Elimination Communication in Action

Today, our littlest boy is 51 weeks old and he had his first dry night. He fell asleep before 9pm and woke up around 4 crying.  We tried consoling him, nursing him, letting him crawl around the bed, and just cry but nothing calmed him until…I got up and took off his dry diaper and put him on the potty.  He calmed down and immediately peed and filled his little potty about a centimeter deep.  Then he was calm and was ready to go about his day.

I replaced his diaper with a snap on that requires a cover (but didn’t use the cover so it was like thick underwear for him) and an hour and a half later, he peed in it.  Like with all kids who are learning, it takes time to adjust but this event is a turning point in his body control adventures.

For anyone who is not familiar with EC (elimination communication), the way it works is that you pay attention to your child and when s/he needs to go, you offer the option of using the potty.  This can be done full time (if you live in the jungle, this is probably your first choice) or part time.  We use diapers most of the time but take them off for this and replace the same ones when they are dry.  Every day he has some successes and every day he still uses the diapers but we have between 1/3 and 1/2 less dirty diapers–well worth the effort.  Baby’s joy at his accomplishments make it worth it, too.

For us, we take him when we need to go, after meals, and after waking up. When he is successful, we sing him the potty song (whatever song you make up or like -as long as it is fun and the routine), now at almost a year-we give a High-Five, too.  Later, we’ll start using pee-pee stickers (to wear on his shirt to show off).  We started EC when Baby was 6 months old and starting to sit up. At first, he held onto the wall to balance until he was strong enough to balance alone. I usually set a timer for 10 minutes or until he goes-whichever is first and use the time to fix my hair or get ready or whatever. As a bonus, he isn’t under my feet while I am busy but instead focusing on his own “job”. He has a few magazines to read (circulars or other mail) and sometimes I let him watch a video on my cell phone.  Now, at almost a year, he isn’t walking yet but can sit down or get up off his potty by himself (we discourage it, though).  Because the kids are already used to doing this before they hit the independence stage (terrible twos), this isn’t a battle ground for them to maintain contrariness.

Here’s a couple of photos of him at 9 months in action. Note: the Onsie is snapped at the shoulder to keep it clean.

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Update:  He only had two wet diapers yesterday. All the other times were in the potty.  This morning, he waited again until we were in the bathroom. 2 hours after getting up, he has “gone” 3 times.

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