"What is Elimination Communication?", I asked a friend via email who had mentioned that she was looking into doing that with her soon-to-be expected baby. I read what she said and intended to look more up online when I got a chance. I had kind of forgotten about it until a week or so before I was due another friend mentioned it, which encouraged me to follow through and look into it. And so began my journey into ECing.
Put simply, ECing is recognizing your baby's signals to eliminate (ie. pee and poo) and holding them over the potty for elimination, instead of training them to eliminate in their diaper and then be cleaned up sometime after the fact.
I'll share my short journey with ECing so far (I started seriously ECing within this past week. Previous to that, I had put him on the potty maybe 1/2 dozen times since his birth when I knew he was going to pee.):
If you find this interesting, I encourage you to google "Elimination Communication" and do some reading. This is how I found information on it.
Basically this is what I have done:
1. For a couple days I put Steven in a cloth diaper with no cover. Every time he went pee or poo I immediately knew and would tell him "Go pee pee".
2. Within a short time I was able to notice a few things:
a. Wow do babies eliminate OFTEN! I didn't count, but I would estimate 9-10 times during the day.
b. There was a general pattern to Steven's elimination needs. (For example, just after waking up or shortly after nursing).
c. Steven would often fuss just before needing to eliminate.
3. I purchased an infant potty chair, as holding him over the toilet was inconvenient for my back and he didn't care for being rushed to the bathroom every time he needed to eliminate.
4. I started holding him on the potty chair when I thought he needed to eliminate (determined by his fussing, when he had last eliminated and whether he had just eaten or awakened) and would tell him "Go pee pee". And he would!
A few things that I've learned along the way:
1. Try to avoid being too over zealous. Sometimes Steven would fuss and I'd put him on the potty, but he'd then fuss more because he didn't need to eliminate but he was in need of something else at the time. (Sometimes he did want to go poo, but was having a little trouble so putting him on the potty seemed to frustrate him since he was trying but couldn't and was in pain. Instead of keep him on the potty, I would put his diaper on and try to get him comfortable.)
2. The first couple days that I was trying EC I didn't do it with him at night. I have read online that infants typically do not eliminate in their sleep, they wake up slightly, normally while fussing, eliminate, then go back to sleep. When I did start ECing at night, I admit I became a little too over zealous so as not to have a "miss", but this made for a fussy boy and a tired mom (and dad), as I would put Steven on his potty almost every time I heard him made a noise. This upset him and he let us know! After a night or two of this, I reminded myself that he was wearing a diaper, so if I miss, it's fine. Also, I kept mental track of when he went last and ate, etc. and did a much better job of putting him on when he really had to go. We had a much better sleep then!
3. Since we're using cloth diapers, and since most of his pees get into the toilet, I make sure to use a cloth insert, that way if he poos a little I can just take out the insert to wash, replace it and still use the same diaper (so far we're on the same diaper as this morning - it's 2:30pm).
I started seriously ECing only this past week and already am so amazed. Steven definitely knows his cue "Go pee pee". We've had about 1-3 wet diapers each day (including nights) since starting. I catch about half of his bowel movements on the potty, the other half are yet in his diaper. I'm encouraged that in such a short time we've made such progress and am sure that with diligence in observing and communicating with my son, we will only have fewer and fewer misses.
My favorite times are when he signals the need to go, I correctly receive his signal, place him on the potty, and he eliminates while giving me a great big grin! I do feel much closer to Steven as I'm helping to meet this need of elimination, much like seeing your child is hungry and meeting that need by nursing.
Thought I'd share this new and fun journey with you, as it's likely something new to you as well!