Baby Elimination Communication – How to Begin?

father potty training baby

“Heroes don’t wear diapers. It’s just not cool.” – Felix Baumgartner

Pooping is a natural process. Babies dependent on diapers are unable to control their bodily functions until they are potty trained. Elimination communication is the process where the parents encourage the baby to relieve himself in a designated place from an early stage of infancy for a diaper-free childhood.

What Is Meant By Elimination Communication (EC)?

“I didn’t know you had to change diapers so often. I couldn’t believe it – we must change them 10 times a day.” Stanley Tucci

Babies poop and babies pee, and they do it at any time without warning. Diapers play a major part in the life of new-borns, infants, and toddlers until they are potty trained. An American child spends about 3 years in diapers until they learn to go to the toilet like a big baby.

However, in many developing, non-industrial countries and cultures across the world, babies have a diaper-free childhood or minimum dependence on disposable diapers. The babies and their caregivers develop communication, where the little one expresses his desire to poop, and the caregiver takes the child to a potty and holds it upright to eliminate. This helps the baby defecate in a natural way. This concept is called Elimination Communication or Natural Toilet Training.

The disposable diapers were invented in 1955; our grandparent’s generation was completely dependent upon the natural potty training for their kids. Elimination communication for new-born is a pretty common concept. The earlier you start, the quicker you go diaper-free.

How Is EC Different From Potty Training?

Elimination communication is different from potty training in many ways. Potty training is when your child is ready to stop wearing the diapers and use the toilet independently, while elimination communication is when you actively take the baby to the toilet in response to their cues and promote a diaper-free childhood.

What Does the Elimination Communication Method Involve?

Elimination communication is a two-way channel, whereby the parent learns to pick cues of a baby’s need to answer the nature’s call, and the baby learns to pee or poop when a parent gives a signal. Elimination communication for toddlers is far easier as the baby is old enough to understand and express verbally. The kids who have undergone elimination communication perform better than their peers during potty training. Pay attention to these pointers in order to successfully implement elimination communication.

1. Timing

The human body works like a clock. There is a time for everything. Make a chart of the baby’s schedule or a few days. You will notice a pattern emerging. Some babies pass poop as soon as they wake up or before the nightcap, some might pee mid-feeding or pass poop a few minutes post-feed.  Once you start understanding the baby’s schedule, you can take them to the pot around that time and hold them up for their business.

2. Signals

Elimination communication needs a lot of observation. You will notice that your baby will give you some form of signals just before they are ready to poop. There might be changes in facial expressions or a noticeable pause while playing; they become overly fussy or get colicky; some might pass wind or grunt with pressure. As soon as you notice the change, take the baby to the bucket.

3. Intuition

Intuition comes with parenting automatically. You will just know when the baby wants to play and when he wants to poop. Trust your inner voice and take the baby to the bowl.

4. Cues

Cues work the other way round. The parent will have to hold the baby over the pot and give him a cue, make a sound like ‘sssss’ when you want the baby to start the stream of urine, or hold the baby in a certain position when you want him to poop. Eventually, the baby will relate this as a cue to eliminate and learn to do his business when prompted.

How Does It Benefit the Baby and the Mommy?

There are a lot of advantages to elimination communication. Apart from being a natural way to eliminate, it is good for the environment. There will be lesser diapers making to the landfills and lesser garbage that takes years to decompose. There are a lot of benefits for the babies and mommies practising EC.

1. Builds a Strong Bond

Elimination communication involves a lot of observation. The mother needs to understand the baby’s signals, and baby needs to pick the mother’s cues. This means a lot of time spent together.

2. Easy on the Wallet

Babies need 8-10 diapers a day until they turn 2 to 3 years old. This can be very expensive. Elimination communication reduces this expense and saves a lot of money.

3. No Diaper Rash

Babies have very sensitive skin. Continuous use of diapers can cause a rash on their soft tushies. Diaper-free time ensures rash-free skin and a happy baby.

4. Cleaner for Baby, Cleaner for Mommy

With minimal use of diapers, both mommy and baby have to deal with a lesser mess. The baby will not be sitting and moving around with soiled diapers, and mommy will not have to deal with the disposal of soiled diapers.

