I started this in another forum, and then I found this one, so I'm posting again. My DD is 4m/o and always has a red bottom. We have used pocket diapers, prefolds, and disposables. I would like some more info on EC, how it works, etc. I don't want to plan everyday around her bathroom habits, but I don't want her to keep having a sore bottom either. Can anyone give me some ideas of where to start? Thanks!
How to start EC?
Hi there. The entire process revolves around simply offering to potty. Your LO will be the one to indicate how, where and when they may prefer to go. Just like the offering food eventually they will be taking contol over the process.
All that is required is a relaxed attitude and an open mind. Be honest with yourself, not everyone can discard their potty paradigm. EC is thousands of years old, it is the natural way, and personally I know it's all worth it. One word of caution.. our kids have full dance cards in the first years of life, many skills will occasionally eclipse EC. Your little one knows what they need to focus on. Respect that! We don't have to try to catch every cue, if your relaxed you can enjoy the process. Ec is about communicating, not "graduating."
You'll want to do 2 things: teach your baby to associate peeing with a particular sound and/or position and start figuring out your baby's peeing pattern. To do the first thing, try taking off your baby's diaper and holding her over the sink and seeing if she'll pee. (It doesn't have to be the sink, but that's the easiest on your back.) Try to pick times when you think it's likely she needs to pee, like any time you were planning to change her but you find her diaper dry. But if you don't have any idea when she might need to pee, don't worry about it. Just keep doing it at random times. Eventually she'll probably pee. While she's peeing, make a "psss" sound. After you've been doing this for a while, the baby will have heard the "psss" sound while she's peeing enough that she'll associate it with peeing and you can use the sound to encourage her to pee. She'll also associate being held diaperless over the sink with peeing, and that alone may be enough to make her pee, if she needs to.
To figure out how often she tends to pee and when, you need to either keep her diaperless or just check her diaper really often. Once you begin to figure out the pattern - maybe she goes about every 45 minutes, say - then if you know the last time she peed, you'll know about when she might need to pee next, and you take her to the bathroom then and give your "psss" cue. You can also watch for signals that she may need to go. But you may not notice any. Don't count on your baby eventually starting to deliberately signal when she needs to go. She might, or she might not, or she might do it for a while but then stop once she's mobile. But you can be really successful using timing even if you never notice any signals.
EC doesn't have to mean keeping the baby diaperless all the time. I used diapers most of the time at first, and gradually started leaving them off more and more as I got better at predicting when the baby was likely to pee. But since you're interested in it mainly as a way to keep diapers from irritating your baby, you might want to start right off with as much diaper-free time as possible. Or maybe you'll find that if you can just keep her diaper dry (by changing as soon as she's wet, or catching a pee before she uses her diaper), her bottom will be less irritated. With a girl, it's easier to do diaper-free time for sleeping than it is for a boy. You just need to make sure she's on something waterproof. So maybe you could start letting her sleep naked, at least for naps. It's a little tricky doing it at night if you're cosleeping - it's hard to have something waterproof just under her and not under you, and not have her roll off it when she's nursing or snuggling up to you. And even if you have a waterproof pad or wool blanket under both of you, if she pees while she's next to you, you'll get wet. If you do try letting her sleep naked, you may be surprised to find that she pees a lot less than you expected. She might not pee at all while she's sleeping, but only when she wakes up. (One of my babies never peed in her sleep; the other one did.)
EC doesn't have to mean planning every day around your baby's bathroom habits, but if you want to get to the point where the baby really doesn't need diapers, it does mean you'll pretty much always have to be keeping track of how long it's been since the baby last peed. You have to decide whether that seems like too much hassle for you. I found it just became second nature, and wasn't a big deal, since I had to be focused on the baby so much anyway.
Oh, and about poop - I found I didn't really need to think about that. Both my babies just naturally started pooping at times when I was offering them a chance to pee. (DD did this right from the start of EC, at 2 months. DS took a little longer to get to that point - first he went through a phase where he always pooped whenever I put him in his bouncy seat.)
One other thing that helped me was getting my head around the idea that *it's just pee*. If my son peed on me...well, not a big deal. Clothes wash. I wash. It's all good. We're trained to be super afraid, but...well...it's not a big deal.
