Why Elimination Communication ? - Frequently Asked Questions

6 tips how to get started with Elimination Communication!

@1. Get prepped

— depending on your child’s age a top hat potty or a regular potty is useful. Any washable receptacle will do though. Tupperware or washbasin, sink etc.

— floor protector. To protect wall to wall carpets some form of towel or pad can be useful. Again this will depend on your baby’s age. A small infant will not produce as much wee as a toddler so a small absorbent pad, mattress protector or even puppy training pads are sufficient before your baby is on the move.

— For an older child, nappy free time can be managed or restricted to dedicated areas if you feel overwhelmed.

@2. Manage your expectations Educate yourself, and your immediate family on what EC is and what you can realistically expect. Get the HappyNoNappy App, sign up to the many Facebook and forum support groups available and take advantage of the experience and wealth of information from other mums who are a bit further on in their EC journeys. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

@3. Get in the right frame of mind Elimination Communication is not potty training. It can better be described as baby-led toilet learning. Be prepared to work together with your baby to build and strengthen he communication bond.

@4. Set yourself up for success Assess how EC will fit in to your lifestyle and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Even if you just focus on the after sleep or after feed potty opportunities, that is better than nothing. EC does not mean your baby has to go without nappies all the time. It is up to you and your individual circumstances how you practice it.

@5. Expect misses Don’t take a bad EC day or week personally. There will be phases where you feel like all is lost. Try not to get disheartened. During or ahead of your child’s major developmental leaps the new skills and abilities are often so all consuming for your baby they forget about everything else. Sometimes taking a step back means taking a step forward. The wonder weeks app is a fantastic tool to see where your child is in his development.

@6. Just go with it Enjoy this extra dimension of connection you have with your child.

7 Reasons EC enhances the mother - baby relationship

@1. Strengthens the breastfeeding relationship by enabling the mother to assess input/output.

@2. Fussiness and popping off the breast/bottle can be interpreted as a need for a “potty” break rather than wind or colic

@3. Encourages trust & communication

@4. Provides an additional response to a crying baby

@5. Less nappy wearing reduces potential health risks like constipation or UTI

@6. Teaches parents to trust their instincts

@7. Works well in unexpected circumstances

EC Awareness Week is now on! Click here to find out more

Nappy Free Baby, can you do it?

More than 50% of the world’s children are toilet trained by the time they turn 1. Compare that to American children where 1/3 is still celebrating their 3rd birthday in nappies.

In the early 20th century it was believed that a 1 year old should be toilet trained. So what has changed in the last 100 years? Before the age of the washing machine parents would sit their children on a toilet long before their 1st birthday, later when washing cloth nappies became easier, the average age crept up to nearer 18 months.

However, the real change happened in the 1960’s when a leading nappy company along with a noted pediatrician promoted the idea of waiting for a set of readiness signals before which potty training should not be started.

Slowly, the age crept up and by the 1980’s the average was 2 years. Now only 2 decades later, despite the fact that a study in 1994 “The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics” found no data to support any signs of social and emotional readiness for potty training, the average age is nearly 3.

So if you don’t have to wait until your child is “ready” what is the other alternative?

Elimination Communication (EC) has many names, Diaper Free Baby, Natural Baby, Infant Potty Training etc. They all mean the same thing. Listen and look out for your baby’s communication and toilet training can be demystified.

EC, a traditional practice in many parts of the world is now becoming a growing movement in the west. The ethos is your baby is born with the instinct not to soil itself and will communicate this with you from birth. Just in the same way they communicate their other basic needs: hunger, sleep, and comfort. It’s up to you as a parent to read and respond to these signs and non- verbal communication. It is much less about potty learning than about respecting your baby’s abilities by responding and facilitating its needs.

The ideal window to start practicing EC is in the first 6 months, the earlier you start the better and clearer communication bond you and your baby will develop. A baby in nappies full time will, after 6-7 months, have been conditioned into soiling the nappy and will lose the instinct and sensation of needing to go.

EC does not have to be messy and dirty, and nappy free does not have to mean you never use a nappy ever. It simply means you choose the level of involvement that suits your lifestyle. Use nappy full time, part time or not at all, but be ready to whip it off and offer your baby the potty or receptacle of choice when you see the signs.

As with everything with a newborn baby, be it your first or third, there is a steep learning curve and it takes time to get to know each other. If you choose to EC it is advisable to look on this as your journey together towards toilet learning rather than a short cut to a (compared to todays average) very young toilet trained baby.

Remember your baby is teaching you, not the other way around. Of course EC is not about allowing your child to pee anywhere and anytime and if you find there are a lot of misses, there is likely an underlying factor such as illness, teething, emotional upheaval like new daycare, house move, etc.

Manage your expectations. There are 4 classic stages of EC. 1: you and your baby are in tune and you are aware of his signals. 2: baby is clearly able to communicate verbally or via signing. 3: baby no longer needs to be reminded to go to the potty and you no longer feel the need to carry spare clothes. 4: baby can now take himself to the bathroom and complete the process independently.

