Imagine Me Practicing EC- A Devoted Working Dad

January 23, 2012


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…

  1. Upon Waking (in the morning and after naps)
  2. After Nursing
  3. After some tummy time or spurt of activity
  4. Before and after leaving the house

Other signals that Ezra gives:

  1. Passing of gas
  2. Fussiness and/or Grunting (Ezra also does this when he is tired)
  3. 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

, , , , , ,

About Michelle Barber

Michelle is a wife and mommy (her dream come true)! Her family is her heart, and she feels that cloth diapering is a product of that love! Michelle finds solace in music, reading, writing, but mostly in her quietly beautiful times with Christ.

View all posts by Michelle Barber

14 Responses to “Imagine Me Practicing EC- A Devoted Working Dad”

  1. Jenni F Says:

    I was inspired to try ec after reading the first part of this series. We are trying it part time now with or 4 mo daughter and kind of experimenting with our 19mo son. Our daughter is doing great. We are still working on catching anything with our son. It is amazing how it works!


  2. Rachael Says:

    After reading part 1, when I though Peanut needed to poop, I held him over the toilet… and it took a few tries to get the timing right, but out of 5 or 6 poops, 4 have been into the toilet! After 3 successes, Hubby is even in on the action, though he hasn’t been successful. I might have to try the training potty, so far we’ve just held Peanut with legs up and bum hovered over the toilet. I bet he’d get a kick out the training potty (we have a frog shaped one!). But then the whole idea is that I don’t have clean up any poop, so the training potty would defeat that purpose. I’ll have to think on that.

    I’m looking forward to part 3!


    • Michelle Says:


      I love your name btw. It is one of my favorite names :) Anyway…I’d love it if you’d comment back here if you decide to put Peanut on the training potty. I’d like to know how it works out!


  3. Cristy Says:

    My husband thought the idea was a little bit funny at first but when we started ECing with our first he was convinced! We did EC part time with our first, semi-part time with our 2nd, not at all with our 3rd (and are regretting it) and are now ECing with our 4th!

    It works SO well and I have fewer and fewer poopy diapers to clean up. R (2 months old now) just LOVES being taken to go to the bathroom and he sits in my arms and looks up at me and coos and grins the whole time. He LOVES it! He has been doing EC since he was born-though we dont catch ALL the pees or poops. Every day is different and some days EC just doesnt work for us. (traveling, when in a strange environment etc.) Its not about being “perfect” and catching EVERY pee-poop. Its about recognising that baby is trying to tell us something and listening. Its recognising that he really doesnt LIKE pooping in his pants and he actually appreciates us helping him out with his needs. I have noticed that even with our other boys (the ones we ECd with and the one that we didnt EC with at all) whenever we would have them just use their diapers for one reason or another it would take them a LONG time to finish pooping and they would squirm and protest the whole time. With ECing they let us know they have to poop, we take them to the bathroom-they relax and poop and are content and happy the whole time. No squirming and protesting at all. It takes them a lot less time to go too since they arnt all tense and upset.

    ECing really does work. It really IS a way of communicating with your baby!


    • Cristy Says:

      Oh, I should add. Just as others- we also still use diapers. I am just starting to play with the idea of not using diapers as much and am in the process of knitting a pair of chinese split croch pants and am going to sew a couple pair too. Even once we start using them I still plan to use diapers the majority of the time. The diapers are there for backup. :)


  4. Emily D Says:

    Autumn, I totally thought my husband would think I was crazy for doing EC, so I didn’t tell him for the first week or so. But by then I was catching at least one pee daily, and he actually thought it was great- now he tells everybody about it! But so far he hasn’t pottied our dd himself yet- we’ll work on that. Oh and I just put her in cd all the time, cuz I just don’t have the time or patience for messes as well!
    Michelle, I been waiting for your next post on EC! I started when I read your first post, so it’s been almost two months, and it’s going quite well. Before reading your stuff I guess I thought that if I was going to do EC it had to be all the way- watching constantly for cues, no diapers… but we’ve been easing in slowly, basically whenever I change her I also put her on the potty. In the past few weeks she almost always poops on the potty first thing in the am. She uses the potty at least once every day, usually about 4 times. So now I’m feeling encouraged to get to the next stage and watch for cues, maybe teach her the sign for potty. She will go at my mom’s place, so maybe I can get her to potty her, and my husband as well!


    • Michelle Says:

      Hi Emily!

      I believe any little bit of effort we make goes further than we think! I’m so glad you tried EC! I’m doing exactly what you are doing. I’m trying to go to the next stage with Ezra…learning as I go :)


  5. Shiree Martin Says:

    I didn’t do an EC with my first two children. I have tried it out with my 3rd. I am amazed! She also refuses to poop when we are out. If I don’t get her on the potty right when we get home then she’ll go in her diaper. But if I do then she uses the potty. It amazes me.


  6. Michelle Barber Says:

    Hi Ranela,

    I have had missed a few poops in the afternoons as well with Ezra since he’s been on solids. So in the afternoons, I started to put him on the potty after he’s been active for a while and sometimes if I feel his tummy I can tell too. It has seemed to help a little.

    Thanks so much!


  7. Ranela Says:

    We are doing “partial” EC. My daughtr started at 6 mos. I hate changing poopie diapers. She was EBF and it worked very well for 3 mos, I only have 8 stained flats lol! But now with the introduction of solids, I haven’t been able to catch the poops in the afternoons. I’ll try your schedule to put her on after eating, before and after leaving the house.

    I’m really happy for you that your husband is so supportive.


  8. Jillian B. Says:

    Oh, and we’ve never had an accident ON the furniture! ;) A few piddles on the carpet but really nothing half as bad as the spraying streams of poop that went everywhere during the newborn days, before EC and CDs.

    My SO had to see to believe, but now he takes our son to the potty more than I do. Lol


  9. Jillian B. Says:

    I LOVE reading EC posts! This sounds almost exactly like my experience. :) I’ve been having more misses lately (my son is 9 months) and some of them I just don’t know WHY. But I’m so glad we decided to EC!


Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest

Sharing is caring!