Lewis & I have definitely exhibited some outside the "normal" parenting decisions: naming our daughter Isis, using cloth diapers, etc. So it should come as no surprise to you that we have decided to try out another unusual parenting strategy: elimination communication.
First let me explain what it is: it is a method where parents use cues from their baby to let them know when the baby needs to use the potty and they just take them to the potty rather than have them go in their diaper. It relies on the fact that before diapers and in countries without diapers, mothers have been using this method for centuries. In America, we train our children to go in their diapers and then train them not to at the age of 2 or 3. There are many benefits to this method including less diaper rash, reduces diaper use, keeps baby in touch with their own body, etc. The thing I do like about it is that rather than teaching a child to "hold it" like you do when they are older, you are just learning to recognize their natural cues for when they need to go and then taking them to just GO in the potty.
The process involves several factors including observation, anticipation, potty place and communication. Here is how I plan on trying this:
Observation - I'm going to lay Isis diaper-free on a towel while she has some tummy time or plays in her play mat. I want to see how soon she pees or poops after waking up or eating. I'll probably do this several times a day for a while. When I think she needs to go or when she is going, I'm going to make a noise like "ssssss"
Anticipation - I'm going to take her to the potty to try to go at times when I think she would need to go - like right after she wakes up, right after she eats, right before a bath, etc. I'm also going to make the "ssssss" sound so that she starts to associate that sound as a cue to go pee or poop.
Potty Place - I'm going to hold her over the toilet because I just don't know if I can do poop in a bowl or the sink. It bothers me for some reason. LOL. And don't worry, I'll be careful to hold her securely!
Communication - I'm going to pay attention to her signals and cues to see when I thinks he needs to go.
Honestly, this may not work for me. I'm not sure yet how it'll work out. Not that I don't think the process would work for a baby or that you wouldn't be able to learn their cues just like you do when they are hungry or tired or anything else. It's more that I'm not sure how it'll work with me out & about or things like that. So I'm definitely still going to keep putting her in cloth diapers even if it does work. I'll keep you updated with how it goes. I'm going to start tomorrow!
Overall, it's definitely a really different approach than what is probably considered "the norm." But really when it comes down to it, I think "the norm" is doing what works for your family and your baby. Every family and baby is different, so different approaches ARE normal if they work for you. I'm still learning what fits with our family, so I'm going to try this out and see! I don't think there's any harm in giving it a shot!
Here are a few sites that talk about Elimination Communication, but just Google the term and you'll find SO many more! I was really surprised! My friend Alice from my Centering group told me about this & she wasn't kidding when she said that there is a lot more information than you would think! She's been trying it with her daughter who is 4 weeks older than Isis and she's been really pleased with the results so far!
Infant Potty Training
Diaper Free Baby
Look Who's Going Potty - TimesOnline
What is Elimination Communication? (this one includes regular updates from a mom who started EC with her baby at 2 days old!)
Infant Elimination Training 101 - iVillage