Posts Tagged 'Elimination Communication'

Diaper Free – Month 10& 11

After my last post about EC which was a bit depressing, I am happy to report that EC has been going incredibly well for us for the past month! Considering that we have been using diapers full time and haven’t done any diaper free time at all in ages,I really thought that Olivia would eventually stop caring about going to the potty. But that hasn’t been the case at all – in fact she has been gaining more and more bladder control and still waits for me to take her to the bathroom most of the time. Even with all of the travel we have been doing, she still expects to be taken to the potty at regular intervals and lets me know by “yapping” when she needs to go. (Sounds kind of like a high pitchecd “eh eh eh”)

We have gotten into a good routine of going potty after every meal and every nap, and that is working very well. We still have a lot of wet diapers, but poo almost always ends up in the toilet unless I am not paying attention. Interestingly, on the day of our flight from Germany to the US, I woke her up extra early (at 4am) to take the taxi, then train and finally the plane, and with all of the rushing I didn’t get the chance to take her potty until four hours later. Would you believe it that when I finally got into that tiny airplane bathroom, her diaper was still DRY???? She did the biggest pee I had ever seen, and then we went happily back to our seats. From that point on we continued to have dry diapers about 70% of the time for the entire trip.

Our rate has gone back down since then (she almost always does somthing in the toilet when I take her, but she usually has a wet diaper too) but that’s only because we have a lot going on and I don’t take her as often as I should. Nevertheless, I am still really happy with the way things are going – it feels like second nature now to the point where I have a hard time NOT offering her the potty after changing her diaper. Even if we are in a parking lot or in the middle of a touristy park and there is no potty available, I will put the dirty diaper on the ground and hold her up over it to do her business. I know she expects the chance to relieve herself, and I simply couldn’t live with myself putting her into the carseat when I know she has to go to the bathroom.

Even though we aren’t doing “all out” diaper free, I am really happy with EC and how it’s working for us. I used to be worried that I wasn’t doing “enough”, or that it wouldn’t “work” as well if I put less effort into, but now I’m seeing that it really doesn’t matter all that much. Sure, we could probably be completely out of diapers by now if I put in the effort to take her once an hour. In fact, if I got rid of the diaper she would probably start to hold it longer than an hour, since I know she has the capacity to do it. But I’m happy with how things are going, and I know that anything I do is better than nothing, and Olivia seems to be fine with it too.


Diaper Free – Months 6-9

How have the past three months of EC been going for us?  Well, in a nutshell, I would say that we have slowly but surely been getting more and more relaxed about it.  Or maybe lazy is the word I’m looking for.  No, no… relaxed is better… definitely more relaxed.  Ha.

I admit that we never really went all out with EC, since I didn’t do all that much diaper free time (or rather, the time we spent was a bit spotty… sometimes doing a lot, other times nothing at all) When we went to the family camp near Berlin, we did tons of diaper free time with lots of success, but after that my motivation went way down.  Olivia and I flew to the States for a month to visit my family, and even though I continued to take her to the potty quite a lot, I stopped doing all diaper free time.  Another big factor for us is that I finally bought some decent cloth diapers. They are a lot cheaper in the US, so I bought a full set while I was there, and ever since then I have been happily relying on those without feeling bad about the environment or Olivia’s bottom.

my cloth diaper stash

After all, with beautiful diapers like these, who can resist?!?!  I LOVE using them!!!

In the US, I even took Olivia to the toilet at night, and it worked out very well – she would move around while still half asleep, I took her to the bathroom, she did her business, and sometimes I would nurse her back to sleep, other times she just slept without nursing.   She did have a tendency to cry when I first took her to the toilet, but if I gave her a paper dixie cup to play with she would be happy.  Often she didn’t really even wake up at all.

But after coming back home, for some reason I dropped the night EC-ing, and started on a slow decline of potty opportunities until pretty soon I wasn’t even taking her more than once every couple of hours.  Looking back, I think the reason is that I still feel a bit overwhelmed here at home with no help, while at my parents house a lot of things (like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, etc) were all taken care of, so I had more time to focus on Olivia and to relax and take care of myself.  Nonetheless, my everyday situation is that I am alone with Olivia most of the time, and I have to take care of the house and chores myself, so I have been letting EC slide.

