Help! Four-month-old already starting to "get it"! - Mothering Forums
Elimination Communication > Help! Four-month-old already starting to "get it"!
VelvetTripper's Avatar VelvetTripper 03:01 PM 03-05-2010
Hi! I've been reading Mothering.com since I got pregnant, and the threads have been SO helpful, but this is the first time I've felt the need to start my own thread asking for help. I hope I'm doing this right!

My little girl just turned four months old, and I started EC-ing her at around 3 months. We were VERY part-time and laid back about it. I would just catch her first morning's poo and occasionally offer her other pottytunities. We didn't go much beyond that because it's been too cold in our old drafty house for her to go nakey-butt or to touch the potty with her bare bum or legs.

Well, about a week ago I (finally--yes, I've been a slacker) made the switch from disposable diapers to cloth when we're at home. As a result, I've gotten more keyed in to dd's cues and she's gotten more expressive when cuing me, and suddenly, without any real planning on my part, we are full-time EC-ing when we're at home. The night before last she went to bed with a dry diaper and woke me up several times to potty her, and she was in the same dry diaper by morning. Yesterday we caught every single pee and poo, and we spent the afternoon together with her nakey-butt, and no accidents. This all sounds great, and I know that this level of perfection won't last, and we will have backslides and all the rest of it, but still, I'm a bit freaked out. Which I know sounds crazy, because this is what we want, right?

Well, like I said, we started out doing this part-time, and my initial thinking about it all was basically like this: "Sure, why not? We can do it part-time so that she keeps in touch with her bodily functions, I keep in touch with her cues, and we keep communicating with each other...and maybe in the end we'll finish potty learning a couple months earlier." Mostly it was just about enhancing our bond and our communication.

Now, suddenly I have a four-month-old who is very vocal about wanting to potty IN the potty (or toilet, or sink, or anywhere but her diaper), who will hold it as long as she can til I get her on a potty, and who is also very vocal about not wanting me to even put a diaper on her. So what do I do? At four months, they still pee VERY often, and it's hard for me to catch every single pee for her, even though I know when she is signaling me. And it gets even harder when we leave the house...a couple of nights ago we went to a presentation at a local bookstore, and she started to fuss for me to take her to the potty, but I couldn't without causing a commotion, but of course not taking her also made her fuss, until finally she broke down and went in her diaper. I felt really bad because she was being SO clear in her need/desire to be pottied, and because of circumstances, I had to basically ignore her communication.

So what do I do? I know this sounds crazy, because basically I'm getting the result we all want, right? But it's happened so early, much earlier than I expected, and I feel like I'm spending all day pottying her and can't go out of the house because if I do I'll have to make her go in her diaper and I feel bad for that.

I also feel bad for keeping her in diapers at all, when she is clearly expressing a preference for being nakey-butt, and a willingness to hold her pees and poos til I can get to her (within what she's physically capable of, obviously).

Is there a way for me to let her know "I'm sorry, I can't potty you right now, you can go in your diaper this time" or something like that? Would it help if I got her a trimmer non-diaper undergarment for when we're out?

The whole process has been so laid back and really really fun for both of us, and I've never once stressed myself or my dd out about misses. But this is different. This is "I know you need to go, but I can't take you right now". How do I deal with that? I feel guilty, and I don't want her to stop communicating with me. I know it will get easier as she gets older and doesn't have to "go" as often, but for right now, I feel overwhelmed, reluctant to leave the house, and freaked out to go into a social setting with friends or relatives who don't know about and/or understand EC-ing and won't get why I have to keep ducking out with my baby. Heck, the other day I was with her in the pediatrician's exam room waiting for the doc, and she had to go, and I was considering peeing her in the sink, but I kept picturing the doc walking in and seeing me holding her over the sink and being shocked and I ended up just ignoring her cues until she peed in her diaper.

