Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elimination Communication

*Warning: this post is about baby bodily functions!
If you're squeamish about poop talk, don't read on!*

Just had another first today: Sprout pooped in the toilet. Lately, I've been holding him on the loo when he starts grunting (if we're at home). The fourth time, we had 'product'! I have to say, despite the hassle of getting his clothes off in a hurry in the bathroom, then holding him with two hands so he doesn't fall in, it was easier than the usual routine. I normally have to clean whatever poo's stuck to his bum--sometimes his feet too, if he manages to stomp in it while I'm getting the diaper out of the way--then dress him, put him in his crib, carry the poopy diaper &/or liner into the toilet, then try to get the mess off without getting it on the sides or seat of the toilet. Then I carry the thing back to his bedroom, dump it in the diaper pail & return to the bathroom to wash my hands.

Many people do this (known as elimination communication) starting when their babies are very young, sometimes even right from birth. They take them to the toilet whenever they see any signals that their baby needs to 'go'. I find this fairly easy when it comes to poo, as Sprout makes a bit of a production out of going. The grunting, blank stare & red face are a dead giveaway that he's working on filling his diaper. I've never noticed any warning for peeing though. Even when he's completely naked on the change pad or in the tub, it just seems to happen. I've heard that some babies give signs that they're going to pee as well, but it seems Sprout doesn't.

Now I know some of you are wondering, Geez, this woman makes her kid fed himself from the get-go & now she's trying to toilet train him before he's a year old?!? He's just a baby, why push him to do everything so young? The idea behind both baby led weaning as well as elimination communication (let's just call it EC from now on) is that babies are perfectly capable of these things at a young age. They obviously get a sense that they need to poo & start pushing, which communicates to their caregiver, so it's no big deal to put them on the potty or toilet.

I didn't try EC until this week, though I learned about it when Sprout was about a month old. I thought about doing it, but decided to wait until we'd jumped all the breastfeeding hurdles we had to deal with. I remember hearing that it works best when introduced before a baby is six months old, I think because it's easier to associate of the sensation of peeing with doing it in the toilet when they're still little. Once they get used to just going whenever & wherever in their diaper, I guess it's harder for them to really identify the sensation & signal us beforehand.

I'll try this for a while, when we're at home or a place where it's convenient to put him on the toilet as needed. I don't know if he'll be peeing in the toilet for another year or two, but if it means less poo for me to handle, great.

1 comment:

  1. That's great! I only know one other mom around here who's doing this.
    I found that timing worked for me in the beginning as I couldn't see her signs. And then after a while things just clicked into place (relatively speaking - we're getting maybe 80% of poops now and 40 - 60% of pees - at 6 months). I think it's like most communication with our babies - as we focus on it and practice we start to get in tune with each other.


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