Elimination Communication refers to when parents or caregivers learn their baby's biological rhythm and subtle cues for needing to use the toilet and rather than let them use diapers to soil themselves, they respond to their baby's needs by assisting them and taking them to the toilet.
EC also has many other benefits and you don't have to do it full time if you don't want to. Unlike with traditional potty training, EC does not have negative effects.
This is done from as early as birth and the parents position the babies in a natural squat position on the toilet frame or help them to use a potty.
The reasoning behind this method is that just as with animals e.g. puppies that know not to defecate where they sleep, human babies are also born with the self awareness of when they need to use the bathroom and they also don't want to soil themselves.
Due to the diapers and parents accepting the diaper industry's marketing as diapers being the only option available to them, babies are left with no other option but to soil themselves and sometimes when dirty diapers are missed, they are helpless and have to sit in their own feces.
Now I admit that this whole concept of Elimination Communication is a strange and new concept to me, since I only recently picked up this term in a motherhood conversation. But when researching it and when explained in this manner, it makes complete sense to me and I feel guilty and sorry for my little girl, that I hadn't known of this sooner.
This also changes my mindset on potty training and I might even give EC a chance. It is said to be best to start EC between 0 to 4 months but it is also never too late.
The first step is to observe your baby for her cues. E.g. A squirm or shiver before or as she starts to urinate, grunting and pushing when wanting to poop or getting red in the face and teary eyed. All of which are signs and cues I have often observed from my little one.
I have also noticed that she would be unhappy before soiling her diaper, which is what EC refers to with babies not wanting to soil themselves.
EC also has many other benefits and you don't have to do it full time if you don't want to. You can do it part time or full time, what ever suits your family. You can still use diapers or choose to have your baby go without diapers, which ever suits you and I suppose it depends on how confident you are that you will pick up your baby's cues.
Unlike with traditional potty training, EC does not have negative effects such as issues with constipation, children being forced to hold their bladders or bowls or any emotional damage that people sometimes mention in relation to potty training a child too soon.
EC is a natural, gentle, patient and nurturing way of listening to your baby and her needs and responding to them by assisting her. Mothers also say that doing EC strengthened the bond between mother and baby.
Other benefits include;
- No diaper rashes.
- No or fewer yeast or bladder infections.
- Baby's skin is not exposed to urine, feces or chemicals for long periods, if at all.
- Being more intune with your baby's needs.
- Baby has access to an otherwise permanently covered part of her body.
- Less clean up and good for the environment.
- Earlier independent toilet usage.
Other than watching for your baby's cues, you also need to use some common sense. Taking baby to the bathroom first thing in the morning, after naps, every couple of hours if she hasn't gone for a while and after nursing sessions.
Come to think of it, my mother did elimination communication with me, there just wasn't a specific name for it when I was little. Just recalling my mother explain to me how she "potty trained" me before I was a year, with her method being the same as EC, made me recognize it.
The South African FB Group to join for EC information and support: