Have you heard of EC (Elimination Communication)? It’s a fancy term for learning to communicate with your infant about elmininating, with the goal of potty training or at least greatly reducing the use of diapers. Sound shocking? Actually, it’s not a new idea. Many traditional cultures in both Africa and Asia (who also practice baby-wearing) do potty train their infants as a matter of course.
One might wonder, is a baby really able to communicate in this way? Is the child being “trained” or the parent? And, also what’s the point? Aren’t diapers easier?
Successful ECers answer that their choice is driven by more than the joy of ditching the diaper. Parents report that their potty-trained infant cries less and seems more comfortable and happy. They believe that no baby enjoys sitting in a soiled diaper. They believe that the child has an intrinsic awareness of his or her need to eliminate, and that communicating that need fosters confidence, while building the parent-child relationship. Here are two quotes from DiaperFreeBaby.com:
” By the time Simon was three and a half months old he had proven to us that EC is more than just ‘parent training.’ He started signaling his need to pee by making his own imitation of our ‘sss’ cue! We were delighted to be in such two way communication with him.”
– Rachel, mom to Simon, began EC at birth
“Doing EC with Ben has completely changed our relationship for the better. Before we started EC, it seemed like he often cried for no reason. With EC, I finally have an important tool to help meet his needs, and he is 100% happier.”
– Sarabeth, mom to Ben, began EC at 2 1/2 months
EC has received a lot of press in the past 3-4years, and with mixed reactions from American parents. Christine Gross-Loh’s “The Diaper-Free Baby” is the most well-respected how-to book for parents. The curious and those ready to give EC a try can also look for support on www.DiaperFreeBaby.com, a non-profit organization.
Ok, but really? I didn’t hear about EC until I was pregnant with my second baby. At the time, I was only marginally interested. Quite frankly, it sounded like a lot of work. Since switching to cloth diapers and running with an increasingly “hippie” (my husband’s words…) crowd, I’ve ran into more moms who are practicing, want to practice or are trying to practice EC. And, then, I came across Pregnancy & Newborn’s article “Infant Potty Training” in their current Green issue. They claim that “today’s Ec’ing families foster a practical approach toward bonding with their babies and doing their part for the environment.” So, I decided to make some calls to real moms I know who planned to EC.
To be continued…