Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adventures in Elimination Communication

As many of you know, we started the Elimination Communication (EC) technique with Iyla when she was just shy of 2 months old. I had been noticing that every time I took off her diaper to change her, she would poo or pee, and it was making a big mess. So I started sitting her on her little baby potty, and lo and behold- she started going on it!

Baby Iyla on the potty

Iyla is now approaching her 1st birthday, and using the potty on pretty much a daily basis (though not exclusively).  I will say it is extremely rare for her to do a #2 in her diaper- in the past month we've had maybe 3-4 dirty diapers to clean, and the rest have gone into the baby potty. Iyla is pretty good about holding it if I act quickly when I see her straining and say to her "hold on- let's go sit on the potty!'

*As an aside, we've recently transitioned back to cloth diapers after about a 4 month hiatus! I have been sitting on a stash of bumGenius 4.0's that always seemed too large for Iyla. A couple of weeks ago I pulled out the stash intending to sell them, then had a change of heart and gave them another go. They now fit perfectly (still on the very smallest setting!) and are proving to be an excellent money savings, given our tight budget.*

My biggest curiosity with the whole EC experience has been if and when Iyla might start communicating to us that she had to go, vs her just going because we sat her on the potty or saw her starting to strain.

And yesterday? I think we had our first clear communication, that of course I MISSED and realized after the fact.

We'd had 2 days in a row where Iyla was resisting initially sitting on her potty post nap, even though her diaper was dry and I knew she had to go. I decided to take her stuffed bunny and model sitting on the potty with it. She thought this hilarious, and the modeling appears to have worked too well and backfired. Two days in a row while bunny was 'peeing' on the potty and I held a watching, captive, naked Iyla- she started to pee while standing. All over me, herself, and the floor. Modeling FAIL! I think bunny now needs her own potty for these EC demonstrations.

Then yesterday- after the peeing on the floor incident- Iyla was all diapered up again and playing in her room. She crawled directly over to her potty and looked at me. She started lifting it up as I watched, and I assumed she was just exploring & playing with it. Then she started to strain. Before I had time to whip off her diaper and sit her down she'd already gone. I dare say that little one was trying to clearly communicate to me she had to go! If that is the case, consider my mind blown.

Which leads me to think we need a new, clear sign for having to go potty. The little potty itself won't always be with us for her to crawl to, and the actual sign for potty is a bit difficult and strongly resembles the sign for "all done," which Iyla knows and uses often. Iyla has already invented her own signs for a couple of other things ('panting' for dog and pretending to 'bounce' for ball)- so I figure I can 'invent' a new sign for potty. I am thinking patting her belly would be effective- it is easy, clear, and unlike any of her other signs. I'm going to get BC and our nanny on board too, such that we do this sign while saying "potty" when we go as well as when Iyla goes.

Big girl on her potty

It will be interesting to see if it 'takes' and she learns to tell us when it is time! Stay tuned.....


  1. I find this hilarious and genius. I change 3-4 poopy diapers a DAY.

  2. Yay for you! I'm so glad to hear it's working for you! We've dabbled in ECing since day one. We've never been very consistent but we'd put him on the potty after naps and in the morning and then random times throughout the day, things were going great until recently when he decided he absolutely hates the potty. Sigh. He also hates the high chair and eating anything I put in front of him and the car seat. I think he's trying to assert his independence...I'm hoping it's a phase!