I knew from the time we got pregnant that I wanted to start elimination communication with this baby right from the beginning. We did it with Evangeline, but not consistently until she was 15 months old. I’m so glad we potty trained her this way, but I wish I had started earlier! So this time around, we started at 3 days old.
I had my dear hubby go pick up some cheap prefold diapers from the store, and we used those instead of disposables. We haven’t gotten our nifty prefold belts yet, but I did find a long piece of felt fabric that was used to wrap a baby blanket from when Evie was born (who says being a pack rat is always a bad thing?) and we have been using that to keep the prefolds around Stephen. Using the prefolds (or another similar material) is important. You have to be able to tell when they are going potty. Often with disposable diapers it is very easy to ignore or miss when they are eliminating, making it difficult to communicate with them about it.
We do use disposables sometimes, but not often and not for the first few days of EC. I mainly wanted to stay out of the habit of disposable diapers, so we don’t use them daily. And when I do use them I still work on watching his cues and catching his elimination when I can. Cloth diapers are a little better, but they can also prevent you from noticing the moment when elimination happens. They are also more difficult to take off, increasing the amount of time before you can put them on the potty if you notice they need to go.
The first week I didn’t try to get many catches. If I thought he was going to go I might put him over the potty, mostly just to get used to the hold and find a way to put him over the potty that we were both comfortable with. Even without really trying to catch his elimination, we did get our first catch when he was only six days old! I was SUPER excited – and hooked! There is something about catching a pee or a poop that just makes you want to keep going. It must be one of those mom things… but I love being able to put on the same diaper more than once! In any case, I kept trying to get more catches as the week went on, but I reminded myself to take it slow.
Those first couple of weeks I just wanted to concentrate on two things. First, giving him cues when he is eliminating so that he begins to associate those sounds with going potty. The sounds we use are a “sssssss” sound for pees and an “eeeeee” sound for poops. The second goal was to start learning Stephen’s potty cues. All babies know when they need to potty and they do communicate that need to us. Some babies’ cues are quite subtle, but Stephen’s are very clear. He’s such a happy and content baby that if he’s fussy it usually because he needs to potty or because he’s hungry.
Fussing with rooting = hungry and fussy without rooting = potty. How easy is that?!
So, needless to say, these first two weeks of ECing have been a great success. I have even started (sooner than I expected) actively trying to catch all his eliminations. This is mostly Stephen’s preference, as he’s figured out there’s a place for his eliminations and he is now in the habit of squirming and fussing until I give him the cue to go! Daddy has yet to make a catch, but I am hopeful that he’ll get his first one this week.