Thursday, November 8, 2012

Elimination Communication

Being the hippy in denial that I am, when I first heard about EC, I had a similar reaction to this. What kind of voodoo believing, co-op membership holder, community garden gardeninger (wait, is that a word?), chia seed enthusiast would do something like this? I mean, seriously? I can understand cloth diapering. I have a website devoted to the subject. I’m progressive, hip. I’m with it. (insert Dr. Evil docadocadoca dancing scene from Austin Powers)  Potty training a baby is NUTS! No one does that! I mean NO ONE. Only crazy people do…

And so I had to try it.

I needed to prove them wrong, the thousands of mommies out there who in fact do this unfathomable thing. How in the world could someone actually expect a baby to go potty in a potty? Newborns even?! Say what! So, I promptly bought an EC book and got to reading. As per usual, it was filled with hippy crap that appealed to me. Damn it. Why am I so gullible?

Here is what I gleaned from the book:

1.)   A lot of cultures actually do this. (I have no proof of this, nor do I really care.)
2.)   Babies don’t like to feel dirty or wet, so they take easy to the method.
3.)   Your baby wants to potty train. (I have not asked any babies, so I am not endorsing this statement.)
4.)   Babies go potty during transition times, ie. getting out of the car seat, carrier, after a nap, after mealtime, etc…
5.)   Naked time to help your baby learn about how it feels to pee is essential.
6.)   You have to grunt with your child to help cue them for poop and go “ssssss” to help them go pee. (This one is hilarious.)
7.)   Offer the potty often.
8.)   Potty time can be bonding time between parents and baby.
9.)   Take your baby with you to the bathroom and describe what you are doing by using the cues. (Again, hilarious in practice! Hey Lucy, I’m peeing, “ssssss.” Mommy is going pee in the potty.)
10.) People are going to automatically think you are crazy for doing this. Get used to it.

I am no expert on EC, and we are not really religious about offering the potty after every transition, but, my daughter has gone two months with only two “misses” in her diaper. I’m talking one to three poops a day in the potty and sometimes pee! Granted, my little bundle of poopy joy is not walking by herself yet, but she’s content to sit on the potty while we read, watch Baby Einstein, play with my phone, sing songs, or play with her toys. I’ve had to wash fewer diapers, which is a plus. But, more importantly, I haven’t had to clean any poopy diapers in ages!  

I started this around 9 or 10 months, but really got into it after our move at eleven months. Some people start from day 1, which I think is great if you can! At that point, I was in survival mode, so I don’t know if I would have the wherewithal to stick with it. However, I think starting around 6 months, would be a great way to ease your child into using the potty. Remember, every child is different and you are not going to actually “train” a newborn or baby to do anything they don’t want to do. My daughter is headstrong (I wonder where she gets that from?) and believe you me, she would not be going to the potty unless SHE wanted to sit there and go.

So, do with that what you will. If you EC or are thinking about it, let me know what you think! I’m fairly new to the whole process, but we have taken two successful trips now with no poops in the diaper. Crazy, right? For now, I’m a big fan.

Lucy catfishing (A term we coined after we discovered that giving the cat toy to the baby on the potty provided hours of entertainment and distraction while mommy sat by cueing.) 


  1. I think this is awesome! I don't have any children yet myself, but I know a few people who did essentially this, although they never called it by any specific name. My grandmother used to do this with her three girls when they were babies. She knew about how long after they ate they would need to poop/pee and would hold them over the toilet, therefore eliminating the need for her to wash more diapers than absolutely necessary. She would always make sure to put the baby over the toilet before going to church or before going over to someone's house who only had an outhouse. From her stories, it sounds like she was rewarded many times over for her persistence. Another family I know also did the same thing with their three daughters when they were less than a year old. The mother was born and raised in the Ukraine and it was just another way to save time and money by not having to wash as many diapers. In both cases the mothers seemed thrilled and the kids learned how to go to the bathroom on a toilet without any fuss, pleading, or begging. I'm pretty much sold on the idea and can't wait to get my kids out of diapers much earlier than the North America norm these days (hopefully...).

    1. Thank you Ali! It really has saved a lot of diaper washing for us too. Glad to know others have done this with success! I can't wait to hear about your experiences when you have children :)