EC at the Doc

In my last post about EC (elimination communication, or baby potty-training), I shared how we got started with teaching our daughter to associate eliminating (peeing or pooping) with a cue sound (psss!) Over the last few months this has gone pretty well! Even her babysitters and grandma have helped with introducing her to the potty.

When I first learned about EC, I read about parents being unsure about how to talk to friends and others about their choice to potty train their baby.

People’s reactions to EC sometimes reveal that they think it’s harder than conventional diapering, but we haven’t found that to be the case for us. It doesn’t take up much more time than cleaning up a poopy diaper – sure, it requires a little more patience, but the benefits far outweigh any negatives.

Recently, a trip to the pediatrician’s office convinced me that not only is EC great because we have fewer soiled diapers, but it also saved our daughter from an unnecessary delay in medical treatment and from an invasive procedure. I’m now even more convinced that teaching babies to use the potty early is a great tool for both their development and health.

Little H was having a bit of a fussy morning when we noticed she was feeling hot – and as it turned out, she had a fever. So, we called up the doc and took her in. I suspected that it was the return of a recent ear infection, but her ears were clear. The pediatrician narrowed her diagnoses to two possibilities: a virus or an UTI (urinary tract infection). The doctor started to explain that in order to test for a UTI, they’d have to catheterize her, which would be invasive and rather unpleasant! To avoid this, the doctor began recommending that we monitor the fever and treat it with Tylenol, and then bring her back if her symptoms didn’t go away after a few days… uh! As the reality of delaying my daughter’s treatment sank in, I realized there was a better way to get the test the doctor needed. I asked if I could have her go in a cup or potty liner for the urine test. The doctor and the nurse looked a little surprised, naturally! The nurse fetched a potty, and within 15 minutes, my super baby had peed in the sterilized liner and the doctor had returned with the results – positive for bacterial infection. The doctor was visibly blown away by what had transpired. Clearly, without EC, testing for a UTI would’ve been delayed and our baby would have suffered for another several days with discomfort and fever with little relief. The doctor explained that, because we could test so early, and without a catheter, we probably caught the infection on Day 1. This, no doubt, not only saved our daughter from unnecessary delay in treatment, but also saved us time and money as well. Had we needed to return to the doctor for follow up, we’d have another bill, another test to pay for, and more prescriptions to buy… and a very unhappy baby.

So, yay for the potty!

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