Have You Discovered Your Elimination Communication Confidence?

Elimination Communication: Ways to Stay on Track When EC Gets Frustrating…

Elimination Communication: Ways to Stay on Track When EC Gets Frustrating…

Pee ponderings

When things get frustrating – 16 ways of staying on track – Positive Puddle Psychology

I was thinking about the ways I ‘tune up’ my brain on those days I had more misses than I thought was possible, when I had lots of seemingly ‘unexplained’ misses, when it seemed to be taking all my concentration. I was always committed to keep him out of nappies as much as I could. Some days I’d get shirty, though…. it is all a journey. Keeping positive and keeping everything in perspective was and is, my goal. I share my thoughts here.

Over the months I have used many ways:

My personal commitment

I wrote down a huge list when he was about 10 months old that I’d recall

Why am I doing this?

  • for the instinctual ‘match’ for Maven – high on my list is a desire to develop a natural bond with my baby so that his experiences closely mirrored what his biology expects from many years of evolution.
  • for the bonding with his needs it helps to develop; knowing and helping my tiny baby to relieve himself makes ME feel great every time, especially when he was tiny and needed a good poop to feel better! I really liked that he would not have to sit in his own waste, wrapped in it, for the years before “conventional wisdom” decided he was ready to suddenly no longer do this, and avoid the common problems associated with those methods (constipation, nappy dependence for poos, bedwetting).
  • for the environmental benefits – having as small an impact on the Earth as possible in terms of ‘strap on toilets’ rotting in dumps, keeping his ‘ecological footprint’ small.
  • for the financial benefits – my friends say the cost of nappies is their #1 biggest grocery expense each week – I haven’t bought a bag since he was 3 months old, and haven’t had to buy any other paraphernalia – bags, creams, wipes, change tables and so on – we travel light!
  • for the ease – this is MUCH easier once you get past the establishment stage early on (power through those pees).
  • for the delight of having a nakey baby in bed, seeing him move about unencumbered and being able to hold my baby naked without fear!
  • for the feeling of connection with mothers throughout history and around the world who care for their babies the same way.
  • Because I don’t like nappies and don’t like changing them – EC is WAY easier, even when it is wiping a small puddle off the tiles all day.

Re-visit the sources of my original inspiration

  • I’d read the article that first introduced me to EC:

Save Big on Diapers and Laundry

in particular this sentence:

“There are lots of places in the world where no one has, or uses, diapers. Just think about it. What did people do before there were diapers in the world? They pottied their babies from birth or early infancy, while holding them gently and lovingly in-arms.”

I had read this, and thought, wow, if they can do it, by golly so can I, how wonderful to be so in-tune with your baby.

  • I’d read parts of “Diaper Free! The Gentle Art of Natural Infant Hygiene” such as:

“when you’re just beginning, it may feel more like an impenetrable mystery than clear communication”.

“I was drawn to the idea of a deeper physical and psychic connection with my baby, and EC felt closer to our genetic imprint.

… After 3 months or so of doing this, I became more sure of my interpretation and I would sometimes gently persist, even when she was reluctant, and usually she’d eliminate. However it’s a fine line, and it’s vital to have cooperation, and not a battle of wills, which can sometimes develop around “toileting.” EC is a dance of togetherness that develops, as with breastfeeding, from love and respect for each other.

…For me, the beauty of elimination communication has been in the process, not in the outcome. … much more significant is the learning that mothers and babies are connected very deeply–at a “gut level”–and that babies (and mothers) are much more capable and smart than our society credits.”

Give ‘expected’ misses silly names

I’d notice a pattern of misses – and expect certain misses in a day – sometimes when I actually recognised this pattern, my awareness would help it to evaporate, others we just had to wait for his development to catch up, or give a ‘pre-emptive’ pee break, or have fresh pants or a flannel handy…

I find doing this really helpful as it makes it fun, and helps me to keep psychological distance from accidents – they are unimportant in the big picture, really, so long as communication is going on.

