Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Off Topic Tuesday - Elimination Communication

So, I'm the slacker of our trio and haven't done much in the world of cloth diapering. I had full intentions when pregnant with Chicken Little back in 2008... but hard laughter and "yeah rights" from my mom and uncertainty/lack of support from Rooster just made me turn to chlorine free disposable diapers. Sure, they're better than your average disposable... but still... creating waste.

Around 9 months of age with Chicken Little I got ahold of a handful of Bum Genius cloth diapers and began to use them part time. He was consistent with having a "morning constitutional" (i.e. taking a dump), so I would just wait for that to happen in a disposable and switch to cloth diapers after that. It actually worked pretty well! I was able to do the whole thing without Rooster even knowing about it! Tee hee!

I would rinse and wring them out at diaper time and leave them hanging in my shower. Usually I would wring them so dry that they wouldn't even drip. Come laundry time (usually every other day in this house) I would toss them in with the rest of the clothing. I have no idea if I was doing any of this "right" but they appeared to be clean and nothing ever got ruined... so good enough I suppose.

At some point I fell behind in my routine, birthdays happened, holidays happened, and then I broke my kneecap and was unable to go down the stairs for about three months to do laundry. Once I could go up and down the stairs, I was sometime in the second trimester of pregnancy with Chicklett, and because of risk/fear of falling down the stairs I limited it to "only when Rooster was around" so someone could help me if the worst were to happen. So... the cloth diapering officially ended.

Come now to end of 2010 with few week old baby Chicklett. I, once again, was surrounded by friends with children in adorable cloth diapers, but stuck with chlorine free disposables. I felt guilty, but obviously not guilty enough to just make our household be a cloth diapering one (which had I done Rooster would have supported me).

I observed pretty early on that Chicklett would have almost dry diapers after her 2-3 hour naps (I know, don't hate me... I make sleepy children). I made several joking comments about her being potty trained before her big brother. Sometime around the 2-month mark she started to have dry diapers overnight from about 8pm-5am. I was thinking it was just a boy/girl difference, but when asking around my baby seemed to be the only one doing this!

I had heard of Elimination Communication (EC) at a playdate about a year ago. As we were loading up to leave I noticed a mom hissing at her baby. Being confused and curious I asked her what on earth she was doing. She explained that they do elimination communication and that her baby had signaled that it was time to go, and since they were out in public without a potty she was just having her go in the diaper... but that she used the trigger noise of hissing to tell her daughter that it was okay to go.

Huh?? Are you crazy lady??

Well folks... now I'm the crazy lady. In January I sat my little rolly polly squishy 3-month old baby girl on the potty chair... and ... tada... she went potty. Not only did she just naturally go within seconds of sitting there... she laughed, smiled, and kicked her chunky little legs with glee the entire time. I was shocked. The girl loved it!!

Potty snap shot my daughter will hate me for later... sorry honey... it's too cute...
Online I was connected up with Emma Kwasnica who I was told is a EC guru. Her 15 month old daughter has been diaper free since BIRTH. She recommended I obtain a copy of Ingrid Bauer's Diaper Free book at the library and visit www.diaperfreebaby.org

I'm not sure how involved we are going to be in this whole journey, but for now we catch her after every nap time and have cut way down on our diaper usage. So long as she is happy and having fun, we'll continue. We ran into a snag a few days into it of her crying, and after asking around for advice we realized she wasn't liking the cold toilet touching her. Now we're careful about making sure she's covered and it's back to happy potty land!


  1. That's pretty cool. I keep hearing about ec and thinking people have officially snapped and have way too much time on their hands. But it's neat to actually hear about it "in action" so to speak. We just made the transition full time to cloth, so anything that keeps a few extra sposies out of the landfill is good for me. Good luck!

  2. It really isn't taking much time out of my day. We have only been doing it part time, just right after she wakes up from naps or overnight. So it's about 4 times a day, and she usually goes within about 2 minutes of sitting there. I know some people really dedicate to doing it and have to set their LO on the potty a few times an hour and deal with accidents. I'm not sure we'll go that far, but right now it's a part time hobby. And yes... I was actually getting bored with my baby. Ha! Something interesting to spice up the day.

  3. Well interesting to hear someones perspective of EC. I don't think your approach sounds extreme the completely diaper free on the potty frequently (and friend of co-worker who had her child potty outside, before going into my co-workers house, that's a bit much to me). Granted Kai is 18 months but I usually put him on potty whenever he wakes up dry, he asks about "potty" and seems interested. Granted he hasn't gone on it yet. But it doesn't hurt to expose him to it, in no real hurry to try to get him out of the diapers.

  4. Funny about the reaction of others to CD and concern for lack of support. But with your injury etc... it would have been pretty much impossible for you to have done. At least you did what you could & CD part time when you were able. WTG. No one other than my step mom, sister (& dad sort of) were for the CD in our house (note: none of them live with me). Most just shook their heads...hubby was not for it. Well he agreed to go along with my crazy idea with thought that it wouldn't last long (as part of that deal, which I'm totally OK with, I change most diapers, unless of course I'm not home) at 18 months we mostly CD and use mostly chlorine free when in disposables. My MIL prefers not to CD when she watches our son (did it in a quiet grudgingly way for first 10 months or so, then I noticed him coming home with few diapers used, then she "admitted" to using disposables at her house) so now I usually just ditch the CD when she's watching him. Why have power struggle. Also use sposies when I get behind on laundry, get lazy or sometimes when we are away from home for a long time. Mostly when being lazy (behind) with laundry. Still we have kept many traditional disposables from entering our home & thus the landfills. Have even used gDiapers a bit inside our CD when out to make changing & disposal easier. If another baby enters our home I hope to CD from the start by getting some extra smalls. Well on second thought maybe that would be more extra work than I'd like to commit to, they go through so many diapers at first, maybe CD at least part time from the get go. Kai didn't enter CD until about 3-4 weeks, even then they were hilariously huge on him at 8 lbs.

  5. We started EC at 3 months, and at 9 mo. we're still going strong. We're catching almost every pee and now we're starting to catch poops in the potty too! Yes, we have cleaned up some misses, that comes with the territory, but it's just a little baby pee. And, we CD part-time; at night and when we're out and about. Many babes that are EC'd, are potty trained by 18-24 months. And, it's a wonderful way to communicate with your baby. It's a gentle and effective way of 'potty training' your children. I recommend looking into it.

  6. We ECd our son from 3 months until about 9 months. Once I went back to work, it went downhill though since it was too hard for his caregivers to be consistent with it, so for us it didn't lead to earlier potty training. But it DID prevent him from being catheterized in the ER when he was sick with a very high fever. The nurse was absolutely amazed that a baby could pee in a cup on cue! I definitely want to try again with my next child.