Poonami nappy explosions are a rite of passage for most new parents, but an Australian couple has managed to pretty much eliminate nappy changes altogether.
Montana Lower and Tom Linwood say their daughter Blue did her first poo on the potty at just two-weeks-old. And they’ve shared their tips on using ‘elimination communication’ so other parents can start toilet training their babies.
One day to toilet train a newborn
Montana and Tom, who are travelling Australia in a bus with their now 15-month-old daughter, say it took just one day for Blue to learn to poo on the potty. And she was just 14-days-old.
“Babies are born with no preconceived knowledge of how to go to the bathroom,” Montana explained in a YouTube video. “So if we don’t teach them to go in their nappy then we don’t have to unteach them. So it makes sense to straight up say, we go to the toilet this way.”
The couple uses a technique called elimination communication (EC), which involves watching for a baby’s cues. “Basically it’s listening to your baby for when they want to go to the toilet, and taking them to the toilet instead of going in their nappy,” Montana said.
“Just waiting for their cues,” Tom added. “Every mum knows their baby’s hungry cues and it’s the same cues when they want to go to the toilet. So it’s just being aware of that and listening and watching for it.”
Tom spent a day dedicated to learning Blue’s cues and taking her to the potty (which initially was just a Tupperware container). From that day – when she was two-weeks-old, Blue hasn’t done a poo in nappy. The couple admits they used to think the concept of toilet training a newborn was whacky.
“When I first heard of EC I actually thought it was a bit crazy, so you wouldn’t be crazy for thinking that. But that’s massively just because we haven’t seen it much in Western culture. But it is practiced all over the world.” said Montana. “Nappies are a real luxury item, really. They’re for convenience,” added Tom.
What is elimination communication?
According to Go Diaper Free, elimination communication is a gentle way to respond to a baby’s need to do poo and wee, from as early as birth. It’s about learning the signs and signals a baby gives to help them learn to go to the toilet.
Healthline explains that there are four things involved in elimination communication:
- Timing: Seeing a pattern in the timing of baby’s poo and wee.
- Signals: Watching for a baby’s signals when they need to go to the potty. This could be crying, stopping what they’re doing or waking up from a nap.
- Intuition: Following that all-important ‘mother’s instinct’.
- Cues: Using a particular sound every time bub does a wee (like shhhh), so they begin to associate it with going to the potty.
Benefits of elimination communication
Tom and Montana say elimination communication benefits both the parents, and baby.
“For Tom it’s given him the experience to have these beautiful one on one, eye connection, bonding time with his baby,” Montana explained. “And it’s relieved a bit of the pressure on me as a breastfeeding new mumma that baby always wants to be near.
“Another really incredible reason to do EC is for environmental reasons,” added Tom. “You’re reducing your amount of nappies that you use. Whether that’s in terms of washing, washing detergent, power etc (for cloth nappies). To using disposable diapers.”
The couple says for Blue, the benefits include empowerment and self-awareness. “Another big reason we do it is because of positive association for Blue and her private areas,” explained Montana. “I think many women especially … can relate to feeling disassociation and shame with their genitals. And it’s not to be overlooked how early those relationships begin in our mind.”
The couple does use some nappies, but a lot less than they ever would if they didn’t do EC. They also admit elimination communication is much easier when at least one parent has the time to dedicate to it.
“Ideally it does work when somebody is at home all the time and committed to this practice,” Montana said. “You can do it part time as well,” Tom added. “It will get to the point that your baby understands that when you’re there and present that that’s the process. If they are in daycare and that’s not possible with the amount of children or whatever, it’s better than not doing it at all.”
Elimination communication tips
Tom and Montana outlined the four tips that helped make their elimination communication journey easier:
- Dress baby something that can be taken off easily
- Starting in summer is easier so bub can be naked more often
- Get a potty that can be transported easily
- Set aside a day to learn to read all signs and set the groundwork
“The biggest thing I feel I need to reinforce is that you know what you need to do, because you go to the toilet,” Montana said. “And don’t be afraid to ask for support because your family might think it’s a bit silly or strange what you’re doing. They can think what they want, but if they want to support you, you can show them how to do it and they can help you do it.”
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Time to start toilet training your tot? These articles have everything you need to prepare for ditching the nappies (or not!):
Need more support for toilet training?
Get more support from other mums trying to toilet train their tots by joining one of the Mum’s Grapevine Facebook baby groups. They are grouped together based on your baby’s birth date so everyone is going through the same things as you at the same time.
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