I am poop-phobic. Well, more accurately, I don't totally freak out when a pigeon drops a deuce on my shoulder, (although it does seem to happen to me a lot). And I don't cringe when I walk by a box of cat litter. But the solid waste of my fellow humans? Not my thing.
As a teenager I would have to suppress the urge to dry-heave when I saw young parents sniffing their children's butts to see if they had pooped, or when I witnessed people cooing over a baby turning red in the face, as she tried to take a dump in an unnatural position, while fully clothed. As a young adult, I had trouble hiding my disgust at baby showers when chocolate bars were melted into diapers.
I would much rather scoop the poop of 100 dogs than go on an archaeological dig through baby flesh, trying to wipe poop off of them while changing a diaper.
So years before I had kids, when I read about E.C. in the newspaper, I cut the article out and saved it. Because I knew that one day, this was going to save me.
What is E.C.? It is short for Elimination Communication, a natural way of dealing with a baby's bathroom needs. E.C. is based on the idea that, like other mammals, humans do not want to sit in their own feces. It is hard to remember this in the modern world, but humans have been around a lot longer than diapers.
But with the invention of the diaper, things changed. We now train babies to give up their natural instinct to not sit in their own waste, and then years later tell them it is no longer acceptable to sit in a diaper of their own tightly packed excrement.
While E.C. isn't that common in America, many people around the world still practice it. I've had people tell me their relatives in China, India, Pakistan and Germany practice one form or another of E.C.
So why do my newborns use the toilet?
1. Like I said, I have a serious fecal phobia.
Thank to E.C., my babies poop in a toilet in a clean drop. It usually just takes one wipe and I'm done. I don't have to gag and dig through fleshy folds of chubby baby skin, searching for remnants of waste to clean. And I am spared the horrific blow-outs, where explosions of poo shoot up a baby's back, staining their clothes, bedding and whatever other collateral damage is in the doodie's way.
I started taking my first child to the bathroom at 3 weeks old. By the time my second was born, I was a pro at E.C. and I took him to the bathroom starting at 2 days old. And after establishing E.C., my second child only pooped in his diaper 11 times in his life, making this poop-phobic mother very happy.
2. I'm cheap.
Whether you cloth diaper, use disposables, or use a combination of both, E.C. allows you to use fewer diapers a day, less resources to wash cloth diapers, (since it is a rare occurrence to have poop in them), and less diapers overall because you can move your child to underwear earlier. My son switched to underwear at 15 months old, sparing my wallet several bags of diapers.
It also takes far fewer wipes to clean a baby up when he or she is going in a toilet, I never had to buy diaper rash creams because my kids never had a diaper rash since they rarely had poop mashed to their skin in their diapers, and I never bought a Diaper Pail or the hundreds of bags for it, since the diapers being tossed almost always just had pee in them.
3. I'm lazy.
E.C. is fairly easy. Early on, your baby will go before, during, or immediately after nursing. Once you start taking your baby to the bathroom, you realize the signs for when your baby needs to go and sync up with him or her. My kids always went right after a feeding so all I had to do was hold them on a toilet right after nursing and they would pee and/or poop. And because my kids were used to going to the bathroom as newborns, and did not accidentally poop in their diapers after 9 months old, there was no real potty training phase. Rather, it was just a gradual transition to underwear, and I was spared having to ever clean a 2 or 3-year-old's poop out of his underwear or off the floor.
4. I'm a hoarder.
Okay, not really, but thanks to having two kids close together who, early-on, used to have to use the bathroom at the same time, I now have a vast collection of potties that I kind of enjoy owning. I've got high-backs, low-backs, the seats that go right on an adult toilet, and a variety of colors.
We've got toilets upstairs, toilets downstairs, toilets to travel with in our car...and they have all gotten plenty of use over the years. They even make a great pregnancy announcement:
So there you have it. A list of my terrible qualities. I mean, a list of reasons why my newborns use the toilet.
For an in-depth look at how I E.C.'d my two children, you can see my detailed blog post here.
Author of The Booger Fairy, Nishi Goes to India, and several Indian language books for kids, Supriya works as a screenwriter for the Indian production house, Vinod Chopra Films, and blogs about green living and green parenting at www.wadingthroughsoup.blogspot.com
Follow Supriya Kelkar on Twitter: @soups25