One of the many joys of being a parent - poop!
You hear all the messy stories from other new parents - the explosive right-up-his-back nappy, the colour, consistency, smell...
But have you heard of Elimination Communication?
Elimination Communicaton (EC) has meant that we haven't had to clean up a dirty nappy since Eli was about 4 months old. Yes, you heard right - Eli has been pooping in a toilet since he was 4 months old!
No, this is not baby voodoo, neither is Eli some kind of baby genius. In very simple terms, it's an approach that helps young children and their adults communicate effectively about toileting.
Why did I decide to do this?
As a Child and Educational Psychologist I continue to learn (and be astounded) at how well children can communicate if we watch and listen carefully. Their potential as a social partner is immense, right from the beginning. Way before children learn to speak they learn to understand and use signs (such as 'Bye Bye') so it made sense to me that we could tap into all this potential.
A good friend of ours had already used this approach successfully with her children (go Sandy!) and after a bit of research I decided I didn't have anything to lose.
The steps we have taken so far are:
0-2 Months: Adjust to having a new baby. Figure out how to put nappies on the right way around.
2-4 Months: let the baby bum get some air time - when it suits. For me, that was during a feed. If Eli started going to the toilet, I would make the associated sound (we used 'Psss' and 'plop plop')
3+ Months: offer the potty/toilet at as many nappy changes as possible. We held Eli over the toilet and made the associating sounds. We cheered him for trying and made a big deal when he went to the toilet.
9+ Months: bring baby to the toilet when they request it.
By 6 months max. Eli was definitely anticipating the offer of the toilet and I felt he was saving his poops for these times.
By 8/9 months old Eli had learned the word and Makaton symbol for 'toilet'. He could walk to the toilet (holding on to a finger for support) to indicate that he needed to go.
Now at just over a year old, Eli will nod 'yes' or shake 'no' in response the the question 'do you need to go to the toilet?'. He will ask 'up' and point in the direction of the bathroom if he needs to get there quick sharp. We have had the odd completely dry night and the odd dry nappy during the day - although we are still a way off being fully toilet trained yet!
Eli has no fears of the toilet or the potty and shows really good awareness of his own body and bowel movements. We both love being able to understand his needs clearly and I love not having to clean up after a messy nappy!
If you want to find out more about Elimination Communication this website may be a helpful start. Alternatively, feel free to comment or ask me for more information and I will try and help you.