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Thread: elimination communication

  1. #1

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    Default elimination communication

    Just wondering if anyone has tried 'elimination communication'? I read 'The Diaper-Free Baby' before DD was born and it says that babies are aware of when they need to go to the toilet and will give some sort of signal. Also, you're supposed to 'cue' the baby with a sound so she learns to associate going with that sound, and then later you can put them on a potty, make the cue sound and they will know this is a good time to go.
    So, since birth we've been watching her during nappy free time, looking for her signals and saying 'pssss' when we notice her weeing. But she doesn't even seem to notice that she's weeing - there's no different expression, no change in movement, no noise, no anything! And when I make the 'psss' noise more often than not she looks at me in surprise and stops weeing. So, not going how we'd planned!
    I love the idea of being able to offer my baby the opportunity not to sit in a wet nappy if we can avoid it. But I'm wondering if this is one of those things where all babies are different and maybe she just isn't aware of her elimination? Or should I be looking for something else, and/or trying different cues?
    EC seems to fit with the parenting style of BB, so I'm hoping someone else out there will have done it and have some ideas for me


  2. #2

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    You probably know about Dr. Sarah Buckley's work / information on this, but just in case:

    Mothering, Mindfulness and a Baby?s Bottom: An introduction to Elimination Communication

    There are some EC'ers on BB but not many
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    In 2015 I went Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  3. #3

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    I'm not sure how many have done it, but I know Sammiejane does, so hopefully she'll be able to answer some questions for you

  4. #4

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    It's a lot easier to pick up on signals if you wear your baby as well - as much physical contact as possible because that engenders that closeness that facilitates the 'communication' in EC
    DD is only 3 weeks old, so I haven't done much with her yet, but I have caught some wees so far - it's very exciting! DS was nearly 2.5 yo when I applied some of the principles to night-time continence...took less than 2 weeks and he was essentially continent (with the regressions Ingrid talks about in the book).
    There's a website called Part Time Nappy Free, and that ties into what the book says and is probably better suited if you're going to be doing EC on a partial basis.

  5. #5

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    OK, so this weekend I made more of a concerted effort to use the vintage enamel chamberpot I bought before DD was born. We ROCK! DS is getting in on it, too, making the 'psssss' sound when DD stirs and cries...sure enough, out comes a wee I even caught a poo today.
    The hardest part, I think for me anyway, is getting the gumption to start. Like an assignment for uni - the hardest part is opening the Word document and starting the introduction. So, I just took off the nappy for longer than 'nappy free time' and it turned out to be easier today and yesterday to watch for the signs than to keep changing nappies as soon as they became wet.
    I figure, if most of the world's population does it without reading books or thinking about it...what is stopping me from at least giving it a red hot go at home? It's actually nice to make a gesture to my baby that I am listening to her and wanting her to be comfortable. We'll see how we go - she's only 3 weeks old, after all

  6. #6

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    We did EC with DS from about 6 weeks old (he is now 1 year old).

    I started by doing the psss noise whenever I saw him weeing or pooing - we were forever being weed on during nappy changes, so no shortage of opportunities. We did this from about 2 weeks old, and then at 6 weeks started holding over bowls and potties.

    Have you tried using timing? I found I was almost guaranteed to catch a wee straight after a nap, or on waking in the morning and also 5-10 minutes after a feed (this got longer as he got older). I also used to offer him every 20 minutes or so until we both got the hang.

    Probably the best tip I ever got (on the mothering dot com forums) was to just relax. If I was tense becauase I was overthinking it it generally wouldn't "work".

    Have you heard of Dunstan baby language? Have a look on youtube - there are some videos. DS never had good body language cues, but I did discover he would make an "ungh ungh" noise when he needed to wee (when he was very little - after 6 months or so this stopped).

    Also, we have been teaching DS sign language since about 6 months. He's just now starting to sign toilet after he has wet or pooed his nappy - which I count as a great victory even though it's after, because it means he's aware of what's going on. I'd strongly recommend sign language when your DD is a bit older because it's great that he can now use this to communicate with us since his cues are pretty much non existant now.