Also, with my son, one thing that helped in the beginning was wearing him a lot. He doesn't like to pee in his diaper when I'm wearing him, so he would get really REALLY fussy and wiggly when he needed to potty. I couldn't have ignored those cues if I tried.
Like your daughter, my son has very sensitive skin. Any time we go through a phase where we have lots of misses (we're in one now), he gets some nasty diaper rash. I've been pretty successful in keeping him mostly in diapers, but keeping them dry. We change him immediately if we miss. I just ordered some ECAware pants for him, but they only came today, so I haven't tried them yet. Having a dry diaper on is probably not much worse for the rash than having undies on. If it's what works for your family, then go with it!
EC really isn't that hard, but just trying it to begin with is sort of psychologically challenging. You can do it!
My son was that way, too. (Though his fussiness and wiggliness was more minor.) And wearing him not only helped me pick up cues that he needed to go, it helped to keep him from having an accident, because he was less likely to pee while I was wearing him.
Congrats on beginning!!
This is, in a tiny nutshell, what I teach others to do to start EC...I wrote two blog posts about it here:
My new book, endorsed by DiaperFreeBaby.org, covers it more extensively in a simplified, straight-forward, visual manner. I hope you all don't mind me mentioning it here but I'm really proud of it (being a full-time mom and all!). :O)
mother of DS 11 mos.
I will start trying this tomorrow. DD is 6 months now and I will give it a try. Getting DS out of diapers was a nightmare. And both my kdis are sensitive, in sposies they had constant red rashes (I switched DS at 6 months to CDs, and DD only wore them until she fit into cloth diapers - she needed preemie Pampers and even preemie covers were too big in the beginning), and even in CDs I see redness, I treat it promptly, but I have to be vigilant.
How should I start though? I have no idea when she pees... Just playing without diaper or do I go to the sink every hour until she pees? I saw her peeing today in the bathtub and quickly said psss and talked about that she just peed... Maybe a first step?
If it's convenient, leaving her diaperless for a while - even just half an hour at a time - would probably work well. If you can't figure out a good way to keep her diaperless without getting pee on you or the floor, taking her to the sink every hour sounds good. Right after she wakes up in the morning or from a nap is a good time, if she's okay with it. If she wants to be nursed as soon as she wakes up, she might not like it if you try to take her to the bathroom first.
Also try offering the potty at every diaper change. Your baby may begin to hold it and even if the diaper's wet, she may not want to go in it twice, so it's a good chance. Agreed on trying upon waking from sleep. Give diaper-free time as much as you can handle and let your baby re-learn the cause and effect process...diaper-free time speeds up the learning process *tremendously* even if you don't catch anything. Babies lose touch with this awareness when they are conditioned to use diapers.
Also, look for sudden fussiness, crawling to you (if she's crawling yet), agitation, staring off into space, farting can mean a pee is imminent. I know of over 45 signals that babies give...it can take any form! And, she may not signal right away (or at all).
Try the easy pottytunities (offerings of a chance to potty) and definitely continue cueing along with what you notice and talking about peeing. Avoid praise....just reflection will do.
Also, timing works if you can time her diaper-free AFTER feeding to see what her patterns are...older babies begin resisting timing, though, as they gain control over when and where they go...just a heads-up! :)
Hope to hear how it goes for you!
Mother of DS 11 mos.
Edited by AndreaOlson - 8/19/11 at 11:48am
Yay! That's awesome!!! Since she's not crawling yet you can definitely do diaper-free time easily...take advantage of that. :) We timed DS during those times and began noticing patterns (wrote em down) and we cued along with him every time he went. It helps so much. We also videotaped with our dig camera and could tell signals more easily that way.
Unrelated, but we use homeopathics for teething: chamomilla and arnica montana. 6x or 30x, 3 in mouth each, as needed. Helps a ton. And we cosleep/night-nurse which soothes his pains. I hope you two get some more sleep...somehow!!!! Remember this too shall pass. :o)
Mother of DS 11 mos.
Edited by AndreaOlson - 8/19/11 at 11:49am