10 Common Elimination Communication Challenges and their Quick Fixes
by Andrea Olson
1. Resisting the potty and peeing on the floor 5 minutes later.
Quick fix: Do the deed in the bathroom with the door *closed*. Pretend to do something else while she gets the opp to do it herself. Alternatively, carry naked-bottomed baby around the house for a few minutes til you’re both calm, then try again.
2. Will no longer let me hold her to pee / set her on the potty.
Quick fix: Teach something. Spend a day or two teaching her how to sit on the potty herself. You can speed this along by inviting over a slightly older child who can demonstrate how to sit on the potty for your baby.
3. My baby stopped signaling / never signaled.
Quick fix: Note that most babies don’t signal very loudly. Signals are sometimes so subtle that we don’t perceive them at all (especially in our super-busy lives). Simply say the prompt word you’d like him to start saying, and say it one time every single time you bring your baby to the potty. Eventually he’ll start saying it, too (but, ironically, don’t expect it…it just puts pressure on an already expectation-ridden event).
4. Transitioning from in-arms to the potty.
Quick fix: Make a family-wide decision to exclusively use the potty, and stick with it. If everyone’s on board, the baby will sense that this is what we’re now doing. Show no fear or hesitation. Get partner on board…100%.
5. More misses with crawling and/or walking.
Quick fix: Utilize a diaper or clothing back-up during this time of transition so that you, the parent, don’t freak out with stress. For new crawlers, wear your baby for a week to reconnect with signals. For new walkers, use this opp to teach him how to walk to that potty.
6. Trouble with poo.
Quick fix: Do a 1-2 day naked teaching time extravaganza. Every single time baby starts to pee or poo, gently and quietly transport her to that potty (in the living room with ya). If baby stops pooping, simply place a small stack of books under his feet or walk around for a sec with him, just sort of walking, and try again. Get that poop in the potty before the nap and he’ll start to get it.
7. Trouble with pee.
Quick fix: Use a back-up! If baby is peeing everywhere, it’s because you’re teaching her to do that by not using some sort of underwear or cloth diaper back-up.
8. Diapers, no diapers, and pee everywhere.
Quick fix: Decide what makes Elimination Communication the least stressful for you (the parent) and use that back-up. “Diaper-free” means free from depending upon diapers. Don’t do it out of pride and labeling yourself…ditch the diapers only when you feel it’s the right time for everyone.
9. Crying while pottying.
Quick fix: Note that many small babies (especially pre-crawlers, but notably, newborns in their “fourth trimester”) cry while being pottied. Some say it’s the newness of it all. Simply find a position for your baby that is as comfortable as possible and RELAX – know that you are not harming your baby. Your confidence will lessen the crying.
10. When EC disturbs sleep.
Quick fix: Pick sleep over Elimination Communication. Trust me. Soothe baby back to sleep if nighttime EC is losing anyone in the family any amount of sleep. Eventually nighttime dryness follows daytime. Don’t sweat it!
Take it deeper…
There are really only about 30 things that can go wrong with EC, and we’ve got all the answers in our book.
For more information beyond these quick fixes, please grab a copy of our Book Package which comes with our Members’ Website. There you’ll enjoy the complete “EC answer book” in our Troubleshooting section, which is chock-full of the most common EC challenges and solutions that work (and are regularly updated as we learn new things). You’ll also have access to our Forum in case your question isn’t answered there, or if you have multiple overlapping concerns!
(All for less than what two weeks of diapers cost.)