    Well done for giving it a go and good luck with it! Just keep trying!

    Tish
    xx

  7. #7

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    Thanks, Tish - I was only reading about the signing last night in Bauer's book, so it's good to get the extra recommendation.
    It might not get used much, but it would be great to have an EC general chatter thread, huh? Everytime I start a conversation about it here it gets lost in the threads eventually and someone starts a new one that also eventually gets lost!
    Anyhow, in the 'general chatter' vein, I caught our first morning poo today, yay me! Caught lots of wees last night and this morning and in between (whilst sleeping) the flannel flats DD is wearing remained dry for ages. She's a bit of a screamer before it actually happens - she'll be sitting calmly over the chamber pot then she'll tense up and wail...then all is well once she's eliminated.
    EC is so underrated!

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    Thanks for all the replies! I second Mayaness' request for an EC thread - I was quite surprised that there wasn't one already as it fits so well with the rest of the baby-led, gentle parenting style of BB.
    We have actually been doing ok with catches based on timing - most mornings we'll get a good wee and maybe a poo, and sometimes post nap (usually though I think she pees before she's fully conscious, then wakes up unhappy with a wet nappy). I am really glad we're doing this much - now she's big enough and has enough neck control to be sat on a potty, so we're using that more often - which means that the potty won't be a strange object by the time she can control her sphincters more.
    I'm just a bit disappointed that we haven't got the actual communication happening at all, whether because I'm missing what she tells me, or because she doesn't know it's happening! But I guess the only thing is too keep up with it (warm weather is really helping with that!) It has taken me a while to learn her cues for 'hungry' and 'tired', and I was much more on the lookout for them.
    Anyone have any tips on catching while breastfeeding? B almost always poops during or just after a feed. She will usually come off the boob just before, but not in enough time for me to get her nappy off... so I've just been putting an unfolded nappy between her legs, which is a little nerve-wracking, and sometimes messy... the website talks of having a container, but where does it go, how do you hold it upright, how do you hold the baby over it, how does it not go everywhere?!

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    Jess we used from 6 weeks old a roger and armstrong potty (from big w) which gave us a good platform to rest his bum on while using the classic hold (holding thighs). I didn't feed and potty often, but when I did I'd have the potty between my legs while I was kneeling, holding bubba over the potty and sort of twisting around so he could have a boob in his mouth. I'd strip him off then attach to boob and then put on potty. It was never that comfortable so we didn't do it often. I don't know if there's a better way of doing it? LOL

    Cheers,
    Tish

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    I've been putting the chamberpot between my legs whilst sitting up, and having DD's bum in it (fits snugly) and reclining her to feed - good way to catch wees and poos and to see the expressions she uses for doing each. She's getting spoilt, though - she protests loudly when I miss a cue or just can't get her over the pot in time...lots louder than her plaintive cry just before she wees!

  11. #11

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    Talking

    Wow, you guys are so lucky that your bubbas cue like that! DS had colic/reflux pain and would cry all the time - it was so hard to know why, because it was almost constant some days.

    Anyway - just wanted to log on with a massive brag! Just in the last day DS has started signing toilet before he needs to go. We've caught 2 out of 3 poos today as well as 3 wees. I was so proud this afternoon I nearly cried LOL I really think it's all clicked in his head all of a sudden and he's toilet training himself!

    He used to be sooo good, and then it all fell apart when he started crawling - and even worse when he started walking. We went from catching all poo and most wee to maybe 1 a day! I'm sooooo proud of him! And I can't brag to anyone really, I don't want to be one upping anyone. Plus people think we're hippy enough as it is! LOL

  12. #12

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    Tish, that does sound complex!
    Mayaness, I tried the sitting with bowl between legs thing today - she can feed sitting up so it works quite well. We caught a poo! Yay! I need a bowl with a thicker edge though I think or it will press painfully against her thigh if she's there too long.

