Potty Talk- no, not that kind of potty talk. That's another topic altogether. I'm talking about Elimination Communication (EC), a new word
given to an ancient practice: raising baby without diapers. E.C. is also referred to as Natural Infant Hygiene.
When I first heard about Elimination Communication, my second child was about 8 months old. The concept intrigued me. I knew that women around
the world did not use diapers, and though they wore their babies on their bodies, they didn't get soiled on. They simply tuned in to their
baby's cues from birth and at the right time, held baby out over a bush or toilet receptable and let nature take its course. I decided to try it
with my son. I was tickled pink when I sat him on a little potty and he went, right on cue. It's like he knew exactly what to do.
The party line of modern child rearing experts is that baby has no control over his sphincter muscles until around 18 months, but I didn't
believe that, and there isn't a shred of evidence to support that opinion. Indeed there is much evidence to the contrary. I noticed that my
kids would wake up dry every morning from the time they were around 7 months old or so (and I use cloth diapers so I knew the diaper was
dry). There is no evidence that babies have no control over their eliminations, and in fact this is merely the unscientific
opinion of Western "experts". Women in the US in the early part of the 20th century trained babies as young as 15 months using this method.
Later, in the 1930s, strict, harsh potty training methods came into vogue and this is why Pediatricians started speaking out against "early potty
training". Elimination Communication, however, does not have these characteristics. A growing number of Pediatricians and other experts
(especially those who were not born in the United States and are familiar with the method firsthand) are supporting and promoting EC.
My first "EC baby" at 9 months, would pee and poop every single morning in the potty, and we caught most of the pees. He rarely wore diapers
(only when we went out, sometimes not even then) and instead wore either training pants or little underwear. He was fully potty trained, #1 and
#2, day and night, at 23 months.
Of course, early potty training is a side effect of EC but it's not really the goal. The goal is communication. If you put diapers on the baby
from the time he is newborn, he's effectively being trained to "go" in a diaper. He's being "diaper trained." Elimination Communication is
hygienic and shows tremendous respect for a baby's ability and need to communicate with his caregiver for his optimal well being.
EC babies do sometimes have accidents. For instance, during a developmental leap (crawling, walking), babies take a break from cueing their
parents when they need to go. They're just too busy to be bothered. But since they don't become accustomed to the feel of waste on their skin,
finishing to potty independence is easy. They don't really have to be trained as toddlers because they already prefer the potty. It's not scary,
neither do they have to be coerced, bribed, etc as often happens with conventionally trained toddlers.
Elimination Communication is just another option for parents. The thing I love about it is that it proves that babies are so much smarter than we
give them credit for. Just as it was fascinating and almost unbelievable the first time you saw a baby signing to its parents (whether that baby
was yours or someone else's), it's also really cool when I say "ssss" to my 9 month old and she goes in her little potty.
It's also very neat when she is playing happily on the floor, crawls up to me quickly and starts fussing, I sit her on the potty and she poops.
Cleanup is quicker, easier and more hygienic. And she much prefers the potty to a diaper, which she always struggles with. She never fusses when
I place her on the potty. If she doesn't need to go when I put here there, she simply crawls off.
For those who are interested in learning more, a non profit organization called DiaperFreeBaby.org has appeared on the scene to give information and support. There is also a
wonderful book called Diaper Free! that tells you how to get started with the practice, stories from parents
and practical tips.
Now re: potty talk: if anyone knows the secret to getting your 5 year old son to STOP communicating about eliminating, I'm all ears.