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experiences with EC

Everyone's experiences with EC will be different.

Marnie's story

I heard of elimination communication (EC) and infant potty training (IPT) not long before my second daughter was born. I played with holding my newborn baby over the hand basin in the bathroom and sometimes over the edge of the verandah railing. Frequently her runny breastfed newborn poos went there, rather than all over her bottom in a nappy. Then, when my aunt was staying with us when my baby was about 5 weeks old, she “caught” me holding the baby to poo in the basin.

I was surprised – and delighted – when my aunt told me that she had done something similar with her son more than 35 years ago, because he was such a heavy wetter. Encouraged, I got more serious, and more confident, with EC, putting my baby on the nappy, rather than the nappy on the baby, putting a clean, dry nappy under her as soon as she went, and watching for her subtle signals which preceded her wee and poo.

in arms hold When I recognised her signs I (or my husband or visiting friends) held her over a bowl or the potty or the toilet or the hand basin or the grass… Sometimes I didn’t see any signal, but just felt that she needed to go – so I held her over an appropriate receptacle and mostly she did release wee or poo. And sometimes there was no signal (that I could see) before she wet.

While holding her I always cued her elimination by saying “chissshhhh”. In the early months we used the same sound for wee and poo. When she was around 7 months or so, and had begun eating some solid foods and her poo became more formed, she used a grunt sound, so I began to use that for her poo.

We started night-time EC when my daughter was about 8 weeks old. At night she wore a cloth nappy (a simple folded terry flat)and I took it off and held her over a bucket at the side of the bed each time she woke to nurse during the night or wriggled in a way that indicated her need to urinate. If the nappy was dry and she didn’t want to go before nursing, I would cue her when she pulled off the nipple part way through the feed or after she had finished. I continued with nappies at night, despite having a wet one only once every 10 days or so.

trainers on 9moI made the first OneWet pull on training pants when she was almost 7 months old. She loved wearing panties like her big sister. I loved the ease with which I could pull them down and up easily and the fact that they protected my carpet and other people’s floors from unexpected accidents! As she was walking on her own at 8 months and hated slowing down for anything, I needed clothing that was very easy for quick pottying!

One night while I was out, my husband rocked her (about 9 months old) to sleep in the sling wearing OneWet Pants. After that I never went back to nappies!

When DD was 10 months old, we went to Turkey for several months to visit relatives. I didn’t take any nappies with us. I took 10 pairs of OneWet Pants and washed them as they got wet. We never ran out of pants, but the weather was hot and I searched for cotton undies for DD for coolness and modesty. I found a few pairs, but on my return home to Australia, I began making some as there was nothing available here for an 8.5 kg one year old!

By the time she was 19 months old, my daughter usually used the potty or toilet or piece of grass. Once a day or so, she got caught out, or I didn't notice her signals to me, and she wet on the floor. She wore cotton undies all the time – except when she took them off :-) Her big sister often helped her with her clothes when she needed to use the potty.

I sometimes took her to the potty, though she wouldn't sit if she didn't want to. I asked her if she needed to do a wee, sometimes she nodded and trotted off to where she left a potty last, more often she said “nnnooooo”. If I KNEW for sure that she needed to go, then I brought the potty to her, or took her to a variety of different places to try to find the one that she was happy to use.

When she was almost 23 months old, we set out for another extended trip to Turkey. I took no nappies or OneWet Pants - just little HalfPint Pants (cotton undies). Although we had been averaging a pair of wet pants a day till then, from the time we set foot out the door on that journey, she had no more accidents (except a couple when she was nearly three years old that were attributable to illness).

With EC, I loved the way that I could respond to her needs – not just for food, comfort and sleep but pottying as well; I loved the fact that we were not dependent on nappies; I loved that she was not sitting in a wet or dirty nappy ever; I loved the quick, clean ease of pottying an infant or toddler and I loved our close communication.

In retrospect, I am so glad that I discovered EC and was able to implement it with my daughter. Most people, once they try it, get hooked on the thrill of the catch and the communication and always say that they wished they had learnt of it before.