She has completely stopped signaling since I wasn’t responding to her anyways out of laziness.  But I have noticed that she really has seriously increased her holding power of the last few months.  She can now hold it in for something around an hour, which actually makes EC seem a lot more do-able.  I just haven’t been paying any attention and instead am going almost 100% on my intuition (i.e., whenever it happens to pop into my mind I take her to the bathroom, so it still is quite often, nevertheless.)  I also usually take her after she wakes up or after nursing.  So actually… when I think about it I’m not really doing that much differently than before, it just feels a lot different since we are WAY out of sync from each other.  When I pay more attention to her, our success rate also goes way up, to the point were I could probably have mostly catches, but… well… I guess I am just not really that motivated anymore.

Part of me feels bad about it, but another, more logical part of me says that it really doesn’t matter.  After all, she knows what the potty is for and she still does her business there quite a lot: at least 4-5 times a day.

Who can resist a fluffy baby butt?

Who can resist a fluffy baby butt?

So even though I am not putting much effort into EC at this point, I’m pretty confident that it won’t have any negative impact on her potty training when that time comes.  If I were to put more effort into the whole thing, I probably could have switched to training pants or underwear by now with only very few misses per day.  But I am simply not that motivated, so I am going to put that off for a while.  After all, I have to get some value out of my beautiful cloth diapers!

Diaper Free – Week 25

OK, so I actually counted the weeks and we have just finished week #25. Strange hwo the numbers don’t really add up, since Olivia isn’t 6 months old until next Sunday. But whatever. week 25 it is.

Olivia has really improved her bladder control, and so I am catching more and more pees now, even in the mornings! Woohoo! I’m not sure if this is just my “mother intuition” getting better, or whether she is getting better at letting me know, but I have become much more relaxed and everything is flowing better now. We are really in a groove! I don’t really pay hardly any attention to her pottying any more, and yet somehow I am still catching a good 75% of pees and 90% of poos. It’s crazy. I will just be sitting there and suddenly it will pop into my head that maybe she has to pee, and she does! Other times she will fuss quite a bit (5 or 10 minutes) without me even thinking about her needing to pee, and when it finally dawns on me, I take her and she has held it all that time. I think she has learned that I take a long time to respond, and so she lets me know extra early.

I’ve also really started making the switch to cloth diapering instead of disposables, which has probably helped her be more motivated to signal to me. I have 4 All-in-One diapers, but mostly I am using diaper covers with flats. The all-in-ones are super cute and I love them, but to be honest they are almost TOO nice, and I am afraid of staining them!! Good thing most of our poos go in the toilet, or I would hate cloth diapering. The directions on the diapers say that you don’t have to pre-wash them or even rinse off the poo – just throw it in teh washing machine with an extra pre-wash cycle, and that’s it. But I have visions of poo floating around in there and contaminating all the other diapers. I just really hate the thought of it. So whenever I happen to miss a poo (which is about once a day) I rinse it off first in the sink. I am not afraid of touching it as long as I wash my hands afterwards. But it really is more work, and I don’t think I would do cloth diapering if I weren’t doing EC, since Olivia poos every time she nurses (about 8-10 times a day). That would be a LOT of poopy diapers. Thank goodness for toilets!!

Olivia has also found a very effective way of telling me that she’s done on the potty. She puts up her arms and kind of “jumps” very slightly out of my hold! (don’t worry, there’s no danger of her falling) She’s been doing this for about a month now, and I’ve found that if I try to take her away before she TELLS me she’s done, she almost always complains, and sometimes even has an accident immediately after. Sometimes we will be sitting there for a good 5 minutes, and she will have already done 2 poos in the toilet, and I will think, “Ok, that must be it. you’ve just been sitting her singing to me for the last 3 minutes, you must be done… right?” but if I try to take her away she will get mad at me and start stiffening up her legs to get me to take her back to the toilet! She’ll be fussy until I do. And then out will come another huge load. So I’ve learned that I really do need to trust in what my baby is telling me. She knows best whether or not there is more on the way! At night usually she just kind of puts up her arms a little bit rather than leaping away, since she is half-asleep. But even that is enough for me to know.

