Our EC journey (so far)

If you haven’t read it already, check out my explanation of EC and how we found out about it.

5-6 Weeks Old

We started EC when our son was 5 weeks old. In the first week he learned the cue sounds and started occasionally going over an open cloth diaper or toilet and outside in parks etc. Once we got a potty, we started holding him over it at each diaper change or when we thought he needed to go. We held him above the potty in a cradle hold while it was on the changing table.

7 Weeks Old

I read the book The Diaper Free Baby, and learned more signals and times when he is likely to need to go. The author suggested a brief diaper-free observation period. We used a prefold without a cover for 24 hours and realized that he doesn’t pee in his sleep. It seems obvious now, but he pees shortly after waking up. (Kind of like adults, right?) I also learned that he starts pushing away from me and trying to get out of the sling when he needs to go. When I had him in the sling with a diaper cover in the past I didn’t know he was holding it or that when he fussed for a minute and then stopped he was trying to tell me he couldn’t hold it any longer.

8 Weeks Old

We had a really funny adventure when we tried to use the family bathroom at IKEA. Between the new place, bright lights and me not holding him close enough he was tense and didn’t pee when I held him over the toilet. But after I stood up he relaxed against me and peed all over the bathroom as I turned around. Before I realized what was happening, he peed all down his dad’s leg and onto his foot which was covered by only a flip-flop. We laughed so hard we almost peed ourselves!

9 Weeks Old

I thought it was going to be impossible to get him on the potty as many times as he peed (we had used 139 diapers the week before!), but we kept trying whenever we noticed he needed to go. When he started to look at himself in the mirror, I moved the potty in front of a full length mirror in our bedroom and squatted behind him while he sat on the potty and leaned against me. He loved being able to see himself and interact with the person holding him via the mirror. Even when he didn’t have to go, I could see him trying when he was on the potty.

Potty in front of mirror

10 Weeks Old

Before we heard of EC we were putting him in an upright bouncy chair when he needed to poop because the position seemed to help him go, especially after a long night of laying on his back. Because of that, we didn’t catch any poops on the potty for a while. He would wait until we put him in the bouncy chair to go! At 9 weeks he surprised both me and himself one morning when I put him on the potty to pee and poop came out too! Then at 10 weeks, we caught 3 of 5 poops one day, and 3 of 4 the next.

11 Weeks Old

I was nervous about how messy it would be to go without a diaper cover so I kept it on for weeks. I decided to try taking the diaper cover off and just have him in a prefold. Once I had the cover off I could tell right away when he peed and I would change the diaper immediately and let him sit on the potty. After doing this for a while he started peeing in larger volumes less frequently. I think he was peeing a little in the diaper, not liking the wet feeling and then holding the rest of the pee. Once he realized he wasn’t going to have to sit in it, he started letting it all out at once.

12 Weeks Old

Now at 12 weeks, we get to put a dry diaper back on after going on the potty most times when we’re at home. (We’re down to less than 5 diapers per day usually). It’s hard to explain, but besides the usual signs and timing of when he might need to go, sometimes I just suddenly feel like he needs to pee…and he does! For the last few mornings he has consolidated his morning poops to one really big one and he smiles a lot after he goes. (Is he going to be totally annoyed with me when he’s older if he finds out I wrote all this?)

EC while out

When we’re not at home, we do try to give him a chance to go whenever possible, but tend to use more diapers since we usually keep a cover on him. When we’re driving somewhere we give him a chance to pee in the gutter next to the car after arriving at our destination. I do wonder what people walking by think sometimes, but he almost always pees after coming out of the car seat so I keep doing it. We have also brought the potty with us sometimes. For example at a 4th of July BBQ we periodically brought him over to the car to change his diaper and offer the potty. We had 2 catches that day, so I was glad we brought it.

Current challenges

Right now most of the baby’s time at home is either in the sling, nursing or sleeping. I can tell when he has to go during the first two times and he doesn’t go in his sleep. That leaves only a small window of time when he’s sitting in someone’s lap or laying down but awake etc, but during that time I am totally clueless to any signal he is giving that he needs to pee. For now I’m just putting a puddle pad under him or offering the potty right before I put him down.

Another challenge is nighttime. Despite our initial success, the excitement wore off. He wakes me up when he starts squirming sometime between 2:30 and 3:30 am because he has to pee. It seems like he doesn’t want to go in his diaper, but if I try putting him on the potty he gets really mad about being woken up. (He loves to sleep and doesn’t even open his eyes for his nighttime nursing, so I can’t complain!) He is now okay with going on the potty when he starts the same squirming between 5:30 and 6:30 and then goes right back to sleep, so hopefully we will figure out the other one soon.

Reducing our diaper dependency

We are having fun with this journey and feeling great every time we save a diaper and see our son happy to be able to eliminate in an appropriate place. At one point we used 20 diapers a day, so being down to less than 5 most days is a huge improvement! I’d much rather spend time playing and “talking” via the mirror than spending time wiping all those rolls!