Friday, April 22, 2011

Part 1: What is Elimination Communication (EC)?

Is it a form of potty training?

I suppose, for some, it is- but I believe babies are already fairly potty trained when born. It's the parents that need the training!  EC is simply responding to your baby's need to pee or poo, just as you would when your baby is hungry and needs to nurse.

Just as a baby communicates her hunger to her parents, a baby also has ways of communicating her need to eliminate.  If you already have a baby, you've probably already seen some of these signals, like baby grunting or bearing down while holding her breath when she's trying to poo.

How will I know my baby needs to go?

You likely already know baby's signals for when she needs a diaper change, right?  When Evangeline soils her cloth diaper, she fusses and wiggles- and if I ignore these signals or misinterpret them, she'll continue getting louder and louder until I get the message.  (We do not use a "stay-dry" layer- the layer which wicks moisture away from the skin.)  So, you see, you've already learned how to read baby's cues when she needs her diaper changed, so you can definitely learn how to decipher her signals when she needs to go to the potty!

You may have also figured out that your baby has a routine. You may have noticed he poos at a certain time each day or needs to be changed after every nap.

Most babies need to relieve their bladders soon after they awaken and shortly after nursing.  I already had an idea of Evangeline's elimination routine, so this helped when we began. 

Some people begin EC at birth, but many start at other points during the baby's first year or so.  When I was pregnant with Evangeline, I considered doing it but promptly forgot about it once she was born! has wonderful tips on how to tell if your baby needs to go.  I love that they point out that intuition can be a great indicator as well, because sometimes I just "know" she needs to go, and I have no other explanation for it.  Click here to read about signals and cues.

There are loads of tips available on the internet, and the EC section on the forums are a great place to get feedback and advice.

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