This is the story of how my family did Elimination Communication (EC) with our five month old while traveling from Southwestern Ontario to Houston and back.
I’m writing this because when we first threw ourselves into Elimination Communication we wondered how we would ever potty on the airplane during our upcoming trip.
Would we squat him on the potty in the seats? In the aisle? In the bathroom? There seemed no good spot to do it. How would we transport the potty? Did we even need a potty? Would we offend people? Could they kick us off the plane for being gross?
Turns out EC is great for travel: it keeps things economical and simple.
We could pack less (no need for a swim diaper when you know your kid’s bathroom cues), spend less money (one bag of disposable backup diapers lasted us the weekend), and do more because we based our day around our kid’s bathroom rhythms and he was so relaxed and happy.
Best of all no one kicked us out and everybody we met laughed and wished they had known about EC when they had kids.
Now I can’t imagine doing travel without EC!
Other Blogs on EC and Travel
I hope this post can do the same for someone. Go ahead, barrel into your trip with nothing but your baby, an itty bitty potty, and a handful of backup diapers. Life is short and messy anyway!
Houston, my third favourite city
Every year we visit my friend Nicole and her family, who now live in Houston. Nicole and I have been friends since kindergarten when we met tobogganing on a snow day.
During the visit our dads bike ~300 km from Houston to Austin as part of a large event. In recent years my husband has joined them.
Nicole and I used to be the support team and drive their stuff around with our moms but this year we had babies instead! So much better.
(The simultaneous babies were a miracle: after decades of living our own lives, moving and school and marriage and miscarriage, we had babies less than two weeks apart. Praise be!)
Packing for Airplane EC
Here is what we packed for EC on the go. I wouldn’t change anything next time:
- a sleeve of disposable diapers, which worked out to 22 diapers
- I packed these in my husband’s carry on backpack for space
- We used exactly 22 diapers the whole four day weekend!
- The Mini Potty
- This took up the bulk of my carry on backpack
- A Skip Hop portable change mat
- I slid this behind the Mini Potty in my carry on backpack
- A pack of about 20 wipes
- These went in the portable change mat thingy
- Our soft-structured baby carrier (number one necessity)
- Wore it onto the plane
- A board book (Baby Bear Baby Bear, What Do You See?) and Sophie la Giraffe.
- A carseat
- Delta checked the car seat for free! What?! And it was off the luggage belt before we were off the plane. Amazing.
We did not bring a stroller! I can’t read my kid’s bathroom cues in a stroller, plus I find strollers to be bulky and inconvenient.
Game Time Decision
Going into the trip I had no vision in my head of what EC would look like in the middle of an airport and airplane and if I was even going to do it. The family in the blog I had read was so much more hip than me and was traveling through Asia, where EC is common practice.
Here goes. We rolled up to the large-item desk to check my husband’s bike and the carseat. Our baby, nestled in the carrier on my chest, started squeezing his thighs against me frantically while looking at me wild-eyed. It was a clear message: “I gotta go!”
I gave the desk person our passports and said words to the effect of, “I’m so sorry but my kid has to use the bathroom.”
She looked surprised but before she could say anything I squatted down beneath the desk, whipped the potty outta my backpack and my baby outta the carrier and he just went in the potty. Poo, pee, the whole thing.
Our baby laughed while he pottied and thankfully so did the desk attendant. I’m lucky that as a tall, sweet white girl with a big smile I can get away with a lot.
The whole affair took thirty seconds. My husband emptied the full potty in the bathroom on our way to security.
Luckily our baby didn’t have to go in security – I imagine things would be less friendly there.
(In her book Ingrid Bauer, the grandmother of Natural Infant Hygiene, says she asked her kids to go in their diapers when they were trapped in a security line.)
Before the flight our baby pottied a few times in the bathroom. Sometimes he sat on the change table on the Mini Potty. Sometimes he sat on my lap belly-to-belly on the toilet. Whatever worked in that moment.
Out of the gate and onto the plane
Twenty minutes after takeoff our baby started to pop off my breast distractedly – another sign that he has to go. I still had no idea how EC would work on a plane.
I started going through the motions — I got the potty out of my backpack, got his bottoms off, maneuvered him onto the potty and – ta da! – EC on an airplane.
Bathroom noises were not an issue: the engine noise was so loud that no one could hear anything. And folks seeing us wasn’t a problem either because the seats were so tightly packed.
After every full potty my husband or mom would dump the potty contents in the airplane bathroom. Sometimes they had to wait in line with a precariously balanced potty… or folks would see the full potty and let them past!
I become supremely confident at pottying on the go
As the trip went on I became absurdly, hilarious confident pottying our baby on the go.
He squatted onto the asphalt between pickup trucks in the mall parking lot, on the lawn at church, into the toilet in restaurant bathrooms, into the potty in the back of the car in the McDonald’s drive-through.
Pottying was such a gift for the trip. 10/10 would recommend again. It enabled us to travel light. Our kid was relaxed and happy in a dry diaper or bare bottomed the whole time. And what a conversation starter! The Texans loved it.
Thank you for reading about my EC travel adventure. Please share yours in the comments!
We have a six hour cross-continent flight and a week-long hiking trip in the highlands of Scotland coming up. Our baby will be nine months old. I am sure I’ll have lots of EC and kid travel insight to share after that adventure — stay tuned!