A discussion of elimination communication would not be complete without discussion of a potty pause. Sometimes the term potty pause is used, sometimes potty strike is used. I'm not sure if there is a difference, or what the formal definition (if there is one) is of each term. It's a time of the baby not using the potty to eliminate, when previously they had been. For example, up until maybe two weeks ago, Hannah has always peed in her potty right after waking up from a nap. She wakes up, I take her potty, no big deal. Lately, she has been declining the opportunity to use the potty. It's very strange, since she's been going for the after-nap pee for close to the entirety of our year-long EC journey. Something must be going on! She's reaching the age where she wants to have more independence with regards to pottying, I believe, so I have to roll with it. I never knew I could "just roll with it" so much until I started EC! This is probably good practice for the rest of my parenting journey!
She's been on a pause or semi-strike for some time. I am getting a lot of practice just learning to roll with it. Sometimes I wonder if I caused this, if I could do something different and she'd use the potty again. I wonder if I work too much, or spend too much time doing things other than spending time with her trying to connect with her. I do tend to save computer time and chore time for when she is napping, and in any case, I am doing the best I can. I think this is just normal for her. I hope so!
Even though sometimes I can take a step back, and look at it philosopically, potty pauses can be kind of hard. A refusal to use the potty isn't just sitting there and doing nothing. It's back-arching, hair grabbing (my hair,) and sometimes crying. When she responds that way, I move her away immediately, but sometimes my wrists get a little sore from her resisting. I don't ever know if she's going to refuse or not. I definitely back way off at times, even if it means I just change her pants. I guess the communication is at all different levels, and sometimes what she is communicating is no!
Knowing what I know (through experience) about potty pauses, do I wish we'd never done EC? No way! For the most part, Hannah has not had a wet or dirty diaper touching her skin. I'd estimate that 90% of poops have gone directly into the potty without touching her, and 60% of pees have as well. I can't imagine that doing EC is any more difficult than changing diapers all the time, especially poopy diapers! That's the diaper aspect. There's also the aspect of responding to a baby's communication of her need to eliminate, rather than ignoring it. In my opinion, it's a very respectful way to care for a baby.
One of the reasons I went ahead and started this blog on our elimination communication journey even though we've been doing it for a year, is that I realized that we're not near the end yet! I wonder what the next year has for us!!!