I was exposed to the idea of elimination communication when I was pregnant with my third child. I thought it was bizarre and ridiculous. So I gave it a try!
My son was peeing on the potty from about 6 weeks on. My husband and I would catch some pees, mostly by responding to his crying and wiggling cues. He would be happily playing on the floor, and then start to fuss and kick. I would hold him, facing out, with his legs in my arms, over a small potty. Usually, he would go! We also caught a lot of poo at that stage, as he was pooing every two seconds.
At around 8 months, he started to be very resistant to pottying. He didn’t want to be held over the small or large potty. He didn’t like being held at all, or asked if he needed to go. His cues had changed, and he didn’t seem to have any interest in communicating his needs to me. Eventually, I surrendered, as it was causing both of us frustration. I would try every few weeks to see if he was interested, but he continued to dislike being held to potty (or sitting on the small potty). We tried having him pee in the bathtub, but he was not interested. I also did not feel that I wanted him to pee in the bathtub, as it was too much work for me and I didn’t like the idea of establishing habits we would later need to change.
Around 19 months old, this summer, he started gaining more interest in sitting on the small potty. He wouldn’t make anything for a while. We continued to do plenty of naked time, and there were months of wiping up pee and poo. I preferred to let him pee on the floor as opposed to a diaper, as I wanted him to feel it and connect the sensations, and to know that pee/poo doesn’t belong on the floor.
Some days I had a better attitude about it than others. 🙂
I also felt that we used less diapers overall by doing diaper-free. I could reuse a cloth diaper if I had wiped up pee with it earlier: it wasn’t sitting against his skin so it didn’t bother anyone if it was damp.
We would always clean his poo, walk together to the toilet, and he would flush it and say “bye poopie!”.
He doesn’t have a noticeable cue for pee that I can pick up on. Sometimes he will grab himself, but he doesn’t use a word. Sometimes he will say “potty” or “fee” or “foofee”. He recently started pooing on the potty a few times a week. He is very proud of himself and loves to be in charge of flushing the poo. (and flushing. and flushing. and flushing again.)
We use cloth diapers during the day when we’re going out. He will sometimes use public bathrooms, but usually not. With two other young kids, it is hard for me to juggle everyone in public bathrooms. I had a particularly scarring experience in IKEA where my middle daughter spilled an entire industrial-sized bottle of hand soap all over the floor while I was wiping 2 other bums.
The baby is starting to understand that everyone goes pee before we leave the house, which is a huge help. And he usually pees before nap and wakes up dry. Having two sisters, ages 4 and 6, is quite helpful in encouraging family-wide potty habits.
I’m very happy with our journey. It was hard for me to understand why he had a potty pause, and not to feel discouraged about it. It lasted almost a year, so it seemed like we weren’t doing EC anymore. However, ECing has taught me that each catch is a win, and nothing else really matters. I have been more in tune with Ryder’s cues and his needs, which makes me feel more connected to him. I think it has helped him to be more aware of what is going on with his body, and to feel that his functions are normal and a part of daily life. My diaper laundry is much less than it would be, and that’s always a win!
EC is not about controlling my little one. It’s about knowing his body language, his needs, and his ability to understand himself. I trust that he doesn’t want to sit in a wet diaper. I trust him to know when he needs to go potty (usually!). I trust that he will use the potty if he wants to. He knows that I will help him if he wants my help. And now that he’s old enough, I ask if he wants to wear a diaper or use the potty, and let him choose. He usually understands me when I say, “We are leaving the house now. Why don’t you make a pee-pee before we go so that your diaper will be dry?”
What do you think about EC? Some people think it’s crazy. Some people think they can’t do it if their kids are at day care. Some don’t care, and think babies should be in diapers until they’re 2-4 years old. I’m glad I’ve tried it, but I don’t think everyone wants to or should try it.