I am really quite impressed and fascinated by how close our connection has become, and how much I really understand about my daughter. They don’t call it Elimination Communication for nothing!

Diaper Free Update – Weeks 21, 22, 23, 24

To be perfectly honest, I am not even sure if I am on week 24 now… I am totally stabbing in the dark here.  But I am too lazy to go find a calendar and count the weeks, so week 24 it is 😛

So, the biggest news first:  I discovered a diaper-free group in Karlsruhe!  I went to an informational meeting at the “Stillcafé Karlsruhe”, which is held twice a month in the Hebammenpraxis “Rundum”.  This was just an informational meeting, not the actual group itself, but there were something like 20 parents there who were interested in EC!  Many were already practicing it, too.  It was so motivating to actually meet some other ECers in real life, that it made me want to do more diaper free time, and I did for the whole next week.  (We were diaper free at home all the time except for nights)  I do plan to go to the diaper free group, but I haven’t done it yet.

Just before going to this meeting, I also happened to meet two other moms who were interested in going diaper free.  We met up at my house to talk about how I approach it, and just to hang out.  So now I have two new EC friends!  This friendship thing is going really well, and I am happy 😀

Because of all this, I have been really motivated, and we did lots of diaper free time.   But in spite of that, Olivia seems to be in a phase where she doesn’t signal for pees anymore.  For poos it’s still no problem, but pees are becoming harder to catch.  I think this is because she is learning how to roll and working a lot on new “sounds”.  (She has perfected the back-to-tummy roll on her left hand side, but still can’t do it in any other direction)  So I do think that signaling for pees with return at some point.

Olivia just in her undies

It’s so much easier to roll when you’re just in undies!

I’ve also discovered that when Olivia doesn’t have a diaper on, I can comfortably hold her on my lap while typing on the computer, or eating dinner, talking to a friend, etc, and she almost never pees on me.  In that position she always lets me know when she has to go, so I don’t even bother with a cloth or anything to catch a miss.  When she is on the floor she doesn’t signal much, so we have lots of misses (especially if she’s on her belly)  but as long as I am holding her she actually does let me know pretty clearly.  I can be totally absorbed in a conversation and she will start trying to catch my attention by pulling at me, or arching her back, and fussing.  And she will continue that for a good 5 minutes or more until I finally take notice.  It is really pretty amazing!  Unfortunately I also have to do a lot of things where I can’t hold her, like the dishes, laundry and (the big one) cooking.  That is why I am still using diapers so much.

After 5 months of practicing EC, I can definitely say that it’s worth it.  I know some people say that it isn’t any more work than diapering, but that hasn’t really been my experience… (probably since I am still using a diaper, so that adds a lot of time to pull it on and off all the time…)  but even with the extra effort I am still SUPER happy with everything.  I love seeing the smile on Olivia’s face when she’s done her business in the toilet.  I love that she is clean almost all the time.  I love that we have this extra connection.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, even with several kids in the house.

A Day in the life of EC-ing a 4-month-old

Since I know that most people find it difficult to picture what it’s like to practice EC full time, I’ve decided to record everything we do, including all of the pottying. So this was our day yesterday, with absolutely nothing held back. I used a back-up diaper the entire day, but still made tons of catches (about 80%).

In case you’re wondering, I recorded all of this on my ipad while breastfeeding. And since Olivia eats constantly, I was able to just store up the times of things in my head, and write them down when I got the chance.

Also, this is not really a “typical” day… We have no set schedule, and every day is totally different for us, aside from the fact that they are all incredibly difficult. Usually Olivia sleeps later than this.

So here goes nothing!