Wow, I'm really rambling here. Thank you so much to anyone who read all this. Can anyone help me out with some advice and/or support? Similar experiences and success stories? Anything? It's lonely being an EC-momma in a world of traditional potty-trainers!

sgmom's Avatar sgmom 03:56 PM 03-05-2010
Oh wow. I don't really know what to say. I WISH I had your problem. We started EC-ing on a full time basis at 4.5 months, and my daughter didn't even begin to get it until 16 months. No signals, VERY few catches, nothing. Then one day (about a month ago), she woke up and decided that she wanted to be potty trained. So long as I left her naked from the waist down, she would take herself to the potty. I can count the number of misses on one hand that we had in a two week period, and now (she's 17 months now) she wants NOTHING to do with the potty. She doesn't even tell me if she's wet (although I am getting better at reading her body language).

Honestly, I would probably just keep doing what you're doing. Try to get done what you have to do during the times when your daughter is sleeping, and try to be more available for her potty needs during awake times. I think it's AWESOME that she's already getting it, and based on my own experience, I really wouldn't complain about it (although I do completely understand what a drag it can be, having to rush to her constantly to tend to her potty needs).
theboysmama's Avatar theboysmama 06:57 PM 03-05-2010
We went through something similar when dd was about 4 months. We have been through so many different phases on this journey. I too, like you felt bad if I couldn't take her.
After an instance similar to your bookstore scenario I thought really hard about why I couldn't take her. If it had been myself, or my 2 yr old, or 5 yr old or 7 yr old, I would have quietly excused myslef and taken them. What was so different about taking dd? I found that for me I was worried about what people would think, that people would be irritated bcs she should just go in her diaper, etc....
After that I just took her when I thought she needed to go, if it was someplace that would be inconvenient or impossible (like public transportation) than I brought her potty bowl in the diaper bag and would just use that. Most people had no idea what dd was doing and it kept me from running to the bathroom every 15 min.
Around 7 months she switched to undies full time in the day and that made it even easier bcs then I HAD to take her and if anyone asked I would say oh, she's in undies, got to get to the toilet or something like that.
I don't know if this is making any since and I don't mean to pass any judgement. This was just my experience and I found that when I really thought about it and brushed aside all societal expectations I was able to take her and that is what worked for us. I don't know if that is the same situation for you but worth pondering.
Glad things are going so well.
Good luck and have fun.
newtomotherhood's Avatar newtomotherhood 08:23 PM 03-05-2010
I just had to comment on the Dr office thing! I had the same thought one day when waiting for the Dr then I imagined her walking in to DD peeing in her sink and changed my mind! Turns out I was wrong anyway and she was still dry when we left to office! But I also haven't told my Dr that DD is EC'd so may have to do that at her one year check up! LOL could be interesting!
hrsmom's Avatar hrsmom 05:24 PM 03-06-2010
I would try to figure out ways to potty her while out and about. I also had a few times early on when my dd obviously had to go, and I didn't potty her. I think it was the second time she went in her diaper that I started to figure out a system so she could use a potty while we were out and about. It didn't make sense to ignore it when I knew she needed to go, like you say!

After a fairly short period of time, my dd started holding it while out and about anyway, and on short trips waited until we got home!
VelvetTripper's Avatar VelvetTripper 05:55 PM 03-06-2010
I want to thank you all for the responses I've gotten. I know it seems like kind of a "duh" thing--she needs to potty, so take her to potty.

But coming from a sort of mainstream type of background, it can be hard at first to take your four-month-old to potty in a public restroom and not have insecure thoughts of "I must be crazy--people are going to think I'm nuts!" It helps just reading responses from people like you who have done this before and think it's normal and no big deal.

After reading your responses and spending some time pondering, I think I'm going to treat it like nursing in public--something that was scary and difficult for me at first, but ultimately I knew it was the right thing to do for me and my baby. I did it over and over again until I wasn't uncomfortable anymore, and now I don't think twice about it. Nursing in public both deepened my bond with my little girl, and also let us get out and about and have fun--and I think figuring out ways to potty her outside the house will reward us in the same ways.

And I reeeeeeally hope I didn't sound ungrateful for having a baby who's so in-tune with what's going on. I know it's a wonderful blessing--it just took me by surprise and overwhelmed me at first. I think, though, that the universe only sends us what we can handle, and having been blessed with a little girl who wants to have her eliminations tended to at a tender age, I should step up and do what I can to follow through for her...and that includes being realistic about when I can and can't get to her, not being too hard on myself when I can't, and not making excuses when I can, even if it's outside my comfort zone.

