In case you have never heard about this before, in the Western World this “method” is known as Elimination Communication (EC), Diaper Free Baby, or Natural Infant Hygiene. Amongst most indigenous people around the world, EC doesn’t even have a name because it is the norm.
Well, there are many reasons.
- It saves you money.
- It saves the world from more disposable diapers sitting around in landfills.
- Your child learns that his/her needs are being heard, which makes them feel more confident about themselves.
- It can be a good bonding experience, since it is really all about communication between you and your baby (babies are way smarter than we usually give them credit for!)
- Prevents diaper rashes.
- It saves you the nightmarish process of potty training a toddler.
But in our case, I suspect knowing about Elimination Communication earlier would have done even more, helping me avoid lots of fights with my husband and what was probably a late taste of postpartum depression.
Sometimes we would buy disposables, but we were really broke and couldn’t afford to get them all the time, plus my son, Teal, would get nasty rashes, bringing my mommy guilt to unbearable levels.
Eventually, we bought a handheld plunger washer, which helped a little bit, but laundry time was still one of our biggest nightmares.
When we finally started getting into the rhythm of it all, our son was ready for solid food and then the mess was brought to a whole new dimension.
My mom, who also had me and my sister in cloth diapers back in the day, understood the struggle and got me a roll of bamboo liners, which are kind of like dry baby wipes that you put between the baby’s butt and the diaper. They are disposable and biodegradable and they truly gave us a couple of months of glorious relief.
My husband and I exchanged a look of resignation and perhaps horror. I won’t be too graphic in my description, but you can probably imagine trying to scrape off the poop and put it in the toilet then hand wash the diaper in a public bathroom sink was a pretty nasty experience.
I sighed, “This is our life now.”
(AND I DIDN'T EVEN READ IT!)
A few days later I found myself roaming around in a little organic café, looking at baby books, when I saw a title that immediately caught my eye: ‘Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living.’
The cover showed a picture of a very young baby being held over a bowl.
I was blown away. I quickly took the book off the shelf and scanned through it, mostly interested on the pictures. These babies really seemed to be going potty when they were only a few months old!
I couldn’t buy the book right then and there, but a quick Internet search provided me with tons of resources to get started.
And that’s how our journey started. At 9 months old, Teal was well past the latest recommended EC start age, but it still worked fairly well for us. Since that first time, Teal’s constipation problem completely went away, which made me suspect that he simply didn’t want to poop himself and that’s why he was holding it in.
At first, we started doing EC only during the day.
I was already sleep deprived enough with night nursing, so adding more wakeful time didn’t appeal to me at all. However, as I started to understand my son’s cues little by little, I gained the confidence to start trying it out at night. He slept so much better when I gave him the chance to pee in the middle of the night, and it took less time than changing a diaper.
We were very happy with this discovery and couldn’t stop taking about it. I just couldn’t believe that I had never heard about EC before. I had done so much research about natural pregnancy, natural childbirth, natural parenting, natural everything! We even made our own reusable baby wipes. But I never ran into any information about Elimination Communication until I found that book in California. I also never really questioned the need for diapers. Somehow, I was under the impression that trying to potty-train children before the age of 3 was damaging to their development. Later on I found out that misconception came from pediatric studies that were funded by diaper companies.
Ever since we started EC a year and a half ago, my son has only pooped in his diaper two or three times (mostly during big life transitions). He is less committed to peeing in the potty, but by the time he was 18 months he was already staying dry throughout the night, which was quite amazing for me. Now he is almost 2 and a half and he is mostly out of diapers. If I ever have another baby, I will definitely start Elimination Communication from the very beginning. Finding out about EC was almost revolutionary for us. It helped me remember to really question everything.
If you’re interested on trying Elimination Communication but you feel intimidated, remember you don’t have to throw yourself into it all at once. You can start by giving your baby a chance to eliminate when she/he first wakes up in the morning or right after a nap.
Also, you can check out these resources for more specific information about how to get started:
Baby Potty Training Video
Diaper Free Baby
Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living.
And of course, you can also email me any questions you have!
What do you think? Is this something you would be willing to try?