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Elimination Communication: what's that?

I used disposable diapers with our first.  I never thought about cloth diapers.  With our second, we fumbled our way around and figured out how to cloth, but I also recall hearing then about "Elimination Communication", aka "EC".  Eek - what's that?  Could it be possible to really have a diaper-free baby?  I was grumbling yesterday via twitter about all our dirty dipaers, and Milagros reminded me about their regularly occurring Diaper Free meetings (every 3rd Wednesday of the month, 2-3pm, next on is next Wednesday May 19th).  They said, you can even EC part time!

Diaper Free Baby of Portland is a local, free support group that helps promote a natural approach to responding to babies’ elimination needs. This practice is followed worldwide and is known as Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygiene, and Infant Potty Training. The process involves observing one’s baby’s signs and signals, providing cue sounds and elimination-place associations, and can be done with or without any diaper use.

I am no expert, but I want to learn more!  Has your baby been diaper free, full-time or part-time?  How does it work?  What are the basics?  Inquiring mamas want to know!


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We practice some EC with my daughter, who is now 9 months. She almost always wears a cloth diaper, but when we change her, we take her to the potty. She has a small potty chair, but we usually take her to the sink just because it's easier not to have to dump the thing. We hold her in a supported squat and make a "shh" cue and she usually pees. She's been having some trouble lately with pooping since she started solids and is having more solid poop, but before that at least half of her poops were going into the potty. She definitely still has wet and dirty diapers, but it's nice to at least have her used to the idea for when we're ready to start potty learning.
It's definitely not all or nothing. Why not just take your baby to the potty and give it a try?!

We were ready to learn but didn't want to spend any $. Google search had all the ideas(didn't think to try the library). We started early, over the sink/potty around 6 months. Never spent $ on a kiddie potty seat, worried they wouldn't go unless it was on "their potty seat". If you have the time to learn the cues, wiggle, facial expression, every time they wake up and also more times during the waking day- you'll get it and they will have less rash and crabby about being in wet/soiled diaper. Everyone wins!( both of ours were in cotton unders by a year/year n half) Good Luck :)

We don't practice EC (DS has some digestive issues and is on donor milk and he's just REALLY unpredictable) but these stories are amazing! How nice would it be to not have to wash diapers every other day!?! Good job mamas, I'm jealous!

I've been practicing what I call "relaxed EC" with my DD (now three months old) since about 2 wks old (I was healing from a tear before that and couldn't move around easily). For easy pottying access, she generally wears a prefold backup tucked into a fleece-covered elastic belt when we're at home, and I put a cover over it when we go out. At home I potty her into a Baby Bjorn LIttle Potty (easiest on my back) or over the sink. When we're out I'll potty her in public restrooms or better, the great outdoors.

It's fun! and it is time-consuming sometimes (and is also a long-term investment), but now that I know what it is she's trying to tell me when she wiggles/fusses in that certain way, I can't bring myself to ignore it. I just pay attention the best I can, when I can, and we all stay relaxed and fun with it. Sometimes we make it through a day and a night using only 4-5 prefolds. Some will say that they EC during the day but not at night - I've found that night time EC is easier during the night, since she pees less often and wakes up dry and wiggling to signal her need to go to the potty.

For free resources, I highly recommend the (library) book The Diaper Free Baby, as well as the websites tribalbaby.org. parttimeec.com, diaperfreebaby.org, and happypottying.com. ECing can be a really sweet, connecting practice - do it if and when it's enjoyable for both of you!

We did EC with our two and currently EC'ing the third. I love it, after 9 months or so our kids very rarely pooped their pants and that was pretty much due to holding them over a container whenever they needed to poop at around 4 or 5 months of age. We pretty much focussed on the poops first. After they "got it", we moved onto pees.
It works. It's amazing how young kids do have the ability to "hold".

I did a modified version of EC. I like the concept a lot, but needed to do it in a way that worked for our family. I started when my son was around 10 months old. We bought a baby bjorn potty chair and put it in the bathroom and we would make "ssss" noises and put him on the potty a few times a day. At first he didn't realize he was going pee, but then after awhile he knew what his body was doing. Our goal was to get him aware of his bodily functions so that potty training would be easier and he would be out of cloth diapers. When we officially potty trained him at 19 months, it took only 2 days. He still used a cloth diaper at night. He refused, however, to wear the diaper because he was done with diapers! But night potty training came a little later when he could get out of bed and use the bathroom on his own.

Tried it. Wood floors + rainy climate (how much easier is this where you're outside all year round?) + constipation issues (due to hereditary colon issues) + lots of research into brain/body development, led me to feel that this was one more way we were pressuring our child to be ready for something she wasn't. The poop and pee successes always felt far more like a lucky accident (so to speak) than actual training. I just couldn't get past the feeling that poop and pee had taken over our lives, and hypervigilence was creating a stressed out environment. Hats off to those who've made it work, but it didn't for us.

I just wanted to chime in here to say that Portland has a vibrant and active support group and we meet... tomorrow (as the main post said)! So I hope if you are interested you will check us out.

