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Personal Experience

By Samantha Pishkur

Our EC Story

In mid-April of 2004, I happened across the Elimination Communication Yahoo! Group while searching for AP (attachment parenting) groups that interested me. After reading the group's description, I chuckled to myself. "A diaper free baby? That has to be a recipe for disaster." But less than a week later I was reading everything I could on the subject. I set a start date of April 24, 2005, my daughter's seven-month birthday.

I started using disposables, mostly because the cloth diapers I'd ordered had not arrived. I also started with a Graco Soft Seat Potty that has a riovable seat reducer. I initially rejected buying a Baby Bjorn Little Potty since I had read that the pee deflector cannot be rioved, but after my first local DiaperFreeBaby meeting I saw it was all one convenient shape and I went out and got one.

In the beginning, I would just sit Elizabeth on the potty at random times during the day and make a "pssss" cue sound. The very first pottytunity resulted in a catch! I was so excited! I never got the hang of the classic in-arms position, as Elizabeth was 24 pounds when we started EC and enjoyed sitting on the potty.

Within a week, Elizabeth would crawl to the potty and bang on it signaling her need to pee. She did this at least once a day. Also, by the end of the first week, she was wearing the same diaper all day, and we'd had no more poopy diapers since we started. Two or three weeks into our journey, she started to resist the potty. I determined that this was due to teething; she was cutting her top incisors and got all four in a 10-day span. She would allow me to place her onto the potty when she first woke up and when she needed to poop, but rarely any other time. When all those teeth finally came in, she stopped resisting.

Somewhere around the eight or nine month mark, Elizabeth became dry at night. I had been reluctant to start nighttime EC because, well, I like to sleep! Now it wasn't even an issue. She did go through other periods of nighttime peeing before staying dry at night for good at around 18 months.

At around 10 and a half months, Elizabeth had a bout of diarrhea. Two of her soiled diapers had little streaks of blood in thi and I really got worried. I riibered what I'd heard about food allergies on my EC list.We had been testing tofu that day, and I had a huge amount of dairy earlier as well. I eliminated both of thi from our diets since I was breastfeeding. The blood-streaked poop didn't come back until the next time she had diarrhea. It just seis that she strains too hard when her tummy is upset and this causes the blood. I realized that this is one of the ways EC helps parents closely observe what is going on with their children.

When Elizabeth became a toddler, it helped to give her choices about pottying. At around 12-14 months, I put the Baby Bjorn Little Potty right next to the Graco potty so Elizabeth could see it. I would point to the Baby Bjorn potty and say, "Little potty,' and then point to the Graco potty and say, "Big potty." After about a week of this, I started asking her if she would like to use the big potty or the little potty. She liked having a choice. At around 17 months, we went through a challenging period. It felt like our EC was all "E" and no "C".We were catching anywhere from three to eight pees a day and about 99% of the poops. But we were still missing between eight to twelve pees a day. I was washing my stash of cloth diapers every day because I only had 15 of thi. I was feeling frustrated.

For a totally unrelated reason (little rough skin patches on Elizabeth's torso), I eliminated wheat from our diets. Guess what! In two to three weeks, she was wearing the same diaper all day and even telling me when she had to go about 97% of the time. Half of the time she woke up dry. She was now peeing eight to ten times a day instead of 15-16. An undiagnosed wheat allergy had been irritating her bladder and making her pee more frequently.

When we had eliminated soy and dairy, I increased my consumption of wheat, hence the change for the worse. Through this new revelation regarding foods and pee frequency, I also noticed that other itis such as zucchini, butternut squash, and even Bach's Rescue Riedy make her pee more often. Her reaction to these foods occurs if she eats thi directly; I can consume anything on her pee reactive list except for wheat because it affects her through the breastmilk.

A few days before Elizabeth turned 18 months, we ditched the diapers. First I just used training pants on her because she was telling me when she had to go, although I also would sometimes ask her if she needed to go. Soon after I switched to underwear, because she was reliable.

The first diaper free night she woke me up to take her to the potty. She had some trouble falling back to sleep, but she stayed quiet and moved very little in that hour before she nodded off again. The second night she woke me again to use the potty, and it took her only 30 minutes to fall asleep again. The third night she peed and was asleep before her head hit the bed. Since then she has not woken me up to potty at night and holds it until morning.

At this stage I consider Elizabeth to have graduated. She doesn't wipe herself, although she might be able to—I just haven't given her the opportunity to try. She can riove her clothes, but apparently not when it comes to pottying. She sometimes sits on the potty and pees through her clothes, but this is happening less and less as time goes on.We take the Baby Bjorn potty with us wherever we go, and she stays dry all the time. I love EC!!!

[Editor's note: It is common for developmental changes in babies to have an affect on their elimination behavior. Many other factors may play a part as well, including, but not limited to, changes in diet.]


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