7:15 woke up
7:20 nursed (one side)
7:40 potty (this is when all the morning poos come, so it takes a few minutes…)
7:50nursed (other side)
8:00 Potty
8:10 Oscar played with Olivia for a few minutes, then some tummy time
8:15 potty (she did her special “scream” to let me know)
8:20 changed Olivia ino her daytime clothes
8:35 attempted to cut her fingernails, but no luck. Then she did her potty yelp again.
8:37 potty (her diaper was still dry, and she had a LOT of pee!!
8:40 tried to put Olivia down to nap (rocking and lullibies). But she arched her back and screamed.
8:50 nursed (she mostly just used it for comfort though, and fell into a light sleep.)
9:05 transferred Olivia to crib
9:10 transfer complete, she is asleep. I rush off to make myself breakfast.
9:13 the people renovating the apartment below us turn on a loud electric grinder, and I rush back to try to keep Olivia from fully waking up by shaking her crib. It doesn’t work, and now she has re-discovered her beloved mobile for the millionth time, and is grinning happily at it. I try to get her to sleep again without picking her up, but no luck.
9:20 I leave Olivia with her mobile and go eat breakfast since she seems to be happy.
9:30 Olivia is getting a little fussy
9:33 fussiness increasing
9:35 I hear yelps and so I go to her – I guess she had been trying to warn me, but now it was too late, and her diaper was wet.
9:38 I take her potty, she lets go a little more pee and a MASSIVE poo.
9:40 I try rocking her back to sleep but she arches her back and screams. It’s the famous “I have to burp” arch. The people downstairs start hammering. So I give up the nap and put her on her tummy on the floor while I eat.
9:43 she burps!
9:45 she burps again!
9:52 she makes the potty yelp but I guess it wasn’t really, since she refused to go when I took her.
9:53 I put her back on the floor, but now she is getting fussy. She’s yawning.
9:55 I try putting her to bed again. But she’s overtired now and going hyper. I leave her while I clean up a bit.
10:05 she is full on crying now, and smacking her lips, so I nurse her. Her mouth turns to a huge grin,she clamps on as if she had been waiting for years for this moment rather than just an hour. Her eyes roll backwards into her head. The people downstairs are busy slamming doors, but she doesn’t care… She is in a state of pure bliss.
10:15 I feel her stiffen to pee while nursing, but she doesn’t want to stop and I don’t make her. I would rather have her make that choice.
10:17 she starts kicking her legs around. Now she REALLY has to pee. Suddenly she pulls off the breast and looks at me with a quizzical expression. “do you have to go potty…?” I ask, then I rush her to the potty (after pulling off two layers of clothes and a diaper, which was still dry) she immediately does a full load of pee, and one minute later a rather large poo as well.
10:22 returned to nursing
10:27 she starts choking due to the flood of milk. I clap her back and she burps a huge and quite painful sounding burp. Poor thing! Then she smiles and starts “singing” to me.
10:29 returned to nursing
10:40 nursing slows down but I let her comfort nurse since she didn’t nap.
10:50 she’s asleep, so I burp her (magically she didn’t wake up!) and transfer her to the crib.
10:55 I rush off to do the dishes from last night
11:20 Olivia is still sleeping, so I decide to risk it and jump in the shower (with the baby monitor in the bathroom)
11:27 …and… I lose. She’s up! I hurry up and finish while she cries and then go to her.
11:30 I’ve missed the wake up pee, so I change her diaper. I try to give her a pottytunity but she doesn’t think much of that and lets me know it. So I let her play on the bed while I get dressed.
11:40 I play with her on the floor of the living room for 5 minutes, then let her play by herself why I dry my hair and get ready.
12:00 she is getting fussy, so I take her potty, which she refuses. She had a small pre-pee and some poo skid marks in her diaper, so I know she has to go, but she wants somthing else first. She is probably hungry but I try to delay that a bit by turning on a CD of kids’ songs and start folding laundry.
12:18 since she’s calm now I try the potty again, and she goes pee immediately. Her diaper was still dry, so I guess she can hold it longer than I gave her credit for (almost an hour!)
12:20 I lay her back on the floor and start hanging up wet laundry.
12:35 nursed
13:18 potty (she signalled by stopping nursing, and it turned out she had already peed, but she did a poo in the toilet.)
13:20 I put Olivia on the floor and wander around aimlessly, trying to remember what it was I wanted to do
13:30 I eat lunch (that was it!). Olivia entertains herself by looking at the couch and babbling.
13:40 I clean up lunch and try to decide how to get out of the house while packing Olivia’s stuff.
13:50 one last pottytunity
14:00-17:30 we take the tram downtown and wander around.  I potty her at 15:30 at the library, and then nurse her, and potty her again at about 16:00 at a downtown shopping center. She kept her diaper dry the entire time! She also slept for about a half-hour in the carrier.

