Friday, April 24, 2009

One Mom's EC Story

We have a guest blogger today, Beth Partain. I hope you enjoy her story about elimination communication.
The first time that I heard about EC was from a pregnant friend who was considering trying it with her child. My response was completely negative, there was shock, disbelief, and I am pretty sure that I said “that will never work”. To my friend, I am very sorry that I was not more supportive; all I can say is that I am working on it.
I did not give EC another thought until I was pregnant several months later with my first child. I scoured the internet for all the information that I could find. Then I did what every good American woman does, I bought a book. After reading it and discussing it with my hubby we decided to give it a try. The concept seemed very easy and very relaxed. I tried to talk about it with my friends and family, but I experienced the same reactions that I gave to my friend. In fact, the almost outrage from others that I would try something other than the traditional disposables until three, led me not to talk about it with anyone until my child was six months old.
So now that my daughter is 18 months old and potty trained. I feel like I can finally talk about EC and share some of the ups and downs of our experience with others. So how did we do it? By trusting our instincts and doing what worked for us at the pace that worked for us.

Let me start at the beginning.
After our daughter was born I completely forgot about EC for the first three weeks or so because it was hard enough to figure out how to work in my shower. Then one morning while laying in bed with hubby and baby, she pooped while sitting up leaned against my legs. While she was pooping I said “go potty.” Not the traditional words used to cue a baby, but it worked for us. The next several mornings the same thing happened and any time that we knew she was pooping we would put her in a sitting position with her diaper on and cue her by saying “go potty.” Daddy note: As she went and even today, we reward her by clapping.
I would say about two or three weeks later she was having bad gas pains and was generally unhappy, so after rubbing her tummy and bicycling her legs and nothing really happening, we put her in a sitting position and cued her. It was the light bulb moment! She looked at us and just started trying to poop--and she did! The excitement level in our house that day was like going to Disney world. We would continue to cue her when we knew that she had to potty, but that is all that we did until she was about six months old.
When she was almost six months and sitting with assistance we started putting her on the little potty when we thought that she needed to poop. I have to say that the first time she pooped in her potty we were ready to rent a billboard and announce it to the world. I don't think that “excited” explains how we felt. We concentrated only on poops thinking that it would be easier for all involved. It seemed like that was all it took and within 2 weeks she was pooping on the potty 9 out of 10 times that she pooped. That is how we continued for the next 7-8 months. Daddy note: I often tell people that no matter what they think about EC, at least my little girl goes poo in the potty and I am not stuck changing a smelly diaper. Occasionally we would catch a pee but it was not something that we worried about. I had in my mind that we would really get serious when she started walking, and for her that happened between 14 and 15 months. After that, when we got serious about it, it was only 2 weeks before she was having almost no accidents. At about 15 months she was pretty much potty trained, and wearing her big girl panties.
As we stand today we have good and bad days. Like any toddler we do have accidents but not so many that I feel like I need to put her in diapers anymore. The exception is that she does still wear a diaper at night - more for my convenience - and she does wake up many mornings dry. We have been very pleased with the relaxed nature of this potty training method, and we do plan on using it on the next. There are a few tricks that we have learned in our journey that may make it easier the next time around.
I found that cloth diapers made it easier for both baby and me to tell when she was wet which helped tremendously. Also, when she has a cloth diaper on I am less lazy. I will get up and take her to the potty and not think, “Oh, she can just go in her diaper.”
I think that our daughter would have done great without diapers earlier if I had not been waiting on my self-imposed time table.

So now I do all the things that I scoffed at before, I am a baby wearing, cloth diapering, EC practicing, granola mommy. That's ok, it works for me.


  1. We do some EC too. We don't get every poop on the potty and we occasionally get a pee, but like you that is not our focus. She has had a stomach bug for the last week so we are getting about 50/50 with the poop but before the stomach bug we were at almost all. I love it.

  2. Great Story. It's so nice to read these relaxed stories about practicing EC. It is the most natural way to toilet learning and independence. (As you know!)

    I love EC too - so much I write about it most days and help others to begin EC in a relaxed and confident way.

    My Grandma used a 'cue word' like you describe - she actually just said "come on!"

    I use both cue sounds, cue words ("Go wee wee"), sing potty songs (also a fun cue!) and include signing as well.


    P.S Beth, I'd LOVE to share your story also on my site to inspire my members? Let me know! You can see the other stories here:

  3. Wow! Thank you for sharing your story. I learned about EC when my DD was exactly 3 months old. I started it that day! I wasn't always as relaxed about it as I should have been, but it was still a rewarding journey. She consistently pooped on the potty by 18 months. The pee has taken longer, but I think it would be a problem even if we did "conventional" potty training.
    Your story is very inspiring, as we are about to embark on this journey again.

  4. I loved EC! It was so nice to catch most of the poops from very early on. We had a period of time from 9-12 months where she would only poop standing up. So we had to get creative about encouraging her to go. I'd hold her standing up in the bathroom and wait... then I'd transfer her to the potty when she started.

    This has been a great experience and she's been in panties only since before she was two. We still have pee accidents occasionally (usually food allergy related) but I love the freedom of taking her. Hannah was actually potty trained at night before she was day trained. She's never slept through the night because she wakes up to pee.

    I forgot about the concept until Hannah was 4 weeks old... and then caught one and she knew what to do and seemed so relieved to not be going in her diaper.