Freddy's Story

Our first week

As Jutta is a week "old" today, here a summary on our start with ec. Just let me tell you in advance, that I´m absolutely amazed by her response to it.
Jutta was born on Saturday morning, in hospital. On this Saturday I stayed in bed - I felt, that I had done enough for that day! - and had Jutta with me, either in my bed or in her crib next to it. I left the two or three diaper-changes to the nurses (hey, they are there to help!) and just spend time bonding and breastfeeding. The hospital uses disposables (Pampers).

On Sunday I did the diapering myself. They have an extra room for it, with several changing tables and a sink. The nurses advise to use the sink to rinse baby´s bottom under the tab after a poopy diaper. So I didn´t hesitate to let Jutta use that sink as a toilet - same difference, uhh? I changed Jutta probably more often than any other mother there, talked to her about how nice it was to be clean etc. I took my time at the changing table, so she was diaperless for quite some time. I also always offered the sink by holding her in a squat in my arm for about half a minute and going "sss". Nothing happened, but I didn´t expect it either, I just wanted her to get used to the procedure.

Unlike Wolfgang, Jutta doesn´t dislike being undressed. While most of the other baby´s cried when being changed, Jutta just looked around quietly and contendly. In fact she hasn´t really cried up to this day, she get´s only gets restless and starts to suck her hands when hungry and if something doesn´t please her, she does a short "a!" and if she is really annoyed she goes "a-a!!", but that´s it. Several nurses at the hospital remarked on how peaceful it was in my room and how Jutta and me seemed to be a unit. I wonder if it has something to do with the ec-mindset, the willingness to listen to all your baby´s cues right from the beginning and the knowledge that baby is able to communicate much more - and not only by crying! - than most would imagine.

Monday - the third day. During the night my milk came in and I´m almost drowning her :-). A poopy diaper in the morning - like several times the day before. She´s getting rid of that meconium nicely. I leave her bare bottomed on the changing table for some time... there! Hooray! A pee on the changing table! "Sssssss - great, you´re peeing and you are not getting your diaper wet! Well done!" A few hours later, I´m changing her again. Her diaper is only wet. I leave her bare, there - she´s peeing again! "Sssss...". I don´t put a diaper on yet and after a short time she starts to poo. Gently I lift her and hold her over the sink. She poos again - our first catch! While I´m cleaning her bottom, still holding her over the sink, she poos some more. In the afternoon, her diaper is only wet again. I leave her without a diaper on the changing table. After some time, I think she might have to go. I hold her over the sink. I go "sssss" - nothing happens. Then I tighten my abdominal (spelling??) muscles - she can feel it - and go "umm-umm". She responds immediately: "Pfffft"- there she poos into the sink. Wow!!! Cleaning her bottom after that was a breeze!

That´s how we got started, better and earlier than I ever expected. From then on, Jutta pood - and for the last two or three days also peed - into the sink several times a day and we already saved her from quite some poopy diapers. She´s wearing diapers fulltime, disposable most of the time. Yesterday I finally got some small sized diaper covers from a friend, so now we are also using cloth from time to time.

Two things I learned to take into consideration:

1) It´s much more difficult to aim a girl for pee than a boy. Jutta pees everywhere inside an angle of about 180° and there is no way to tell in advance, where it will go.

2) She is able to shoot her poo diagonally across the sink ;-)

My 2c to experts telling us , that children are not aware and cannot control and yadda yadda :-) : At less than a week old, Jutta - will stop nursing and refuse to go on, when she has got to poo - will try to straighten herself when I´m holding her in the elimination position and she´s done or doesn´t have to go. If I put her down before she does this, she pees or poos on the table. - even did the "warning pee" - she peed a little bit on the changing table and finished with a lot, when I held her into position.

