Since I talk about it so much, I think I should delve into the Elimination Communication topic. I won’t go into the how too much since that is well covered (the book I highly recommend is EC Simplified), but hopefully I can pique your interest enough to check it out if you haven’t already.
Elimination Communication is an alternative to what we have come to know as the “normal” way to deal with what comes out of our babies. It is not traditional potty training that you would use with a toddler. It is another way of connecting with your baby and meeting his/her needs. The practice is based on the belief that babies communicate their need to eliminate in the same way they communicate that they are hungry or tired. EC is a method of heightening our awareness and responsiveness to this communication, thereby enhancing the parent-child bond along with other hippie-dippy things.
Modern diapering hasn’t been around for that long and neither has the idea that children shouldn’t be potty trained until they’re 3 years old (umm, NAWL). In many areas of the world, children are potty trained well before 2. Hell, that used to be par for the course in the U.S., but with the upswing in modernization, the more hygienic practice of having a baby not sit in her own pee and poop has been replaced with 12-hour-diapers. Insane diaper rashes and babies who seemingly cry for no reason abound. EC is a response to this.
“But Alicia, I live in a city…and I work full time…diapers are easier.”
Hi. I live in a city. And work full time. And diapers may be easier right now…but trying to potty train a child who has been trained to shit in a diaper for the past 3 years is hard. REALLY hard.
UPDATE July 2014: the kid was potty independent at 2 and a half. Maybe he was just ready, but I like to think EC played a HUGE part in this. My nephew was potty trained a little after Hoggie was and he’s 10 months older.
Now, EC is not a surefire way to have your infant wearing baby chonies and signing “pee pee” before she can speak. Not at all. There will be misses (EC speak for accidents), frustrations, and times where you will want to tear out your hair because your kid would rather pee on himself than in the toilet (*sigh*). This is perfectly normal. Satisfaction will come when you know that your baby knows that he can trust you to meet his needs and when he does pee or poop in the proper place. Besides, the core of EC is actually communication – not potty independence.
Exposing your baby early on to the proper place to eliminate, using fewer diapers, and avoiding those nasty ass changing tables in Target bathrooms are only icing on the cake.
Now, after making this as vague and flowery as possible, I’m listing a few resources that should explain things a lot better and more practically than I can. I will field questions though. I can answer those. And I can commiserate. I can do that REALLY well.
EC Simplified, Andrea Olson (the most complete resource I’ve found; gets right into the method and practice from jump)
Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, Ingrid Bauer (gives a lot of great background; the most hippie-dippy of them all)
The Diaper Free Baby, Christine Gross-Loh (more of a “what to expect” guide; this features a lot of anecdotes from EC’ing parents)
Infant Potty Training, Laurie Boucke (full disclosure: I never read this, but I’ve heard it mentioned A LOT)