While I was pregnant with our first baby Elijah. I pick up a copy of the Diaper Free Baby.This book and methods really intrigued me. Your baby is trying to tell you that it’s time to go. Elimination Communication is not as time-consuming as full-time diapering and later potty training. It can, at times, feel inconvenient but the benefits sure pay off.
Mammals Don’t Poop Where They Live
I’d never thought about the fact that no other mammal in the world wants to eliminate in their living space. This made me think about our dogs, Diego & Leon. Even they prefer to leave the yard to void their bowels. Diego, our bigger dog, will hang onto “it” 💩 until we walk him. He won’t poop in the yard unless we’ve neglected to get him out for his morning walk.
1st Baby & Sleepless Nights
With our first baby, we began elimination communication soon after he was born. Remember those sleepless nights? It took quite a bit of faith that EC made sense as we stood half-asleep holding our son on the potty. Well, it did work out & we used EC with our 2nd baby too. By about 5 months, both babies were able to wait to have their diaper removed to use the potty. But the process wasn’t exactly the same with our second baby.
What Am I Doing Wrong?
Short answer: Nothing at all! But we sure do feel that way often enough don’t we? We felt like graduates of EC university after our 1st so, when baby #2 didn’t follow the same pattern, I wondered what I was doing wrong.
Babies Do What Comes Naturally
Diaper Free Baby also discussed that babies show the same desire to keep their living area clean as they will often go once the diaper is removed. It’s not natural to go in a diaper. We experienced this with both babies. Therefore, both Elijah and Quinn starting using a potty at 3 weeks old.
I have to admit with our first baby we were very motivated and had more time in general. At just 11 months, he'd tell us when he had to go and, by 18 months, our son was wearing proper underwear!
Our daughter, Quinn, took a little longer, I think because she went to daycare were they weren’t able to watch for Quinn's cues that she needed to go to the potty. Even with those sorts of challenges, by the time Quinn was 1-year-old, she never pooped in her diaper and, by 22-months, she wore regular underwear.
So Where Do You Start?
Like all things parenting, there isn’t an exact blueprint. I know. Big surprise! There are actually many ways to follow EC.
You want to realize your baby has a wet or stinky diaper after you've got them bundled up & your dogs are excited to get going.
EC is just as much, or even more, about training the grownups in the room. We always put both babies on the potty first thing when they woke up. On those mornings when I would have liked a few more moments of sleep, it took serious commitment but the endgame was worth it.
There were never any tears involved and would have to say it was an enjoyable experience for everyone. Some people may think this is more work than diapers but I can assure you that’s not so. Remembering to put your baby on the potty before putting on winter gear just makes sense even if you aren’t doing EC.
EC is actually less work in the long run because you won’t have to potty train a 2 or 3-year-old who has already been taught to go in a diaper. Once a child has gotten used to eliminating in a diaper, it is tougher to potty train. Toddlers also don’t like to have to take a break from playing to go to the bathroom so they’ll tend to prefer an accident to the boredom of sitting on a potty.
There are a few things that will help make EC a lot easier especially as you're establishing your routine.
Potties for Infants
We recommend this little Baby Bjorn potty with the backrest. The backrest was helpful when they were really little. Just to make it a little easier, I also loved putting babies in cloth diapers with the baby legs – rather than dressing completely while at home. What I noticed to rare time I used disposables was that the wet sensation isn’t there to signal to your baby it’s potty time.
Diapers vs Cloth Pull Ups
We invested very little in cloth diapers because I was able to find used, near-new condition cloth diapers online. The price of brand-new diapers can be hard to handle but even if you buy new, the cost will still be lower than if you use disposables. Besides being a huge problem for the environment, disposable diapers will cost you $2500-$3000 whereas cloth diapers (purchasing & washing) are well under $700.
Homemade Lavender & Tea Tree Wipes
We made wipes from small squares of soft flannel with finished edges & a homemade baby wipe solution from this recipe:
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 ½ cup boiled water
- 1 tsp Castile soap
- 2 drops tea tree oil
- 4 drops lavender oil
Ready To Get Started?
The earlier you start, the easier it will be. But even if your baby has been in diapers for a little while, you’ll enjoy the benefits of watching for signs that your baby needs to go on the potty. The easiest one is when they first wake up in the morning or after a nap. At other times, you’ll get to know their shifts in energy or other signs like getting deep in thought.
It might seem like a lot of effort to run to the bathroom but it’s a lot less work than washing diapers. What really sells me on Elimination Communication is how early my kids were completely done with diapers and how few really stinky diapers I had to change & wash.
Everybody’s situation is different so EC might not be an option. There is no right or wrong way when your heart is in the right place. There’s what works for your family.
I’d love to hear your stories. Have you tried EC?