This evening, I offered Jutta the sink. Nothing, but she didn´t signal me to stop it either. Finally it took to long for me (a minute or two?), so I put her down and tried to put a diaper on. She wriggeled and obviously didn´t want to be diapered. So I picked her up again, tried the sink again. Waited. Nothing. Laid her down again, diapered her although she obviously still didn´t agree. Dressed her. Put her down on our bed while fetching something in Wolfgang´s room. Came back, and at that moment Jutta "pfffft" filled her diaper. So I had to throw away that Pampers after using it for about 3 minutes - my fault, why didn´t I listen ;-) After taking that diaper off, Jutta pood some more and also peed a lot into the sink and afterwards let me diaper her with no protest whatsoever. So I´m sure she knew, she still had to go when I first tried to diaper her!

I´m amazed!



Signalling for poos

Jutta - 12 days old today - keeps impressing me. She is very clearly signalling for poos: She gets very restless, when she has to go but is able to wait, until I finally realize she does not have to nurse or to burb or whatever. Held over the sink, she goes - usually in spurts of two or three eliminations with wiping inbetween. Yesterday she pood 7 times, we caught 6, only one (!, a tiny one, too) went into her diaper. Today all 6 of them went into the sink - only wet diapers! Wow! BTW we are using cloth for daytime now, disposables at night. +++++++++++++++

Signalling for poos - more

Yesterday we got all poos again. Yeah. Two days in a row without poopy

Today I got three poopy diapers - it looks as if Jutta concentrated on
pees for a change :-) 4 times today when I took her diaper off, it was
still dry. And by no means did I take the diaper off every 5 minutes.
One time this happened I had been hanging clothes on the clothes line
in the basement, wearing Jutta in the sling, which took at least 20
minutes. And at another time, Jutta had gone to sleep after peeing and
nursing and woke dry after two (!) hours. And she didn´t have to go
then, either, but only wanted to nurse a bit more. When she woke
again, the diaper was wet.



We are SAVING diapers


after using *a lot* of diapers in the beginning, because I was
constantly changing them, we definitely saved diapers yesterday
(Saturday, it´s 4am Sunday now): Jutta wore the same cloth diaper for
more than 12 hours! I started to use it at around 9 in the morning and
it got wet some time between 9.30 and 10 pm. We caught everything all
day long. And Jutta was so good at "telling" me, when she had to go,
that there where only a very few times when we tried and she didn´t
have to go. The shortest intervall between pees was around 30 minutes
(looong compared to Wolfgang, whom I didn´t ec at that age of course),
the longest about 3 hours when she was asleep (I offered a pee when
she stirred and was half awake after an hour, but she didn´t have to
go for another two! Reminded me that she usually is more obvious than
just stirring. After sleeping for three hours she woke, nursed, waited
for a bit more and THAN had to go!)

Jutta is exactly 4 weeks old.


Update on my two ecers

wrote an update for another board, thought I might post it here as

WOLFGANG, almost 34 months old, ec-ed from 2 months old, diaperfree
during the day from 12, during the night from 16 months old,
"graduate" at 20 months:

There is no setback related to the birth of dd. He´s accident free. If
I remember rightly, the last accident (at night) happened shortly
before Easter, when he was exited about visiting his grandparents.
Conventionally speaking he´s not toilet-trained, thought, as he cannot
(or will not) pull up his pants himself or wipe after a poo. ;-))))
Everything else he does on his own.

A few nights ago I was just peeing and diapering Jutta in our bath,
when I heard someone. I thought dh was going to the toilet, but when I
had a look, it was Wolfgang. He walked to the toilet, turned on the
lights, pulled down his pyjamas, sat down on his potty, peed, got up
again, walked up to me to have his pants pulled up - without saying a
word, he was obviously half sleeping - and then went back to his bed,
were he was fast asleep when I had a look a few minutes later.

His "only the potty" phase seems to be permanently over, also. He´ll
pee anywhere. He even told my mother once that he didn´t want to go
inside, but water the flowers in her garden and he peed, while she was
holding him. When he has to go outside he also takes the time to
carefully select which bushes or trees he wants to water. Very funny!