17:30 we arrive home and she goes potty again (diaper still dry…)
17:35 I start dinner while Olivia stares at the photo of a baby on the diaper box and exercises her lungs
17:55 Nursed
18:05 Olivia is thrashing around and not really drinking, which is a sure sign of a burp. But I can’t get her to burp so I try the potty. But she tells me in no uncertain terms that potty is NOT what she wants. Must be a burp after all. So I keep trying.
18:18 shefinally burps, and I try nursing her again. But she starts arching her back and screaming. So I try the potty, and she does a poo and pee.
18:23 I try nursing her again but she still screams and thrashes around, so I assume there is another burp trapped. I work at trying to get that one out.
18:40 I give up and put her on the floor while I put away clean dishes and finish dinner.
18:55 she is extremely fussy so I try nursing, which she flat out refuses, and I go back to trying to burp her.
19:10 I give up burping her again and put her down so I can eat dinner. She screams at the top of her lungs on the floor, so I pick her up and let her sit on my lap while I eat. I also try taking her potty since it’s been along time. But she still refuses. (she did have a pee in the diaper though)
19:30 Olivia burps while sitting on my lap. Yay!
19:35 I clean up my mess and pick up some of the trail of items I’ve left lying all over the house, while holding Olivia in one arm.
19:45 I try nursing her again, but she thrashes around. So I try burping her more.
19:55 Oscar comes home! He holds Olivia for a bit.
20:05 even though she still has’t burped, she seems ready to eat now,so I nurse her while Oscar eats dinner.
20:30 Oscar wakes me up… Appearantly I nodded off while breastfeeding…Olivia is asleep too, so Oscar takes her for awhile while I get ready for bed and catch a little more sleep (I only got about 10 minutes 😦
21:00 Olivia is still hungry so I nurse her more
21:30 Olivia is asleep. I get one small burp out of her, then put her to bed. I go clean up dinner and put away food
22:00 I finally get to go to sleep! Yay!!

Olivia slept well overnight, waking up at 1:15 and 3:30am, and then she was up for the day at 7:15 (that is the only consistant part of our day…)

Diaper Free – Update Weeks 18 & 19

Well, I didn’t quite stick to my goal of diaper-free during the daytime.  I did it for 3 days, (morning to night) but then I got lazy again and went back to using the diaper most of the time.  However, those three days really made a HUGE difference.    She had been basically ignoring the pees before, so it took us about 2 days to get that back on track, during which I used a whole mountain of flats, and all of her pairs of underwear.  But after that she started signaling for almost all the pees, and she has begun to consolidate them as well!  Instead of doing a bunch of small pees one after another, she has been waiting longer and doing bigger pees.  It is so much easier now, and it makes me feel like I really CAN do this without getting burnt out.

