Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flying Diaper Free in Montana

On the One Year anniversary of beginning Elimination Communication with my son-we were up and flying. We had kicked the diaper crutch when he was 9 months and had 4 months of round the clock diaper free practice leading up to our flight. We launched into the diaper free mode after several weeks of "no misses". Feeling confident in our rhythm together we headed cross country with two connections, 3 flights to board and a 10 hour airport day ahead of us. Sounds like a dreaded day-you say? I admit I was nervous but reminded myself we'd started this journey at 7 weeks and ready.

I used timing and cues as indicators. With the possibility of the two restrooms being occupied I emphasized timing so not to get into an uncomfortable situation. We did not resort to wearing a diaper as psycologically for us both we had not used this route for four months.
The timing routine I established was offering the potty before boarding the plan, once the airplane took off, intermintly throughout the flight and once we departed the plane. With the hope he'd actually go at his opportune times and the expectation he wouldn't.
It is more important to respect the "no" than force a pee. This is fundamental in learning to communicate with your child as this is not potty training. If you want to look at it from the standpoint of "training" then really it is the parent or caregiver learning what to look for.

I stayed tuned in to the length of time that had passed since his last relief and based the frequency of offering the potty on how much fluids he had consumed. We had also established a relaxed routine of going potty somewhere within 5 minutes of waking from a deep sleep.
So, off to the airport we went to check in and get ready for what layed ahead. We unloaded at the airport, checked in and made a trip to the restroom before going through security. It was an ideal to time as there could be innumberable delays and I wouldn't be able to break midstride to help relieve my babies urge.

This was our first momentous pee. Believe me you will understand how exciting and relieving it is when you "catch a pee". This set the stage and I felt the rush of excitement as though it was my very first time tuning into his rhythm.

We went through security and caught another pee before boarding. After all the stimulus the little guy took a deep nap for our first leg. I sat craddling him relaxing in the joy of being off the hook for the first leg. He woke up before we started our descent so we took a quick trip to the restroom, peed and resumed our seat. One down two flights to go.

The layover was only an hour, so I back wrapped Talus in the breezeway in Salt Lake-made my way to the next gate-keeping an eye out for the closest restroom. After making it to the furthest gate in another terminal- we cruised around to give all four of our legs a workout. Twenty minutes before boarding we took a trip to the potty.
Now I have to say if there is a handicap stall available, by all means use it. Keep in mind your carrying a bag, will have to manuever his pants off or open(buttons down the legs or a crotch flap are handy) and position your little one, aim if he's a boy and get his pants back on while holding him. A little extra room helps. The removing and reclothing is really not all that complicated if you have been working this routine for awhile. I pride myself on changing my child in mid air and thankful to keep him away from overused surfaces.

So back to the gate, board the plane and hop into our seat. We picked all aisle seats for the entire day so we could freely get up and down without disturbing other passengers. This was our longest leg and lots of offerings with no peeing comenced. About every 45 minutes I offered the potty up and if no urge transpired I cut the time down to 20 minute intervals till he peed. This leg was 4 hours in flight so we took at least 4 trips to the potty.

Next stop Atlanta. Off the plane- hussle (so many people with so little time was the energy coursing through) to the tram and in 1 minute 7 seconds flat back wrap my baby ( the clock was counting down till the next train arrived)-hop on the tram-walk to the entire other end of the furthest terminal we arrived in? What's up with these extra challenges. Find the gate, make our way back to the restroom, hop in the handicap stall, relieve ourselves. Relax and cruise around for the next 2 hours.

I kept my child awake-napping is so much better on the plane when you're confined and during the layover I offered the potty every 45 mintutes with only one taken advantage of. I offered the potty up before boarding-another relief. Board plane-relax-it's the last leg-Woo-Hoo. Baby boy naps entire last leg..the stars have aligned!

Now the return flight was the same scenario with a couple twists. A longer layover up front in Atlanta-where we caught a pooh! by cueing into signs(stalled out activity and internal pensive gaze with slight grunting at this age). Oh yeah and running through the Salt Lake Airport since the flight was changed last minute giving me only 15 minutes to get from one end to the other. Talus found this portion of the journey particularly hilarious-as I couldn't help but laugh as we high tailed past what seemed stationary travelers. I mean really, give the solo mom with toddler a run for her money!Practically empty flight to Glacier, able to spread out and lounge and no worries about the potty being occupied by another confined soul.

The whole experience couldn't of gone smoother. A few months have passed and Talus's cues are even more evident. When asked if he has to pee (as occassionally I have this inkling emerge) he shakes his head "no". A blank response means yes. If there is obvious groin grabbing we make the trip to the potty. Listening to my own internal feelings and respecting his "No's" has really paid off. We now communicate verbally and with signs. He even signs "done" when he's through with either relief. This makes car trips quite easy as well as winter outings when lots of layers are involved. I typically always ask if he has the urge to go if it coincides with timing and he has the free will to let me know.

ECing continues to evolve and at this age play is the utmost priority. Stopping to relieve himself can sometimes be a challenge. If I know he has to go I suggest we bring whatever he's playing with along and tell him we'll come right back to play. There may be some initial opposistion on picking him up but he is relaxed sitting on the pot and signs and says when he's done.

Things We Packed for AirTravel

3 pairs of pants for misses

Ziplock with premade wipes

1 prefold diaper easily available for misses

hankerchief sprayed with aromotherapy mix

mini etch a sketch

soft ball


plastic bag for soiled clothes

Ways We Made the Trip Smoother

Flights with some layovers

Reserved isle seats

Brought only one bag

The next Diaper Free Journey in Montana includes how to keep the seat warm this winter and the potties we've grown to love. Check out this hilarious video of another ECing Mother.

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