When I first read about Elimination communication, it seemed that if you were not going to go for the ‘all or nothing’ approach, then you wouldn’t be doing it properly and it wouldn’t work. There was no way that I was going to risk covering myself and the carpet in our rented house, with my son’s poop and pee, so I decided that I would wait until a more ‘normal’ age to begin potty training.
I am lucky enough to have been able to take a whole year of maternity leave, which means I’m with my son all day, everyday and during the evening because we bedshare. At around 5 months I began to notice little things that he would do before he pooped, so for a few days I decided to really observe him and see if I really could tell when he was about to poop or pee. After those few days, I was convinced I knew what his signals or cues were, so I decided I was going to give EC or baby led potty training a go. I found a great site http://www.nappyfreebaby.co.uk/what-is-elimination-communication/ and discovered that I didn’t have to plunge head first into sans nappy world and risk losing our security deposit! I could keep using nappies as a poop safety net and still give EC a try.
I know all babies are different, but here are some of my son’s “I need a poop” cues.
In the morning (usually around 6am) he gets a bit ‘kicky’ and he latches on and off the breast. Those are his first cues, then the moaning starts. At first these same cues could also mean he wanted to do a big burp, so I’d scoop him up and usually he’d bring up his wind (he has always brought up his wind really well) and then he’d happily go back to sleep. As time went on, it became apparent that he was waking up around the same time and then doing a poop in his nappy, so I started putting him on his potty when those first signs appeared at what had become his morning poop time and into the potty the poop went. Result!
During the day was a little more tricky. At first I would just take him to his potty after a feed or a nap and hope for the best and most times he would do a wee or a poop.
Then, as I started to watch him carefully, I recognised those same cues as his morning poop; latching on and off, kicking and moaning – he also stared mouthing my shoulder or neck if I was holding him.
We’re doing well, we rarely have pooped filled nappies, so are using less of them which is better for the environment and the purse!
I’ve not quite managed to catch all his pees, he can easily sneak them out, but I have noticed he goes very still and quiet when he is peeing – I’m usually too slow to get him out of his happy and onto his potty, so for now I take him to his potty at regular intervals for a pee stop.
Along with visits to the potty, I am also teaching him the signs for poop and toilet. At almost 7 months, he can’t do those signs yet, but I know he’s taking them in and will eventually be able to tell me when he needs to go.
My experience of EC has been a really positive one. I feel like I know my son a lot better and I’m more in tune with his needs.
I appreciate that some mums have to go back to work sooner and can’t dedicate the time needed to this pathway, but if you’re able to, then I say give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose and another bonding opportunity to gain!
Just as I was about to post this, my son, who was happily playing on the floor with his toys, let out a huge fart. I scooped him up and took him to his potty only to find he’d already done the business and leaked up his back for added fun! No one is perfect, eh? 😊