I have a 3.5 mo old who is pretty fussy. She has laryngomalacia (floppy airway) and is on Zantac for GERD. And we just started giving her Simethicone drops for gas. We’re lucky if we can help her relax and stop crying for a few minutes at a time while she’s awake. And the two things that work to help her feel better are her pacifier and being walked around in the Baby Bjorn. I had planned on ECing with her but I don’t know how to considering her fussiness. She’s pretty picky about what position she’s held in. And these days usually wants to be held facing out and walked around. We’ve been cuing her with the grunt for her poos since birth but haven’t done anything else. The cold weather doesn’t make it any easier. Anyhow, I’m thinking that our next steps are to do some diaper free time with her and observe her signals and cue her for peeing… and also to start doing some ‘potty-tunities’ using the in arms hold. If she’s fussy and crying while she’s lying for diaper free time, should I move forward with it with her sucking on a pacifier? That’s the only way I see her laying still for it. Same question for the potty-tunities. What if she’s crying as soon as we start to try to get into position? Can I try to give her the pacifier again while doing this or will that be too much of a distraction? Or should we just wait til she’s less fussy. Who knows if that will be in a month or two… We’re still trying to figure out what’s causing her daily meltdowns – gas, reflux related pain, … Our main focus has been to just help her feel better. But we’d hate to miss the opportunity with ECing. The Infant Potty Training book says it’s important to start the first phase of ECing before 4 mo. I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks so much.
ECing a Fussy 3.5 mo old?
Wow it sounds like you have a lot to deal with right now! I would take it nice and slow so you don't stress yourselves too much. There will be plenty of time for pottying. (probably a couple of years of it!)
I started exactly as you have described. Diaper free time does not have to be on a mat, you can do it in the baby carrier or holding her too (use a CD without a cover to avoid messy accidents!) I personally do not leave a fussy baby on a mat. She will be more interested in play time in a few weeks or months, anyway it's easier to observe her when youre holding her IMO! I also do not push my DS during a potty-tunity. If he needs to go he usually gets down to business. If he cries and arches his back he's not going to relax enough to go--then I take him off and comfort him and try again later (or let him go in his diaper if that is the less stressful option for everyone). And if he's tired or sick I just put a diaper on and focus on the biggest problem at hand.
I don't use a pacifier but I say if it helps your DD to relax then great, go for it! DS often pees while he's nursing and I think sucking helps them relax and go.
I have not read the Infant Potty Training book but I thik parents on this forum start PT at all ages. Your DD has something bothering her at the moment and you need to comfort her as your first priority. I don't think you should feel guilty at all for starting EC more slowly than you had planned. It sounds like you are off to a great start just by teaching her the cue sound and letting her get familiar with the potty and the position.
I wouldn't worry about missing the opportunity. I just started watching a 7 month old who was never EC'd and he caught on with amazing ease and understanding-after the first day. But some of the things you are thinking about trying sound good! There is nothing wrong with using the pacifier if you think it will help. I would just let your instincts guide you. There are so many opportunities for pottying, so there are so many times to try all different techniques. See what works.
You do have a lot going on, so if it becomes a burden, take a break. Maybe diaper free times could actually just be non waterproof diaper without a cover times; that way there is less mess to clean up (if any). And, you should still be able to tell immediately when she goes. We did this method to start and it really worked well. Holding my DS was the best way to learn cues. That way I could feel the squirm or see the distinct look right before he went and then have the damp diaper or trainer as the confirming proof.
If she fusses in a potty hold, I would stop that hold and try another one unless you can tell she is really not into it. Or try the pacifier if you think it would work. Maybe potty her in front of a mirror to make it more interesting to her. I pottied my DS and the child I babysit in front of a mirror and I can't write enough about how great that works!
Anyway, good luck! If it ends up your not having fun with it, try again later :) Welcome to the EC club!