Elimination Communication

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    Is there still a Berkeley group that meets in parks? How do I connect with them? Thanks!

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Considering EC for third child - what are the details?

June 2007

As the arrival of our third child approaches, we have considered EC potty training. I have reviewed the archives, and while many people are genearly enthusiastic, there aren't a lot of details about the logistics. Can anyone take the time to let me know how this works day to day? How long does it take for your baby to be reliable enough not to have accidents? Is this possible to do with 2 other small children and their busy schedules? Can your infant ever wear a diaper Do you have to get up in the middle of the night? What books do you recommend? Thanks, Susannah

EC-ing doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. You do it how you want to and can. There is a yahoo group for ec-ing (I think it's called elimination communication group) and you'll find a lot of support there. It does take work at the beginning, but we've found it very worth it! We use the potty and diapers (cloth and g). Best of luck and congratulations! happy ecing parents :)
That's wonderful that you're considering EC--I've found it to be very rewarding to pay attention to what my daughter is telling me about all of her needs, not just hunger, tiredness, closeness and others that most AP parents heed. I understand that it's hard to find logistical information on the BPN archive, but I think that's because most people who post here figure that they just need to get someone pointed in the right direction because there are many other sources for this logistical information, which if covered completely would be such a long post that BPN would cut it short (in fact, mine was over the limit and I had to cut long paragraphs out).

Right off the bat, I'd say check out www.diaperfreebaby.org; they have an FAQ under ''Practicing EC-EC Basics'' on the sidebar. Then the EastBayDFB yahoo! group is the next place to go, and possibly buying/borrowing one of the main books (Infant Potty Basics by Laurie Boucke, which I read and found very helpful, even though the photo and font on the cover are amusingly dated; and Diaper Free! by Ingrid Bauer, which I haven't read but it gets rave reviews from other ECers). There is also an EliminationCommunication yahoo! group, but this is a worldwide group and is thus very high-volume (read: overwhelming) and you don't get the benefit of attending local meetings and seeing EC in action--it has proved a lifesaver on more than one occasion to me, however, when my daughter and I had what I thought was a really weird problem and I was able to see the huge variety of approaches to solving it from ECers worldwide.

Anyway, the basic logistics of EC involve paying attention to your baby's signals and offering them alternative places to go potty (sometimes this may actually be a potty; sometimes it's the sink or a bush in the backyard or many other possibilities that don't involve the child sitting in their own refuse). Different people do this in different ways; some people spend a day with the baby in nothing at all so they can see when the baby goes and what kind of noises/faces/movements they make, others prefer to leave baby in diapers and just offer the potty when they change them. Some folks who have to work do EC part-time. There is no wrong way to do it, but it appears that the diapers send mixed signals so while you can do it and your child will likely be accident-free much sooner than full-time diapered children, you may have faster results with less diapering.

There are so many more logistical things that need to be mentioned, it's probably best to read one of the books or websites or post your question on the EastBayDFB list (I'm on that list so I could answer more completely there). Good luck! --EC mama

Hi there: Congrats for thinking on EC potty training. I just wanted to share with you my experince. I was using cloth diapers during the day, and disposable at night, I will just let the baby sleep, for now, focus on the day. We bought the potty when my baby was 8m old, and we just included sitting in the potty as part of our routine. Just as he woke up, and after each nap, and before going to sleep. It wasn't difficult since the baby wasn't crawling. He was notticing when something was coming out, we were praising him, and showing him what he did. It took less than a month, but LOTS OF CONSISTENCY, and before he was 9m , my child was only popping in the potty.

Now at 2y old, we are just trying to do the ''pipi'' on the potty, we have him use, Gerber training pants, and he will get very wet every time, but he comes to realize he can hold it aftes he feels he's getting wet. So I can't tell you just yet how long this is going to take me, since I have a younger one now. He might have an ocassional accident now that he gets so engage in his play,but we have been consistent on sitting him on the potty, and he will cooperate since he is so use to it. Please feel free to e-mail me directly with any question.

I want to start Elimination Communication with my 3-month old

October 2006

Hi - I want to start Elimination Communication with my 3-month old and am looking for some pointers to start. I'm having some difficulty figuring out some of the details, such as how do I keep my baby naked all day without getting cold. How have other people done EC? Did they ask friends or did they read a book? Is there a class? I'd love suggestions or advice!

Congrats on trying out EC - we did EC with our daughter (now a little over 2) and she's pretty much potty trained. The best place to start is www.diaperfreebaby.org. There's a local yahoogroups listserv as well, EastBayDFB, which is a great place to meet other ECers and get help and advice. To keep her warm, we'd either just cover her naked bottom half with a blanket, or I'd use baby leg warmers (I knit my own, but I think you can buy some). There should be resources to help with this on the diaper free baby web site. Kara
We have a 3 month old as well and have found that we don't have to have him naked all day. What I do at home is have him with a shirt and socks on, sometimes with baby legs on (do you have any of those? they are little leggings for babies). We end up changing a lot of pairs of socks because they get wet! But it's better than changing an entire outfit. Sometimes I do have him in diapers. There is a yahoo group for ec (I think it's just called 'elimination communication') which can be helpful, but be warned it is a very high volume list. You may email me if you like :-) leigh
I read two books: Infant Potty Training and Natural Infant Hygiene. Oakland Public Library has Infant Potty Training.

