Maybe this has happened to you: you’ve been doing just the morning pee or just poops and feeling pretty good about part-time EC, but now your situation has changed, or your energy has picked back up, or you’re just tired of using diapers anymore...how do you move from part-time elimination communication to full-time ECing?
What, exactly, is the next step in potty training our infants and moving towards being truly “diaper-free?”
One of our readers asked this question, so today I’m gonna give it a full answer:
Q: How do you know/decide when to take things “up a notch”? We have been part-time ECing our daughter O (8.5 mos) for 2.5 mos, and we’re doing really well with pottytunities (post-nap, post-nursing, etc) and catching her poops (it’s very clear on her face when she’s pooping). We just don’t know how to transition to the next phase — working toward F/T? — from here. ~Sarah R.
A: Hey Sarah! Thanks for submitting your question to the EC Q+A…I think it’s a wonderful one.
Knowing it’s time to move from part-time to full-time EC
My first thoughts are that you already know that you are ready to take things up a notch because you sent me this question as your top EC question. :)
So, there’s that one….
You “know” that it’s time to move from part-time EC to more full-time EC when you start to ask yourself or your husband or your best friend, “Sally, we’re doing really well. I wonder how I can step this up a notch?”
Deciding on whether to move to full-time EC
The first thing I’d suggest is to consider why you’re doing so.
Is it because you are having success and would genuinely like to try extending EC across a longer time span, more diverse situations, and maybe increasing pee catches along with your poo success?
Or is it because you want to “master” EC and be done with it already?
Or perhaps you want to become perfect at it?
Maybe you’re just wondering if you’re doing “enough”…or if you’ve built the confidence to move forward and take on more?
Or how about our top reason - are you tired of using diapers?
No matter what the reason, when you make your decision, take a few deep breaths and feel into your body at that very moment that you consider it….Do I feel excited and content, relaxed and self-assured, tense and anxious, afraid and nervous?
Your body will always tell you which decision to make.
Oh, and btw…you can’t make the WRONG decision. It’s all a learning process. If you decide to take on more and it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to what you’ve been doing already…knowing that you at least tried, and forgiving yourself (because elimination communication is not all-or-nothing...it’s about “communication” not catch rate).
How to transition from part-time EC to full-time EC
The first thing you’ll want to do is make an inventory of where you *are* with EC, right now. What things do you do? What things don’t you do? What times of day are you active? When are you not? Where are you? Where aren’t you? You get the idea.
Then, look at which specific aspect you’d like to move toward: I’d like to begin to catch more pees; I’d like to teach my child to signal; I’d like to teach her hard skills that will move her toward potty independence more gracefully and effortlessly; I’d like to ditch the daytime diapers, etc.
Then, fill in the gaps between where you are now and where you’d like to be.
You can use your intuition and brainpower to figure this out, or you van use my book and private, off-Facebook forum.
I also offer 7 minicourses on the biggest EC challenges, including nighttime, outings, getting back on track, wrapping it up, potty pauses, etc., in case you already have my book and want a deep dive.
Do some observation time (episode 83.5a) and find out your baby’s current natural timing and rhythm, and signals (if any). No matter your focus, do this re-observation as a rule!
You can read or listen to this post on how to get your baby to signal (episode #47).
You can read my book for the brand new section on the building blocks to potty independence (what to teach, and when to teach it, to get your baby on the easy road to potty independent).
You can also refer to my book for how to stop using diapers, and when to do it. This podcast also covers the topic (episode #41).
You can look into which EC clothing, undies, and back-ups I’ve used for all my babies (episode #53), and see what you would like to change to next.
It really depends upon what you envision to be next.
(And btw...full-time EC still doesn’t mean “all or nothing.” It just means you’re now, during waking hours, fully open to pottying your baby and doing your best to respond. Especially if you’re done with diapers...you’ve kind of got to be “on,” right?)
If all it is that you want is to do MORE EC, MORE OFTEN, then just start doing EC more!
Sarah, thanks so much for your question!
If any of you have shared this experience of moving from part-time to full-time EC, please post your experiences in the comments below.
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)