I can’t remember the last time I changed a dirty nappy.
Oh, hang on. Yes, I can. It was about three weeks ago and we were at a cafe for a Living Chemical Free meet-up. We were going around the group introducing ourselves, and about two minutes before it was my turn, Boy Wonder dropped a surprise. But, before that and ever since, I can’t remember a dirty nappy.
When Boy Wonder was seven months old I started something called Elimination Communication. Only thing is, I never knew it had a name. I used to know when he was dirtying his nappy by his facial expressions, and I would hold him while he stood there doing it, and then take him in to change him. One day I thought to myself, ‘I know when he’s pooing. Why am I sitting here holding him and waiting for him to finish, only to have to clean it all up. Why not put him on the potty!’ I’ve also since learned that this has a name – Toilet Timing.
I went out that afternoon and purchased two potties. The next day, I put him on one when he woke up from his nap. He did a wee! And he looked very proud of himself! It was probably a complete fluke. I was so excited. The following day I put him on again and he did another wee… and a poo! Yeah! ‘This could really work!’ I thought to myself.
Ever since then, we’ve caught just about every poo and we probably catch about 5 wees each day. Tipping a potty into a toilet sure beats cleaning up after a dirty nappy.
The difference, as far as I can tell, between toilet timing and elimination communication is the COMMUNICATION. ECing suggests that you make a sound when you put your baby on the potty, like ‘psssssssss’. Over time they begin to associate the sound with the elimination. I’ve learned heaps from other parents using this method with their babies through a discussion forum called OzNappyFree. Many parents start ECing from birth and have their children out of nappies at a much earlier age than is typical.
It’s quite amusing, as I remember when we lived in China in 2003 seeing lots of babies being held over the side of the road while their mother or grandmother whistled in their ear. I never imagined that I would be doing something similar. At that time I was teaching at a university, and I remember wondering if I started whistling in class if all my students would run out to use the bathroom! What I also saw in China was babies wearing split-crotch pants. I never really understood it, but now I wish I had purchased some for my own children. Instead I give Boy Wonder lots of bare bum time around the house, and at other times he wears cloth nappies. He wears disposables overnight.
I tried one night to go nappy free overnight to test out a new Conni bed pad, but it lasted less than an hour. We co-sleep, and I didn’t expect quite so much wetting, quite as often or quite as much mess! I’ve now tucked the bed pad away for a few months.
I don’t know when Boy Wonder will be completely out of nappies, as I am not doing this with that end point in mind. I’m doing it because the day-to-day is easier and cleaner, and so I don’t have to change dirty nappies!