So yeah, that strange picture down there of me holding Istra over a choice spot of grass is one of our first attempts at Elimination Communication or Infant Potty Training, which you can learn more about on various websites.
I started this last week and have had moderate success at home, with a lot of misses in between the hits. At home I have been holding her over a very small potty that was designed for young babies (rather than the larger more complicated contraptions designed for toddlers) and cuing her with the sound "sss". The first week has been mostly an experiment--I would guess at her timing and try to read her body language rather than actually having a sure idea of when she needed to go.
At the cottage this weekend, however, Istra (or I) really seemed to be starting to get it. I found that if I took her to pee either outside or in the bathroom in the cottage, she would usually go. I took her 10 minutes after a feeding, 20 minutes after that and then 30-40 minutes after that. If she fell asleep somewhere in there, I would take her once she woke up. She definitely responded to being outside more and she had the same dry diaper on her butt most of the weekend.
The goal of this little exercise is so that Istra grows up knowing that people do not generally soil themselves and that doing so generally feels pretty icky and having nice dry clothes next to her skin is preferrable. Doing the work now will save us some effort later, as we'll completely avoid the horrors of potty training a toddler that some people experience. The whole process is supposedly much more gentle and intuitive than the training required for an older child as she learns as she grows and not all at once after essentially being trained to use her clothing as a toilet.
This morning back at home after our cottage weekend we're having more misses, so my joy and amazement at how quickly Istra seemed to catch on is settling into a realization that this will be a long process; but so far it's been very rewarding as I feel that Istra is responding to the cues more often than not and that's a step in the right direction. Eventually I hope to incorporate signs (as in some key signs from American Sign Language) into our EC journey. Then, hopefully, Istra will be able to communicate her needs more easily to us.
In the meantime, we're having fun--a crazy, strange sort of fun, but fun none the less.