For decades there has been an on-going debate among parents about "diapering" babies. Some try to be environmentally friendly by using cloth diapers while others enjoy the ease and convenience of using disposables. There is also a third segment that keep their babies clean and dry without using diapers at all; these parents tune in to their babies' elimination signals and hold their infants over a receptacle where their babies deposit their waste. The idea of infants using toilets may seem unusual to many people, but this practice is not new and is fairly common in Asia, Africa and some parts of South America.
HOW DOES ELIMINATION COMMUNICATION WORK?
Similar to the way parents know when their babies are hungry, sleepy, gassy, or scared parents can learn when their babies are signalling their need to eliminate. Infants will often pause while nursing, squirm, or become fussy for no apparent reason to signal their need to relieve themselves. When the baby signals, the parent holds the baby over the toilet, sink, or potty and cues the baby to eliminate. It is not unusual for a baby to be labelled colicky when he is actually being persistent about his desire to avoid soiling himself.
Parents can also use common timing patterns. For example, babies often eliminate upon waking from a nap, shortly after nursing, and when their diapers are removed. If a parent doesn't notice her baby making any obvious signals to eliminate, she may begin by holding her baby over the sink or toilet during these common times that most babies need to go. With practice, parents develop an intuition or a feeling that their babies need to eliminate. Sometimes parents even sense a "phantom pee" moments before the baby actually urinates. A parent may feel a sudden warmth, as if the baby has urinated on her arm or lap right before it actually occurs. Parents can learn to hold their infants over a toilet in time to make the catch.
Elimination Communication (EC) can be initiated any time from birth up to 18 months. It requires patience, commitment, and effort just like many other attachment parenting styles. EC is a parenting choice that strengthens the bond between parent and child, promoting a deeper connection between parents and their babies through enhanced communication.