Chetana Amma in Bangalore, describes how she and her family followed the path towards diaper-free hygiene with her daughter, Disha.
I am always intrigued when someone talks about natural yet unconventional and alternative ways of doing something. So when my friend who had her daughter a year before Disha was born, mentioned EC and explained a bit, I knew this was the way to go.
After Disha was born, we used cloth diapers with waterproof covers for the first 8 months. There were times during the day when she would be diaper-free. At nights, we used old cotton saris on top of the waterproof layer. Every time the sari would get wet, I would change it. After that we moved back to India (when she was around 9.5 mos old) and we started using cotton underwear at home. When we went out, we used disposable diapers. Whether she was in underwear or diapers, all along we did take her to the bathroom at regular intervals as most parents practicing EC do.
Right from birth we used to help her sit (supported at first) on a small potty at regular intervals, mostly during the day. But as she got mobile, she would squirm and there were periods when she lost interest in using the potty. This was the time for us to get creative. We started having potty time games and songs. We read books, danced and sang all on the potty. Family helped too, mainly my sisters and mother-in-law. When Disha refused my help or we weren’t around, others around would offer to take her. This would work well at home, but outside, we still had to rely on disposables.
When she turned two, we decided to stop using disposables. She would typically tell me when she wanted to poop. As far as peeing went, she would tell at times, at times anyone at home would offer to take her, other times she would go where she was, typically when she was busy and occupied. As time went by, I instinctively would know when Disha had to use the bathroom. Sometimes I used to be a few seconds too late.
When she turned two and a half, I started working at a software firm. Though I worked there only for two months, it offset the rhythm we had established and she stopped telling us when she wanted to use the bathroom. She did not seem comfortable expressing to her grandmother and the shift in care had unsettled her. So in a way we had gone backwards in our EC journey and slowly started working our way forward. We had started using disposables again outside home since she refused to use public bathrooms and would go without giving us a warning or go and then tell us.
Very recently, we bought her potty seat. She got very excited about it and started using it regularly, informing us whenever she wanted to use it. For the past month, she has been able to tell me or her father if she wants to use the bathroom and consequently, we have stopped using disposables completely even while traveling.
Night times we still use waterproof sheets and change them when they get soiled. She typically pees once on most nights.
Our EC journey has had its ups and downs, but looking at the bigger picture it helped all of us understand each other a little better.