Diaper Free Playtime

For playtime I use a water proof cloth with a flat diaper on top, and Olivia is in regular underwear. (I often add pants over that, too, but this day I didn’t)


I have been learning her new rhythm as well.  I now know that she does most of her small pees in the first 2-3 hours of the morning.  At that time they are coming about every 15 minutes or even quicker.  After that they slow way down to every half-hour and sometimes a full hour.  Also there is a huge difference when I am holding her. We go for nice long walks most days, and I have been carrying her in a wrap.  Sometimes the walks are more than 2 hours long.  We usually go walking in the woods, and I warned my walking buddy that we were going to have to stop for pees every once in a while.  Except that she really didn’t signal at all for more than an hour.  I finally thought, OK, she must need to go by now, so I’m gonna give her a pottytunity.  But she didn’t take it.  Even after stopping to feed her, she STILL didn’t want to go.  She actually saved everything up until we got home, two hours later.  Since then I haven’t bothered taking her out of the wrap at all during walks, unless she tells me clearly that she needs to go.  So far she hasn’t, and her diaper has always been dry when we get home.  Amazing!!

The interesting thing is even though I am back to using diapers nearly full time, we are having a much higher rate of catches since we did the big diaper-free marathon.  We are much better in tune with each other, and as long as I am completely ignoring her I really do catch about 80% of her pees and poos.  I still am going through about 15 diapers a day, but most of the time I only change it because of a very small pee.  She really has a dry bum most of the time, and I am treating the diaper more like a piece of clothing than a toilet.

We did have one HUGE poop blowout this week which I missed because I was starving and couldn’t take my mind off my lunch.  She was sitting on my knee and wiggling around, making yelling noises, and trying to get my attention, but I was so focused on my spaghetti that I didn’t even notice.  Well suddenly I heard the “tururururooop”  of a big poo, and I just looked at her and laughed, “did you do a poo poo?! oh no!  I’m so sorry!!!”  She had this kind of funny look on her face, a combination of relief and mortification.  Well, I rushed her to the changing table, only to find that the poo had shot all the way up her back, right up to her *neck*!  It had soaked through the onesie and stained her beautiful white  Mexican dress.  It took me 15 minutes to clean her up, and another half-hour soaking the clothes to remove the stains.  This is only the second time this has happened since Olivia was born, since we catch almost all of her poos.  And since she does somthing like 8 poos a day, it really makes me glad that I spend the 2 minutes it takes to get her to the toilet, rather than go through this huge clean-up!!

Diaper Free – Update Week 17

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but we are raising our daughter diaper free, using elimination communication (EC). If you don’t know what EC is, here is a great blog about it:

We started EC with our daughter at 2 weeks old, by holding her over a tupperware container everytime we changed her diaper. She peed so often back then that I just couldn’t wrap my head around going all out diaper free. Well, that and it was February and freezing cold, and we had recieved tons of onesies and footed PJ’s as gifts, which are super hard to EC in. (if she wets, you have to change her from head to toe, instead of just pulling off the pants.). We did make lots of catches though, and almost from day one we were catching all her poos, which is about 8-10 times a day. I guess she was saving them up for the opportunity to do it in the potty. In any case that was very motivating, and it really wasn’t too hard, so we kept it up, and it slowly evolved into more and more diaper free time. We became more and more in tuned with each other- us recognizing her signals better, and her becoming clearer and clearer about her signals.

Now Olivia is 4 months old, and her signals have evolved quite a bit. She was doing a certain scream right before she peed, and fussing a lot before poos. I’m not always paying attention though, and so I miss a lot of pees since they are more subtle. We were at a point where I was using the same diaper for 3 or 4hours in the afternoons, because I caught all of her pees! I go mostly based on her signals, but I also take her at certain times – right after waking up, and right after she eats.

This was working great for the past few months, but I have been incredibly lazy about the diaper, and have been relying on it way too much. And as embarressed as I feel to say this, we are still using disposables, because they are easier. I feel so awful at the thought of all those chemical filled diapers ending up in the garbage dump. So this week I made a commitment to myself to have her in underwear more often and reserve the diapers only for outings and nights.

For the past 2 months we have mostly been using the sink and the big toilet. We stopped using the tupperware since our arms were wearing out and she is getting so big. I still use it as a car potty though. (I hold it between my legs and sit her on my lap. It works great since it has a lid in case you can’t dump it right away)

From here on, I plan to do a weekly update on our EC experience. I hope that this is helpful for anyone else on the same journey, or maybe to shed some light onto it for those of you who’ve never heard of it.


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