When I was first researching elimination communication (EC), I read that it could help you develop a greater connection with your baby. I was skeptical to say the least. Bonding…..over potty training? That’s supposed to be one part of parenting that NO ONE looks forward to….
BUT, fast forward nine months into our journey, and without a doubt, pottying our baby has indeed increased our connection in a variety of ways – and I can’t imagine doing things any other way.
So, if you’re expecting a baby, or have a little one at home between 0 and 18 months, read on! This just might be for you.
1. Pottying = A Happier Baby
When my little one gets fussy, my frustration levels quickly skyrocket. That calm and cool mum that was around 30 seconds ago can do a complete 180.
Fortunately, when you potty your baby, it results in a major decrease in fussiness!
There are several reasons for this.
First, crying is one of very few ways an infant is able to communicate their needs and ensure their survival, at the earliest stages of life. They fuss when they’re hungry, fuss when they’re tired, and fuss when they need to pee.
Practicing elimination communication (EC) allows you to better distinguish when your baby is fussing for food vs. discomfort/pottying needs. It enables you to meet whatever the specific need is more quickly.
For example, during tummy time, about 30 seconds in, our little one would ALWAYS fuss.
While we initially had assumed it was because she disliked tummy time, we later realised it was actually because she had to pee.
And if we met that need, she would happily continue her tummy time afterward.
Similarly, when I was breastfeeding our baby, she would begin to latch and unlatch repeatedly, sometimes fussing or full on crying.
Many moms have raised this question and frustration, wondering if something is wrong with their milk. In reality, our babies simply didn’t want to eat and potty at the same time.
By recognising that sign, and meeting the need, we eliminate the mystery behind the fussing and reduced its length significantly.
It also reduces the crying, screaming, and struggling with a wiggly baby during poopy diaper changes, which aren’t fun for anyone.
We certainly didn’t catch on to when she needed to potty every single time. Just like sometimes we are more distracted and don’t realise baby is hungry until she is pretty adamant on being fed.
But simply by being more aware and keeping baby in a dry diaper as much as possible, we noticed we had a much happier baby on our hands.
A happy baby makes for a happier mum, and makes it easier to connect with your little one. Let the bonding begin!
2. It Heightens Awareness Of Your Baby’s Needs
You probably know (or will quickly learn) when your baby is hungry.
Common signs of hunger include sucking on finger or hands, fussing. For an older baby, perhaps crawling over to you, signing, pulling at your shirt, etc.
You can also probably tell when your baby is tired. They might rub their eyes, yawn, be more quiet and less playful, or perhaps act a bit grumpy.
Similarly, babies also communicate when they need to go potty – in very much the SAME way as showing they need to eat or sleep.
Until we started elimination communication (EC) , however, I completely overlooked these signs, and had no idea of my baby’s pottying needs.
So, instead of simply changing the baby’s diaper every 2-3….or even 4 hours sometimes (disposables can hold so much!). I began to be aware of when and how often she typically wet.
I also observe what signals occurred just before that. Such as refusing to nurse mid-feeding, fussing during tummy time, and shivering.
Over times, I was able to more quickly detect these behaviours and help her potty in the appropriate receptacle instead of soiling herself.
I was shocked to discover that my three month old peed approximately every 30 minutes when she was awake.
Simply knowing this made me want to change her diaper more often out of consideration for her.
Since I certainly wouldn’t want to be sitting and peeing in an already-wet diaper for 2+ hours all day long.
Realising that my baby was communicating all her basic needs through her body language definitely increased my desire to meet those needs.
I know that our bond became stronger when I became more in tune with what she was trying to tell me.
You may find the same rings true for you.
3. It Teaches You To TRUST Your Baby
Oftentimes, when my baby gave a signal that she needed to potty, I would put her on her potty and she would go immediately.
Sometimes, though, when I would offer my baby the potty, she would refuse. Usually by arching her back, stiffening her legs, or crying.
In those moments, I had to trust that she was telling me that she actually didn’t need to go.
This scenario became more frequent as my little one got older. As is common, the signals became more subtle once she started crawling.
She started to stay dry for longer periods as well, not needing to go as often as I thought she might.
This gave me the opportunity to recognise her as her own person. One who has her own will – and realise that I couldn’t force her to go if she didn’t want to.
That sense of trust was also deepened. For example, when we would give her some diaper free time for a short period of time after a successful potty. We could do this because we knew she would stay dry.
It’s so nice being able to enjoy skin to skin time, or simply go through the bath time routine, without worrying about getting peed on. Since we are always aware of the last time she went.
If it’s getting close to when she may need to go again, we can put the diaper back on to prevent any potential mess. No big deal. 🙂
4. It Inspires Awe At Your Baby’s Capabilities
As I’ve stated in all the points above, prior to beginning our elimination communication journey.
I had absolutely no idea that my newborn was communicating the need to potty, and that she actually had control over when she would go.
Granted, the time she could hold it was relative to the size of her bladder, but still!
Like many elimination communication (EC) families, we very rarely change poopy diapers. This is simply because she prefers doing that in the appropriate place. She will wait for an opportunity to go, or communicate very clearly when she needs to.
That didn’t happen just by accident. It was because my baby consciously decided to take an opportunity I provided for her to pee to do her business as well.
As we hit each developmental stage, I continue to be amazed. (“What?!? She can hold it for 2 hours now?” or… “I just realised….she’s kept her trainers dry all day”).
It’s amazing to watch your baby grow and learn, just like those milestones of rolling over, crawling, first words, and the like.
It’s another area of development where you can watch in awe as your baby learns more about their own capabilities and the world around them.
5. It Provides An Opportunity To Be Present
Unlike feeding, where your little one is focused on eating, pottying provides an opportunity for baby and you to share a moment together.
We often sing a song, read a book, or just sit together and enjoy one another’s company.
It’s different from other times, in that you’re in a position where it’s so natural and easy to make eye contact.
There are few tasks or activities to distract you while you hold your baby on the potty, or supervise them as they sit up themselves.
And then there’s the sweetest unexpected moments of gratitude from your baby.
I’ve gotten hugs and kisses from my little one as I removed the diaper for her to go.
Now she smiles and claps for herself when she pees. And I can’t help but smile as I watch – it makes me happy too.
I am so grateful I stumbled across this alternative path of elimination communication to potty training.
Looking back, can’t imagine having done things any other way.
My baby was happier, I was more in tune with her needs, and I learned to trust her more in the process.
Moreover, I was amazed to learn that she was actually capable of controlling when she did or didn’t use the potty.
This brought me a greater respect and admiration for my baby, as a tiny human being in every way.
Knowing she was trying to communicate her needs motivated me to want to meet them as best I could.
And in return, we have shared some of the sweetest moments together – yes, over pottying.
Are YOU ready to share some smiles while pottying your baby? It’s definitely worth a shot!
Natalie Robbins vlogs at ASL pottyventures sharing tips from her journey pottying her baby and her experiences as an elimination communication and potty learning coach.