Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Elimination Communication--Is This Wacko?

14 Weeks!!

 She is now 15.6 pounds and 25.6 inches long! That's 94th percentile in her weight and 98th percentile in her height!

I realize I forgot Week 13!  All the sudden I looked at the calendar and it was Thursday! Where does the time go?

We sat in the BebePod (traded the Bumbo for this one...this one has a toy too--big plus!):

We took baths with our rubber ducky. I call this: Tatum's Interrogation 


And Tatum is learning to use the potty.  Yes, she's still only 3 months old.

While pregnant I spent hours on my registry.  We didn't have a nursery, or really much space for a baby while I was pregnant, so I think researching baby products was my form of nesting.

While looking in the potty training items on Amazon, I came across a book called The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative.   Curious, I clicked on it and read a few pages on Amazon's preview. 

The concept is that just like a mother knowing when her baby is hungry or tired and can pick up on those signals, babies give signals when they are about to go to the bathroom.  Elimination Communication, or EC, is just learning to read those signals and respond.  Babies (the author argues) are born not wanting to sit in their waste.  In a sense, diapers train them to be okay with that over time.

I had heard of this years back (when I was in HS)--moms in India for whom disposable diapers are often an impossible luxury would squat over a toilet holding their baby and whisper in their ear.  I didn't know what they whispered, but the concept stuck with me.

I started reading the book when Tatum was about 4 weeks old, then we got the news we were moving to Oklahoma so I put it on the back burner.  But now we're here and a bit settled, I've spent the past week trying it out.

While Amazon describes it as "progressive," I (and the author of this and other books) would argue that its really third-world old-fashioned. Anyone who's been to a village in Africa or India or China will notice that two and three-year-olds don't run around with diapers on. In China you'll see toddlers with everything hanging out of split crotch pants so they can potty easier.

The book even says, "One study states that 50% of the world's children are potty trained by age one."

So this past week I've started to observe when Tatum goes and what she does right before that.  I've let her play on her activity mat on a waterproof mat with her diaper off for an hour or so, or held her loosely cradled in a diaper while nursing, and given her opportunities to go over the toilet while cueing her with a pssss sound.

The very first day she peed in the toilet, and every day since she's gone at least once when I cued her (usually after taking her diaper off).  We got her Baby Bjorn Little Potty on Saturday and I've been working on getting her used to that since then.  Saturday she was fussy and NOT happy to be on it.  But yesterday she was fine sitting for a few minutes (with me holding her), and went twice in her potty!

I'm definitely not saying I've got this down or this is the best way anything like that!  I haven't caught a poo yet, and yes I've been peed on.  Its just the first week of learning her signals and responding to them.  I'm not trying to force her to be potty trained...in fact, the whole EC idea is supposed to be very casual.  You can do it one day and not the next.  You can do it for an hour a day. You don't beat yourself up if you give her a chance to potty and five minutes after you put the diaper on she poops.

And so I'm trying it out while we're home alone during the day.  What do I have to lose, besides a few more things to toss in the laundry (which moms do constantly anyway)? And there are a lot of benefits:

Parents learn to better communicate with baby
It reduces irritation of her skin and risk of diaper rash
It saves money in disposable diapers and wipes
Reduces chances of a power struggle to potty train at 2 or 3

If you want a really long list, here are 75 Benefits of Elimination Communication.

Have you ever heard of EC?
What do you think of it?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Here are a few more resources if you're interested...

What is elimination communication?

Learning the Gentle Art of Infant Toilet Training

Chinese Toilet Training

Infant Potty Basics: With or Without Diapers . . . the Natural Way by Laurie Boucke

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard of EC before, but we have been doing that with our little one, casually. I'm impressed with the peeing on the toilet. Eleanor has done poo poo on the potty, and it usually consists of me running her there and quickly stripping her of the diaper. But I haven't figured out her signals for pee. Good job mom! I think it's great, not crazy! :)