Wednesday, April 27, 2011

EC Question and Successes!

Anyway, real quick on the Elimination Communication Subject.  I want to address a question:

So with EC, when does she start doing it on her own without you having to put her on the potty? It just seems like you'd be doing this soooo much for up to a year or two.

I think most people have some preconceived notions when it comes to EC.  First of all, most people probably imagine that we're running her to the potty a zillion times a day, or that we're sitting by the potty for long amounts of time trying to get her to go.  I suppose that may be what happens for many when they are first starting out, but it's certainly not like that for us.

Take this morning for example: Keagan woke up and needed me to change his diaper. I took it off, cleaned him, then sent him to the bathroom.  While he was in the bathroom, I set Evangeline on her potty (right outside the bathroom in my bedroom).  Keagan quickly pottied, and I put fresh pants on him.  When he was finished, I removed Evie from her potty and put a fresh diaper on her. 

Taking your child to the potty really isn't that big of a hassle. I mean, okay, it is when you're in the middle of cooking dinner or in a deep discussion with a friend who stopped in for a short visit, but, in the grand scheme of things, it's really not the pain-in-the-rear that it often sounds like.  I used to think the same thing, though.

Once you get used to their "routine", it's really not a big deal. I know Evangeline is going to need to potty three times in the morning- once after her first feeding, again about fifteen minutes later, and again around thirty minutes later.  She always needs to go more frequently in the morning.  She will play for a couple hours, then be ready for a nap, so I'll feed her, take her to the potty, and then she'll snooze.  Every time she wakes up, she'll want to nurse and then potty.

One thing I realized is that a lot of the time when she is fussy and I believe I have met all her needs, she really is fussing because she needs to go to the bathroom.  Previously, I believed it was because she was still hungry or she was just being figgity.  I read someone else's EC story online, and she mentioned this... so I began taking Evangeline to the potty when she was fussing and wiggling around.  Sure enough!

It's interesting, because I had almost made this connection beforehand, but fallen a bit short. When she was fussy and I knew she wasn't hungry and she didn't want to lay down and go to sleep, I would check her diaper.  If she had fussed for a while, it would be wet, but in the beginning, it would normally be dry.  So, she would fuss because she needed to go to the bathroom (and Momma wasn't getting the hint!), and then she'd fuss because she didn't want to sit in a soiled diaper!  I had caught on to her fussiness about not wanting to sit in a wet diaper, but it had not clicked that the fussing had started because she needed to go and did not want to go in her diaper.

Smart kid. Dull mom.

The way I figure is, I'm already in the habit of frequently changing her diaper. It's not really more of a hassle to take her to the potty.  When we had just started out, she would sit on the potty for a maximum of 5 minutes, but now it usually takes less than a minute- at most, two- for her to go.  It really did not take us long to get into a nice little routine, and she will usually go when I set her on the potty, even if she only needs to go just a little bit.

Thing is, I know many of us are kind of lazy about changing diapers. We are used to disposables which tell us they are more absorbent and hold more- and so this causes us to leave our babies in a soiled diaper longer.  It may be more difficult for someone using disposables to switch to the EC mindset because you likely aren't used to changing the diaper as often.  Cloth diapers usually need to be changed more often, unless you have loaded it up for overnight.  But, in order to keep a cloth diapered heiny trim and dry, you'll need to change it more often, which causes you to pay more attention to when your baby is wet.  Then you get more of a feel for how much they go... and often when they go.

Here's another way to think about it.  I am saving about 6 diapers a day. Six diapers. That's 42 diapers a week. For disposables (the store brand), that's about $15 saved.  Double that for brands like Huggies.  In cloth-speak, that's a lot of laundry I don't have to do (and it's money saved on water, energy, and detergent)!

It's most definitely worth it to me.

And, since we're also potty-training Keagan, I can use Evangeline as his "timer" as well.  If he goes to the potty almost every time she goes to the potty, he'll be dry all day.  So, while she sits on her little potty, he sits on the big potty- and hey, two birds, one stone.

Currently, Evangeline uses one diaper at night- this normally gets her through the whole night.  This absolutely amazes me!  She wakes up in the middle of the night- dry- and wants to nurse. I nurse her, she falls asleep in my arms. If she fusses, I'll get up and put her on the potty.  Normally, when we wake up in the morning, her diaper is wet, but it is not soaked as it used to be.  I'll nurse her, put her on the potty, and she'll fill that sucker up.  (I have tried putting her on the potty before she nurses, but she won't have it. She demands nursing first!) She soils about three diapers a day (including the one at night), sometimes four if we're out and about. For a baby, this is pretty significant (in my opinion).  Keagan soils 3-4 diapers a day as a toddler... without using the potty.

I'm really not sure when Evangeline will be able to take herself. I mean, she'd have to be able to walk- right?  I suppose, once she is able to walk, she may be able to toddle over to her little puppy potty and plant her little booty on it.  The goal isn't really to potty train her though.  I guess you could say it is a by-product of using this method.  The goal is simply to provide for her need. She doesn't want to sit in a soiled diaper, and she's made it clear she doesn't usually even want to pee in the diaper.

I realize EC is not for everyone, but it really works with our family, so I'm going with it.  Obviously, we still use a diapers, and a combination of these things is what works for us.

Today, Evangeline went for the first time while we were out running errands. I held her over the public potty and she tinkled- A LOT! I noticed she was fussing and arching her back. Her diaper was dry, so we hurried to the potty, and boy, did she have to go!

I was so proud of her! I'm sure Evangeline is thinking, "Yay! I'm sure glad my mom is finally getting this all figured out!"   What can I say, I finally decided to listen to what my Granny has been telling me! She used this method on my father!


  1. Great post! Sounds like it's working well for you! We have only EC'd very casually with my 3 (as in, part-time, sometimes weeks or even months "off", and only at home), but both of my girls were done pooping in diapers by 11 months and completely trained (day and night) by 18 months. My son is a little more difficult to read, but at 13 months he communicates very well when he has to go. So even though we aren't full-time EC'ers, I still highly recommend it to people. It takes effort (less for cloth diaper families, IMO) but is very worth it in the long run!

  2. Okay so I randomly came back to this post and realized I didn't answer your question. Both of my girls were going to the toilet themselves, on their own time, by 18 months (my 1st daughter was a bit sooner). We had a little stool in there for them to get up to it, and I always kept the potty seat on it. (we didn't use a little potty)