EC Update

It has been quite a while since I posted about our continuing experiences with elimination communication. We had a remarkable run of success with several months where we only had one or two soiled diapers per week. Now we are having soiled diapers every day, and catching one or two bowel movements per week. We are not disheartened, but just changing our routine. Now that Baby D is mobile and crawling around to explore his surroundings, his signs are not as clearly noticeable. Whereas in the past I could tell pretty reliably when he needed the potty, now my first indication is usually a certain odor emanating from his diaper. He is just too busy to stop for the potty! This is a common experience among those who practice EC, and does not indicate a failure of the method. We just have to stay one step ahead of the little explorer and begin offering the potty based on timing rather than signals from the baby. I know that Baby D usually needs the potty in the morning just after he eats, and so I will offer the potty then. Sometimes we catch it and sometimes we don’t. At this stage my goal is to continue the association of moving the bowels and sitting on the potty. As long a s Baby D continues to make this connection the transition to independent toileting should be much smoother than if we relied totally on diapers. The most important thing for us will be consistency on my part in offering the potty at the right time. Sometimes I need to overcome LMS– Lazy Mom Syndrome!

The increased frequency of soiled diapers has given us more opportunity to sing the “You’ve Got Something in Your Diaper” song, which makes Baby D smile. These are the words, to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”:

You’ve got something in your diaper,

You’ve got something in your diaper,

You’ve got something in your diaper,

And it doesn’t smell so good!


Elimination Communication Update

We have been actively practicing elimination communication for two weeks. It has been easier and more successful than I hoped. In two weeks we have had a total of two soiled diapers– one that we missed while at home, one that happened while we were out and did not have the potty. We still have wet diapers because we are not actively trying to catch urine. Baby D sits calmly on his potty when he needs it, and fusses if I put him on when he does not need it. this is an aspect of the communication that I did not anticipate, but I am pleased that he can communicate so clearly what he needs and doesn’t need. As soon as he is able to sit unsupported we will use a potty chair instead of the potty bowl. In my opinion EC is totally do-able and perhaps the best parenting decision we have made. If you are considering EC but feeling apprehensive, my advice would be try it– it is easier than it looks.

Baby D in a serious mood wearing a hat his father wore as a baby.

Third Day Without a Soiled Diaper

Today is our third day practicing elimination communication. We focus on catching bowel movements, and count any caught urine as a bonus. We have caught every bowel movement for three days! We keep the potty bowl with us, and when baby D appears to be on the verge of eliminating we open up his diaper and hold him over the potty bowl. While he is having a bowel movement I make a “shh-shh-shh” sound that, if all goes according to plan, he will eventually associate with the act of eliminating. I also tell him what he is doing. “You are having a bowel movement”, or “You are urinating”. I don’t have any illusions that there will never be another soiled diaper, but three days without one at two months old, having only just begun to practice EC, makes me very hopeful for success. I think using cloth diapers adds an extra incentive to catch the bowel movements. Our FuzziBunz wash up beautifully and there has never been any problem with staining, but it is easier to wipe out and disinfect the potty bowl than to wash soiled diapers. I still wash diapers every day, but just wet, no mess. I was nervous about being able to do EC, but these first few days have made me excited about continuing!

First Diaper Free Time!

We had our first diaper free time today. For a little while this morning baby D was on a blanket with a waterproof pad, adorable little bummie taking the air. He seemed pleasantly surprised– at first a little upset, then vocally happy. He did not eliminate during this time, but I did hold him over the potty bowl. He doesn’t mind the potty bowl, which surprises me. We are definitely taking ‘baby steps’ in elimination communication, but so far, so good.

First Steps in Elimination Communication

I began, gently, to use elimination communication with baby D today. My original intention was to begin from birth, but plans changed and we are just beginning now. We were able to catch a bowel movement, which feels like a big accomplishment. I held him once over his infant potty bowl, and once over the toilet. Both times he had a perplexed expression, as if he were wondering what in the world was being done to him. My plan from here is to offer the potty or toilet at predictable times– upon waking, after eating, and during diaper changes. I will also offer it if he appears on the verge or in the process of eliminating. We will have some daily diaper free time with the aid of waterproof pads. I will give periodic updates on progress.

The Infant Potty Bowl Is Here

Today the infant potty bowl arrived in the mail. It is not fancy, just a plastic bowl with a wide, smooth rim to accommodate a tiny bum.

