I’ve been trying to do a little bit of Elimination Communication (EC for short). It is also known as natural baby hygiene. People in the western world don’t know much about it. People in other countries, it is the norm. What it is about is learning to read your child so that you know when they are about to urinate or defecate. Once you know these signs, or you see your child starting to go to potty, you use some type of verbal cue to reinforce what they are doing. A lot of people use a sss-ssss sound when they are cueing a baby.
With Nicholas, we have used some disposable diapers, mainly when he was first-born and when we are traveling for a while and are not sure when we will have a chance to wash our cloth diapers. Otherwise we use chinese cotton pre-folds with and without a diaper cover or our bum genius diapers. Nicholas tends to get really squirmy and fussy right before he pees. We are able to tell this because of the cloth diapers. He will be fairly content and then all of a sudden, we will wonder what is going on. About 30 seconds to a minute later he is peeing. After he pees, he gets calm again. So, we’ve begun to take him back to his changing table if we notice him starting to get fussy and take off his diaper. Then I begin to make the sss-sss sound. So far, I’ve caught a couple of pees. I even caught one while on my grandmother’s house boat. She has never heard of EC, but wouldn’t you know, she says, “You caught it.” I thought it was funny, because that is EC terminology. You catch pees and poops.
I’m not as good about catching the poops yet, but Nicholas gets a lot of naked time on the changing table. He loves to lay there and stare at the ceiling while kicking his legs and cooing. With the cloth diapers, I think we do a much better job of changing Nick immediately if he has wet or soiled himself. I mean, who really would want to sit in their own urine or poo for very long. I know I wouldn’t, and I think that most babies prefer not to either. You ever wonder why a baby will pee as soon as you take a diaper off. It may be the cooler air, but I know that if I go to take off my underwear near a toilet, I get the urge to pee.
Many people think that babies do not have the capability to wait and pee or poop. I have some friends on facebook that practice either full or partial EC (that means, you don’t have to do it all of the time, if you don’t feel up to it) and their children very quickly learn to wait for the cue.
Some people probably think that it is a waste of time to do this with a baby so young. I didn’t do this with Liam as this young of an age, but I did start to sit him on a potty at 8 months. He began to wear underwear for short periods of time shortly after a year of age. The reason why I don’t think it is a waste of time, because I don’t remember the last time that I had to clean poop from Liam’s diaper. That was an awesome accomplishment in itself. People I know worry about pushing a kid too early to go to the bathroom. I don’t think this has anything to do with forcing a kid to do something that they shouldn’t be learning how to do anyway. I mean, we teach our kids to wash their hands after going to the restroom, or brush their teeth or even to wait patiently for something. Why shouldn’t we teach them at a young age where they should go to the bathroom or be able to tell us that they need to go? Plus, untraining a kid to not go in a diaper can be very, very difficult.
If my husband actually read this blog, then I can just hear him say, then why don’t we, from a very young age have our child sleep in their own bed, but that is a whole other blog post. 🙂 Namely, my breast is not detachable and can’t be placed in the crib.
Liam now only wears diapers for naps, long car trips and nighttime, but I ask him if he wants to put the diaper on now. He still wets heavily at night and won’t always tell us if we are in the car. He is getting much better at telling me know though. He got to go pee in a secluded part of a parking lot the other day, because I had just strapped him in and we started to go and he told me he had to go to the bathroom.
I think that sign language also helped our potty learning with Liam. He still uses the signs for pee and poop. Very helpful when you have a toddler that says pee-pee and it sometimes sounds like baby.