Call me crazy, but I take my baby to the potty. And she goes! Our journey into elimination communication (EC) started when Grace was only 2 days old.
What is elimination communication? Diaperfreebaby explains it this way:
It is a gentle, natural, non-coercive process by which a baby, preferably beginning in early infancy, learns with the loving assistance of parents and caregivers to communicate about and address his or her elimination needs.
I’d read online about elimination communication long before Grace was born and was intrigued by the idea of getting my baby out of diapers early. Sure, my first two children potty trained earlier than the U.S. norms, at 18 months and 14 months respectively, but I was and still am amazed that babies could use the toilet from birth.
Starting this week I’ll be writing monthly updates about how I use elimination communication with my baby. Since she’s now six months old, I’ll be backtracking to fill you in on how our elimination communication style and baby’s reactions to it have changed over time.
Here’s how I use elimination communication with my newborn baby.
The day I brought Grace home from the hospital I held her naked bum over the toilet. She pooed!
My jaw dropped.
Of course, I’d read about how babies could poo on the potty from the earliest days, but I never really expected to see it firsthand the first time I held my own baby over the toilet. I was hooked!
I quickly ran and told my husband all about the potty success. He was supportive and joined me in our efforts to hold Grace over the potty at every diaper change.
We didn’t take her to the toilet religiously every X number of minutes. We didn’t expect dry diapers. We just wanted to acquaint our newborn to using the toilet and hoped her urges would occasionally coincide with our timing. We used a “psss” sound and held the baby over the toilet like this. Most of the time she used the toilet. I can’t explain why. I just know it works.
Our potty procedure with a newborn:
- Remove diaper and clean baby’s bum
- Carry her to the toilet or the sink and hold her over it, making a “psss” sound and encouraging her to potty. Hold baby in a squatting position with his back against your chest, like this.
- Wait for baby to potty or to let you know she’s ready to leave the bathroom. My baby gets squirmy and has a “look” she’ll give us when she’s finished or uninterested. Newborns generally poo right away.
- Wipe her bum if necessary and put on a clean diaper.
In the beginning we took Grace to the potty about 8 times each day. Her potty rate was 80%.
Sometimes we’d potty her when we were out of the house, but often we’d choose not to depending on where we were and how clean the loo was in each location. We were loose about the schedule but since my aim was only to get her acquainted to the practice and to save ourselves a couple of wet cloth diapers each day, I considered it a newborn elimination communication win!
What you’ll need to succeed with newborn elimination communication:
- Patience and determination- You and baby can do this, but you’ve got to begin with the end in mind. Determine what your goal is for using EC with your newborn and practice accordingly. Don’t set unrealistic goals.
- Routine- Create a routine and stick with it. Baby will catch on to your routine and/or schedule, making your experience with EC and your success rate improve each month. (Generally speaking, newborns urinate every 20 minutes.)
- Changing Area- Make up a changing area in or near the bathroom. Currently I have a big soft towel folded up as a changing mat on the bathroom counter. This way there’s not much distance to the toilet and I can wash up right after a potty trip.
- Diapers- I use cloth diapers with Thirsties covers during the day
- Baby wipes or cloth wipes with natural wipes solution
- Lysol Disinfectant Wipes– Great for cleaning up the changing area, toilet seat, or in-transit accidents.
Stay tuned for how elimination communication worked for us on an overseas trip with a two-month old!
*My experience with EC is in no way a science, simply trial and error based on research I’ve done. I understand that it works for my family but may not be ideal for your family. Any comments deemed unhelpful or just plain mean will be deleted.