Elimination communication (EC) is one of those stranger aspects of natural motherhood, at least to most American mothers. However, women have been doing it for centuries in other countries and think nothing of it. They look at our way of dealing with baby waste as strange.
When you think about it, why teach a child to be comfortable with their own waste sticking to their bottoms just to teach them years later that they shouldn't get comfortable with waste on their bottoms?
This is the basic, logical thinking that natural mothers use when deciding to EC.
I can understand why people use diapers, but there is another way.
Have you ever wondered how those babies you see in pictures riding on their mothers' back in far away countries go to the bathroom? Have you realized that they are diaperless, as in not wearing a disposbale diaper? There are no porta potties around. Mothers who live in villages are not able to go down to the corner store and pick up some disposable diapers either, so what do they do?
Or perhaps you've seen a picture of a diaper free baby from China wearing crotchless pants and wondered, what is going on here? While you're looking at the mother as if she's lost her mind, she's looking at you the same way. To them, it's just a practice that's been handed down from generation to generation.
Those mothers from other countries use what we call elimination communication. They just simply follow their mothering intuition that lets them know when their babies are uncomfortable. Those mothers begin to take their baby to the bathroom almost from birth. As they continue the practice of caring for their child's elimination needs, they get better at learning when their little one needs to go.
If you can't fathom how you'd ever be able to do that, I just have to say practice makes you better! Those women don't have any special powers that you don't have. We're all mothers who can be in tune with their babies to help them carry out the most basic of needs - elimination!
To begin EC'ing your child you need to:
You will have to pay close attention to your baby to be able to figure out when your baby needs to go to the bathroom. Some babies makes sounds, others squirm around. Maybe your baby doesn't give any tell-tale signs at all, but you just have this feeling they need to go.
This is why elimination communication is so popular with attachment parents. Attached parents are already paying more attention to their babies by keeping them close. This in turn helps them to know their baby's signs. Once you know the signs, you can then begin to "cue" your baby by making sounds every time you know they're eliminating. As you continue to do this over time, your baby starts to associate the sounds you make with going to the bathroom. At this point your baby may begin to hold it until you give the sound for them to eliminate or our baby may try to make the sounds themselves as they eliminate. The main point is you two are communicating about elimination! Your baby sends you messages, you understand them and send a message back, which they understand.
EC'ing mothers understand the way their infants "tell" them they need to go to the bathroom. They respond by doing the one thing their babies can't do - get to the bathroom!
Some people use pots. some use the sink. Other buy a cute little baby potty for their babies and toddlers to sit on. In our home, we just used the toilet. When out and about at the park, you can certainly take advantage of nature and find a grassy area (preferably where no one can step in it).
Whatever the receptacle or area you use, remember that babies are smart. They are aware of their elimination needs. They don't have to reach a certain potty training age to understand they have a need to go to the bathroom. Mothers practicing EC just respond to that need quickly and help their babies do what we all do.
For those that need a bit more clarity or would like more discussion on EC, please share your thoughts here!