When T was around six months-old I came across elimination communication (EC) and I loved the whole concept behind it. Learning a child’s early signals and natural rhythms for needing to potty, while assisting them until they are able to toilet on their own, seemed like such a gentle approach.
I love how it’s an early start to toilet learning and goes right along with their daily routine, with little to no impact. The early exposure helps them become more comfortable with sitting on a toilet and helps prevent the amount of soiled diapers (we mainly use cloth, so this is a great bonus).
They may not have full control of their bladder and bowel at this time, but right now, it’s not about getting them to go on their own or even all the time. For us, it’s more about becoming comfortable and starting to set it up in their routine. Just a moment on the toilet before and after naps, after a bit of time passes (making sure we are not interrupting their work), after lunch and dinner.
Their faces let me know when they are about to or are in the process of potty-ing. With that knowledge, I feel like I’m offering them a little dignity by helping them on the toilet instead of just watching them soil themselves. That being said, I’m not always able to rush them to the toilet or catch their face in time.
We started doing naked baby tummy time when they were newborns. It was during this time, around 7 months-old, when I first introduced the toilet. We brought it out and would just sit them upon it periodically, with their permission of course. We don’t force it and when they want off, they get off.
We make a “tsssss” noise when they are on the toilet. This is a cue to make the association with going potty. I make this noise for a few moments when they first sit and, if reading to them, I will also make this noise when I turn the pages.
When we first started EC they went on periodically. Having done this for almost two months, at eight months-old, they have started to go on more regularly.
The frequency of sitting on the toilet increased once the girls started wanting more independence. E has begun wanting to do her own thing immediately after nursing and V has shown interest in wanting to help put on her pants. Based on this, I thought she might want to help with all lower apparel. Toddler undies seemed like the next step. So recently, we have been switching them to toddler undies after their second nap. Keeping them comfortable in a long-sleeve onesie and leg warmers.
Currently, I put E and V on once they wake up in the morning (if they aren’t too hungry) and when they wakeup from their first nap. After their second nap they go on and then switch to their toddler undies for the rest of the day (or until we run out of clean undies:).
I want to set them up for longterm success. So I’ve been working on making an area in the restroom perfect for them for a few to come. Exposure and predictability.
Their area in the restroom includes:
-A realistic looking toilet.
-A drawer that contains two extra cloth diapers, disposable wipes (for “messy” jobs) and four undies (2 plain and 2 print) to choose from. On top of the drawer is their cream and a bowel for wet washcloths we use as wipes for “cleaner” jobs.
-A mirror, from Target, for personal care (currently they aren’t standing, so this will be used more later).
-Shelf for books (Ikea spice rack I actually found at the thrift store still wrapped).
–Ikea shelf upside down to hang extra clothes and a hand towel, with their hairbrush on top.
-A bin for dirties.
Do you practice elimination communication? Do you have a space in your restroom for your little?
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