JUTTA, 7 weeks old, ec-ed from birth:

Things are still going very well, although we never reached our
12-hours-of-dryness record again, yet. Partly it has become a bit more
difficult, as Jutta doesn´t only wake for nursing or peeing anymore,
but stays awake - sometimes even for several hours -, looks around,
tries to lift her head up, when on her belly and altogether is very
busy. But we are still "catching" a lot, and instead of every second
day I only have to wash diapers every three days now. I´m also getting
more and more confident about ecing "in public" - getting our
potty-bowl out on the playground, in front of the supermarket, on the
roof of our town hall (they´ve got a garden there as I recently found
out) and when visiting friends. Jutta also peed into the the "big"
toilet at the library and at my doctor´s.

Playgroup starts tomorrow and on Thursday I´m the leader of a meeting
for breastfeeding moms, which I hold once every month. Both groups
didn´t take place during the summer holidays, so it´s the first time I
go there with Jutta. Let´s see if I´ll ec Jutta, how it goes and if
there is any reaction by the other participants.

I know a bit more about Jutta´s "patterns" now, too. Contrary to
Wolfgang who peed a lot in the morning and less in the evening, it
seems to be the other way around with her. Also after sleeping for a
longer stretch of time (3 hours or so) without going, her system seems
to take time to speed up again. She has to pee shortly after waking,
than about an hour later and than at about the usual intervals which
are 45 minutes to an hour in the morning, half an hour, sometimes only
15 or 20 minutes in the evening, especially shortly before going to

Sometimes Jutta goes diaperless now in the morning. I put her in
undies and pants until they get wet, then diapers again. We even
managed 6 hours in pants one day and going shopping with minimal
equipment on another. I had the sleeping Jutta diaperless in my sling
when I decided to go shopping for some milk and other stuff we needed
before lunch. I took a bag on wheels I inherited from my grandmother,
my purse and off we went. The little supermarket is only about a
kilometer away. Jutta woke, i nursed her on a bench while Wolfgang was
having some ice-cream, used the didymos-sling as a changing pad to get
her dry diaper off, peed her in some bushes, dressed her again and put
her back in the sling while we continued shopping. Great - makes a
baby even more "portable" than breastfeeding alone.

Today I found out, that Jutta can stop and wait a little bit. I had to
wake her, because we had to go out. She had been sleeping on and off
for three hours, in my arms and on her blanket on the floor, nursed
twice inbetween, but didn´t have to go during those three hours (I
didn´t try to pee her, as she seemed to be content as it was and the
diaper was still dry). As I thought she needed some more time to wake
up fully before having to go, I just took her diaper off and then
tucked her under my arm to turn off the computer before leaving. While
I was standing there, she started to pee a little, mainly on my foot.
I said "Stop, stop, stop, wait, not here." - and she stopped. I took
her over to the potty-bowl on the floor, held her in position and
said: "You can go here." - and she went. Amazing. Another blow in the
face of common wisdom on babys having no control!


A dry night

Last night was the first, Jutta spent in one single dry diaper. She
peed and pood at around 11 pm before going to bed. Woke at 4.30 am,
nursed for about 15 minutes, then stopped. We went into the bath, I
took her diaper off and it was dry. She peed and pood in the sink.
Nursed a bit more, I put her back to bed and she slept till almost 9
am. We nursed again, then I took the diaper off and it was still dry
again! Wow, and she´s not yet 8 weeks old.

BTW, this morning she had to pee at 20 to 30 minute intervalls, not
her usual long stretches in the morning. Probably they were possible,
because she peed more at night - in her diaper.


Diaper-backup doesn't really help

We are still using diapers as backup to keep carpets, my pants etc
from getting wet. It definitely didn´t work last Monday:

Jutta peed in the bowl, I put it down next to me, to dress her again.
Wolfgang comes running and before I am able to interfere, he kicks the
bowl which he hadn´t seen. Half of it´s content is on the carpet, so I
have to clean it (dry it, that is, I don´t do more).

A bit later: Jutta peed into the bowl again. This time dh walks around
the corner and... there we go, having to dry the carpet again.

