Go Diaper Free: Encouraging potty independence

Go Diaper Free - Natalie Willmot

Nervous about embarking on her parenting journey, Natalie Willmot spent some time watching videos online to prepare herself for what was to come. She eventually came across Andrea Olsen’s Go Diaper Free website and began learning about elimination communication and gentle potty training techniques. After completing her training, she is now a certified Go Diaper Free consultant sharing her learnings and offering support to other parents who are interested in gentle, non-coercive potty training. Here she shares her story with us, and her plans for the future.

What inspired you to set up your business? 

It all started when I was watching a mumma on YouTube, Mumma Katrine. I’d been researching “Day in the Life” videos of what it’s like to have a baby (funny, I know total geek). I was so nervous to embark on this whole parenting journey. There is so much information out there for new parents and I’m a very visual person so I thought this may help prepare me… Spoiler alert, it didn’t!  

During Katrine’s video, she stopped to take her 5-month-old to the potty and sparked a curiosity that led me to Andrea Olsen’s site, Go Diaper Free. Andrea’s approach impressed me so much, she later became my mentor. 

At first I thought it was a crazy idea, this concept of no nappies, but I was excited at the environmental impacts – I’m an environmentalist at heart. I wanted to know more… Could you really take a baby to the potty instead of their nappy? So really, the YouTube videos and reading guides began while I was only pregnant with my daughter, but it wasn’t until we encountered our first ‘potty pause’ at around 8 months old that I ended up buying Andrea’s book.  

In reality, we successfully caught her first wee in the potty at just 6 weeks old. I’m pretty sure I cried when it happened! I saw how much my daughter disliked soiling herself in her nappy and how happy she was when she peed out of her nappy, so I became quite attuned to her signals, which are super clear at that age and quite primal. They really let you know!

Meeting her needs in that way eliminated around 80-90% of her fussiness/distress/colic and I was surprised at how easy the process was once we had all the info to start.  

I desperately wanted to share this information now with other mums, so I completed Andrea’s coach course and became a certified consultant in both Andrea’s methods of Elimination Communication and Gentle Potty Training/Learning.  

The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning? 

By sharing my passion. I frequently talk about Elimination Communication or EC and potty training in groups online, and create content on Instagram. Plus, by giving my clients 110%, they have spread the word. I mean that’s the best marketing right?

It’s just good business to show up authentically, to be there for your clients. My father always said to me, “Nat, if you do the right thing in life you’ll always be okay”. It’s a great quote and it really stuck with me. I also hold free support groups for both our EC and potty training communities so no one ever feels like they’re going it alone. Let’s face it, being a new parent (or even one with multiple children) is hard enough! As parents, we need to feel supported. Just like any other business that juggles family/work/life – a lot of hard work and a heck of a lot of patience.  

The Innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business? 

The biggest breakthrough was when teaching my own daughter to use the potty from birth, I realised that the majority of a baby’s unexplained fussiness or crying is actually related to their need to eliminate without soiling themselves or you. For example,  if you’re holding them, you might find them back arching and trying to ‘escape’ your arms. This blew my mind in such a huge way, I wanted to invoke the same feelings in others… being able to liberate your babies like that. Parents just needed to know about it!  

The saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ is so true in this instance. Plus, its always easier to “talk the talk” when you “walk the walk” so that helps me understand my clients and know exactly where they are coming from because I’ve been there. Being the support for others that I didn’t have (in the beginning) is so uplifting.  

Again, being an environmentalist and hippy at heart, I was super drawn to the impact this could have on our planet if EC became the norm. (Gotta have a dream, right?) Dramatically reducing the reliance on nappies means less landfill, a reduction of harsh detergents and less water. Widespread use of this technique would be a win for the planet.  

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