Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Elimination Communication: A Year in Review

We've been practicing elimination communication for about a year now, so I thought I would share some thoughts on how the year has progressed in regards to pottying.

We started when she was two months old. I'd heard about elimination communication here and there before she was born, but had kind of dismissed it offhand as "out there". But I noticed as a newborn that she would usually pee when her diaper was removed, even if she had just recently gone, and I began thinking that perhaps there was something to the elimination communication thing.

So I did some reading, talked it over with my husband, bought a Baby Bjorn Little Potty, and she pooped the first time I set her on it! It was amazing! While she was premobile we did very well. I was never able to really read any cues she gave about needing to tinkle other than fussiness, and she phased that out over time as she became more involved with the world around her, so I mostly relied on timing and intuition in knowing when to place her on the potty.

We had about an 80% success rate and when she was about six months old we had our best day ever - Pearl didn't pee a single time in her diaper! I was so proud.

Then she began sprouting teeth, and as each one pushed through the gums we would have a few days where we would only get a few pees in the potty. And not longer after that she began crawling, and that lowered our success rate considerably. She was so busy, and I didn't like to be constantly interrupting whatever she was doing to potty her, and she often protested it as well. I did still give her the opportunity often, though, and she has almost always been willing to go upon waking up. I'd say we caught about half her tinkles. Once she started eating solid foods though, she didn't often poop in the potty.

Walking didn't change a whole lot as far as pottying went right away, except that it made her harder to catch! However, over the course of a few months we taught her the potty sign, and she understands what it means and will use it on occasion. She also understands a lot of words now, and when I say, "Let's go potty!" she will follow me to the bathroom and sit on her potty, though she doesn't necessarily use it at those times. In the past month or so I have begun taking her when I need to go, and at first had great luck with it - to the extent of having our second wet-diaperless day - but perhaps the novelty has worn off, as it hasn't worked as well recently. I can still get her to go after waking usually and often she will not pee while we are out and about, and will then go in her potty upon returning home.

I started practicing elimination communication with the goal of it being a laid back, unstressed thing that at best would free us from having to use diapers and at least would keep her from forming the notion that eliminating is supposed to be done in diapers and make it easier for use at the typical potty-training age.

For the most part have succeeded with keeping my patience, though I must admit to irritation spilling over every once in a while when she won't pee and I know she needs to - prooved by her peeing off the potty moments later! Still I feel we have kept it a peaceful, loving practice.

As far as how successful we have been with actual practice and the progress we have made, I do not feel disappointed at all. I feel satisfied. My daughter knows that her potty is for peeing in, she will pee in it, she can tell us that she needs to pee in it, and she can wait to pee until she has access to it. She doesn't do those things all the time but the fact that at fourteen months of age she does it at all is pretty impressive to me!

I believe that elimination communication is the way to go, and I plan on practicing it with our next child from birth.

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Blogger Lauren said...

I've never heard of the elimination communication practice, but as I read on through you blog entry it makes absolute sense.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

That's great!! Interesting that she often tinkled as soon as her diaper was removed: Tessa has never peed when her diaper has been off! Never!! I have always found that kind of remarkable.

You are inspiring me to get a little potty! I think your approach is right on. I really admire your philosophy around mothering...and that you put it into practice so beautifully.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous sarahgrace said...

THanks for the review- after being exceedingly frustrated with potty training my eldest son- I'm pretty sure I will try this method if we have any more children. (I'm trying to convince my almost-due sister to go this way, to save her the frustration later.) I figure if you have to take the time to change their diaper any way, you may as well be putting them on a potty. Anyway, thanks for the helpful info!

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Mama C-ta said...

Great review. I too thought EC was a little too out there when I first heard about it but the more I learned (mainly through you) I see I was just too quick too judge. I may look into this for the next one. I have a feeling potty training Cricket is going to be impossible b/c dirty diapers don't both him in the slightest.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous S said...

Oh, how I wish we'd EC'd. Sigh. Things were so incredibly insane during those first few months, there was just no way I had the strength to take something else on. But I wish we had, since M used to give pretty clear signals, but now no longer. She just turned 1 year, but I have been toying with the idea of getting the Bjorn potty and doing some experimentation. Haven't made up my mind yet. I will definitely do this from the get go, though, if we have another babe.

I'm glad to hear things have gone well for you. I don't think it's a big deal that it doesn't "work" 100% of the time. I agree with the laid-back approach, and I'm sure the time and effort you've put in will pay off big time in the very near future. I think it's a great thing to keep your babe in tune with her body!

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Daph said...

That's really SO wonderful. I really had wanted to do this with Charlie, but I think it was harder for me partly because I was distracted by two other kids, LOL, and partly because I didn't really learn her cues.

Kudos to you, it's so wonderful to hear about your experience. *If* we ever have another baby, I'll give it a much stronger go next time. :)

8:53 PM  

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