Have You Discovered Your Elimination Communication Confidence?

Adventures in Part Time Baby Pottying: Belinda and Honey

Adventures in Part Time Baby Pottying: Belinda and Honey

Discover Valuable Insights in The Stories of Parents Practicing EC!  How do they combine their busy modern lives with being part time diaper free?

What can your learn from someone who has a similar story to yours?

Belinda, Alan and their daughter Honey in Australia…

“When you first begin EC, just relax and practise cueing and attempt catches. Focus on the communication and let the rest flow naturally.”

Belinda and her partner Alan live with their daughter Honey (8 months when this was written) in a converted warehouse in inner-city Melbourne, Australia. They began EC 4 weeks after the birth of their daughter using cloth diapers (flats) and plenty of diaper free time (on absorbent mats!). Belinda is an art curator but currently a SAHM and Alan is a lawyer. They love the fact that they no longer have to wipe pooey bottoms.I had read “Diaper Free” by Ingrid Bauer and was eager to get started before the birth. After the birth (my first child) I thought I would never manage to EC and do everything else. Yet by week 4 things were looking better. 

We began at 4 weeks though at about two weeks I had tried cueing over the laundry bucket and caught a big poo (thrilling – it worked). We were very casual at first – offering after sleep and when changing, and just cueing whenever we noticed her going. “Psss” for wee and “Un Gah” for poo – holding her against our stomach so she could also feel the muscles contract. Within a few weeks the cueing sounds would elicit elimination.
She always weed and pooed while breastfeeding to start – thank goodness we had a slip cover on our couch. Plenty of washing of that until I got the hang of keeping the potty in place under her. And when I thought I knew her routine and had her diaper free on me she would inevitably change it and ensure I had to change clothes. Tee hee!
I found prelude to urination hard to spot – but there would often be straining and farting before defecation.We started with flannelette flats and now use terry flats daytime. Initially with cover, but soon without so I knew exactly when she had gone. We have had disposable diapers for long travel (interstate, o/s) but when out and about just put a wool cover on the flat if we feel we need back up.

Nighttime these days we’re Baby Beehinds Bamboo with wool cover.

After beginning EC we noticed she did begin to communicate with us about her elimination needs – she would cry out when in the car seat, or squirm when in the carrier to let us know what she needed.

I found my diaper wash load decreased dramatically. In the first 4 weeks before we began EC we were using about 15 diapers in 24 hours (so much washing!!). These days (My daughter is 8 months) it is more like four and I have hopes of moving into underpants before her 1st birthday.

My partner and I both enjoy Ecing her – it still excites us when we have a great EC day where she’s dry all day.

We are attachment parenting and I found that EC seemed to align to our parenting philosophy. It is responsive to her and allows her to communicate in a way that most people don’t expect of babies. As we carry her most of the time and have done so since birth, she quickly began to hold for pee ops which meant we had good success early on.

Best yet, we have only had one pooey diaper in the last 4 months ( when she was ill) – I would say that, as far as defecation is concerned, she is toilet trained and has been since she 4 months old. Just like us, she doesn’t like to sit in her own faeces either. And who wants to wipe pooey bottoms longer than required anyway? :J

We were cueing from 4 weeks old but were really part-time diaper free from 3 months when we had our first full day without a diaper change (even while out and about). I was so excited by it and knew that our communication was effective.

If it is busy I give myself permission to be very casual with EC and put her in diaper with cover. If we’re on a long trip or traveling interstate we use disposables. And at night I EC until the last evening feed and from the first morning one, but leave her in a boosted night diaper for the night feed/s. I tried night Ecing early on but found, with a frequent waker, I had to prioritize sleep. As sleep continues to improve I think we will make night diaper free our next goal.

As mentioned previously, we have dramatically reduced our diaper washing load – we were always going to use cloth due to environmental impact of disposables – but now that impact is reduced further by less washing.

It has also meant I could invest in some good Modern cloth Diapers for night use.

I consider it really important to parent responsively – and EC is a big part of that commitment for me. I prioritize my daughter’s needs.

I also think that, in the West, we have a tendency to make natural processes – like elimination and sleep – into challenging ones. EC makes it natural to discuss elimination and to respond to it.

Why is it considered normal to train a baby into eliminating in a diaper and then train them out of it in 3 or 4 years time. Surely the easiest path is to begin the training at birth and make life a little easier for ourselves. I think we do perpetually underestimate what babies are capable of and how much they understand.

When you first begin EC, just relax and practice cueing and attempt catches. Focus on the communication and let the rest flow naturally. It’s hard enough having a little bub, trying to sleep and function without placing too much pressure on yourself to have a diaper free child straight away.

Just give her/him diaper free time every day, observe, cue, maybe catch and watch how quickly it all comes together.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if it takes a few steps backward at some point, or even stalls for a while. For us, when our daughter started crawling (at 5 mo) and walking (8 mo, now) we had some temporary setbacks as she refused the potty. But in between times we’ve got back on track and are finding EC is going well.

One more thing, I highly recommend a cover (slip or throw) for the couch/chair on which you breastfeed. Babies often eliminate while feeding and you may find you are washing it quite a bit until you get the hang of ‘catching’ and can read their signals.

With a second baby I wouldn’t push so hard in the beginning with night EC straight away. I would make sleep a priority and go much easier during the days until I had bub’s routine down pat.

I would also go without covers from the beginning so that I knew immediately when baby had eliminated.

I also would sort out my receptacle earlier (we loved the potty bowls at the start, and now the toilet and the Baby Bjorn Little Potty), as we had some uncomfortable moments early on trying to perch her on the edge of an ice-cream container *LOL*.

Belinda in Australia

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