Elimination communication on an airplane!

IMG_20140618_183701449We just got back from a 6 day trip to Philadelphia to visit family (and managed to take only carry-on bags again!) I had my mom buy some whole foods disposable diapers for us to use there because people didn’t want us to wash our cloth diapers at their houses, and Jack ended up with his first ever diaper rash by the end of the week. I had packed 3 pocket diapers just in case, so the day we were traveling home I put him in a pocket diaper and figured I would cloth diaper him until we ran out and then put him back in disposables. I definitely didn’t expect it, but I managed to have Jack use the toilet for our entire trip!

Jack is 18 months old now and at home he always poops in the potty but often does not want to pee in the potty if he’s in the middle of playing, so we still rely on diapers most of the day. I also admittedly get lazy about taking him to the bathroom, especially in public places. But after this trip I realized I’m 99% of the reason Jack isn’t totally out of diapers!

Here’s how we handled EC on the trip:

Before we left I had Jack pee in the toilet of my mom’s house. I hold him over the toilet facing backwards in the “EC” hold.

At the airport, I found a family bathroom which makes things much easier and had him pee right when we arrived (it was 1.5 hours since he last peed). He also went again right before we boarded the plane (about another hour or so had passed). If he was hesitant to go, I found that turning on the sink helped him.

On the plane, I took him to the bathroom about every 2 hours so that ended up being twice during the 5 hour trip. It was a super tight squeeze in the plane bathroom! I found it helpful to bring a plastic bag with an extra diaper (in case I needed to change him) and hang it on the hook on the door. Then I put his pants in the bag while I was holding him to pee.

I took him to the bathroom again in the airport once we arrived, and then he stayed dry on the hour-long drive home. I was so proud of us for making it work over such a long day! I’m excited for Jack to continue getting better at communicating and I’m sure when that happens he’ll be out of diapers soon. It will be nice to stop doing all that laundry :)

Elimination communication update


Things have been going well with elimination communication lately! Jack poops in the potty as soon as he wakes up most days, so as long as I am quick to wake up when I hear him moving I can always catch that. We only miss poops when either he’s not quite done in the morning or if he goes again later in the day and I don’t catch it. Overall I probably only have to wash a poopy diaper once a week or so, which is great! I’ve been washing them and spraying them with a hydrogen peroxide/lemon juice mixture and leaving them in the sun for a few hours and that’s amazing at getting the stains out!

We are still only catching about half his pees (and he wears cloth diapers most of the day) which is ok with me. I’m hoping when he gets closer to a year old he will learn the word or sign for “bathroom” and can communicate more easily when he needs to go.

I bought a cute little wool soaker a few weeks ago, and it’s pretty easy to get on and off to use the potty. (That’s a tree on the back of it by the way). I just pull it down half way and he can pee without it coming all the way off, and then it just takes a few seconds to get back on. I like the soaker style a lot because there is no velcro to scratch his stomach while sitting, and it can be easier than snaps depending on the situation. I think they also look the cutest out of any diaper I have, and can pass as shorts so they eliminate the need for an extra layer of clothes. We have been fine using a trifolded prefold (without snappis because I’m lazy) inside the soaker.

Elimination communication update


We have been washing our own cloth diapers for a few weeks now, and it’s going pretty well so far. We used a service for about the first 6 months of Jack’s life, but now that he’s pooping in the potty about 75% of the time, it seemed easy enough to do the laundry of mostly wet diapers.

We got this Rockin Green detergent (usually we make our own, but I was nervous to mess up the diapers) and so far it’s been fine.  Luckily Jack is pretty regular with having a big poop in the mornings, so I can catch most of them in the potty right after he wakes up. It feels so great not to have to clean many dirty diapers, and instead just rinse out the potty! We use the little toilet seat too, but the potty is easier since I don’t have to get out of bed!

I started using ASL signs with Jack once in a while, and I try to use the one for bathroom when I remember, but it doesn’t seem like he really looks at my hand when I do it. I’m just hoping that by around 12 months he can either use the sign or words to let us know when he has to go. Right now I take him to pee on the potty a few times a day, but he pees so often that he goes in his diaper a lot, so it would be useful if he could tell us when he needs to go.

We have been dealing with the poopy diapers by washing them and letting them soak, and then just putting them in the regular laundry with everything else. We try not to use too many wash cycles since we have to pay for laundry in our apartment. There has been some faint staining, but leaving in the sun helps a lot. We also made a solution of lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide that I still need to try.