The same evening I dropped the bowl - with poo this time - right
before emptying it into the toilet. There is a carpet there too, it is
washable but looks so torn I always wanted to throw it away anyway.
No, I did NOT drop the bowl intentionally :-) but that´s the end of
that carpet.

So every member of our family managed to spill the bowl in one single
day - everyone except Jutta that is. But: The next day I wanted to
place the bowl behind me out of the way, so nobody would fall over it
again. Jutta was lying on my lap and when I moved the bowl over her,
she kicked her foot up and... wet pants for me!


A night, a day, a night and almost another day


After lots and lots of misses on Saturday and Sunday (of course, I got
my period and that always meant a lot of misses with Wolfgang, too,
whatever reason this may have) we didn´t have a single accident
between Sunday evening 9 pm and Tuesday (today) 6 pm. Wow. And Jutta
didn´t wear diapers all day yesterday, last night and almost all day
today except when we were shopping and after the "accident" in the
evening as long as I was occupied with preparing Wolfgang for bed.
She´s sleeping without a diaper again right now.


Jutta - not quite 4 months - slept without diapers for 7 nights now -
without a single accident! :-)

Just had to brag,


    > Age of your EC-child

16 weeks

    > We started at...


    > Generally speaking we are doing...

great. Even when we have days of many wet diapers, we still get a lot
into the potty. And I think her last poo in a diaper was more than a
week ago - with 2 to 5 poos a day!

    > How do you know your baby has to go?
    > Baby's signals? Timing? Intuition?
    > Is there a difference for poos and pees?

Timing doesn´t help much with Jutta - she will need to pee after 15 or
60 minutes and there is no real pattern to it. After naps you can
count on her having to go sooner or later, but that´s about it. But we
get by with signalling and intuition very well, plus she is more and
more able to go "on command", even if she does not really have to go,
so I can "pee her" before leaving the house etc. Her signal for having
to go is, that she gets very agitated. I can even put her on the floor
and work at the computer were I can´t see her, because there is the
bookshelf which seperates our computer-corner from the rest of the
living room. And I can hear when she starts moving - and breathing,
too - in that hectic I´ve-got-to-pee way, walk over, undress her, if
she´s not bare bottomed, and hold her over a bowl. Although I can´t
tell you were the difference in her signalling lies, I usually know in
advance if Jutta has to pee or poo. When she´s in the sling, those
pre-pee-movements are even more obvious. Two weeks ago we were
visiting dh´s aunt. As she knows and applauds what we are doing, I was
able to take Jutta to the toilet as often as necessary without feeling
awkward. Suddenly Jutta, who had peed just before started getting
restless on my lap. She leaned this way and that. I offered the
breast, but she didn´t want to nurse. I was talking with dh and the
aunt and not really paying attention to Jutta, but finally it dawned
on me: "Do you have to go again?" I took Jutta to the toilet and
instantly she let go of a big poo! Jutta was obviously relieved and
the aunt very impressed. We went home with Jutta in the same dry
diaper she had arrived in.

    > Which positions/receptacles do you use?

- A little bowl, I hold her over it between my legs, holding her
tighs. Sometimes she sits upright, sometimes she´s more in a reclining
- In the sink. I put my thigh over the corner of the sink, place her
back against it while holding her legs. Very comfortable for both of
- Sometimes the toilet, either with her being held between my legs
while I´m sitting on the toilet, or I sit across the front part of the
toilet, more or less sitting on only one tigh, and leaning her back
against my leg, like we do for the sink. I only have to move her
upwards a bit to have her lying on my lap for wiping that way, very
pratical for puplic restrooms.

    > Do you use diapers or training pants? On what occasions, what kind

of diapers?
We still use diapers a lot. During the day covers which resemble ME
velcro closed covers with just a simple flat diaper folded into an
rectangle inside. At night self-made fleece tie-on covers with a flat
inside, too. This is not really waterproof, but works well enough. But
I let Jutta go bare bottomed for a bit almost every morning and
usually dress her in undies and fleece pants after that. Only when
they get wet, we use diapers. Sometimes this doesn´t happen before
late in the afternoon, and once she didn´t wear diapers all day that
way. When I´ve got a good day and don´t mind always taking care to put
Jutta down only on surfaces that don´t mind a soaking, we do a second
or even third set of undies + pants.

