During our ‘Elimination Communication’ I start by loosely holding Baby Girl’s feet whilst allowing her to move freely. She seems to bend then straighten her knees. This action is a well known massage technique many of us use to relax our children’s tummy and help to get things moving. Having a ‘position’ creates a point of difference where she can distinguish between toileting and just relaxing, having ‘nappy off’ time.
As a trigger I say ‘Po-oo, we-ee’ to her a couple of times. When she responds I say the word the whole time she is eliminating. So as she does a wee I say “Weeeeeeee” for the full length of time it takes her. I repeat the same verbal process when she is doing a poo. I read (are you picking up I am a researcher?!) a couple of suggestions were to make a whistle sound or a ‘psss’ sound to assist the process. My Mum remembers listening to her Mother (my Nanna) toilet training when she was a child. Nanna would whistle when she put the children on the toilet as her trigger. Unfortunately she has passed away and I have missed the opportunity to ask her the many questions I have. However, I am using the above words which relate to the action because quite simply English is the language she will be learning – consistency – why use one sound then have to teach her a new queue word later?
I usually allow Baby Girl around 10 minutes to eliminate each time I set her up with her nappy off. If I haven’t had any response during this time I know the timing isn’t quite right. It is a really special 10 minutes where she gets my complete and undivided attention. I have realised this process is making me stop, leave the dishwasher, washing, tidying and everything else on my daily ‘to do’ list which really can wait and spend some priceless quality time getting to know her and her little mannerisms.
She shares the biggest smiles during the whole process. It is very clear to me she knows she is doing something clever and is as proud of herself as I am. I respond back and reward her with lots of eye contact, smiles and kisses. Congratulating her and telling her how clever she is. I am very proud and amazed at how simple and straight forward it is to get a result, so I will continue and see what happens along the way. I have read that even if you have success at initiating a response at least a couple of times a day, this is enough to keep the reflex going. Ultimately speeding things up when you start serious toilet training later on. Win/win for everyone.
Ten minutes a few times a day isn’t too much to ask – it’s a pleasure.
I have invested a good deal of time giving Baby Girl nappy-off time through the day and just watching and listening to her in order to learn her signals. I have to say they are subtle and she only gives me seconds to respond beforehand. If she was fully dressed I wouldn’t have time to get her ready so, we only have success if she is already lying on her nappy. At this stage I am more than happy if I can communicate with her to eliminate a couple of times a day. I am not about to put too much pressure on either of us as I explore this possibility.
As we are hanging out together I can tell if I have the correct timing because she begins contracting her tummy in and out – getting things moving I suppose? When she is about to poo I hear a little grunt/pushing noise. For a wee she makes a little sound in her throat or lays very still. When finished she also makes a little sound, almost like she’s talking and telling me she is done. I thought it was a coincidence at first, but after paying particular attention for a few days, I realise she makes the little sound every time. So I begin to ask her the question “Finished?” and wait for her response. Then put her nappy back on – this is really quite something! My thinking is I am using standard English in my communication so it will become her familiar routine. Starting out how I mean to continue.
Some days her cries sound familiar, telling us she needs to eliminate. Other times I just guess (or call it instinct). I have surprisingly managed almost a 100% success rate with timing. I don’t intentionally give her nappy off time during ‘witching hour’, nor through the night. Although nine times out of ten nappy changes half way through the night feed seem to be perfect timing for her.
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