Get rid of diapers! Infant potty training

by Alenka

Nobody likes changing a diaper. But some people dread the horrors of potty training even more then the diaper changing duties. To each his own, since there are methods for everyone.1a

I am personally familiar only with Elimination Communication methods: I started listening to my baby’s signals right from birth based on my intuition, eventually picking up a book to guide through up and down days we were going through. Good luck with whatever method you’ll chose and remember – nobody is walking in diapers on their wedding day – eventually everyone will get through it!

Infants: Elimination Communication methods
12 months and up:

Elimination Communication method

Definition of Elimination Communication

This is the wikipedia definition:

(EC) is a process by which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant’s excretive needs, partially or completely avoiding the use of diapers. Diapers can be used but usually tend to become extraneous and unnecessary after a point. The emphasis of EC is placed on communication. When one practices EC, they are in essence trying to communicate as much as possible with their child about the elimination process, helping the child to become aware of their own body. The term “elimination communication” was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures. EC can begin at birth and is usually started before six months of age, although it can be practiced at any age. If started in the later months or after age one, babies are more likely to be “diaper trained,” and may be less aware of and/or able to communicate their elimination needs. The term “late starter” refers to a baby who starts EC after six months or after age one.

I also really liked the little insight that Monica Waggoner shared in Positive Discipline group:

One of the main principles behind EC: babies have an instinct that you’re not supposed to pee or poop in your clothes or on your parents, and if you give them opportunities to pee and poop elsewhere, they never become diaper-trained and therefore never have to be “potty-trained.”

But if you missed this opportunity, you can still use EC principles of tuning into your child to train at an older age.

“How To” – EC resources

You can find additional information on EC here:

  • Wikipedia collection of EC information
  • Infant Potty Training website by Laurie Boucke: contains brief but very helpful summary of the method, DVDs, books by Laurie Boucke
  • 6 months and older potty training by Laurie Boucke
  • Diaper Free Baby: comprehensive collection of support groups, articles, tips, links to resources.
  • Happy Potting: wonderful collection of articles and podcasts covering everything: tips on newborn EC, late starters EC, types of training pants, baby wearing, etc.
  • Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Inrid Bauer
    I initially relied purely on my intuition, but it turned out – I needed more help. This book helped me to get through many difficult points and get over many mistakes. You can find more information on author’s website or read more amazon reviews. You can also read Ingrid Bauer EC method summary.
  • 101 Reasons to EC your baby
  • Other Infant Potty Training/EC links
  • Two excellent Yahoo groups: The Elimination Communication and IPT for Late Starters The group moderators are actually the authors of the books above so you can get wonderful advise and support from them and other group members!
  • Babies Born Potty Trained: getting started best tips
  • Do it yourself EC: tips on training, products, washing; instructions on making your own covers, trainers, etc.
  • How to wash cloth diapers
  • Adventures in cloth diapering: directions on how to make, wash, use cloth diapers

Products helping with EC

(clothing, potties, other things a diaper free baby needs):

  • The EC Store
    That’s the only store I’ve used. I liked their product quality and service.
  • Noonee Wilga
  • Bongo Baby Shop
  • Ecawarebaby
  • Wonder Baby Designs
  • Mama Roo
  • Mommy’s Milk

Traditional Method: waiting until your kid is ready

I have no personal experience with this method. But I am a big fan of kind and sensitive to the child’s need books by Elizabeth Pantley, so if were to “wait until my kid is ready”, I’d definitely read her book:

  • The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers , by Elizabeth Pantley. Amazon reviews on this book .

11 comments

  1. jessynaiduk

    As a parent no need to do anything for our baby’s development because they develop by themselves excellently but only thing we need is to understand them properly and spending quality time with them…and just observe your baby’s actions,and signs etc so that you will be easily understand their needs and also it will be very easy to guide them. Ofcourse u need suggestions too from other parents.
    As glendoman says that the mother is the best teacher and also a best child psychologist also.

    Jessynaidu.k

  2. Kim Borden

    As an early childhood educator, with 30 years experience, I want to applaud Mommies that are saying no-thank you to elimination communication (EC). Caring for an infant is a sacred job. Things like electricity, running water, and diapers do not make the job any less sacred. For pity sake, we need to celebrate the job that mothers do, not come up with cockamamie ideas that make their job more arduous. Women who “discover” ways that make the job of mothering more difficult need to be strung up and labeled as traitors to the sisterhood! I say, “Hooray!” to the women who can see that holding an infant over a potty or a bush or a sink while going tss-tss or pss-pss does not make her a great Mom. But rather, makes her a victim of the so called experts who are trying to sell books. And to the people, who line their pockets with coins from new mommies by burdening them with more work and more guilt, I shake my head in disgust and say, “You should be ashamed!” Elimination Communication… really? I don’t think so!!!