5. Comfortable for the Baby

The baby has a lot to learn in its developmental years. They will be crawling, sitting, and walking around. Wearing a diaper can be uncomfortable and heavy. Diaper-free childhood will offer them freedom and comfort at all times.

6. Easy Transition to the Toilet

The babies who have been trained with EC have a better understanding and control of their bodily functions. This makes the transition to the toilet easier.

At What Age Can You Start the EC Method of Potty Training?

The EC method can be started at a very early stage of infancy. New-born and infant elimination communication is strongly recommended. Some parents prefer to wait for 3 to 6 months before they begin to practice EC. There might be many unsuccessful attempts before you succeed. Be patient and keep trying.

How to Get Started With Elimination Communication Potty Training

You can begin with an understanding of EC by reading about it and speaking to parents who have successfully implemented this concept for their babies.

1. Start With Observation

Observation plays an important part in potty training using the elimination communication method; you have to pay undivided attention to the baby.

2. Introduce Cues

Your baby will learn to understand and associate elimination communication cues quickly. The sound you make or the way you hold are hints you and baby will develop together.

3. Keep a Potty Handy

You can either take the baby to the potty or bring the potty to the baby. In the early days of EC training, it would be wiser to keep a baby potty handy and accessible.

4. Carry Your Baby

Holding the baby or carrying him close in a sling can help you understand the baby in a better manner. The baby will start showing discomfort and become fussy when he wants to eliminate.

Things to Keep Handy for Elimination Communication Training

1. Baby Potty

A baby potty will come handy when you want to practice EC. You can also opt for an old container, a bedpan, or a bucket. A pot that looks like a toilet is recommended as the baby can relate to it during potty training at a later stage.

2. Leg Warmers

You need not keep the baby exposed for a long time. The baby can wear leg warmers and cloth nappy. Open the nappy while the legs remain covered and warm during EC training.

3. Potty-Friendly clothing

Crotchless pants and clothes that can be removed quickly and easily as soon as the baby signals are required for efficient EC training.

4. Journal

You will have to record a lot of details in the initial days to understand the baby’s body clock. Keep a journal and a pen handy to make quick notes.

5. Tote or Baby Bag

When travelling, you will have to carry a lot of things with you. A large tote is required to keep everything handy – the potty, diapers, tissues, extra set of clothes, and more.

6. Backup Diapers

A few extra diapers as a backup are always recommended. There might be times when you have no other option than to put the baby on diapers. A change of diet, a trip to the supermarket are situations when the EC will have to wait.

Drawbacks of EC Method

1. Time-Consuming

EC is a time-consuming process. It involves a lot of observation and time with the baby. You have to catch every signal and be around to take the baby to the pot. There may be wrong signals at times, and you will return without success. It needs stronger commitment and a lot of patience with the baby.

2. Inconvenient When Traveling

EC is best practised in the comfort of your home. In case you are out shopping or on a trip, it may get difficult to get the baby to the pot on time. The baby might not feel comfortable with passing stool in an unfamiliar environment.

3. Messy

EC can get messy. You will need time to understand the cues given by the baby during the diaper-free time. An accident may happen en-route the pot.

4. Social Acceptance

Since a lot of parents around you will be dependent on diapers, you may feel isolated at times. There will be apprehensions from people while lifting the baby. You will be facing a lot of queries and weird reactions. Remain calm and strong. At the end of the day, you have to decide what is right for you and the baby.

Do You Need to Buy Any Diapers While Practicing EC?

Elimination Communication can be done part-time or practised full-time. Some parents would prefer that the baby sleeps through the night with diapers and continue the EC toilet training during the day. As mentioned earlier, it may be difficult to continue practising EC when travelling. Diapers will still be required. However, the quantity will reduce drastically.

Practising elimination communication will require a lot of commitment and patience from both the caregiver and the baby. There may be accidents and messes to deal with in the initial days. But in the long run, it will be beneficial and rewarding. Approach the situation with a calm mind and enjoy the time bonding with your baby.

Also Read:

What is the Best Age for Potty Training Your Kid
Must-Have Items for Potty Training
Common Toilet Training Problems in Young Kids