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Rue has been going on the potty for the past two months. As I mentioned in my cloth diapering post, this practice of getting your baby to use the potty is called elimination communication, and has saved us a ton of money. On average, we save from having to wash 4 diapers a day, and the longest we have gone without changing a poopy diaper was 9 days!
A bit of background:
1.) I’m a work at home mom so I’m around my baby 24/7.
2.) I almost always know when my baby is pooping.
3.) A couple months ago, she was having bowel movements every time she sat in her walker or bouncer. Obviously sitting down was the most comfortable position for her, so I tried putting her on the regular toilet, but she hated it.
I decided I needed to get our baby girl a potty chair. I went to Target that night and bought this Fisher Price one. I like this chair because it turns into a step stool. The seat also comes off and can be put on a regular toilet as a booster for when we’re ready to transition her to the big toilet. So it’s well worth the money because we’ll use it for years to come.
As soon as we got home from Target that night, we put her on the potty chair and sure enough, she started tinkling!
She loved it so much, we’ve been doing it ever since!!
Elimination communication is all about reading baby’s cues and putting them on the toilet when they need to go. I have absolutely no idea when Rue needs to tinkle, and I have no intention on finding out.
This is all about poop.
That in-between-breast-milk-and-solids poop is the worst to clean out of cloth diapers so that’s why we do this.
HERE’S WHAT WE’VE DONE:
1.) PUT RUE ON THE POTTY BEFORE AND AFTER EACH SLEEP.
Basically, we put her on the potty any time we would normally go to change her diaper. We give her a while to wake up in the morning and after naps so she’s not cranky on the potty. We want it to be an enjoyable experience for her.
2.) PUT HER ON THE POTTY ANYTIME IT SOUNDS LIKE SHE MAY BE MOVING HER BOWELS.
If we catch her after one toot or grunt, she goes on. We’ve found that if we don’t catch it the early, she’s already gone a bit in her diaper, and putting her on the potty after that is very messy.
3.) SET UP TOYS NEXT TO THE POTTY SO SHE CAN PLAY WHILE SHE GOES.
It keeps her on the seat and she has a really good time while taking care of business. Sometimes, I read to her or give her homemade puffs or cucumbers to eat while she goes if I can’t get her to stay put. I keep her potty chair and box of wipes in the living room so we can access it quickly from any room in the house.
4.) WIPE AS USUAL AND PUT ON A NEW DIAPER, OR REUSE THE OLD DIAPER IF IT’S STILL DRY.
I just bend her over my lap or have her stand up to wipe. I put the soiled wipes in a container I keep next to the potty. When that’s full, I empty it into the diaper pail. Since the mess isn’t smeared all over her cheeks by the diaper, we use way fewer wipes. You could also lie your baby down on a changing pad and clean up that way.
Some people use elimination communication everywhere they go. We use diapers when we’re out and about. I will not put my daughter on any other toilet at this stage. We can work on the actual “potty training” when she’s old enough to talk or sign that she needs to go to.
So far, for us, this has been easy as pie. I think starting her young enough to enjoy doing something new, but not old enough to just get up off the potty and walk away, has helped. She’s not afraid of the potty chair so there’s no struggle, bribing, or crying involved. I praise her for doing a good job every time she sits on the potty and give her lots of cuddles and kisses after we’re all cleaned up. Hopefully this will encourage her to continue into her toddler years.
If not, at least we have all these precious memories of her on the potty.
If you’re thinking about trying EC with your family, I highly suggest it. It’s way more intuitive and natural than it seems. And the clean up is so much easier than scraping sticky poop out of a cloth diaper! I just dump the mess into the toilet, add a squirt of hand soap and hot water to the pan, swish, and flush.
HERE ARE A FEW OTHER TIPS:
1.) Start in the cooler months, or crank up the AC in the summertime. It’s a natural reaction to urinate when you’re cold.
2.) Dress baby lightly and use velcro diapers so it’s easy to get her on the pot as quickly as possible. Footie pajamas and onesies make it harder to strip down the baby as soon as you hear or see that first bowel movement cue. Try tee-shirts and pants, or a onesie with leg warmers. If you use prefolds, forgo the snappie so that it’s easy to drop trou.
3.) Sit, play, and talk to your baby while they’re on the potty. Sign the word “toilet” or “poop” as you say the words so they learn the signs for them. Hopefully, after much repetition, one day they’ll be able to tell you in advance when they need to go to the toilet!
4.) Have fun with it and just like anything else, go with the flow. Read your baby’s cues. If she’s screaming and arching her back as you try to put her on, don’t push it. She’s not going to relax enough to open up and release if she’s forced to get on the potty.
6.) You don’t have to be a stay at home parent to practice EC. Get your partner or care giver on board and practice it part time whenever you can. The bottom line is: your baby is going to get used to going on the potty long before you try to potty train them, so it will make your life a lot easier, and you’ll save a lot of money, time, and energy going through fewer dirty diapers.
So don’t be shy, give it a try! You may just love it as much as we do!!
Do you practice EC at home? What does your set up look like? How has it helped you transition your toddler to potty training?
L, M, & R