I started this post after Noah's first day with no "misses"- that is, he didn't wear his diaper all day, and stayed dry throughout the day. It was February 28. Now (April 2), Noah very seldom pees or poops on the floor and we're without diapers during the day and night. He's almost 23 months old, so it's relatively early, but not extraordinarily so. Still, I'm a huge advocate for Elimination Communication, or introducing babies to the toilet from birth.
We started elimination communication when Noah was about a month old, and for the most part, it worked remarkably well. By two months, he sometimes stayed dry throughout the day and night without the use of diapers. As I returned to work when he was 12 weeks old, it was harder for me to be part of the process and winter in Boston set it, with all it's unbearable cold (except for this year, apparently!). Still, Eug and I tried on and off until he was about 8 months old.
At 8 months, after the second move of his short life, he all but refused to look at the toilet. We didn't force him. He would occasionally tell us when he pooped, and we'd spend part of the day with him out of diapers. Still, he never suffered from diaper rash, diapers were never absolutely normal, and we very seldom used wipes- cloth or disposable. During his long potty strike, he showed tremendous control, as he'd often wait hours to pee until we put a diaper on. But for almost a year, he wore diapers anytime he was outside the house, and much of the time when he was at home.
As we settled in South Africa and things became more familiar, he suddenly wanted to use the potty again. Within a month, he consistently used the potty. He walks to the potty and asks us to take his pants down (he can't do that yet). We keep a small, portable potty available when we're going out for a few hours, though he's ok with using a regular public toilet, as long as we can get there quite quickly.
With the prospect of a second baby, I wasn't sure how I'd wash that many diapers, (Noah may want to wear diapers again when he sees Tiny blob, and that's ok). With our second baby, I hope to start EM from birth. As with Noah, I'll try to keep expectations to a minimum.
With Noah, the time when EM was most effective and fun was before he was mobile: it was one of the few ways we could communicate, and it was something he could "do" even before he could hold his head up. Rather than being a source of stress or mess, EM has been really fun and natural, and actually let us come into much less contact with poop than we do when it's smeared all over Noah's bum. Even though we were never all-in diaper-free, I think we gained a lot from what we were able to handle.
Here's to hardwood floors and less laundry. And tiny, tiny underwear. Tiny underwear is the cutest thing since cloth diapers.