There are of course no guarantees to instant success, how you practice EC, when you start, the nature of your baby and developmental milestones are all factors to be considered, but some degree of daytime dryness can be achieved between 6-20 months.

There are so many benefits to practicing EC, primarily your baby’s hygiene as you will eliminate nappy rash and greatly reduce the risk for UTI ‘s but also the environmental and financial benefits. Time is also a valuable commodity these days; imagine avoiding the diaper change battle every time. Just wipe, flush and go. For more information and guidance go to www.happynonappy.com

EC Awareness Week is now on! Sign up for more information and to win fab prizes! http://happynonappy.com/awareness-campaign-2014.php

How to get started with EC

I first came across EC during my pregnancy while shopping on Amazon. “In the people who bought this also bought” section was a book called “The Diaper Free Baby”. How amazing does that sound? I’ll have some of that!

Book bought and resolve made, baby eventually came along a complicated and extended delivery meant I delayed starting EC - I wish I hadn’t.

I know exactly the feelings/ reactions people have when I talk about or explain EC. “This sounds great in theory but it wouldn’t work for me I’m too busy, it’s too messy, it can’t possibly wok, I live in a city”

Truth is, it so works - no matter who you are and where you live. EC can be adapted to work and it’s totally doable. If you wish.

There are many common misconceptions about EC.

I’m not evangelical about going nappy free, after all we are not living in cave man times and there will be occasions where regardless of intent and will, a back up nappy is a great fall back.

EC Misconception 1:

  • To practice EC you have to be a hippie green tree hugger or live in the country side.
    = Well no. You can make it fit into your lifestyle.

Misconception 2: - EC means going nappy free at all times. = No. Nappy free time helps you to pick up on your baby’s body language as you are able to see cause and effect more clearly, but you control how much and when you want to go nappy free. Perhaps just after nap time?, Only at home, only ever with a back up nappy on. Or as often as you can, or when it suits.

EC is not dependent on being without nappies, it is about responding to your baby’s signals. With or without nappies.

Misconception 3: - People will think I am weird. = Well yes, that one is probably right.

Anyway, back to the story. I was procrastinating starting EC worrying about uncontrollable poonamis and envisaging mopping the floor for months and years to come.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. I picked a random day to start and just did it. We caught a poo straight away. Probably just beginners luck but blow me down I was so surprised / pleased that I took a picture of it and texted it to my mum and husband.

From then on we were hooked.

Obviously there were phases of better & worse communication between us and periods were we had more misses, but with a back up nappy on those didn’t matter.

What kept me going was that having experienced my little baby communicating with me and knowing what her signs and signals meant, I couldn’t not respond.

My daughter is now just over 2.5 years old and has been reliably day time dry since 19 months. Nighttime took a little longer. EC has been a fantastic journey for both of us and has slotted into our lives just as teaching her many other things like eating with a fork, getting dressed and talking. It’s learn by practice - it won’t always be smooth sailing but what is?

This is our timeline of events:

  • We started at 4 months old.

  • Not changed a poo nappy since she was 6 months old

  • Stopped using back up nappies at 15 months old. We would have many consecutively dry days.

  • At 19 months we no longer had to think about toileting or bring a change of clothes.

Concerned about your carbon footprint?

4 Reasons to try EC: 1. Everyday in London 1.5 million nappies are thrown to landfill 2. On average 12% of every household waste is nappies 3. Each disposable nappy takes between 200-500 years to decompose 4. Before a child is potty trained, it will use anywhere from 4000 - 6000 nappies. Equivalent of 1 tonne of waste.

Fancy giving it a go? Sign up here for free information and to take part in the prize draw for amazing & essential EC items during EC Awareness Week April 28th - May 4th.

The most common misconceptions of EC are generally to do with how EC would fit into every day modern life.

I’ve put together a list of a few questions here:

1: I am very busy day to day - how can I keep track of EC?

EC does not have to be full on 100% of the time. Choose the level of involvement that suits your lifestyle. Some days you may have more time than others. Keep a journal of input / output to give yourself a better idea of what is likely to come and when.

2: I like the idea of EC but I am going back to work, is there a point in starting?

Yes. Do as much as you can to lay down the ground work before your baby goes off to day care. Your work can be continued in the evenings and weekends by you and hopefully by your baby’s main carer during the days.

3: How can I convince grandparents / husband / day care centre to understand and continue with EC?

Approach them from a benefits angle. Many nursery staff would much rather try to catch a wee or a poo in a potty than deal with dirty nappies. And while wearing a back up nappy there really is no downside for them or the baby. My husband, mother and mother in law were all initially sceptical but were won over by physical evidence and the ease and hygiene factors. Especially after their own first catches. Beaming with pride!

4: I am not an earth mother, I don’t think EC will work for me.

Give it a go. I created this App specifically with you in mind. I am also not an earth mother, but with EC I don’t think you have to be. It is more about responding to what your baby is trying to tell you. It does not need to be a lifetime decision - if it is not for you, then stop.