We are back to talking about baby potty. But this time there are no (or a few) diapers. Elimination communication is about learning your baby’s cues and timing to help teach him that a potty is where he should pee and poo. It also goes by the names of infant potty training, natural infant hygiene and diaper free baby. In essence, you will have a baby who does not wear diapers (for some or all the time) and instead will be relieving himself in the potty or the loo. This makes baby raising a much cleaner, respectful and also so good for the environment.
Many families begin elimination communication at birth or start soon after, especially when baby has slightly more control of his body and can sit up when supported. Elimination Communication is definitely not a new age phenomenon. In most parts of the world, this was how baby’s hygiene was managed. This was especially true in the lesser developed countries where diapers could not be afforded.
Diapers are a modern innovation which helped families manage elimination. While babies who have been EC’d go diaper free relatively earlier, babies on diapers take till the age of 2, 3 or even beyond to become diaper free.
How to practice elimination communication?
If you want to follow the EC way, it means you will have to learn to read your baby’s cues when he wants to relieve himself. When you have read the sign you simply pick up or escort baby to a space where he will relieve himself, usually a potty. This is done till baby’s gain independence and knows when and how to relieve themselves on their own. Like many other things, it is only the natural way of doing things as nature intended it.
This does not mean there are no diapers at all. Most families follow elimination communication on a part-time basis when they are around at home or have access to a potty space. Diapers are not a permanent solution, but a back up when they cannot EC.
In order to start with elimination communication, you will have to
- Observe and learn baby’s cues – this will involve watching your baby and keeping him diaper free. You then have to observe the faces, actions or sounds he makes when he wants to relieve himself. This sounds a bit funny and like you have to wait around all day and watch. However, most babies relieve themselves just after they have woken up or after a feed so you can just choose to observe them in these instances.
- Training the baby to communicate – Introduce sounds like “sssss” for pee and “guhhh” for poop. Use these words every time you have an episode so that baby builds a connection with them and the actions.
- Always have a potty or a receptacle where you will catch waste nearby. If not the device, and you will carry and hold the baby on the toilet in the bathroom build that connection by maintaining consistency of using the same toilet and the same bathroom
- Attachment Parenting is a great way to build connect and learn to read your baby’s signs. Carrying baby in a baby carrier is this a great way to do this.
My baby is a toddler now and in diapers. Did I miss the bus?
Elimination communication is not an all or nothing case. Most families adopt it on a part-time basis to accommodate professional commitments and leaving the child in the company of another caregiver. But whether you want to do it full time or part time, elimination communication needs the commitment of time and effort.
I personally attempted elimination communication around 7 months but found that it ended in a lot of tears, so rescinded my efforts. Since then, many efforts were made. We had a few small successes and many misses too. However, I know that if you haven’t begun elimination communication in infancy, all is not over. You can still follow the steps whenever you and the child seem ready.
As a cloth diapering parent, for me, elimination communication is actually potty training now and involves –
- Not putting on a diaper on babyT and using a light cotton briefs or training pants. I only resort to using diapers on days when we are out and about and for the nights.
- Encouraging him to go to the restroom immediately after he wakes up and after meal times.
- Asking him every now and then if he would like to visit the restroom
- I rely a lot on books and educational videos so books on potty and Youtube have been used too.
If you look at it, elimination communication is what most Indian families adopt with respect to their children’s hygiene. For those of us who have not been swayed by the colourful and multi-hued cloth diapering world, elimination communication can be a savior indeed.
Had you heard of elimination communication? Do you think it is right to train an infant in this manner?
Last year for the #AtoZChallenge – E was for eCommerce
This blog post is part of a series for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge where my theme is
New Age Parenting: Parenting in 201x.
Read my theme reveal post here.
To read all the posts for the #AtoZChallenge go here – #AtoZ2018
You may also find this post on Cloth Diapers very helpful.