  13. #13

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    Yeah I came to that conclusion too, about the bowls, so we went with the potty but that was almost impossible to feed on as you can see LOL

    I found the op shop was a great place for a wide range of bowls, you might find a good one

  14. #14

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    That's why I love the chamberpot - has a nice wide rim (must feel as comfy as a toilet seat during transition in labour!!) - got it from a recycler of antique crockery and vintage clothes up in the hills
    Jess - that's fantastic!! IKWYM about not being able to really chuff about it with mothers of kids the same age who are very much still in nappies...just chuff with us here! I love being able to say that DS learned himself, in response to "oh, wow, you toilet trained him" - cos I was such a chump in hindsight about when he needed to go and when he was telling me that, before I figured it out.
    Tish - I would have had a harder time catching anything with DS, too, because he was very windy (I had horrible oversupply issues due to mismanagement of undiagnosed Tongue Tie) and the wind issues only reduced when we got a HAB at 4 weeks, and then at 3 months when I stumbled upon settled sleeping patterns if he slept on my chest, which he did till about 6 months. So, yep, I'm thanking my lucky stars with DD - it's all so different with her, and I'm trying not to spend all my time comparing the two experiences and being too busy being grateful instead of just enjoying her. The EC caper this time is really helping me reclaim those first few weeks with DS, though

  15. #15

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    Tish, that's a brilliant idea about the op shop. I might pop in later today and see what I can find... So you never had physical cues either, and you've still managed to get him to the stage where he has the concept of eliminating and will tell you about it after if not before? That's pretty cool!
    B has mild reflux too, and when she was littler we would get those days of just crying and crying. Not so much now, which is great It does mess with the cueing - she fusses at the boob in three situations: she's hungry and the letdown is not fast enough, she's about to spew, or she's about to poo/just pooed. I had undersupply due to tongue tie until we got it released, so I was always offering more boob thinking she must be hungry, until I figured out the spew thing. Now it seems like she's keeping her milk down better so maybe I should do the nappy check before the sit-up-with-spew-cloth-handy... It's a bit of a constant guessing game trying to keep up with them. Little babies change so fast! But it's so cool when you get it right and really feel that you're in tune with them

  16. #16

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    Yeah, it's pretty cool! I think they will pick anything up as long as you are consistent Timing worked really well with us, and the sign language has been awesome (just generally it's great, he knows about 7 signs at 12 mos).

    I'm glad that your reflux situation is settling down - it only just ended with us, we were on Zantac for a long time.

    You've reminded me about some feeding related cues that we DID used to have - I read about them somewhere - I'm just trying to remember what they were!!

    I think it was popping off and on was a poo and being fussy was a wee? Gah I can't remember now!! Maybe take a look at tribal baby, I think that's where I initially latched onto the idea!

    You're right about it being cool when you feel in tune with them. DS had a tough time when he was tiny, and I had this impression that he was a little less frustrated after we started EC, like he was thinking "Thank god these people are FINALLY listening to me"!!

    Have fun at the op shop!!

  17. #17

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    Hi ECers

    We've had a few milestones in the past few days so I thought I'd check in

    We h
    • ad our first outing wee today - I pottyed him in the boot of the car LOL. Passers by must have wondered what the hell was going on, but he'd been dry half the day and I didn't want to mess that up...!
    • He's now consistently signing *before* he wants to go and then actually going on the potty - only if it is in the front doorway and the door is open - the man needs a view apparently.
    • Today he needed to go and couldn't see a potty so he weed in a cardboard box instead Only in our house would this be a victory


    Anyway, I'm counting misses these days instead of counting catches. I'm even tempted to break out the ecapants again! It feels so good to be back on track, I'm so proud of him - and I think he's proud of himself too. He claps as soon as he starts weeing/pooing. So cute.

    He also thinks he needs to be on the potty to foof (as we call it... fluff) *giggle*.

    How are you guys going?

    Tish
    xx

  18. #18

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    Oh and I just hung out 4 days worth of nappies and there are 12 on the line.... wooohooo! It'd be triple that normally!

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