Here are some of mine….

  • The morning pee frenzy – happened until 6-7 months, then spaced out.
  • The late arvo pee avalanche – various times related to teeth, tired…
  • The Inevitable car seat pee – every time for about 6 months!
  • The surprise standing pee – 100% from 7.5 to 9.5 months, then eased
  • The squatting tumble pee – while learning to squat
  • The gymnastic pee – while learning to climb or lift heavy things
  • The Pee Fountain Event – after a reaction to food
  • The computer pee – while I am on the computer!
  • The Wardrobe Malfunction – accidents related to getting his pants off in time once he was able to do this himself, shortly after turning two.
  • The tumble pee – every other miss

Re-frame thoughts from negative to positive

Truly an ongoing task! If I found my thoughts were waxing to the negative, making myself think of it from another point of view, such as baby’s point of view, or a long-term point of view, would help me to re-think the same thing from a positive point of view.

I could say “Ahhh, you had a tumble pee, Oops! Not to worry; let’s clean it up / I’ll help you change to dry pants straight away, it feels so nice”
rather than “Dang! I missed another one? What am I doing wrong? I’m not paying attention! Grrrr” I certainly preferred to think the former, and at times I’d do both… or rather think the latter but say the former!

The tumble pee: Baby is learning

  • Baby flops when learning to crawl, tumbles when learning to walk, babbles when learning to talk, an accident when learning to toilet should be considered with the same concern. We celebrate each time they get back up to try again – so it is similar to laugh off accidents – and try again next time – or the next time.
  • We are learning and practicing together- all misses are accidental – even on ‘sprinkler’ days – they won’t be forever!
  • Pee is just water and excess salts and minerals – clean it up quick – it doesn’t even smell!

When to ‘expect’ more misses:

  • with teething – in our case, our first poo misses in months.
  • with developmental milestones – rolling, crawling, standing, walking..
  • with tiredness, excitement, distraction (of anyone in the ‘team’)
  • with reactions to foods – via breast milk, or after family foods begin
  • with approaching or actual colds, blocked nose, illness (der!)
  • with family life disruptions, stresses (positive or negative)

What can we learn through these misses?

  • is it a food sensitivity?
  • is baby teething?
  • are they fighting a bug?
  • is baby ‘brewing a poop’?
  • are we all a bit stressed at the moment? (baby as family barometer)
  • What have I eaten lots of lately?
  • What is new in our diet?

Where are accidents occurring?

At some point in the second half of his first year, I’d look at where he was having accidents – and find that the majority where when he was ‘independent’ on the floor, moving around. So I’d write in his ‘update’ different aspects of our EC practise and how we were going, it was really inspiring. Here is an example of when he was 9 months old:

  • in arms? – he was excellent – 100% unless I was too slow yakking on the phone when he woke up on my lap after a nap nurse.
  • at mobile times? – all over the shop – heaps of accidents usually.
  • in the car seat? – excellent – no accidents.
  • at night? – excellent – hardly any accidents.
  • in a sling? – fabulous – no accidents.
  • while out? – variable on where he was – always in one wets when independent!

Write updates or keep a journal

I didn’t get around to writing any updates until he was 9 months old. But they are really helpful to do – I now do one each month, and have a note pad where I jot down in my sometimes indecipherable scrawl exciting communication incidents as they happen. This helps to see the wonderful moments of clarity and communication that inevitably occur, even if at other times the nappy or the pants or the floor seem to ‘catch’ most of their pees! Only write down the positive stuff if in a ‘missy’ phase. It is easy to end up focussing on the negatives, but that is pointless. Post some updates on-line – it really helps others. I read them all, and so many times I’ve read a tiny phrase amongst someone’s update and go “AHA!!!” and it has really helped me in some way.

