Elimination Communication: Skip Diapers Altogether!

Petey on the potty!

As the debate rages on between cloth and disposable diapers, their is a lesser known third option that bypasses diapers alltogether: elimination communication (EC). In many third world countries, diapers are not an option. When Ingrid Bauer visited India, she noticed that mothers would often be carrying diaperless babies fearlessly and with what seemed liked virtually no “accidents.” How is this possible? In many cultures, mothers develop an incredible sensitivity to their babies’ elimination needs and can hold them over an appropriate receptacle when that need should arise. Ingrid Bauer has written a book on EC entitled: Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene.


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Elimination Communication enhances unity and communication between parents and infants. Other benefits include increasing baby’s physical comfort, eliminating diaper rash, promoting baby’s body awareness, preventing toilet training strife, reducing dependence on diapers, and preserving the environment. When the mother (or caregiver) senses that her baby needs to go, she removes the baby’s clothing, and places him over a toilet or other repository.

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Some features of EC include observing when the baby usually goes and how this relates to other bodily functions such as sleeping or nursing. Secondly, mothers learn to watch for signals from the baby. Although it may be hard to believe, many babies display very subtle changes in behavior, signaling that they need to go. This may include fussing, squirming, grunting, becoming very still etc. Thirdly, mothers develop an even sharper awareness of their babies’ bodies and bodily functions. Lastly, verbal (or non-verbal) cues are used to communicate with baby. For example, specific sounds such as “Shh”-ing when trying to help baby urinate, or grunting when baby needs to poop are used. In addition, specific positions are used. This helps baby to associate these sounds and positions with the act of elimination.

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Elimination Communication helps parents form a closer bond with their baby, and eliminates the need for diapers altogether. A most appealing option, indeed.

For more information on Elimination Communication, please visit the following websites:

http://www.natural-wisdom.com/nihgentlealternative.htm

http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/

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6 Responses to “Elimination Communication: Skip Diapers Altogether!”

  1. Cheryl Janis says:

    This is an interesting concept. The headline immediately caught my eye. I’m not a mother but I am connected to my intuitive self and the language of my body. Therefore, I understand how this system might really work. Moreover, I think (especially in the U.S.) if the collective culture accepted a diaper-less baby in public, it would be a fitting solution in all the ways you’ve mentioned. And change always starts with an individual. Mothers, bring it on! –Cheryl Janis, Author of Planet Pink n’ Green – http://www.planetpinkngreen.com

  2. mamamy says:

    Although I’m not a mother yet, I actually just joined a diaper free yahoo group in my neighboorhood and diaperfreebaby.org is definitely a great website with lots of info and support for ec. Thanks for posting this!

  3. Sandy says:

    I have used EC for both of my children (3 and 7 months). It has been a great experience for us. Essentially you are just learning to read your child’s cues on when they have to go to the bathroom – just as you learn to read their cues that they are hungry or tired. It is all about offering the opportunity to go the the bathroom, there is no ‘forcing’. It is all very natural. For my oldest, one day when he was 18 months, I realized that he had been in the same diaper (dry and clean) for 3 days and I thought ‘hmmm, I guess he is ready for trainers :)’ I read both Ingrid Bauer and Laurie Boucke’s books (Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living) and preferred Boucke’s. To me her focused was much more relaxed and adaptable. I would recommend trying EC for anyone, even if it was just for part of the day. Any exposure they get to you answering their cues is a positive one that will be helpful later when trying to toilet train.
    Sandy
    http://www.asmallgreenfootprint.com

  4. emily says:

    What a crazy cool thought. Kind of mind blowing, really. I can’t believe I’ve not heard about it before now, even though it makes so much sense.

  5. Carrie Lauth says:

    Ingrid’s book is great, and it’s interesting for its overall philosophy of parenting, not just the EC info.

    I did EC part time with my second, third and fourth babies. It was a very interesting experience. We decreased our cloth diaper use by a considerable amount, and all of them potty trained at two years of age. Not that early training is the goal, but it does often seem to result.

  6. Tribal Baby Mum says:

    Sandy, have a look at this new resource for EC at http://www.parttimeec.com

    Part Time Diaper Free – How To REDUCE Your Use of Diapers with EC – it’s FUN to Do!

    Most people are scared off by thinking diapers can’t or shouldn’t be used with EC – but like anything, it is a practice one can ease into gradually. Starting with some diaper free time each day, and offering baby a ‘potty break’ at diaper changes is pretty easy to do – their diaper is already off!

    We have Saved so much money, Reduced our diaper waste and washing. Less pooey diaper changes is a BIG bonus. Diaper rash? What is that?

    People that are interested in discovering more about this ancient art with their babies, who want to wear them diaperless, hold then diaper free, can take a free Guided Tour into Part Time EC Baby Pottying at one of the two versions of the site. It’s pretty new (less than three months). Just today I gained my 400th member at Tribal Baby, I’m so excited.

    They won’t be diaper free in three days, but it will happen. My 7 month old is asleep on my lap as I write this, with a nudie tush!

    Pop Over To Discover More…
    http://www.parttimediaperfree.com

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