It's all made possible by her wonderful mother (my sister, Janna) who knew that young babies actually give a signal when they need to go! As soon as she detects that her baby may need to go, this is what happens...
Here are my sister's notes on the process:
The Signaling Instinct
I first came across Elimination Communication after researching more around Jean Leadloff, author of Continuum Concept. Her website mentions a book called The Diaper Free Baby. I had a vague-to-no idea what that meant, so ordered the book. I had my first baby at the time, a little five month old. I was thrilled because he was still under the six month mark, the time when babies start to loose their signaling instinct. Yes, babies have a signaling instinct! They signal when they need to eliminate. So it wasn't too late to start this level of communication with my baby. Now I am a new mother once again, and in the midst of my third opportunity to connect with my young child. Practicing Elimination Communication with my oldest son, then with my first daughter, and now with my second daughter has taught me again, how unique each child is. How their needs and flow from one moment to the next seem so unrepeatable even though they are all in the same family!
So how does it work?
Well, for me, as I'm looking after the baby, giving her milk, making sure her clothing is dry, giving her enough opportunity to fall asleep at the times she's likely to be tired, moments come along when she seems well off in all these areas but yet still uncomfortable...so, I take her to the toilet (or even the sink and sometimes a bowl!) I remove her diaper and gently lean her back against me, holding the soles of her feet with my hands so she can squat above the receptacle. Holding her feet this way is new. In the past, I've just held the baby under the knees. Some how, holding her feet seems to be more effective. She's still so little, just under 3 months. But when it works, and she goes, it's such a treat for me because somehow I think she knows that I know that she knows her body is working as it should! And with her signaling and my listening, our "knowing" together will just happen all the more often in the day.
Each time is gently celebrated with these words, "Oh, you did need to go, that's what you were telling me. That feels better doesn't it?" or "Okay, you don't need to go right now. Let me know when you do." I'm very careful to make all moments positive and comfortable with my tone of voice. No matter the success of the attempt, each opportunity is a moment of connection and that is what counts the most. But, can I tell you, when you get your first successful attempt, it is so dang cute! And when you get two in a row, wow, it's amazing! And then somehow you are going full days with 100% success...and a full night as well! And eventually, maybe two days in a row...then one day, your daughter will be so wiggly about putting a diaper back on, that you say, okay, let's just go diaper-free. That's what happened to me when my second was only 16 months, not even walking yet, but it was time to go to the Mayor's River Festival in London with our friends. I couldn't get a diaper on her wiggly bottom, so off we go without one...and I never put one on her again. She signaled perfectly all day at the Festival and on the train ride home. Now she certainly had accidents after this...but they were so infrequent, such as once a week, or once every three days that it certainly didn't justify having a diaper on that entire time. I found myself at Marks and Spencers praying they had underwear for babies, and sure enough, they did! You can buy 18 month size underwear.
Now chime in, dear readers! Have you heard of this before? I'd love to hear if you have any thoughts or insights about it. Please share this post with others as I think parents everywhere would be so intrigued to hear about this.
P.S. We are heading back to South America today. Oh, my heart! It is so full as we say good bye to my sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephew and friends and also as we make our way back to Sila. It's so amazing to have her on the other side.