We bought a bunch of used organic prefolds from our diaper service which was really inexpensive, and the 60-70 we got have been lasting for about 4 days since we change him whenever he’s wet. They work well, and the only time we get leaks in sometimes at night, so I’ve been debating if I should buy some wool shorties for nighttime. I think they would give more coverage, but I think they are ideally for use with fitted covers which are more expensive, and I don’t know if they would be harder to change at night. We use prefolds with no snappis which makes diaper changes really fast, but I’m not sure if that means we need to keep using normal covers that fit snugly to hold the prefold in place.

Jack started sitting up by himself this week which is so adorable. Maybe someday soon he will be able to crawl to the potty and sit on it on his own! For now, it’s fun to have him practice sitting with some toys or books and to see how he is happy to have some more control of his body.


Why I love elimination communication


Elimination communication or infant hygiene is watching your baby for signs that they have to go to the bathroom and then taking them to a potty or toilet so they don’t have to sit in a wet diaper. Half the babies around the world are potty trained by 12 months (Pediatrics Magazine), but in the United States, the average age is currently 3 years old (webMD).

I got really excited about EC when reading some eco-friendly baby books and thought it made a lot of sense. You watch your baby for cues that they are hungry, so why not do it for going to the bathroom as well? Also, our dog has the instinct not to pee where he sleeps and babies have that as well- they don’t like to sit in their own pee or poop just like other mammals. I did elimination communication part-time with Jack in that we use cloth diapers a lot, but I also take him to the bathroom several times per day.

We started when he was about 3 weeks old, but you can start at any age.

I picked cuing noises of “psss” for when he pees and “hmm” for when he poops because they sound like the noises he makes and were on a list of ideas in the Diaper Free Baby book

Every time I saw Jack pee I would make the noise for a few days, and I kept him naked on the changing pad for maybe 15-20 minutes a day so that I was likely to notice. He also peed often in the bath and sometimes when I took off his diaper.

I started putting him on a potty (which he did not really like) or holding him over the sink with his back against my chest (which worked better). I would make the noise, and he would pee about half the time right from the beginning! It made me really happy to feel like we were communicating and to see that he enjoyed peeing and not feeling wet afterwards.

Now that he’s 6 months old, he pees in the toilet (with me sitting on it backwards behind him) or in the sink a few times per day. I was really happy that yesterday I got all his poops in the toilet too! If we can have that happen most days, it would make washing our own cloth diapers so much easier!

Pros of Elimination Communication:

  • So much less messy with poops! All I have to do it use a little toilet paper or wipe to clean him, versus in a diaper where it gets smeared all over him
  • You really feel like you communicate with your baby and learn how to help them with one of their basic needs like eating
  • I had a rough time with breastfeeding in the beginning, so I felt like we communicated better about elimination than eating, and it helped me feel connected to Jack
  • It’s great to see how happy your baby looks to not have to sit in their waste
  • It’s supposed to make transitioning out of diapers a lot easier. Even if you just have them use a toilet once a day, that’s enough for them to be aware of when they are peeing (other babies lose this awareness that we are all born with)
  • It works well with cloth diapering since they can feel when they are wet
  • It leads to fewer dirty diapers (although a lot of wet diaper changes if you try to change them immediately like I do)
  • Will save a lot of money if we’re able to be out of diapers by 1-2 years instead of 3 years

Cons of Elimination Communication:

  • Takes some time (taking off clothes/diapers and taking baby to the bathroom) but it’s not that much more time than changing a dirty diaper, and saves time in that you won’t be changing a 3 year old’s diaper!
  • People think it’s weird. I don’t tell most people about it except family and close friends
  • It works best with certain clothes. We avoid onesies (or keep them open) and keep Jack in shirts instead because it’s much easier to check his diaper or take it off without undoing snaps or removing pants. We loved using legwarmers in the wintertime!

Tips that worked for me:

  • Trying taking baby to the bathroom after a nap, after taking him out of a wrap/carrier, and about 5 minutes after eating
  • If you think baby needs to pee but they aren’t going, try turning on the sink a little
  • If you think baby needs to go but they don’t want to, only keep them on the toilet for a few minutes- you don’t want them to get upset and have negative associations with it
  • If you go to change a diaper and it’s a little wet, take them to the toilet because they might need to go more
  • Around 6 months or earlier, try using the american sign language sign for bathroom when you take them to the potty so they can tell you they need to go once they learn it