Getting back in synch- strategies if I felt we were getting ‘distance’ between us:

Have a sleep! Start again in the morning

Skin-to-skin time

skin to skin time is a good way to ‘tune in’ to baby’s rhythms and needs generally – great for breastfeeding too! Camp out nudie with baby for part of a day, have flannels and a pot nearby. Observe in a relaxed way. What do you notice? Focus on baby’s needs to learn your own mumming instincts.

Baby wearing – a great way to become aware of subtle signs – babies commonly are loathe to pee on people – they strain, arch, squirm to sign their needs. Use back-up cloths under baby. Put baby in the carrier after a pee for some relaxed behaviour so you can notice differences. Over time it is so obvious – I have seldom been peed on in over a year – each was my fault! When we were in ‘plateau’ or stages of little signalling, I would wear him a lot, and have no accidents.

Ask others – the EC forums hold a wealth of experiences; read old threads, share experiences – the smallest tip may be all you need to twig to something, or reassurance that the phase will pass with patience and time – because it WILL! You can bet that at least one other person has had your experience, or can relate to it – and it will give those who haven’t an insight to be aware of. Read this before joining an EC forum, to be sure you get the most out of it…

Do a ‘pee log’ – document pees (and pee break offerings) for a day – what time, where baby went, misses, other info you think might be relevant – I didn’t do this until he was about 8 months old, as there seemed no point to me before then – too much inconsistency! I have done it 3 or 4 times – and it was insightful at those times. (I am lazy on such documenting types of things – I can’t be bothered) But it does encourage me  to focus really well for a day, and may twig a breakthrough – one time I learnt I was offering WAY too many pee breaks.

Having a ‘missy’ day? Remember these things:

My “Brain tune-ups”

  • This is an enhancement– another way to connect with baby – not essential like breastfeeding is – have fun and ‘practise’ within your comfort zone.
  • It’s only wee – baby pee is sterile – just excess water, salts and minerals the body doesn’t need, pretty innocuous in booby babies.
  • It is an ebbing and flowing process – within a day, over the months – it is all about the communication, the daily opportunity for positive interaction between the ‘team’ – there is always ‘backup’ available – nappies, padded pants, knickers and pants, flannels! One ‘catch’ a day is great!
  • We ‘practise’ EC – on a daily basis – practise means we get it right, we get it wrong – it is all OK, we do it WITH a pre-verbal being, after all!
  • This is a gradual process of learning and communicating gently for you and baby and physical and developmental growth for baby. Enjoy the process!
  • Most accidents are developmental ‘tumble pees’ – compare with baby practising to crawl, to walk, to talk…
  • Nothing is permanent, nothing is a ‘bad habit’ – all is phases.
  • Baby is doing their very best at all times, that is all we can do as well – our best for that day, our situation. They’ll get there with only occasional practise. Trust the baby, the process – it is thousands of years old after all, women do this all over the world with no nappies in many places.
  • Any ‘catch’ is a bonus on full time nappy use – even missing all of them in a day, there is still that opportunity for communication and the close contact going on – all is good. Baby will remember, even if they can’t express their awareness at the moment.
  • Tomorrow is another day – each day is an exciting opportunity to practise your connection to baby. Start again each day.

Baby will start to help clean up!

After 12 months just from observing you clean up, with access to cloths, baby will start to help clean up – Chris once followed Maven as he walked out of a spare bedroom to the living room, picked up a cloth from the flannel basket, took it back to the room down a hallway to put on a wet spot and start wiping then stomping on it. He’ll spill a drink, then go to get a cloth to clean it up and take it to the laundry room. Lovely!


Trust in the process. Trust the baby. It is our ‘cultural EC vacuum’ that gives us the most doubts – not having seen it ‘work’ in real life before. Trust that it will – believe what people on the forums are saying, and relax with it all – all is normal – my friend who did this with her children in India didn’t blink about accidents – they just happen and are not a reflection on how ‘well’ you are doing.Trust the baby. It has been the most important phrase to me.

Discover More about My Elimination Communication eBook:

Part Time EC: A Personal Guide to Developing Your Elimination Communication Confidence…


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