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Published on July 1st, 2008 | by Jenni

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Elimination Communication

In hanging around with moms who tend towards natural ideas, I had heard whispers about EC, but I quickly wrote it off as something that was a little over the edge for me.

Elimination Communication is sometimes called Infant Potty Training, but it really is a little more and a little less than that. The name Elimination Communication sums up exactly what it is about, communication with our very young children about their elimination needs. Think about it, your child found ways very early on to communicate with you about other needs like being tired or hungry. Their elimination is really no different.

Babies are born with the instinct to not want to lay in their own waste, just like other mammals. By being kept in diapers, we train them to tune out that instinct.

I stumbled into EC this time around kind of accidentally. My 3 year old was potty training, so I had a few potty chairs littered around my house. One morning a few weeks ago when Lily woke up I was changing her diaper right next to one of the potties and I wondered if I might be able to get her to poop on the potty since she usually goes within minutes of waking up. I put her on the potty chair (the one we have is small enough for very young babies) and she peed almost right away. Throughout the next few days I caught several more, usually when she was waking up. I figured it was time to read up on this a little bit to make sure I wasn't just confusing her.

I read most of the info at Diaperfreebaby.org and checked out Diaper Free Baby from my library. I was very relieved to learn that Elimination Communication is not an all or nothing proposition. The goal is not to have your baby out of diapers before all of your friends' babies. The goal is to help your child stay in touch with their body's signals. For some families it will be simple to focus on this intently and really have a diaper free baby. For others (like mine) catching a pee or poop every now and then is a great start.

We had a string of days where Lily barely wet a diaper at all. I was able to catch most of her pees and poops. At nine months old, she is already learning the sign language for "potty" and uses it every now and then. There was even a whole week where I caught ALL of her poops in the potty. The last few days however have been busy and we have spent a lot of time on the go and at others' houses, and we have only caught after morning wake-ups and after naps.

As with all child development, there is a little of two steps forward, one step back. I have no intention of trying to get her out of diapers especially early, but in using EC part time like we are it has been much easier to keep her dry most of the time.

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13 Responses to Elimination Communication

  1. a2zbaby says:

    Really fantastic post, communicate is best way to increase knowledge and attain the opinion of other people about anything diapers for babies

  2. Term Papers says:

    Just magnificent post, we should communicate with new people everyday, it would make you competitive and increase the information.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    We’re we also inspired by the mention of Elimination Communication in your article. We’re trying the guides at http://ecsimplified.com and book has such the accessible writing that’s it’s making it so fun to read and try each step!

  4. This is a good step up from what we are doing.Thank you this is good information. And the baby thanks you.

  5. myessayspace says:

    People you must realize that babies are CONDITIONED to diaper wearing -and elimination communication has been practiced far longer than diapering and everywhere in the world! It is only our culture.

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  6. I am attempting to run my own blog but I think its too general and I want to focus more on smaller topics. Being all things to all people is not all that its cracked up to be.

  7. daniel john says:

    It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had fun writing this article. Excellent entry! I’m been looking for topics as interesting as this. Looking forward to your next post.

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  8. I/ve used cloth combined with EC from birth with both my boys – it’s great fun!

    I’m glad to see the message is finally getting out that it is more about the relationship than early potty training – that may happen, but isn’t the goal.

    We still have a ways to go to counter the dreadful TV segments and articles that abound which sensationalise EC and imply it is all-or-nothing *rolls eyes*, posts like yours really help that!

    Charndra

    P.S Some of your visitors may enjoy my free guide to beginning Baby Pottying too – I like helping people to get started with lots of tips.

  9. Rizza says:

    I have been cloth diapering my baby since she was born two months ago. I’ve noticed that from her very birth she disliked being in wet or dirty diapers and so I’ve been changing them right after she goes. Usually the poos are easy because I hear them, but most of the time she gets so squirmy with wet diapers that I changed her when her urine was still hot. Then I stumbled across an EC article on mothering.com and thought it was too much for me. But in the last two weeks my baby started actually using her sign language. I didn’t believe a two month old could make signs but I’ve made her hands do the signs and now she can make definitive “milk” “potty” “poopy” and “dry” signs. Milk was obviously the first one, but dry was the second one. I was teaching her dry diapers and wet vs. dry. I started seeing her do dry whenever she needed to be changed so I started teaching potty for when I changed her diaper and poopy for when I could hear her going. Now she will use potty, poopy, and dry interchangeably in order for me to take off her diaper and either hold her over a towel, the tub, or the toilet.

  10. Anonymous says:

    From 4 to 11 months I probably only changed a poopy diaper 2X because I could read my sons pooping signs; grunts and gestures. He loved to sit on the potty. But once he really started to move, he didn’t want anything to do with the potty and he also began stealth pooping (I had a much harder time reading him). So I backed off for a while. He is now 2 years old and is enjoying the potty again. I am only using a cloth diaper for nap and night time now. The rest of the time he is either in underpants or naked. Using EC made it easier on me in 2 ways; I changed less poopy diapers and did not have to squeltch any toilet fears. I highly recommend everyone give it a try; either full time or part time.

  11. Anonymous says:

    My son is 10 mos. old and we just started this week. We’ve also just start cloth diapering as well. Day 3 and he did go into the potty! I know it was just perfect timing, but I was happy!

    I’m going to the library to pull out that book today!

  12. Abigail says:

    EC is a great way to start communicating with your baby early on. With my kids, I started at 3 & 4 months. My oldest daughter was potty trained at around 19 months with some accidents, but mostly good. She was never afraid of the toilet becasue it has always a part of her life. I would encourage all moms to try this method, even if it’s just once or twice a day.

  13. I just stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have enjoyed it! Thank you for this post…we started cloth diapering our daughter at 7 months and began catching most of her poops in the potty around this time too. I was also a little leary of EC and didn’t read too much about it because my interest was not in potty training my baby, but just trying to familiarize her with the potty. She is now 18 mos. and loves to go on the potty and we are just beginning “hard core” potty training.

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