    > How are you doing away from home?

Very well, if I´m not in a situation were I feel embarrassed to take
Jutta to the toilet. But more and more of my friends, or people at
playgroup etc know what we are doing, so it gets easier and easier. We
even went shopping to the stores around the corner without a diaper a
few times - usually with Jutta asleep in the sling and therefore not
having to go.

    > What are you doing at night?

When Jutta wakes, I get her from her crib and take her to my bed.
There I nurse her, until she let´s go of the nipple. Then I carry her
to the bath, were we have a nightlight. I put her on the washing
mashine, take pants and diaper off, hold her over the sink. She pees,
in the first weeks she also pood most of the times I would take her at
night. I wipe and dress her again, put her back in the crib. When I´m
finished going to the toilet myself, she is usually already asleep. As
Jutta doesn´t nurse to sleep and also can always wait to go potty
until she is finished nursing and as I don´t really mind getting up at
night, walking around and going back to sleep as soon as I´m back in
bed, this worked really well for us right from the beginning. In the
first weeks the whole manouver would take about 45 minutes, because
Jutta took longer to nurse and she also needed some cycles of
poo-wipe-poo-wipe before she was finished, but now we are done in
about 15 minutes and I also sleep through the nursing part, so I don´t
loose much sleep. Last week Jutta slept without diapers and without an
accident for 7 nights in a row. She even slept 7 hour stretches a few
times, woke dry to nurse first and only then would have to pee. She
wet the bed 2 nights, then was dry again last night, when I used a
diaper because I was sooo tired with my stuffed nose and cough and
all. She´s sleeping without diapers again tonight.

    > Who takes baby to the potty?

Me. Dh doesn´t feel confident enough to try yet. It was the same with
Wolfgang, he started taking him, when Wolfgang was able to sit on the
potty unsupported. Maybe he´ll try a bit earlier this time.

    > Accidents - how many do you have and what times are especially

Anything from 0 on exceptionally in-tune-days to 8 or so on wet days.
Most accidents happen in the evenings, especially the time I trying to
get Wolfgang to go to bed. All of us are also tired at that point,
which does not improve communication. We usually have more accidents
on weekends, too.

    > Other new insights

I couldn't do it any other way now, I think. I've got 2 months total
of "just diapering" experience with Wolfgang and from then on only
ec-ing experience, so "just diapering" has become a rather strange
concept for me. It's like somebody would tell me to breastfeed
according to a schedule, because it was much easier not to have to
watch baby all the time wether it might be hungry and not having to
interrupt whatever you are doing to nurse. Easier? Bah!

    > What do you like most about ecing at the moment?

Of course the communication and in-tuness. I also found that Jutta has
a very sensitive behind, if she poos in a diaper - and I change it
immideately of course - her bottom will be slightly red for two days.
Fortunately we only have a poopy diaper about once a week. I suppose
without ec we would constantly be struggeling with terrible diaper

    > Do you ever wish you'd have never heard about it?

Sometimes if I try to get Jutta and Wolfgang down for a nap at noon.
We "family-bed" for our daily nap. When Wolfgang is finally half
asleep, Jutta starts to wriggle, because she has to go. As silently as
possible I reach for the pee-bowl and poof - Wolfgang is wide awake:
"Mama, what are you doing?". Grrr... This repeated 3 or four times and
finally after 1 1/2 to 2 hours I finally give up my futile attempts to
get Wolfgang to sleep and to get a little nap myself. On the other
hand I don´t know if Jutta would just peacefully pee in her diaper and
go on sleeping. Plus without knowing of ec most probably I would still
be putting Wolfgang in a diaper for naps and especially nights, like I
see my friends doing it with their 3 year olds.