Imagine Me Practicing EC – Part 2
By Michelle Barber
In this part 2, I will discuss who, what, when, where, [In Part 3 coming Thursday January 26th you can read the why, and how I and my family practice EC. In addition, I will touch upon the different options in degrees of practicing EC, and what I believe is the key to positively experiencing EC.]
Please keep in mind this has been my experience up to now. I am learning that our EC experience is ever evolving.
Now…Let’s break it down.
Who practices Elimination Communication in my family?
The obvious answer is Ezra, my 7 month old. Instead we’ll talk about which adults are practicing EC with him. In my case, that’s Daddy and Nana.
Let’s start with Daddy.
I am so excited to talk about Daddy and his EC experience. When I first told my husband that we were ECing it was after Ezra actually pooped in the toilet. This was because I hadn’t planned to do it. I just decided to one morning (see part 1).
This made for a positive reception, in my estimation, because there was already a success to speak about. When I first told him, he thought I was talking about Shia (our 3 year old). I said, “No. Ezra pooped in the toilet!” He thought it was great but when it came time for him to put him on the potty, he was a little hesitant…until he put Ezra on the potty for the first time!
I was so impressed at how my husband embraced this practice. I began noticing how he would take Ezra to the potty and talk to him and rub his tummy or back. And how he would mention cues to me that I thought only I knew. He was picking-up everything, instinctively.
Yes, Daddy’s have intuition too!
Like many parents, most days he works long hours and only has weekends and an hour or two on weeknights with the kids, but that didn’t hinder him from getting to know his baby’s elimination needs.
Isn’t it amazing how much you notice if you just pay a little more attention? He’s even encouraged a few co-worker moms who are nervous about it because they are working. If he can do it, so can other working parents.
He even wants to do a post on my blog about it.
Now let’s talk about Nana.
My mom has been a most positive cheerleader for the things I have chosen to do in my life. From breastfeeding to EC and beyond, she is a willing helper. For her, it was quite an adjustment when I chose to cloth diaper, so by the time we began practicing EC she came right along and adapted.
When did I start practicing EC?
I began when Ezra was a little over 2 ½ months old. If you do any research online you’ll find references to an EC “window” from birth to 4 months. This, they say, is the most opportune time.
However, I have read success stories of babies starting at 6 months on up. I personally feel that this is pretty much relative and you can begin at a time that works for you and your baby or toddler.
When do I put my little one on the potty?
This is a BIG question because when you are practicing EC timing is very important but not everything. Now that he is older things are changing, but…
Here are 4 simple suggestions that are not reliant upon any cues or signals. We put baby on the potty…
- Upon Waking (in the morning and after naps)
- After Nursing
- After some tummy time or spurt of activity
- Before and after leaving the house
Other signals that Ezra gives:
- Passing of gas
- Fussiness and/or Grunting (Ezra also does this when he is tired)
- Sudden pauses in activity or staring
So… if you don’t know where to start…you can start in the morning like I did.
Allow your little one to get her bearings and put her on the potty first thing. My little one is very happy in the morning so when he is not I know not to put him on the potty. Usually, if he wakes up in a funk he is hungry. So I feed him, we say our good mornings, he smiles, and then I put him on the potty.
When am I introducing infant underwear or potty training pants?
I am just about to take this next step. As Ezra is getting older, more mobile, and more expressive, I see that he may be ready to begin using infant underwear or trainers to continue the growth and progress of his potty learning. Or maybe, I am the one who is just now ready to go a step further.
Where do we practice EC?
Of course the answer is at home but for us, right now, it is not in the bathroom.
It started in the bathroom for us but ultimately it’s wherever Ezra is. In the first couple of days of ECing, I held Ezra over the toilet and it worked fine but I decided to get an infant potty, thinking it might work better for us. It did. Ezra was more comfortable.
I like to have potty time in his bedroom. This is where he seemed to be most comfortable from the beginning. I can place him on the potty, clean him up, change him, and play, read, etc.
For the first month or two, we would put on his classical music mobile and it seemed to help him relax and let go. Not too long after purchasing the infant potty, I tried placing Ezra on his big brother’s potty seat over the toilet, but he hemmed and hawed so I just returned him to the his potty.
I am thinking about the day I will bring his potty into the bathroom to begin to transition him (eventually) onto the toilet…perhaps when he begins to walk or talk, we will see.
Where does Ezra go potty when not at home?
In our experience, Ezra is very aware of his surroundings and seems to refuse to go potty anywhere but home and Nana and Pa’s house.
When visiting relatives, we bring our potty with us. It took a few visits to Nana and Pa’s house but now he is comfortable using the potty there. Anywhere else, he just won’t. I never force him so we place him in cloth and just go with it.
If we are at a friend or relative’s house for more than a couple of hours, and he is showing signs of having to go, we will try to go on the potty. If he cries, we stop and just put on a new cloth diaper.
Now, I have yet to travel long distances with Ezra simply because we haven’t had vacation time. But if we were to travel, I’d take the potty, probably my covers (I use several different brands) with my flip disposable inserts, my BG pocket diapers for overnight, and go from there.
Although, I am open to hear other traveling in cloth suggestions.
Thank you, Michelle, for this great insight into the inner workings of Elimination Communication! I can’t wait to read through part 3. I’m positive that my biggest barrier to EC, besides my fear of accidents on furniture, is my husband. It would take proof, similar to what is described above, to convince him!
~To read more from Michelle Barber visit her blog New Mercies