What is Elimination Communication?
If you’re new to elimination communication, natural infant hygiene, infant pottying, pottying diaper-free babies, or infant potty training (whew!): Welcome! This page is the perfect place for you to learn the very simple basics about ECing your 0-18 month old baby. (19 months+? See our favorite non-coercive potty training resource.)
A Simple Definition of Elimination Communication
a gentle, non-coercive way to respond to
a baby’s natural pottying needs, from birth,
which enables her to follow her instincts to not
soil herself, her caretaker, or her sleep space
In other words, babies are born ready. We just need to tune into what they’re born asking for, provide it, stay in good communication, and roll with the evolution until our babies are totally potty independent. (Kinda like with eating and sleeping.)
To show you exactly how elimination communication works, I recommend you start by watching the video below. Here, Andrea explains what elimination communication is, how to know when a baby needs to pee, why a parent might choose EC, how to get support, how to start a practice if you wish, and what might get in your way….
An Introduction to Elimination Communication/
An Overview of Infant Potty Training
What Elimination Communication is NOT
Before moving on to how you can get started, her are some realistic expectations for you.
The Top 10 Things EC is NOT
1. EC is not about your baby…it’s all about you, the parent. Your commitment (whether you do it full-time, part-time, or occasionally), consistency, and potty attitude determines your success. Finding balance within the practice is an art. EC is not “wired-in” to our modern brains. You will have to sit down and learn EC.
2. EC should not be started by “winging it.” You can totally “wing it” off of free information from the internet, mommie blogs, and EC email lists…but be careful. Many of my clients are cleaning up giant messes that have resulted from winging it and wish they had started more solidly. Remember: any small baby will pee when in position and cued….is it EC…or is it beginner’s luck?
3. EC doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a journey – but if you follow my steps your baby WILL be finished with diapers between 6 and 20 months versus the 36-38 month national US potty training average (depending on when you start and whether you follow my methods).
4. EC is not impossible. 1/2 the world is doing it right now! Before I tried it, it was just a dream of doing what indigenous folks do. It wasn’t until I had my baby that I discovered that EC is totally real, it’s totally awesome, and I want every other parent to experience it too.
5. EC is not hovering over your baby all day long, waiting for him to urinate. It is not watching the clock and asking him if he has to pee every 30 minutes! It is, however, responding to your baby’s signals, being aware of his natural timing, and helping him go when the time comes.
6. EC is not coercive. It is not punitive. There should be no shaming, pressure, competition, showing off, or rushing the process. EC is completely in line with babies’ natural interests, needs, capabilities, preferred hygiene, and general well-being.
7. EC is not “training” your baby. EC is listening to the signals your baby is already giving and helping her meet her instinctual needs for cleanliness and dryness.
8. EC is not “parent training.” Little babies express their needs out of the innocence of having them and needing immediate help. Their communication is limited to preverbal means (crying, grunting, flailing). With EC, the parent simply responds to a baby’s primal needs, such as with feeding and sleeping.
9. EC is not a chore…it’s a lifestyle. It’s not a fad…it’s a totally different perspective, established in countless communities across the world for 100’s of thousands of years.
10. EC is not fixing something that’s broken (like diapering seems to be)…it’s about not disturbing the natural process in the first place so that no fixing (conventional potty training) is necessary later.
Now that you’re in the right mindset, here are a couple options:
If you’d like to start EC today, EC Simplified can help you start EC the right way, right away….or…if you would like to learn some more about EC, simply keep reading and absorb the goodness below!
The 4 Keys to Elimination Communication
The 4 Keys to Elimination Communication are basically the 4 events that lead to your baby’s potty time:
- baby’s signals
- baby’s natural timing
- common potty timing
- your intuition
Learn how to dip into all 4 and within a month or two EC will become second nature. Focus on only one or two of these and in later months things might backfire.
It is best to familiarize yourself with all four and set a solid foundation! EC Simplified breaks down a little further exactly how to do this, with pretty flowcharts and easy-to-understand examples. Our mission is to make this seemingly obscure process…simpler.
Alternatives to Diapering and Doing Diaper-free Time
You can do Elimination Communication with or without a diaper as a “back-up.” It’s up to you! (Most people do use a diaper back-up until about 9-14 months, though…and there’s a whole slew of options ranging from commando to tiny underwear to fully-diapered-whilst-still-communicating.)
Point is, if you choose to do EC, you will *absolutely* reduce the number of diapers you use, and thus positively impact your baby’s well-being and the saving of our sacred environment.
And do we need to mention that this means less poop-scraping for you? Pretty cool.
It’s important to note that having a “diaper-free” baby actually means having a baby who is “free from an exclusive dependence upon diapers.” It doesn’t mean having a naked feral baby peeing all over your floor (although if you really want to do this, who am I to stop you?) Anyway, a baby who is potty trained while naked is not a potty trained baby. We wear clothing in the Western world.
Carrying on….naked or modified diaper-free time is, indeed, *essential* during the observation periods at the beginning of your EC practice, and from there on out, diaper-free time can be good for your baby. Many do it 30 minutes a day, before the bath.
But as with everything in EC, you’ll want to strike a balance and beware of overdoing naked diaper-free time. Be sure you know what you are teaching/conditioning your child to do. Teaching a babe to pee on the floor is just as bad as teaching her to pee in a diaper, in our opinion. EC Simplified can help you avoid both of these situations!
Andrea has authored a whole section about these topics, including lots of dummy-proof photographs, drawings, and simple charts, for those of you who want more information. Yay!
Types of EC and What to Expect
You can do Elimination Communication:
- full time
- part time (whether working outside the home or not!)
No matter how you do it, the key is to be consistent, committed, and have the right attitude. There are ways to do EC with your baby that don’t confuse her and that help you maintain your usual family lifestyle. Anyone can do it.
A Note on Expectations
Although EC is about communication, not completion, you can generally expect a certain level of day/night dryness and potty reliability (ie: done with diapers) by 6-20 months, depending on when you start, how often you practice EC, whether you follow the instructions in the book and seek follow-up guidance in the private support group, and whether you follow the philosophy outlined in the book.
Where to Get Support
The world of Elimination Communication is chock-full of supportive community. So much that you could ask a question and get a dozen answers by the end of the day.
When you buy the book package, you get access to our private support group for life.
Alright, so if you’re ready now, let’s get you started.
Author, Mother, DiaperFreeBaby Mentor