I noticed this mentioned as a comment on one of our articles and it peeked my interest. How well does "part-time" EC training work? Does it create more confusion if you use sposies/cloth while out and about -- or overnight -- but practice EC when you are able?
I've seen a growing interest in this practice and would love to see this board continue to grow in support for those that are / are considering Elimination Communication with their child.
I would say I practiced "part-time" EC...all the time! When DD went into daycare, she was in pullups for the first week and then the staff suggested she just wear underwear and they would deal with any messes. She was 18 mths at the time.
Some people can do EC all the time right from birth. I had DD in cloth full-time until about 6 mths, and we accidently did EC since we bought a potty for her early on (to get used to seeing it around before PT) but we ended up having to put her on it as a means of clearing her horrendous diaper rash from starting solids. In 3 days the rash cleared up completely, somehow our DD figured out pooping on the potty was the reason why, and we had total buy-in from her...at least when it came to poop. She pretty much EC'd herself with poop pretty quickly.
It took her until 20 mths to consistently pee in the toilet. We basically put her in pullups at 15 months, and any time we took her out in public, she had the cloth diapers or pullups on. At around age 2, we could trust her in underwear even when out and about but we made sure to bring her potty b/c she hated public washrooms.
For EC at home, we tried to do full time as much as possible, but sometimes cleaning too many pee accidents was too much and we put her back into cloth or pullups. Then the next day, we would try again. Slowly, she would understand EC and stayed dry longer and longer. There were times when she'd be doing well and then have lots of accidents, but at its worst, we just put her back in cloth/pullups and try again the next day.
Kids are really smart and pick up on things real quick. Even if you don't EC all the time, they will know what to do when EC, even if there are times they need to be in cloth/pullups (for example, daycare all day, but still can EC well at night).
For me, part-time EC was a very practical alternative for us. And DD learned to stay dry both day and night before she turned 2.5 yrs old.
I was really intrigued by EC when I was pregnant. When I told DH about it, he was skeptical at first but once I told him of the reasoning behind it he was completely on board and even insisted upon trying it. However, because we both work full time we never saw it being something we could do full time as we couldn't imagine asking her daycare teachers to do it (and as we later found out, they wouldn't be able to). A few weeks after DD was born, we tried holding her over the little Bjorn potty we'd bought. She didn't seem to be too fond of the idea so we quickly gave up on trying to do it consistently and just tried again every so often. Every now and then we'd try holding her over the little potty or the sink or the big potty at times when we thought she needed to go. At around 3 months, she was able to sit on the little potty with assistance and to our surprise she took to it right away! She loved going pee and poo in her little potty and would go almost every time we tried. Soon it became obvious that it wasn't just a reaction to feeling the cool air on her bottom or hearing our cue noise but that she was *trying* to go on the potty when we gave her the chance. When she started walking at 13 months things got even more interesting. She was then able to walk to the potty to indicate she wanted to use it. At about 15 months she was able to walk to the potty and squat on it by herself, so we started just keeping it on the floor and letting her run around without a diaper during parts of the day. That's about where we are now. We've always used cloth diapers as our primary form of "catching" her pee and poo but the potty's also been there as an option. We keep a keen eye on her elimination habits and her cues and we work with her. We've tried very hard to get her to sign for potty. She'll sign for a bunch of other things but she just won't sign potty. Now that she's 20 months, she's been telling us verbally that she needs to use the potty. Over the months she's had phases in which she isn't too fond of the potty and we've never made it the only option. The potty is just always there if she wants it. We've dabbled with putting her in panties or cloth trainers and we're currently teaching her how to pull her panties down when she needs to go. She understands completely that using the potty is just something we do at home and I don't feel it causes the least bit of confusion. Still, I don't think that the move to using the potty at daycare or out and about will be an issue at all. She's already used public restrooms a handful of times after she's seen me going potty. We've wanted so badly for her to be able to use the potty at school but they don't have the ability to take kids under two to the potty without going "out of ratio". She'll be moving up in a few months to the PTing room and I plan to make a transition to sending her to school in cloth trainers right away.
We're not in a hurry to PT. We're simply approaching it differently and it happens to be leading us down a path that might lead to early PTing. We're OK with the occasional mess and we don't react negatively to them because, for us, its better than using persuasion techniques (be they praise or admonishment) to teach her something. Many parents who use EC do so part time. Part time might mean something like what we've done, only using the potty during the day, or that only one parent uses it. Most parents who EC still use diapers. I think that while we all believe in the reasoning behind EC, we are all still part of modern society that makes true EC a bit complicated.