Until then, two things: 1) "Diaper Free" is sort of a misnomer-- we are not dependent on diapers, but most of us still use them. 2) There is no right way to do this. You can diaper full time and just offer when you change the diaper. That's fine. All Elimination Communication is about is, well, talking about elimination with your baby.

You can tell when your baby is hungry and wants to nurse... why shouldn't you also be able to learn when your baby is uncomfortable and wants to eliminate?

Try it! I know you will be amazed.

Has anyone found a daycare provider that will work with you on this? I work 3 days a week. I have had 2 kids fully potty trained by 18 months, but would like to try this with my smallest.

We started ECing our son at 3 1/2 months and we have always used some kind of diaper backup (cloth, G-diapers, dispos). We started with the 'sss' sound to cue him and he caught on quickly. It became this truly wonderful part of our lives because we rarely had a fussy baby and rarely cleaned up any poopy nappies. We realized it was a shift in our mindset about how we were going to deal with elimination and it has worked very well. At 1 year he started signing 'potty' when he had to go, or when he just went, so that was amazingly helpful. We got him training pants for his 1st birthday. For the past 6 months he has worn them in the rotation with the nappies. He still has wet diapers, but all poops go in the potty. Now he says 'poo poo' and points at the potty when he needs to go. We are not quite there with night time pees, but we're not worried about it. Sleep is more important for us all! What makes me so glad we are on this path is when I see him sitting on his potty, having his morning BM, reading his books and jabbering away, completely content. When he's done, he stands up and looks at his accomplishment and says 'YAY!'. I smile and agree wholeheartedly!

I started EC'ing at 5 months. I didn't read any books, but bought the video 'potty whisperer'. My son caught on very quickly. We use both cloth and disposable diapers, and he has a morning pee and poo just like his sister. my son is 1 and wakes up regularly with a dry diaper, and gets through the day with 3 diapers or less. that being said, there are definitely days when he's not into it (when they hit milestones, there can be regression). the great part is that we don't even have to use wipes anymore (it is so much cleaner!). sometimes he goes in the toilet and sometimes he doesn't. but he almost always poops in the toilet. I know when it's time to potty train, it will not be a struggle like it was with my older child. It's just a natural thing for a baby to not want to soil him or herself! Isn't this what moms did before diapers?

Regarding childcare-- you can often find montessori-minded places that are very accepting of EC. It is also possible to advertise on craigslist for EC-savvy nannies. They are out there! I can recommend one or two.

I was amazed at how fun I found ECing to be and how much I enjoyed that time with my daughter.

I started with my daughter when she was 8 months old. I was truly amazed the first time I held her up and she peed for me. She's now 21 months and in panties. We still have an occasional pee miss - especially when we are playing with friends. More often than not - she tells me she has to go pee-pee and we run to the potty. She's been pooping in the potty fairly consistently since she was 11 months old.

A lot of the responsibility was on me at first - but she maintained an awareness of what her body was doing and now she tells me when she needs to go (or if it's a miss - she tells me she has just gone).

The important thing for me was listening to her. There were times when I knew she needed to pee but she would say "NO!" and one minute later pee on the floor or in her diaper. I had to listen to that "no" and wait for her to be ready. I kept offering the potty and waited until she said "yes." I also feel it is very important to stay relaxed about the whole thing and to find a way that works for you. I wasn't hyper vigilant and tried not to be stressed about it. It was easy enough to clean up pee from the floor - and when I couldn't deal with it I would pop on a diaper and take a little break. I tried to take each pee on the potty as one less diaper to wash and each pee in the diaper or on the floor as an "uh-oh."

We are currently on vacation and she is managing to get most of her pees and all of her poops on the potty. ECing has been a great experience for us.

My daughter is 14 months and we've practiced EC since she was one month old. It has taught us a wonderful way to meet her needs. We've learned that she often needs to pee upon waking up or when she shivers, for example. She has gone poo in the potty consistently since she was nine months old, with one "miss" in the last five months! I don't know if that is typical but you can imagine how it has made washing cloth diapers easier than ever. I recommend reading "Infant Potty Training" by Laurie Boucke (a misnomer, since it's communication rather than training, but the content is great.) Much of the world practices infant pottying and Boucke details how these cultures practice it. Do go to a Diaper Free Baby meeting at Milagros if you can.

Interesting in my case is both of my children became very aware of their needs as a result of infection. My daughter was learning he petty around 14 mths and suffered a sinus infection followed up wit a round of antibiotics which led to a yeast infection that made her anry to be wet so she would use the petty all the time knowing it would feel better. So we never really practiced DC but My son is 6 months old and he too suffered bronchitis which needed antibiotics and then started solids. which all led to yeast infection. Well this time it was trickery because we cloth diaper, he is allergic to disposables. My SIL suggested airing him out all the time. I just couldn't leave him completely bare. So I took one of my headbands slid it over his hips & tucked a prefold loosely. I knew what he wanted when the wiggling & carts started so at 5am one day I took him over the toilet which has a built in baby seat & held him to poo. I was extatic! One less poopy diaper & from there on I got such a kick out of getting him to go pee or poo in the potty. He's just about sitting on his own now so I'm going to order him a baby born sit to sit on as I feed him just to save me those diapers to wash. He just hates being wet.

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