Hey y’all! Today I wanted to share about something….unique…we’re doing with our son Gabe!
People are always super curious, and maybe slightly weirded out by this, but we are training our baby son Gabe to use the potty! He currently does all (or about 90+ percent..) of his poops on the potty which has this mama super stoked!! I very rarely change a poopy diaper any more which is amazing. I shared a photo of a happy Gabe on his little potty recently to my Instagram stories and got some great questions about this so I figured it was time to write a blog post about it! I had never even heard of the concept of elimination communication until very late in my pregnancy when I saw some moms discussing it in one of my Facebook groups so I’m sure many of you reading this haven’t heard of it either. I was so intrigued at the idea of early potty training and everything I read seemed to make a whole lotta sense so I decided we’d try it for ourselves and I LOVE it! Read on if you’re curious about what elimination communication is, why I decided to do it, and how!
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What Is Elimination Communication??
-Elimination communication (EC for short) is the practice of helping your baby “eliminate” their waste so they don’t go potty on themselves. It teaches them from a young age where to pee/poop. The caregiver simply helps the baby do what they’re unable to do themselves by giving them opportunities to go to the bathroom. Simple!
-All mammals, including human babies, have the instinct to not want to “soil the nest”. This isn’t hard to believe since babies cry when they’ve got a wet or poopy diaper. Its uncomfortable! No one likes sitting in dirty wet clothing. This also explains why many babies will often pee/poop instinctively when you take off their diaper. I’ve definitely gotten peed on (and projectile pooped on) while changing Gabe’s diaper. Haha! It is pretty hilarious…but luckily with us developing a potty routine I’ve been able to avoid it now. Although until he’s totally potty trained I’m sure it will happen again at some point.. 😉
-Elimination Communication is just one more way of meeting your baby’s needs, just like feeding them, keeping them clean, snuggling them, and keeping them warm. It allows them the chance to relieve themselves in a way that they don’t have to go on themselves.
-Elimination Communication is NOT: expecting your baby to always go potty in the toilet, its not going without diapers (although some EC’ers do practice diaper free time), and it is not something that only super-ultra-dedicated-over achiever stay at home moms only can do. There are many ways to practice elimination communication and different levels of commitment you can do depending on your schedule and potty goals! Read on to find out why and how we do it with Gabe!
Reasons Why I Decided to Practice EC With Gabe
–Early potty training!!! Can I get an amen? Haha- before I heard of EC, the thought of training a toddler to use the potty sounded like a daunting task and I was already dreading it before I even had my baby. With babies/toddlers who practice EC they’re already familiar with the potty. They associate the potty with going to the bathroom, and they’re taught that that’s where you do your business. Without this early training, toddlers essentially have to be un-taught to just pee and poop whenever, wherever, and then taught where to do it and how to recognize those urges. Many babies who are introduced to the toilet as a baby are completely potty trained at less than a year old! This amazes me! (I hope we’re able to be this successful with Gabe, fingers crossed!) Some babies are able to signal or sign when they need to go so mom or dad can help them go. The average potty training age in our country has gone from around 18 months to around 2-3 years old since disposable diapers became the norm. Disposables keep babies feeling dry so they’re not as uncomfortable sitting in their waste. Diaper companies are thrilled about the age going up because they make more money this way, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Babies are ready much earlier than we give them credit for, and countries that practice EC as the “norm” have very early potty training ages as well.
–Less diapers to buy/wash!! Right now we do cloth diapering part time and use Honest Company disposables the rest of the time. Washing cloth diapers is annoying, and spending big bucks on disposables is also annoying so I want to use diapers as infrequently as possible! Meaning to get Gabe out of diapers as early as we possibly can, and also allowing him to use the potty more so we have to change his diaper less frequently too. There have been many times I’ve been able to re-use the same (clean) diaper on Gabe because he went on the potty, and I was able to put the same clean diaper back on. Every time this happens I do a little happy dance! One less diaper I had to wash or pay for!
–Its much cleaner. I rarely get peed/pooped on since I started routinely holding Gabe over the potty. Changing poopy diapers is also not fun. If he poops in his diaper, it gets smeared and smashed everywhere. In every little crease! Gross. I go through tons of wipes to get him all clean if he poops in his diaper. When he poops over the potty, I wipe him once or twice with 1-2 wipes and he’s clean. No smears!
How I Practice Elimination Communication with Gabe
As I said above, there are many ways of practicing EC and different levels of commitment. I started with Gabe at 3 weeks old. I tried it before that but I felt so awkward holding him over the potty when he was that small and I got the hang of it more around 3 weeks! You can start EC at ANY age, but the earlier you start, the smoother and easier it will go. I use this potty– it is super cheap! Right now I just use the potty part without the base/seat part because Gabe is too small for that. when he is able to sit up by himself we will transition to using the whole thing, but for now, the potty part goes between my legs and I hold Gabe in my lap. (see photos!)
Whenever I change Gabe’s diaper, I do so in the bathroom. I do this to further associate that room of the house with doing his business. So I take him in there and change him on a changing mat on the floor. I take off his dirty diaper and then I hold him over the potty. About 80% of the time he will pee. I also make a “pssss” sound to signal him to pee. He has never peed on me when transitioning from the mat onto the potty, surprisingly! It takes me a few seconds to get him situated and comfy on the potty and when I’ve got him into position I’ll make the “pss” sound and he will usually pee right away.
Sometimes he takes a few seconds before he goes, and occasionally he doesn’t go at all. Right now I’m not too concerned with getting him to only pee on the potty. Although some EC’ers do this! I don’t feel like I can be THAT committed to catch everything in the potty yet, but getting him comfortable peeing on there is my main goal. If he pees on there at every diaper change, that equals out to significantly less diapers being used because he can go longer between changes since he was totally empty when he got a fresh diaper.
POOP- Gabe is a little over 2 months old now, and for the past month or more, most of his poops have been on the potty! I very rarely change a poopy diaper any more which is incredible. Haha his poop “schedule” is so predictable for the past month that I know he will have to poop every 3rd day or so. And it is usually in the morning. If I know he is due for a poop soon, I will hold him over the potty a bit longer at each change and maybe give him more opportunities to go, in hopes that I catch it. And it works! For the past few weeks he will poop on the potty every third day. I also pay attention to his body language when he’s on the potty and can tell when he’s trying to go so I’ll be patient and give him time to do it. His body language goes from being quiet and very focused when he’s going, to more giddy and smiley and making eye contact with me when he’s all done so I know I can take him off.
When he pees, it takes me less than a minute of extra time to hold him over the potty, and for poops it takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes. I usually wait an extra minute after I think he’s done, just to make sure. Haha.. After he goes, I dump the contents into the toilet and use our diaper sprayer to rinse out the toilet. I’ll often wipe it out with a wipe too.
That’s about it! It sounds so daunting and crazy and difficult, but really once you get the hang of it, its like second nature and does not take a lot of extra time to do! And it certainly makes me life a whole lot easier and saves us money and time in the long run!