Everything You Wanted to Know about Elimination Communication

Image adapted via Flickr/ lkonstanski

My son is almost 2 years old now and we've begun to think about potty training. He's showing all the signs that parents are told to look for (like letting me know when's he's gone in his diaper and being able to pull his pants down) and I'm starting to get into the mindset of having to help him use the potty soon.

For some parents, this phase happens later (one of my kids wasn't interested until they were almost three), but other families like to start this process as soon as possible. Elimination communication (EC) is like a super-early form of potty training and if you've been curious about what it is, what it involves, and if it works – keep reading!

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Image via Flickr/ casschin

What is Elimination Communication?

If you're looking for an exact definition, EC Simplified puts it best:

“a gentle, non-coercive way to respond to a baby's natural pottying needs, from birth,
which enables her to follow her instincts to not soil herself, her caretaker, or her sleep space.”

By watching and understanding your baby's cues, elimination communication allows you and your baby to be diaper-free from birth. It's not an “all or nothing” definition – meaning you can practice elimination communication full time, part time, or only occasionally.

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Image via Flickr/ mliu92

What does it involve?

An infant makes specific facial and auditory cues before “going to the bathroom” including squishing their face, making grunting noises, or bearing down. Practicing EC means paying attention to those sometimes small cues and reacting instead of waiting for your child to use a diaper. Your baby would wear cotton underwear or a cloth diaper in place of disposable diapers and you'd watch for the cues that they need to go to the washroom and take them to potty, toilet, or even a designated bucket.



Image via Flickr/ MissMessie

Why would someone do EC?

According to some EC-ers, this is a great way to develop a bond with your baby as you spend more time looking at cues and understanding their needs. It's also said to be better for babies who have sensitive skin as you're not fighting off diaper rash. It can also help families save money and can be helpful for the environment because of the reduction in diaper usage.

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Image via Flickr/ Jenny Lee Silver

Should I try it?

If it interests you, I say, go for it. If it intimidates you, don't make it an “all or nothing” thing and start slowly. There are a lot of success stories and with the help of the Internet, more resources and communities available to cheer you on.

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Everything You Wanted to Know about Elimination Communication

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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