Half Fast Elimination Communication

EC is not as daunting as you might think. There’s only reason we (yes, really, we. Hubby does it too. Even grandma.) practice EC is because it works.  If I had to change my basic day to day habits to accommodate this weird and unheard of method of dealing with poop and pee, I wouldn’t do it.  If it wasn’t working for us, I’d stop in a heartbeat. I don’t have any type of philosophical or religious reason for ECing. It just makes the most sense to me. But I’m not “all in”with EC.  This means I don’t try to pee my baby in the middle of the night and he doesn’t go without a diaper all the time. This is how we EC:

1. Put baby in prefold and diaper cover, or pre-fold loosely attached to baby with a diaper belt.

2.When baby get’s squirmy, put him on the potty.

3. Put him back in the diaper.

Actually, that’s the ideal. Sometimes it I’m busy and miss the potty squirm. In that case, I have to change the diaper, which is often messy and takes more time that it would have to put him on the potty.

Although some ECers pee their baby at night, I’ve tried it and it just pisses off my kid. Let me rephrase that: he gets mad and tense and WON’T pee because he’s sleepy and he liked the nice, warm bed in the dark room.

The main reason I try to EC at all is because it makes sense. I could always tell when my first son was going to poop (still can, as a matter of fact) but it never occurred to me just to hold him over the toilet. I sigh thinking of all the diaper explosions I could have avoided. EC for us is just a simpler, cleaner form of hygiene.  If you’re on the fence, give EC a try.  I guarantee after one week of ECing, you’ll feel weird changing a poopy diaper.  You might even start to wonder how the whole “diaper” thing caught on. Don’t worry if you don’t catch on quick. Half fast EC is still better than no EC.

The Poopsmith

A toddler's toolbelt

A toddler’s toolbelt

That’s what I am now. If you’ve wondered why the ElecticMother has been on a posting hiatus, it’s because I’ve been too busy with my new job as Poopsmith to get much of anything else done. As you know, my baby goes on the toilet, and now, my toddler goes on the toilet too.  After over a month of crying and gnashing teeth every time we tried to get him to go #2 on the toilet, Joe II has finally decided it’s not so bad after all.  I think it’s the fact that he gets a cup of ice cream EVERY SINGLE TIME convinced him he could do this.

One morning I awoke to two little eyes at the edge of the bed. 6am.

“Mommy, deal with my poop.” 

In case any of you were wondering if I was concerned that years down the road my son would come across this blog and be absolutely mortified with shame my answer is I SURE HOPE SO. Because he woke me up at the crack of dawn to deal with his poop when he knew darn well it belonged in the potty to begin with.

I never thought that my entire life would be consumed with poop, but here I am, up at midnight typing a post to enlighten my loyal readers on something so important to me that I can’t go to bed. Poop poop poop.

Changing diapers is gross.  Trying to get Thomas the Train underwear off without getting the load EVERYWHERE is much worse.  So Joseph and I basically lived in hell for three weeks.  I refused to put Joe II back in diapers because I knew that the little man would never learn if we didn’t change something but this whole pooping in the underwear thing was unacceptable. We settled on Pull-Ups because Joe II could at least get those on and off by himself. And Huggie’s makes the kind that have Velcro strips on the side so they can be removed easily.

But last week, we had something of a break through. He’s actually pooping on the potty now. He’s even saying, “I gotta go potty!” and tearing off down the hall in that direction.   His preschool teachers have finally quit responding to every potty training concern I’ve had with “He’s young” and actually started encouraging him to go potty. Dare I say it–he may actually potty train yet.

Now I’ve just got to get the man a toolbelt so he doesn’t have to stuff his flashlight down his Thomas the Train underwear.

My baby goes on the toilet

I’m not making this up.

Months ago, I posted about elimination communication (EC), also known as infant potty training or natural infant hygiene. The idea is that babies can and do communicate their need to eliminate–pee and poo–and an attentive parent can respond to those cues and allow the baby to use the toilet.  I first read about EC in Mothering magazine.  I did some more reading and came across The Other Side of the Moon blog. She inspired me to give EC a try with her real life examples of EC as a true alternative to diapers–either cloth or disposable.  Even so, I was thinking what you’re thinking now:

Yeah, right.

