I always though that Elimination Communication (EC) was too much work and not for me. However, since I haven't really had any problems with Eva (like breastfeeding issues or colic--let me knock on wood after typing that) and she often has very loud signals for when she needs to poop, like grunting, I have been thinking about trying EC with her for awhile. Before we moved, I did about half a day of experimentation which involved observing the patterns around when she goes. However, the moving process was crazy and stressful and long and caused regression in Ian's potty training, so I shelved EC.
A few nights ago after an e-mail to an expat mom who practices EC part-time, I got thinking about it again. Then, while in the bathtub with Eva, she started to grunt. Oh, no! Not in the tub! I jumped out and put her on the potty. I made a grunting sound and she pooped! Encouraged by that success and the fact that it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" choice, I have decided to start trying to catch some poops and work with her on the potty.
Yesterday, I put her on (on the big potty with a potty insert) and Ian and I grunted for her and she put a woman-sized poop in the potty! Ian and I cheered for her. It is nice to have Ian help "teach" her.
Today, I her the signals but was busy so I missed the poop, but caught a pee.
Why do this?
Even if you do EC full-time, your child will probably not be completely independently potty trained until at least 18 months, but often later.
Why start early then?
Well, for every pee/poop you catch, you save a diaper from being used, which is better for the environment. Also, listening to and responding to a child's attempts to communicate their elimination needs, develops communication with your child. EC advocates talk about demonstrating respect for the child in this way so they are not sitting in waste. The child understands earlier what the potty is for and as long as your expectations are reasonable and there is no punishment or trauma involved, this can result in easier/earlier potty training. The Diaper Free Baby website has a long list of benefits and tips for getting started.
Eva is 7.5 months old and sits really well. She can sit on the potty by herself. I sit close with my hand on her leg so she doesn't jump off, but I don't have to hold her. Since she prefers to sit rather than crawl, she enjoys sitting on the potty. It is fun for Ian and I to encourage her. We are just going to start slowly. I will put her on the potty first thing in the morning, when I hear her signals and after eating. I will try to observe the times of day that she makes dirty diapers and maybe add potty time in if I can establish a pattern. I want to build up our commitment to EC because I don't want it to be stressful for either of us. Also, there are benefits to be reaped from occasional or part-time EC. Even though I potty training Ian was easy and gentle, even with the moving-related regression, I think Eva would really appreciate EC since she hates to be wet or dirty.
Anyone out there practice EC? How did it go for you?