Parenthood August 17, 2021

This Crazy Little Thing Called… Elimination Communication

A few hours after B was born, I remember one of our midwives asking if I had ever heard of elimination communication. “No,” I said, but in a way sounding curious. She then replied with something along the lines of, “oh, it’s this beautiful way of communicating with your baby and learning their bodily rhythms…” Honestly she lost me because it seemed too complicated and here I was with this newborn and I was exhausted and felt like I didn’t have the headspace to learn something right then and there. I’m crunchy but not THAT crunchy.

But then a few weeks later I found myself in a new routine (the ones that last a few days or two weeks max. with a newborn) where I had tiny pockets of time and couldn’t sleep during the day, so I’d speed read parenting books or blogs instead of doing the laundry or other housework. And that’s when I revisited elimination communication (EC).

Basically, the parent(s) learn the cues from baby on when they have to go to the bathroom. Ask any new parent and they quickly learn “the look.” It’s that simple – except instead of waiting for them to fill a diaper, you bring them into the bathroom. The task still felt daunting, especially having switched over to cloth diapers about 8 weeks into parenthood, but I still kept it on the back burner. One random day, somewhere between months 4-5 (it’s all a blur, am I right?) I took him into the bathroom and gave him the opportunity and it worked – he pooped in the bathroom!

I think Taylor thought I was crazy and that this process would be too much work but after a couple weeks of me successfully catching his cues, Taylor finally gave it a try – and B used the bathroom with him as well. He was instantly hooked. Since that time, we’ve probably only changed a handful of poopy diapers. You read that right: we can count on one hand how many poopy diapers we’ve changed over the last 8 months. (If you aren’t a parent, hint: babies poop daily, sometimes multiple times a day.) This is a big deal, especially for a cloth diapering parent in charge of laundry.

We are by no means professionals at this and being completely transparent, have only being doing it part-time despite being home with him full-time. What does part-time EC mean? It means we aren’t trying to catch all of his movements (specifically pees) but we are giving him the opportunity multiple times a day, creating almost a routine to use the bathroom. Do I wish I had researched more and started earlier? Yes! And that’s why I’m writing this post.

The resource I’ve used and am currently using is GoDiaperFree.com. This is the site I found a few weeks postpartum and return to time and time again because it is the most comprehensive resource I’ve seen to date. Andrea is a mother to five and has used EC with each of them, updating information over the years not only from her experience but also from the thousands of parents she’s helped teach along the way. She’s created a blog, podcast, written multiple books, teaches an entire mini series and has also set up a second business/shop selling complimentary items for your EC journey.

Here are the items I’ve used, can recommend and encourage you to check out if this sounds somewhat appealing (and dare I say magical) to you as well:

  • The Go Diaper Free book – I just finished reading this book because I’ve JUST now decided to do this thing full-time with B and hopefully be completely diaper independent come this fall (no pressure on B, I’m just sick of washing diapers!). From what I’ve learned from listening to her podcast, you don’t want to half-ass this process because it will only drag it out. I wish this was something I had read while pregnant. I purchased the hard copy because I’m not an eReader but included is a digital copy, audio version, private video library, private downloads, private support group and free lifetime updates. Use code XOJONA if you’d like to read any of the Go Diaper Free books and receive 15% off your order!
  • Tiny Undies – It’s hard to find underwear for a 6-18 month old – try it! Spend 5 minutes on Google… you’ll be pointed to her brand for a reason, they fit as they should. Spoiler alert! B isn’t wearing his yet but we’ve tried them on and they are darling and yes, I know, I’m swapping diapers for underwear but they (hopefully) won’t stink nearly as bad. Use code XOBEAU if you’d like to give them a try for $5 off your order!
  • Potty seat – we were given two of these randomly secondhand from a woman in a Starbucks parking lot when we went to pick up a swing for our back deck when B was only a couple of weeks old. Potty training seemed so far ahead of us but I’m thankful I said yes when she offered to throw them in the bag. This is what he is currently using in the bathroom and has been using for about 4 months now. (I don’t know what brand ours are but these look identical.)

As I alluded above, we plan on committing to EC full-time in September and will hopefully be less dependent on diapers shortly thereafter. B is already signing and/or moving to the bathroom for some of his bowel movements, so we’re hoping that come September, he’ll be more stable on his feet. He just started walking consistently over the last three weeks but has on occasion crawled to the bathroom as a signal. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot and I’ll share what I can along the way!

Have you heard of EC? Have you ever done it with your child(ren)? I’d love to hear about your experience!

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