I’m here to tell you YEAH, RIGHT! Guess what? In the past three days I’ve only had to change two poopy diapers.  The rest of the poops–and you ought to know breastfed babies poop like, 10 times a day–were caught in the toilet where they belong. On more than one occasion, I got Benjo to the toilet and he still had a dry diaper.

So how do we do it?

First, Ben is really obvious with his cues, as most new babies are. He scrunches up his legs and hollars and basically announces to the world he isn’t comfortable.  At that point, I take him to the potty. I sit down and put him in front of me and do my darnest to point his whizzer down. I don’t always succeed at this. And then I say

psSSSSSSss

After a few times of doing this, Ben started holding it until he heard me say “psSSSSSSss.” Then he’d go.  He’ll also go #2 but that takes patience and intuition. It’s pretty obvious when he’s done peeing. I have to guess when he’s done with #2. Usually he’s nearly done when he gives a big yawn followed by another poo.  When he fusses like crazy even after I’ve got him on the toilet, it usually means

“Gee, thanks a lot mom. I started doing my jiggly leg thing five minutes ago. Thanks to you, I peed all over myself. Gosh. Just try to get me here faster, next time, would ya? And change me, for pete’s sake.”

Yeah, he really is that upset when he has to resort to his diaper. But he’s way happy after he’s visited the toilet. See super cute picture above.

Now, that’s awesome and everything but why WHY would I even attempt such a thing? Well, first of all, I hate changing diapers. Ick. Ick. Ick. Second of all, I’ve found out in the past two weeks that I suck at potty training.  ECers knock one to three years off the potty training hurdle, with EC babies commonly going diaper free by nine months of age and verbally communicating their need by 12 months.  There is nothing–not money, nor fame, nor the promise of eternal youth–that could entice me the way that promise does.

No more potty training.

Ah, the sound of tinkling in the toilet. It’s music to my ears.

Part time elimination communication

Image

A few months ago, I mentioned how much I hate changing diapers and I still do.  With Joe II not quite potty trained, I yearn even more for a diaper free life, and Benjamin and I are striving for just that. About three weeks ago, I started elimination communication, or infant potty training, with my youngest son.

Benjamin is turning out to be a very interesting little guy.  He’s one of those babies that can’t stand a dirty or wet diaper. He makes a terrible fuss about it.  When he was six weeks old, I started putting him on the potty whenever he started to fuss. Using a cue of “psss” to encourage a little pottying action, Benjamin took to it right away.  He readily uses the toilet over a diaper whenever I offer, and even seems to “hold it” while I’m getting him to the bathroom.  On two or three occasions, his diaper has even been dry after a nap and he’s only released after being held over the toilet and cued.  He’s a genius!

From what I’ve read, babies who have participated in elimination communication with their parents are fully potty trained by seven to nine months of age. When I say “potty trained” I just mean they have mature bladder control, communicate their need consistently with an attentive parent, and don’t need to wear a diaper. I have happy hopes of this being my boast by the end of the year.

Maybe I’ll never change a nasty diaper again. Or go through this potty training nonsense. You just try arguing the matter out with a two year old who can clearly say, “I am not going to use the potty for poo-poo, Mommy. It’s just for pee-pee.”

Elimination Communication: No hippy hair or granola sandals required

I’m happy to announce that you don’t have to be a crunchy granola mama to practice EC.  Here’s the basics:

1. Watch for baby’s cues. The wiggling, squirming, or (in my son’s case), the scrunched up wailing face of “FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME?!” right before each poopoo and pee pee are typically dead giveaways.

2. Take the child to an appropriate elimination receptacle.

3. Use a vocal cue of your own to let baby know it’s okay to go. Most moms say “Psss” or “Shhhh” at this point. Baby will eventually associate the sound and “assuming the position” with eliminating.

And then follow the directions on most shampoo bottles, “Rinse and repeat!”

Sooo…what about getting peed and pooped on? Blogger mom at Elimination Communication says, “Everyone earns their WeeWee Badge…when an infant is diaper free you are prepared for an accident.”  Even spending one or two days watching for baby’s cues will make you a pro at getting them to the potty in time. And within a few months, babies learn to “hold it” until given the cue to go, so even emergencies can be tolerated from time to time.

Although it would awesome if I knew a seasoned mommy who used EC, there are lots of online forums, guides, and videos to help a newbie like myself get started, like:

http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/

and

http://tribalbaby.org/ECindex.html

Next up, Advanced EC. Are you ready for some serious TMI?