I am excited about beginning elimination communication with my child from birth. After reading about how common it is for infants to eliminate while nursing, I felt a little nervous about getting a good nursing position while holding the baby comfortably over the bowl. Some moms lay a pre-fold under the baby while nursing rather than using a container. I might try that as well, but I was glad to find a photo on this bog of a mom nursing while holding a bowl under her son. After clicking the link scroll down the page to see the photo. Of all of the parenting choices we are making, EC is the one I am most nervous about. Will it work? Is it worth it? After reading a couple of books and numerous blogs on the topic, the answer to both questions appears to be ‘yes’. I just haven’t flexed my momma muscles yet and feel a little insecure. Anyone who has used EC, especially with a newborn, do you have any advice? Help a new mom out!

A Mom of Three EC’d Children Speaks

Have you ever wondered how a busy family incorporates elimination communication into daily life? Here is a link to a video of an interview with Maggie Howell, a mom of three. She used elimination communication with her oldest from four months old and with her younger two from birth. Please check it out! This is also a good link to send skeptical family and friends to for explanation.

Maggie Howell on EC

Contemplating Elimination Communication From Birth

I am really intrigued by the idea of elimination communication. After first finding out about it online, I read Christine Gross-Loh’s book Diaper Free Baby. The title may be a little misleading– most parents who use elimination communication with their children use diapers at least some of the time. It also takes some pressure off to read that elimination communication is not an all or nothing prospect. Some families do it all the time, some do it part time, or even only at specific times. It all boils down to observing the cues and patterns surrounding the child’s eliminations and offering the toilet or child’s potty in response to those cues and patterns. Elimination communication advocates stress that it is not about toilet training at the earliest possible time, but more about the communication between child and parent. I have to admit that I am approaching it for the early toilet independence.

One thing that stands out to me from reading about elimination communication is the idea that relying solely on diapers is effectively “diaper training” the child, almost guaranteeing a stressful transition to toileting. This seems to make sense– if a child has been using diapers exclusively for his or her whole life why would the child not want to continue using the diapers? The idea behind offering the toilet from a very young age is so that the child does not become used to the feeling of a wet or soiled diaper. When the child does have a “miss”, as elimination communication advocates call it, the child is more likely to let the parent know quickly. No one expects to catch every urination or bowel movement. Catching at least some of them, though, ensures that the child experiences eliminating outside of a diaper and hopefully comes to prefer doing so.

I am planning to begin elimination communication from birth. I do not plan to be rigid or fanatical about it. I hope to progress naturally, in a loving and stress free way. It helps to remember that “elimination communication” is just a new term for an old concept. There is a lot of talk in elimination communication circles about early toileting in other cultures. Also, it seems the typical diapered western child is diaper dependant much longer today than even in the relatively recent past. I believe the many parents who say that their children have become toilet independent sooner than is culturally expected, and I am going to give my child that opportunity. Why keep a child in diapers longer than necessary?

I just ordered an infant potty bowl to use from birth. It is not necessary to purchase a product designated as an infant potty– a regular bowl or even plastic container is used by many families. I bought this because– well, because I don’t want to look so weird to our family and friends. We are doing a lot of things differently. I am confident about trying all of them and willing to explain and to accept criticism. I don’t mind if people express disagreement with our choices. But I do think it will be easier to explain that we are using an infant potty bowl than an old cottage cheese container. Maybe that makes me a weenie. At any rate, the infant potty bowl can be held between the parent’s thighs and is said to be the perfect size and shape for babies. We’ll see.

We are also using cloth diapers, which are said to be more conducive to elimination communication than disposables because the child feels the wetness more directly. We made the decision to use cloth early on, before I had even heard of elimination communication. It just seems more economical to make one larger investment at the beginning and not have to purchase disposables over and over. We went with FuzziBunz, a pocket style cloth diaper. My mother purchased them for us as a gift, spending about $285.00. We chose the “one size” option, which adjust to fit babies from 7-40 lbs. I like that her one time purchase will cover the whole time our child uses diapers, and subsequent children if the diapers are well cared for. We do have one package of disposables, which we received as a gift. We are taking a couple to the birth center (along with the potty bowl) because I would rather have meconium in the disposables than the cloth diapers. Although I have no direct experience with meconium, hearing how tarry and difficult to remove it is makes me not want to chance ruining a cloth diaper with it.

I look forward to chronicling our experience with elimination communication. If it is working for us I will write about it, and if it is not working for us I will write about that, too.