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the eric update - day 551: elimination communication. natural wisdom or trendy kookiness?

i'll admit that until very recently i had never heard of "elimination communication" or "infant potty training" which the Always Authoritative ( joking) wikipedia defines as, "...nurturing in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to help an infant address his or her elimination needs, partially or completely avoiding the use of diapers (nappies)." i'll also admit that at first the concept seemed just like one of those trendy, kooky theories that are cooked up to fill shelf space in the parenting section of your local big box bookstore.

i don't know where the "truth" lies but after some investigation, books such as "Early-Start Potty Training" make a compelling case that children can be successfully mostly diaper free much sooner than most people realize ( 6 months?! ) and that there are a raft of problems that can occur from the erring on the side of "convenience" and waiting to potty train until the average age of 3 or 4. and that perhaps there's some plausibility to the argument that the longer a toddler learns that soiling a diaper is "normal", the longer it will take to teach them elimination communication skills. so we thought we'd give it a try and have some semblance of "fun". and if it doesn't eventually work for us, so be it. i suspect that in the end [( ha! pun intended! ), when and how to potty train has religious adherents on both sides and that some things work well for some infants and others do not.

unsurprisingly, one of the first stages in effective elimination communication is learning your toddler's elimination schedule more precisely than his or her diaper changing times. so, today odin wore his first pair of "training pants" and stood and watched as mamma showed him how to baby sign "potty/toilet" right before reading "going to the potty" by mister rogers.

odin is very perceptive and already knows what and where the "potty" is and also clearly understands what a diaper is and that a dirty diaper is No Fun, but if today is any indication i think that putting all the pieces together might take some time and a whole lot of effort!

but then again, we did potty train all of our dogs in a few days, so maybe we should give him a little credit.

in addition to learning his schedule we also want him to get used to sitting on a potty. who knew there could be so many options for potty training gear? rather than jumping right in to the high end with something like a totco toilet trainer we decided to go with a baby bjorn trainer with a matching step stool. the step-stool isn't as stable as we'd hope, but the toilet trainer is easy to insert and remove and seems to sit securely on the loo.

and i'm not positive if it's officially sanctioned "elimination communication" behavior, but we also discovered that a leapfrog phonics radio also helps one pass the time on the water closet. if he ever becomes one of those people who needs something to do while their doing their business ( reading, playing video games, talking on the phone ) then i guess we know who to blame.

i can't claim that we saw anything remotely resembling success today, but it also wasn't horribly traumatic for anyone involved and maybe, just maybe, he'll be diaper-free by his 19 month birthday! ( just kidding. sort of. )

additional information on "elimination communication"

the boston globe: look ma, no diaper
the boston globe: diaper-free way
bloggingbaby: Elimination Communication works -- sort of
daddytypes: I Know That Face! Elimination Communication
daddytypes: Elimination Communication Hits England (Or Returns, If You Count Those Stonehenge Druids)

bookmark: ::digg it ::furl ::reddit ::yahoo ::
1/06/2006 09:03:00 PM 3 comments


Ha, 19 months, good luck. lol. We first sat Scott on the "potty" acouple of months ago and he knows what is is and he actaully went, once. and not since. He does like to sit on it, but it seems to be at the wrong time. We are thining of waiting until the summer when we can let him run around in his skivvies without getting a chill. Good Luck

By Blogger Jennifer, at 11:26 PM  

I am totally trying this with our next baby. I have a friend who was successful with it and it has inspired me.

You think you've seen everything until you watch a 5 monthy old baby poo on command in the toilet. Seriously! His Mama made a humming noise in her throat and away he went. She started when he was 2 mos old and by 5 mos he was only in diapers during outings or at night, but the diapers were usually dry.

Good luck! I hope it works well for you!

By Blogger pumpkinhead, at 9:04 AM  

pumpkinhead: "You think you've seen everything until you watch a 5 monthy old baby poo on command in the toilet."

based on our initial experience, i only wish we had started sooner!

today he went #1 and #2 in the potty. at different times!

and today he's started walking into the bathroom to climb up on to the toilet seat on his own volition. amazing. i'm sure it'll be awhile before we're accident free, but he seems to be catching on very quickly!

three days ago i thought it was going to be impossible to get him to get him to sit still for five minutes and he's proved us wrong yet again.

By Blogger e3, at 3:03 PM  

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