What is Elimination Communication (EC)?
If you were anything like me, coming into the cloth diapering world introduced me to a lot…A LOT…of things I had never heard about. One topic I kept seeing was on Elimination Communication. I became interested in the idea of potty learning my little one as early as six or seven months. I mean, who wouldn’t like the idea of not spraying and scraping poo off of a cloth diaper?!
So, how do you begin EC? First, you need to look for signs that you little one needs to potty (grimacing, aka “poop face”, tooting, etc). Then you need to undiaper them and hold them over a potty, sink, tub, bowl…whatever you choose. I personally choose to use the potty. I want him to get used to the “proper” place to potty. Now, I am aware that when your little one is a newborn it can be hard to know their potty schedule. The more you work at it, the more you will be able to be in-tune to your baby and when they need to relieve themselves. It is helpful to make a signal sound such as “psss” for association to the potty.
The more you work on this, the more you will be able to be on schedule with your LO’s relief times. For example, you may find that your LO goes ‘x’ minutes after nursing (or drinking from a bottle), or ‘x’ minutes after waking up, etc. By allowing your child to relieve themselves somewhere other than their diaper, you are keeping them from learning that sitting in their wastes is normal, thus helping in potty learning. Babies are born with the ability to know when they need to go, and by making them sit in a soiled diaper is teaching them to disassociate from the potty, thus making it harder to potty learn later down the road.
Many times you may notice that a baby pees when you have taken their diaper off. That is because mammals (& humans) are programmed to not soil themselves. Even EC part time is better than not doing it at all. EC is not only about potty learning early, but about reading signals from you baby and forming an even closer bond through another outlet. Hudson Lee just turned 3 months old and I have been working on EC with him since right before he turned 2 months. I consider myself a “part-time” EC-er. I don’t have enough time to be ready every single time he needs to use the bathroom. Also, I haven’t quite figured out his schedule for when he needs to go pee. I usually know, but not always. Going poo is another story; he has a ‘poo face’, so I know when it’s coming.
Moral of the story: I don’t want to sit in poo…and neither does my baby.
Disclaimer: I’ve read where several people have said their LO was PL’d before a year old but would regress later on. This isn’t always the case, but wanted to throw that out there so there aren’t any surprises.
I’m enjoying the new adventure of EC, as it is the first time I’ve tried, but my third child. Hopefully others will enjoy it as well, as it is just one more way to be in-tune with your LO.
Here is Hudson Lee right after breastfeeding. I get him naked because I know he is going to need to potty about 10 minutes after he eats. This gives him some ‘naked time’ as well as ‘tummy time’.