Elimination Communication

While I’m enjoying my new baby, I’ll be sharing some posts from my fellow bloggers. To read more about today’s guest writer, be sure to check out the bottom of this post!

Bella, my third baby decided diapers were not cool very early on. She was adamant that she could and should use the toilet like her older brothers as early as 8 months.

Elimination Communication
(Photo credit: lkonstanski)

At 19 months she got really serious about being diaper free. She has also been really successful at getting undressed in the blink of an eye!

A few years back I saw a book sitting on the parenting shelf at the library; it had a catchy title: The Diaper Free Baby. I confess, the idea to me was totally absurd, but I was curious. I picked it up and read a little bit, and I was totally surprised.

At that time, my first was about ten months old and he disliked having his diapers changed after pooping so I had been letting him sit on the toilet instead. He was used to hanging out in the bathroom and knew what a toilet was for so it seemed like the easiest thing to do than to have a struggle about changing a diaper. The book called this “Elimination Communication.”

From the book:

“Elimination Communication (EC) is NOT potty training. It is a gentle, natural, non-coercive process by which a baby, preferably beginning in early infancy, learns with the loving assistance of parents and caregivers to communicate about and address his or her elimination needs.”

I hadn’t really thought of what we were doing as some sort of method or even anything that I would find in a book. It started because Maxi seemed curious to do what we were doing and then it just worked, there were no more struggles or tears and so we never looked back. From 10 months to 22 months we did what is sometimes called “part time EC” even thought I didn’t consciously think of it as that and then he was done with diapers all together.

When my second was born as soon as he showed interest in sitting on the toilet I helped him and again it worked. He wasn’t diaper free but whenever he asked to go on the toilet and there was one near he did and the rest of the time we went with regular diapers.

Back to Miss Bella and our current attempts at EC, aside from being stealth on her abilities to wrangle off her pants and diapers, on her quest to be diaper free, Bella is now twenty seven months and truly diaper free!
The journey there wasn’t always mess free but certainly comical at times. One time she pooped a tiny bit in the living room while my (child-less)brother-in-law looked on horrified-oops!! For the most part however, things went really well although I do wonder why public toilets are so attractive to little ones…

Recently at the grocery store Bella asked to take her shoes off. That right there should have been my clue but I didn’t quite make the connection. Anyways, she asked for her socks to come off and next thing I know she was standing and desperately tugging at her jeans and finally she started signing and saying “poop-poop.” We made a mad dash to the nearest restroom – three floors down on a busy escalator- and then resumed our grocery shopping, her totally happy, me just a tad frazzled but also quite amazed at her determination!

So this EC concept I will say is really interesting and hats off to any parents out there doing it from infancy and sticking to it. For us, part time worked really well.
Have you ever heard of EC or Infant Pottying? What is your take on it? (We are talking about poops and pee pee but let’s keep it clean please!) If you have tried EC – what age did you start with your infant and how did it work out?

Ariadne is a certified positive discipline parenting educator. She has three children and practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting. Find her on Facebook at the Positive Parenting Connection page for great ideas and inspiration for your parenting journey! Plus, check out her website The Positive Parenting Connection which is full of resources for gentle and positive discipline.

This post has been edited from a previous version published at The Positive Parenting Connection.


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