I guess between you guys and the pondering I've done, I've gotten the "pep talk" I needed. If anybody has practical tips and experiences to share, though, I'd certainly welcome them. In particular, I'm wondering what sort of systems you guys have used to potty when you're out and about. I'll also dig around on the forums here and see what people have to say about that. Thanks for your input!
srs's Avatar srs 12:46 PM 03-07-2010
I have a similar situation with my DS (2.5 months). I've started trying to use the big potty with him at home some so we can do that when out. I sit backwards and sort of lean him down (would actually be way easier with a girl, I think). I can't bring myself to use a sink in a public bathroom, and I figure that way I can just excuse us and have the privacy of a restroom stall.
VelvetTripper's Avatar VelvetTripper 01:55 PM 03-07-2010
Yeah, I think we need to practice more with the big potty. I do potty her in the toilet all the time, but I keep a perfect height stool next to the toilet so I can perch on it and rest my arms on the toilet seat while I hold her at the right angle. I haven't figured out how to do it without the stool yet, since I'm just not strong enough to squat while I wait for her to go (especially for a poo!) and the lap thing is just a total no-go for us until I figure out how to get around the fountain effect...believe it or not, girls can be just as tricky as boys to "aim"...my little girl's stream arcs *way* up before it comes back down, so I have to be able to angle her downward or the pee just goes completely over the toilet. It's pretty funny, actually, but I'm guessing wouldn't be so cute in a public restroom setting.
hrsmom's Avatar hrsmom 02:51 PM 03-07-2010
You're doing great! As I mentioned, it took me at least two times of letting her go in her diaper (poop, no less) before realizing that I needed to figure out a way to potty her out and about! I hadn't discovered MDC yet at that point, or I probably would have asked the same question!
theboysmama's Avatar theboysmama 08:32 PM 03-07-2010
my favorite position over the big toilet is to sit on the seat facing the tank. I hold dd in the classic hold with her back resting agains my back and her feet are kind of on the seat. It is not uncomfortable at all even at 20 lbs and even when she has to poop. This position also helps w/ automatic flush toilets since your body is in front of the sensor it won't go off as frequently.
ariatrance's Avatar ariatrance 12:54 AM 03-08-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by theboysmama View Post
my favorite position over the big toilet is to sit on the seat facing the tank. I hold dd in the classic hold with her back resting agains my back and her feet are kind of on the seat. It is not uncomfortable at all even at 20 lbs and even when she has to poop. This position also helps w/ automatic flush toilets since your body is in front of the sensor it won't go off as frequently.
Good to know! I've had some trouble with those startling my daughter so then she wouldn't pee....

I've gone from being "um, this is weird - what will other people say" to letting my kids pee outside anywhere, if they just don't go in their pants. I will freely admit to parking by the grass medians at stores just so I can potty the kids outside instead of the BBLP I keep in the car. I just started to care more about my kids than about strangers, also like the nursing in public. My daughter was more important than what some stranger thought....

You'll get there! Well, maybe not the outside pottying all the time - that may just be my weirdness....
BirthKathy's Avatar BirthKathy 04:00 PM 03-08-2010
My son is 10 months and full time EC'd. We use diapers full time also. He has always been very in tune to the potty, so I also feel guilty in situations where I don't offer him pottytunities. But, the last couple months he has relaxed and started to have more wet diapers. I was actually glad to see it! Before, he would hold it until he'd get so fussy that I'd have to feed him to calm him down. Now if we miss his signals or if he's having a good time, he'll just go in his diaper. As soon as we notice, we take him to the potty and he'll go again about half the time. He now has about 2-3 wet diapers a day and no poop diapers. He also wets diapers all night now, and he used to be dry all night.

I have a Naturopathic doctor, so I told her what we do and I have my "potty bag" with me when I go in to the office. It's still tricky, though, because I usually feed him while I'm waiting for her. At home when he's done eating, I always take him straight to the potty. At the doctor's office, he has to wait until after the doctor has seen him, so he sometimes gets a little fussy and squirmy. Once she's done, I just use his BBLP in the office on the exam table. I line it with a plastic grocery bag and a paper towel. I do the same thing in the car, but it's cold out right now so I have been skipping the potty when we go to the grocery store. (more guilt!)