  3. Alenka Post author

    :) That’s a very interesting opinion! I loved your passionate reply! I’ll stick to my guns, though. Having babies who don’t need diaper changes is really convenient. It doesn’t make the job neither sacred nor secular – just another way of parenting: a way based on the close connection to the child, respect, helping the baby label and identify his needs quite early. My little one, Smiles, is still developing his vocabulary and laughs every time he realizes that we deciphered what he is trying to say: when he shows a sign for water, I offer him a glass and he is proud and happy. When he shows me that the mailbox is both in his favorite book and outside of the window – and I say it in words – he laughs again. It feels good to be understood. If feels great to be clean. Every time he shows me, that he needs to go to the bathroom and I offer him a potty – he smiles so happily, that I can’t even imagine doing it any other way – I offer my baby one more way of being understood, one more way to be independent (he decides weather he wants to go or not), one more way to develop his senses and even one more way to work on his coordination (taking clothes off, sitting down at the potty, etc) – isn’t it great? I believe it is.

  4. Laura

    Have you noticed how often the “angry anti-conventional method” responses are from so called “childhood educators?” Just another reason NOT to send my kid to public schools….thanks alenka

  5. Alenka Post author

    That’s a very interesting observation… and a strong point too. I hear enough of annoying stories from my friends whose kids are already in public school, but I believe there are undeniable certain benefits to it as well. Well, we’ll see how I feel about it when my own little guys get old enough to try it…

    So you are definitely decided to home school all the way? I’d be very interested to hear more thoughts on this. Thanks!

  6. Carla

    I am a public school teacher AND a parent who started ECing my 6 month old four months old. Both ECing and public school can be positive things. They both take an open mind to learning new things to make them positive experiences. My son just turned 6 months old now & I’m just looking for ways to transition from EC working 1/2 the time to it working more.

  7. Carla

    BTW – to Kim’s comment, “shame” ??? More like relief at learning about something that seems so natural that it’s shocking our “culture” forgot to tell us about. And to making money?? What about all the diaper companies making money off of new moms who don’t know that this method makes a lot of sense (and works!!) once you’re open-minded enough to read & learn about it?

  8. Alenka Post author

    I like the idea of an open mind to learning. How do you do EC half time? You are doing both diapers and a potty? Very curious.

  9. Jen

    To Kim´s comment- you may have 30 years of some kind of experience, but you obviously have no experience of the EC method. It is the method most widely used in the world & from my experience using it with my 2 children, it is not necessarily any more work than diapering. You can do as much as you are able to & you cut out the time taken wiping away poo. I think you are wrong- I have always felt a good, proud & happy mother in helping my child to eliminate out of his nappy. It´s exciting & inspiring & no different to taking care of their eating, sleeping, comfort needs. As for lining pockets- it´s hardly big business- so that´s really not an argument. In this world there are few making as much money as the disposable diaper companies. They are the ones brainwashing mummies. Parenting is not all about the convenience for us. Everything these days is about convenience for busy people!
    However, I ask you- when you are old and maybe you can´t get to the toilet yourself & communicate like you used to…would you prefer that your caregiver diapered you and changed it routinely or would you prefer they tried to understand your rhythms & communication & help you go to the toilet?!!! It´s the same thing I´m afraid! Babies are aware of their elimination & no one wants to sit in poo & pee!
    Think about it. There´s no point to be defensive of a western diapering method that desperately needs to be reviewed in an age where our environment can´t afford the disposables anymore & when our children are being potty trained later and later- some only just getting out of diapers before starting school. Both deserve better. I believe EC is a practical solution for the future in times when both parents work, children can benefit from early potty experience, which can be continued at daycare- as mine have done.
    People practising EC are usually passionate about it & love it. EC doesn´t mean no diapers- it means using them as a back up.

  10. Sv

    Coming from a “less industrialized” country and therefore always seen diaper-free babies, I couldn’t help but laugh at the self-righteous anger expressed by Kim. Dear lady, are you also against parents trying to understand a child expressing a need to sleep, eat or play?
    Maybe if we didn’t give this method so technical a name it might have more ‘ayes’. After all, eating food when hungry is not called insertion communication, huh?

  11. Eny

    I’ve been putting my baby on a potty since she was 6 months old bc i noticed that she poops regularly at the same time, in the morning. It was so much easier for me, bc i did’t have to clean poopy diapers at all. Then I started putting her on the potty more often, and she always peed or pooped into it. It was such a success and we used a lot less diapers (we cloth diaper) and it was fun and exciting at the same time. Now that my baby is 9 months old, she is getting a hang of it now, she stays and sits until she is completly done, or she gets up right away when she doesn’t need to eliminate at all at that time. She knows it now! And she likes it.
    But I was always wondering people can completly eliminate the use of diapers??? I mean, what do you do when you are in a car or a highway? You can’t stop and grab the baby and the potty whenever you see the sign?! You gotta use diapers….right? Or at night? How do you know when they pee? Do you stay up all night? Bc my baby does pee a lot at nights…..