A friend of mine recommended this book to me earlier this year. She was trying the “diaper free” form of potty training with her daughter and was having good success. So I thought “I’ll give this book a chance.” I had read articles on the web about potty training babies before, and my impression less than favorable. They presented Elimination Communication (EC) as an intense all or nothing challenge. Visions of naked babies crawling around the house, peeing and pooping in every corner like a puppy dog and frazzled mothers rushing their little infants to the toilet every 20 minutes (day and night) just incase they might have to pee formed in my mind. Not a preferred situation to say the least.
Yet, in her book, Christine Gross-Loh explains the elimination communication is more than just potty training. It is learning to communicate with your child from a young age about their potty needs. Thus making it easier for them to transition to using a toilet. The focus is on communication not so much performance. But before a baby can really communicate with their care provider, Christine explains how Babies have “pee patterns” that parents can learn and put their babies on a toilet at those appropriate times thus helping to lighten the diaper load. Christine also explains how flexible EC can be. It doesn’t have to be a all or nothing battle. A parent can practice the techniques full-time, part-time, or occasionally. EC can begun any time between birth and toddler stages. She outlines how to approach each stage as well as giving a list of equipment to make it easier.
Overall the book was a quick and easy read. Probably because I skipped a lot of the personal testimonies from parents about “how wondering ECing is .” I just wanted the facts.
After reading The Diaper Free Baby, I decided to give it a try. I found myself falling into the more part-time, occasional EC tract. The best bit of advice in the book was,” if it stresses you out to much, Don’t do it! Don’t let this be something that controls your life.” With this in mind, I bought a tiny potty, and I take my baby to the potty after she gets up from a nap or has just eaten. I make sure to ask her if she needs to go before I set her on and make the ASL sign for potty to her. Once on the potty, I cue her to go (basically say “piiisssssssst” to encourage her to go pee. She at least thinks it’s funny). She usually at least goes pee, but still wets in her pants in-be-tween potty times. That’s about all I do. It’s easy and fits into her diapering routine already. Now, she has yet to let me know she needs to go, but I think with time, that will come.
Honora on her Pink Little Potty.
UPDATE: I originally wrote this post back in February and forgot to upload it to my blog. Here is an update as to how EC is working 6 months later. I still follow the same routine putting Honora on the potty after breastfeeding and during diaper change. I have found that’s when she usually goes. She does pee and poop into the potty; although she still doesn’t hold it till her “potty-time,” and she doesn’t usually let me know if she needs to go. My goal in ECing isn’t necessarily to have a potty-trained infant (although supposedly that is possible), but to make Honora aware of her bodily functions so that when it comes time to potty train her it isn’t such a stressful transition for both of us.