I have only taken him to a few public restrooms, so we don't have much practice at that.

ETA:

If I feel like I need to explain myself to a new person, I just say, "He likes to use the potty when he has to go."
ltlmrs's Avatar ltlmrs 10:48 PM 03-09-2010
We ECed from birth (I'm a second gen ECer) and Ladybug "got it" at at 2 months, by six months she could make the potty sound. When we were out (and sometimes even at home) and I couldn't get her to a potty, I would look at her and tell her, "You'll just have to go in your diaper, Mama is sorry, I will change you as soon as possible." I only did this with pees though, with poops, unless we were on the freeway, I would get her on a potty asap and she would hold it until then.

BTW, enjoy it while it lasts! I didn't have a single poopy diaper from 1 month until she was 1 year. Then she went through several months of refusing to tell me and even holding it until she was off the potty (extremely frustrating!). Only now are we back to being dry all day with maybe one or two misses because she was too busy playing to want to be interupted.
accountclosed3's Avatar accountclosed3 11:14 PM 03-09-2010
do whatever works for you.

hawk 'got it' pretty early too, but he tolerated diaper back up as well. he's always been a strong signaler.
hrsmom's Avatar hrsmom 12:16 AM 03-10-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltlmrs View Post
BTW, enjoy it while it lasts! I didn't have a single poopy diaper from 1 month until she was 1 year. Then she went through several months of refusing to tell me and even holding it until she was off the potty (extremely frustrating!). Only now are we back to being dry all day with maybe one or two misses because she was too busy playing to want to be interupted.

lisavark's Avatar lisavark 12:32 AM 03-10-2010
Go for it, OP! Like pps have said, it's all about recognizing that your baby's needs are more important than what you imagine strangers will think about you. Honestly, 99% of the time, people will have no idea what you're doing. Even if you potty your baby in your lap, they will think you're just changing a diaper or something. They have no context for what you're doing, so they just assume it's something they do understand.

And for what it's worth, I have never, ever gotten a bad vibe from a stranger for pottying a little one. Once they get closer to traditional potty learning age, people start to feel more uncomfortable about it. But with a tiny baby, people are just impressed, and if they do notice what you're doing, they'll probably be curious and want to learn about it. I have evangelized probably hundreds of strangers about EC by taking my DD to the toilet. Like you said, it's just like nursing in public--if you're nervous about it, people will think it's weird, but if you're comfortable and act like it's totally normal, then people won't even blink. Just tell yourself that EC IS normal. Because it is in most of the world.

Some practical ideas...try a tupperware container in your diaper bag, one with a really good lid. That way even if you can't empty it right away, you can just pop the top on and put it back in your bag till you can get to a bathroom. You could also try a potette plus, which folds out to be a toilet insert, folds down to be a little potty the same size as the bblp, and folds flat to fit in a diaper bag.
rzberrymom's Avatar rzberrymom 03:31 AM 03-11-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanersmama View Post
Is there a way for me to let her know "I'm sorry, I can't potty you right now, you can go in your diaper this time" or something like that? Would it help if I got her a trimmer non-diaper undergarment for when we're out?
I've got this problem too with my 4 month old. When I know we're going to be out and I may not be able to get her to a potty on time, I use Gro Baby biodegradable disposable liners in her diaper cover--she's instantly miserable in a cloth diaper if it's wet, but it seems less terrible for her in these disposable liners.

I know she and I can't sit around all day waiting to pee, but the things is that it DOES affect her rhythm pretty badly if I can't get her to a potty! She's so fussy waiting for me to get her to a potty, and I swear she seems mad at me! And I really need to be better about always having the little potty in the trunk when we're out because she refuses to go unless she's on the BB.

I do hope this stuff gets easier over time!
yogamonkeyjo's Avatar yogamonkeyjo 01:49 PM 03-12-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltlmrs View Post
We ECed from birth (I'm a second gen ECer) and Ladybug "got it" at at 2 months, by six months she could make the potty sound. When we were out (and sometimes even at home) and I couldn't get her to a potty, I would look at her and tell her, "You'll just have to go in your diaper, Mama is sorry, I will change you as soon as possible." I only did this with pees though, with poops, unless we were on the freeway, I would get her on a potty asap and she would hold it until then.

