It’s not all or nothing: Our adventures in Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygeine, or plain old pooping in the toilet.

Anna writes Murphybaby, one of my frequently visited blogs. As part of the Blogathon we are both doing, we were encouraged to do a Guest Post Swap, and I was really glad Anna agreed to swap with me. She lives on the West Coast, in Canada, on an island! She also has curly hair and is not afraid to write about poop.

It started ages ago, really. I read an article about elimination communication and thought ‘who has time for that? it sounds terrible’.

But the seed was planted, then. I began to take notice of blog posts and articles about going diaper-free, and to think about the logic. I found myself talking about the concept at mommy group. But still, it wasn’t for me, no way. I’m busy, I don’t have time for this stuff. I’m already using cloth diapers, I’m on the hippie parenting train about as much as I can be.

But a couple of weeks ago, I met a mom at mommy group whose daughter was wearing no diaper. She wore cute, tiny little panties and doesn’t even wear a diaper to bed. At six months old. My mind was blown, and the competitive part of myself was activated. If she can do it, I can, too.

I started holding Ronan over the toilet. Not consistently, just whenever I thought about it – maybe once a day. If he happened to pee, I’d name it and celebrate, and he’d laugh. But what really got me was the pooping.

The first time he did it, he’d just woken up from an afternoon nap. I knew two things: a) logically, most people need to pee after waking up and b) he’d taken a huge dump at exactly this time yesterday. So I held him over, he peed and pooped almost immediately. We laughed and celebrated and I may or may not have texted Mister Murphy a photo and demanded he tell all his coworkers what a genius baby he had. I was encouraged, and started holding him over the toilet more often – especially after we started solids and his innocent, mustardy, breastfed baby poo turned into real honest-to-goodness crap. For the past few days, I potty him every time he wakes up, anytime he’s just eaten (unless he’s asleep), and otherwise about once every hour and a half.

I’ll be honest. I don’t catch every poop. Since starting solids the bowel movement schedule has gotten a little unpredictable. He won’t go at all one day, and then he’ll go six times a day for a week.  I don’t even come close to catching every pee – if he pees while over the toilet it’s more of a fluke than anything, and he’ll usually go immediately after getting back into a diaper after some potty time. But now, when I hold him over and say ‘poop!’ he’ll smile at me and start to bear down, and if there’s anything to come out, it’ll come.

I am what diaperfreebaby.org would term a ‘part time ECer’ – we use diaper backup most of the time, and I don’t generally potty him while we’re out and about. The way I look at it though, any amount of familiarity with a toilet now is going to make my life a lot easier in the future. Take a quick survey of all the children you know – neices, nephews, your friends’ kids. Somewhere in there is at least one story of a child who who resisted the toilet or even became afraid of it. And really, why wouldn’t they be? They hit a certain, magical age and then we suddenly change our expectations of them in a way they can’t make sense of. Fear and resistance is a pretty natural response, when you think about it. It’s a bit like a company going through a restructure – employees are disgruntled, angry, fearful of the new changes and the ways in which their roles change. Eventually, you get used to it and adapt, even learn to like what’s happened, but the transition pretty much sucks.

My motivation for continuing? About 30% being amazed at just how in tune a baby can be, 30% bragging rights (I am nothing if not honest), 20% because I think that even part time potty learning will mean we can ditch diapers a lot sooner than we first expected, 10% Not having to change (and now dunk/spray) messy poopy diapers, and 10% Saving the environment even more (it takes about 2-3 toilet flushes to rinse out a dirty diaper, plus then the laundry).

I don’t know how much further into EC we will delve – maybe if I tried a couple diaperless days at home I could learn Ronan’s cues when he needs to urinate, too, or maybe we’ll just stick with where we are for now. I’m happy with either decision, but I won’t be going back. This makes too much sense for us, and it’s actually kind of fun – during his time on the potty we are together, at eye-level, talking and smiling and playing. I learned to feed him on cue back when he was small, to be in tune with his needs in that manner, so I feel like I can do this too, to whatever extent it works for us.

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4 responses to “It’s not all or nothing: Our adventures in Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygeine, or plain old pooping in the toilet.

  • Letty

    Hats off, to you! I didn’t try that with my first kid and doubt I will with my second, if only because juggling the two is feat enough these days. With kid #1, though, from about 9 months on, we’d empty her poopy diapers into the toilet and tell her poopoo goes in the potty. She’s pushing 2 1/2 now. She’s potty training and knows that’s where it goes, but … meh, she’ll get there, eventually. Godspeed!

  • kamellia73

    This is the first time I’ve read something that made me want to even consider trying “elimination communication.” My 18-month sold has started to pat his diaper and (sometimes) say “poopoo” when he needs a change. Hmm. I wonder if having him sit on the potty after naps and meals might be worth a try???

  • eliminationcommunication

    Nothing to lose in the trying ! I love reading more and more about how EC is being rediscovered. Especially if it gets diaper businesses underpants in a twist 🙂 I’m currently ECing my second child, a boy. My first is 2 1/2 and hasn’t worn a diaper since she was nine months old.

  • Parents-to-be ask the big questions « Woah Baby!

    […] Guest post on elimination communication and cloth diapering Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 at 11:57 am and tagged with cloth diapers and posted in Cloth Diapers, Recommended. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « Breastfeeding feelings and D-MER […]

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