Archive for the ‘Elimination communication (EC)’ Category

Elimination Communication (EC) is a gentle way of encouraging your child to communicate the functions of pooing and peeing and understanding their bodily signals.

Parents can practice at varying degrees from full-time to occasional. It advocates starting toilet training between 6-12mths and out of nappies as early their 2nd birthday. However, you can use the method regardless of your child’s age as the age of completion isn’t the objective.

I came across EC or ‘natural infant hygiene’ with my first child Bella.  My friend Rachel had been practising EC with her daughter from 4 months and she was out of nappies by 19mths. I was a late starter but Bella was still out of nappies before her 2nd birthday. Some believe it to be ‘damaging’ to do it too soon but that wasn’t my experience and I’ve not found evidence to support this.

It’s easy to understand why we put off and delay getting our children out of nappies these days. Disposable nappies are soooo convenient, not to mention other parents toilet horror stories. However there is nothing more convenient than a toilet trained child.

Here are some of the common myths and misconceptions around EC’ing

1. “Wouldn’t it just be easier for my child to train on his own when he is older?”

All children eventually become toilet-independent as older toddlers or preschoolers, and their joy and pride in this is a wonderful thing to see. But EC’d babies can experience the independence of fully understanding their bodies well before that

2. “I don’t want a mess all over my house – isn’t EC difficult to do in Western society?”

The initial learning period does not last long. Besides, you’d likely have misses if you were conventionally toilet training a child anyway. Remember you can use nappies as backup or full-time if it helps you feel more relaxed. Plenty of parents follow EC without going completely nappy-free.

3. ‘Why should my baby have to communicate her elimination? She’s just a baby. Why can’t I just let her relax and use a nappy?”

Once you recognize that your baby was born with the innate awareness not to soil her own nappy, you’ll realize that she is not being forced to communicate or do anything beyond her natural abilities.

4. “I have older children to take care of too”

Older children get used to interruptions, and quickly learn that you are present for them even while feeding or changing a baby.  They are also great models; babies learn so much from watching their siblings use the toilet.

5. “I am too overwhelmed”

EC can be practiced part-time. The key is to focus on communication; the actual act of “catching” is less important than communicating and acknowledging what your child is doing. Try for just half an hour each day; let your baby go bare-bottomed while lying on a soft waterproof pad or some cloth nappies. Or try putting your baby on the potty before bath time and make it a fun ritual.

So how do you get started?

Decide on a good time to let your child be nappy free. An hour in the morning or afternoon is enough.

When you see them peeing or pooing communicate this with them. You could make a ‘psss’ sound and say “look (name), your peeing (or pooing)”

Have a potty lying around and encourage them to sit on it. Have a special book or toy that you only use at those times.

Continuity is key. If you can’t manage everyday a few times a week is ok to start.

I found 2 books extremely helpful throughout the process, Diaper free before 3 by Jill M Lekovic and The Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. I also discovered support groups which were a lifeline.

Rachel Richardson and her fabulously informative site was a great source of advice for me . Also here’s an interesting read on one mother’s experience.


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