control of her bowels, it has been another means of bonding with communication and building confidence. I truly think she was holding her poop in during a short period where she just didn’t want to poop in a diaper. All signs point to that as she has only gone #2 a handful of times in her diaper since that first time in the potty. Now at 16 months, she both says “poo poo” and takes our hand to the bathroom when she wants to go.

There are a few books out there on elimination communication but for us it really happened organically. By the time I got a book to flip through, we were already going to the potty consistently and there wasn’t much more to learn. If you have a child you want to try this with, start by taking them to the potty right after meals, after they wake up or any other times you know your child typically goes in his/her diaper. Add more times once you get those down. You can do it at intervals like once every two hours. Remember, they need to use the bathroom a ton at this age so do what works best for you. There is no need to be completely out of diapers unless that is what everyone wants. It’s not about that. It’s more about helping the child be aware of their bodily functions and making the potty a normal thing. If they aren’t pressured or coerced, it’ll just progress from there. No need to bribe them or trick them. Perhaps read one of the potty books out there to them while they sit. We are big fans of Prudence and Hannah. It’s all about creating comfort on there so bring books, toys or your singing voice with you and create a good atmosphere. Making the potty a place that she wanted to be encouraged her to relieve herself regularly which is crucial to digestive health.

Recipes of the day:

Chickpea and Kale:

Ingredients -

  • ½ cup chickpeas (soaked over night)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp ajwain
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • Salt
  • 1 cup kale (chopped)
  • Coconut butter (optional)

  1. Heat ghee in pan
  2. Add ajwain
  3. Add coriander
  4. Add chickpeas
  5. Add water
  6. Add salt
  7. Add kale
  8. Cook until chickpeas are soft and water is gone
  9. Top with dallop of coconut butter (optional)
  10. Serve with rice or chapati (indian flatbread)

Super Nourishing Mung - Nettle Soup:

Ingredients -

  • ½ cup mung dal (soaked for 4 hours)
  • 3 cup boiled water
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of asafoetida/Hing
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (grated)
  • salt
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • colander of nettles (chopped in food processor/dont get stung)

  1. Heat ghee in pot
  2. Add asatoetida / hing
  3. Add cumin and fenugreek
  4. Add turmeric
  5. Add ginger
  6. Add carrots Рsaut̩ for ~3 minutes
  7. Add mung dal
  8. Add water
  9. Add nettles
  10. Add salt
  11. Bring to boil
  12. Simmer for ~15 minutes adding any water you may need to get desired consistency
  13. Stir stir stir to break down the cooked mung dal / or puree if desired

This soup is great for nursing mothers. Fenugreek, cumin and nettles are all galactagogues. The nettle is a good source for calcium and iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, zinc, copper, chlorophyll, fatty acids, folate, plus vitamins K, B1, B2, B3, B5, C, and E. Its minerals help build blood, and it is useful in the treatment of iron deficiency hence it is great for restoring blood that was lost during childbirth.


  1. totally going to do this with Vivian. Still working on it with Cadie, who has pooping anxiety. It was inspiring seeing Lily in action when you guys were here.

  2. Love what you are doing! Here in Albuquerque, around the Ayurvedic Institute community, there are several mothers working with Ayurveda. One of them did the elimination communication thing with her little guy very early on, amazing results! I"ve seen others like a mama who came to one of my ayurvedic infant massage instruction classes, and just brought a stainless bowl to hold him over when he needed to go.

    You are lucky you can digest chickpeas! Hey, there is a yummy squash called opo or dudhi available at asian markets which cooks really nice with chickpeas. It is kinda vata reducing some say, and holds its shape gently in long cooking like with chick peas.
    Blessings - Ysha
    Postpartum Ayurvedic Doula Care, Training & Author

  3. Hi There
    I met you at the Farmer's Market today and asked about using Nettles... the recipe looks delicious and I am excited to try it out on the family :)