BTW, enjoy it while it lasts! I didn't have a single poopy diaper from 1 month until she was 1 year. Then she went through several months of refusing to tell me and even holding it until she was off the potty (extremely frustrating!). Only now are we back to being dry all day with maybe one or two misses because she was too busy playing to want to be interupted.

VelvetTripper's Avatar VelvetTripper 05:19 PM 03-12-2010
Thanks everyone for sharing and understanding. It's helpful to know I'm not in this alone!

@ariatrance - No, it's not just your weirdness...baby girl had her first outdoor potty time the other day...I was just expecting a pee, but got a bonus poo...oops! I guess the fresh outdoor air on her bum really got her to relax. It wouldn't have been so bad except some got on the pathway. My friend and I cleaned it up, though, so nobody can complain!

I definitely hear what everyone is saying about "enjoy it while it lasts". I've read a lot of people's accounts of their EC experiences, and from what I can see, the ups and downs are pretty much universal. So yeah, I promise not to complain too much right now when it IS working! I'll just take satisfaction in every catch.

@lisavark - Thanks for encouragement and the practical advice. I'm going to work on a portable solution for us...your ideas are really good.

@rsberrymom - Thanks for being able to empathize with where I am.

I had never heard of the Gro Baby's before. They look like they might be a bit more trim than the average cloth diaper, especially in the crotch area, but maybe not until the baby is bigger--does anyone know if I'm right?

I'm wondering if there's a washable option that baby girl might tolerate, as I'm back to having to use disposbles on her. When I try to cloth diaper her, she just gets really mad about the bulk between her legs, and I can't say I blame her--I sure wouldn't like it. I hate to use disposables, but they give her a lot more mobility so she tolerates them much better. I'd like to find a reusable option that she still feels comfy in.

That said, because we're EC-ing and doing a lot of nakey-butt time, we don't use very many diapers at all, so I'll cut us some slack if we have to stay with disposables!
fraggleface's Avatar fraggleface 02:46 AM 03-13-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanersmama View Post
I'm wondering if there's a washable option that baby girl might tolerate, as I'm back to having to use disposbles on her.
I use Gerber size 2T training pants. I think I put them on my DS when he was even younger than four months, but he's huge. Even if your DD is small, they still might fit well enough. They are super comfy and pretty cheap. I got them at Target.
accountclosed3's Avatar accountclosed3 05:55 AM 03-13-2010
we really liked seventh generation disposables. it just worked well for us when we were out, and we were out most of the time. at home, i would usually jsut have him naked, but when out, i preferred to use disposables.

we would use one every 24 hrs. sometimes, i would take it on and off--so we would put a clean one on in the am, then go out for errands and stuff, and then come home and take it off, adn then put it on for bedtime, and if it was dry in the am, i would go ahead and leave it on, and take it off for the afternoon. so a diaper might last two days or three, but i woudl change them like underwear if we were out a lot, or whatever.

and then there were days when we were home and i'd just let it be naked time all the time and not use a diaper, though DH preferred to use a diaper once he was home because he was nervous about missing (and he was on duty after work! lol). so hawk would usually be in a diaper from about 7 pm until DH left at 7am or so.
rzberrymom's Avatar rzberrymom 02:35 PM 03-13-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanersmama View Post
@rsberrymom - Thanks for being able to empathize with where I am.

I had never heard of the Gro Baby's before. They look like they might be a bit more trim than the average cloth diaper, especially in the crotch area, but maybe not until the baby is bigger--does anyone know if I'm right?
My baby is the same age as yours, and we use them now. They're WAY trimmer than the cloth inserts I use--they're basically the same thickness as a regular disposable, but they biodegrade really quickly (2-3 months rather than 500 years with a regular disposable).
accountclosed3's Avatar accountclosed3 07:58 PM 03-13-2010
7th generation and i think nature's way are a complete disposable, rather than insert, that biodegrade in 3-4 months. they ask that you remove poop from the diapers before disposing as to facilitate that process.
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