Cloth Diaper and EC Babies

What is Elimination Communication?

Elimination Communication or EC is the name for a practice, that involves parents tuning into their babies elimination needs.  Parents closely watch and read their babies signs, sounds and body language also using timing and intuition to recognise and respond to the babies need to eliminate waste.

When parents read their children's cues, they hold their child over a toilet, bucket, sink, or other receptacle and make a cueing sound like ssssss, or for slightly older babies words like pee, poop and potty, or a combination could be used.  Some parents also use the ASL sign for 'toilet' or 'diaper change'.  This position seems to be very comfortable for the baby, making it easy for them to relax their pelvic floor muscles in order to 'go'.  (It is especially good for babies suffering from mild constipation.)  When the child does eliminate into the potty, it is celebrated! When the child has an accident (which will happen) it is not berated!  In this way the baby is conditioned to use the potty with the assistance of an adult.
The cueing sound can also help your baby to recognise that it is okay to 'go' in a place that is strange to him or her!

Elimination Communication also known as the "Diaper Free Baby Concept" can be started with your baby anytime from birth until about 1 year old. (After 1 year of age, you would probably have more success with conventional "potty training")

The goal of Elimination Communication is not to pressure your baby into doing something he or she does not want to do, but to tune your child in to understanding his or her needs, sometimes even before he or she is even old enough to sit.  An EC baby has often acheived full day-time control, before its first birthday*.  *A baby typically achieves elimination control in the following order: Bowel at night, Bowel during the day, Bladder during the day, and Bladder at night!  But do not be disheartened if your baby does not achieve control in this order or time frame.  Every baby and situation is different, and will progress at differently!! 
NB: If your child is visibly upset when on the potty, they should taken off immediately.  We are not forcing our children to use the potty, we are listening to their signs telling us they need and want to be put on the potty!

Elimination Communication originates from more primitive cultures like Africa, India and Asia, where babies go without diapers from birth, and are almost constantly worn by their mothers.
Here in North America, parents who adopt this technique usually use cloth diapers as a back up to help "catch" everything that they are not able to.

Elimination Communication is a technique that is very time consuming, and can be hard work to start with, but parents looking at embarking on this journey should know that Elimination Communication is very rewarding and does not have to be done 24 hours a day.  (Check out our section on how to get started!)  You can practice EC with your baby part-time to start with.  You can start by taking your baby to the potty when he or she wakes, and after each feed.  Young babies do not have a lot of control, so what you are doing is watching to see when they usually go, and then putting them on a potty before they do, so they become conditioned to relax their pelvic floor muscles when they feel the potty underneath them.  (There are potty's that are specifically designed for small infants which makes it easier on the adult and baby!) 

NB: Please be aware that once you start EC, your baby will know the difference between being dry, and comfortable, and being wet and uncomfortable.  This is great because, your baby will want to be put on the potty to eliminate, but also means your baby could become fussy and want to be changed right away, if he or she does not make it to the potty.  (Newborns have very small bladders, and can urinate every 10-20 minutes.  This time will increase as the baby gets older and bigger.)