There's the Yahoo BIG list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eliminationcommunication/

And there's a Berkeley group that meets in the parks, I think. Congratulations! We love EC anon

There is a wealth of information out there about Elimination Communication (EC). I find the best way to get information is to read one of the books on the subject, and then to post any other questions you have about your specific situation on one of the lists. First, check out the main site at www.diaperfreebaby.org. From there, you can find the names of the EC books and also of your local Diaper-Free Baby (DFB) groups, such as EastBayDFB (actually covers Berkeley, Oakland, SF and beyond). There are several people on that list who have babies the same age as yours, and many others who have already been through that stage and who can offer helpful advice. The group is very friendly and no question is too basic to ask; sometimes people post suggestions of times and places for meetings, so you can get to know some other EC moms in person (I met some of my best friends in that group).

Also on the main DFB site you can find the link for the ''eliminationcommunication'' yahoo group, sometimes referred to as ''the big list'', which has thousands of subscribers from all over the world. It is very high-volume, so I would recommend subscribing in digest mode or only checking for postings on the website. It can be very helpful to post a question to that list, however, because no matter how obscure the question, odds are at least one or two people have been through it before and can give you some pointers.

Also, check out the EC Store for all kinds of gear that facilitates EC while keeping your baby warm and comfortable (www.theecstore.com). Good luck, and know that you are doing a wonderful thing for you and your baby! --Barrie

These are great questions. It can be a little confusing at first. I suggest you join the local email group through http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/ -- go to local chapters to join the group. This is an incredibly knowledgeable and supportive community that can help you get started and troubleshoot along the way. There are also meetings and playgroups so you can get hands-on pointers. I've been doing EC since about 5.5. months with my daughter, now 21 months. I still email with this group regularly. Keep in mind that in most places around the world where people practice EC, there are friends, neighbors, family members to advise and assist, so I hope you will reach out as much as you need to. Good luck, hope to see you online soon! Nina

Have you Elimination Communication?

November 2003

Hi, Although my children are now older, I stumbled across the concept of elimination communication (EC) and found it fascinating. (You notice when your baby needs to go, and you hold it over the toilet or potty.) I would be interested to hear from any of you who have tried it, and your comments on it. A couple of messages on the site recommended it. Thanks! Curious

Elimination Communication (EC), or Natural Infant Hygiene (NIH), ranks right up there with breastfeeding, babywearing, and cosleeping as a fabulous way to bond with your baby.

From birth, babies can, and do, signal their need to eliminate, just as they signal their need to sleep, to nurse, and to interact. It's just a matter of learning what to look for. The vast majority of ''fussy'' babies out there are just trying to get someone to recognize that they have to potty.

My son is 16 months old, we've been practicing EC with him since he was 2 months old. He hasn't pooped in a diaper since he was about 3 months old, and is nearing total potty independence now. At only 16 months, the fact that he will stop playing, walk over to his little potty, and point at his pants to indicate that he has to go, is not remarkable or extraordinary; just what all babies are naturally capable of.

I'm one of the moderators of a YahooGroup that discusses EC. If you'd like more information, or would like to check out the list, please drop me a line. You could also check out some of the fabulous resources on the web:
http://www.freewebs.com/freetoec/ http://seafish.freeyellow.com/ Or read either of the excellent books on the topic: http://www.natural-wisdom.com/ http://www.timl.com/ipt

I was facinated by the idea of Elimination Communication (EC) when I heard about it from our diaper service. Our 2nd daughter was 3 months old at the time - supposedly just in time to start EC before infants loose their awareness of their elimination activity if left in wet diapers. The first time I held her over the toilet and said ''pssss'' she peed right on cue! She's now 6 mo old and hasn't pooped in her diapers since. I realized that if I heard her grunting (and smelled her farting) I could take off her diaper and she'd hold it until I got her over a toilet (I hold her between my legs). Though admitedly, she's still only a once-a-week or two pooper. She still has wet diapers - I don't work that hard at trying to read her signals or time her peeing, but for the past few weeks, every time I hold ! her over the toilet and say ''psss'', she pees, even if it's just eeking out a few drops to assure me she knows what we're doing. A more concerted effort might get her dry sooner, but I'm happy with where we're at, and imagine we'll make more progress when she can tell me with words or some obvious signal that she's ready to go.

It's been great for us - we wash our own diapers now (one less bill!) and it's fun (our 5 yr old daughter enjoys accompanying us in the bathroom). More than everything else, it was wonderful to recognize how much she knew about herself and could control even at 3 months. ECer

Thanks to those who shared their experience with EC. Also the websites were very informative. If I ever have another baby I will try it! Also, it's funny that a diaper service recommended EC!

I'm very motivated to try EC for 12-month-old

September 2002

I read the advice given to the ''potty training 3.3 yr old'' posting on Elimination communication(EC) by ''Kathy''. I visited the EC website and found it very helpful, and would like to learn even more about it.

I have a 3 yr old just coming out of diapers(thank goodness!), and a 4 month old boy. I absolutely DO NOT WANT to see my second son in diapers till he's 3 yrs old! I was potty trained by 12 months old, and my mother who is Asian thinks its absurd to see any child ''who can chew food'' not going to the potty.

If ''Kathy'' or anyone else has tried EC and either been successful or not with it, could you please email me? I'm very motivated to try EC, and would like to hear other's experiences. Thanks! The potty's the place! maya

I first heard about elimination communication through this list. I was super motivated to try it and did for the first few weeks with my baby. But, then I got exhausted and simply stopped. I think ec'ing a newborn is too hard. My baby is now 7 months old and I want to try again. The lack of support is very much an issue for me. I subscribe to the EC list, but I would love to connect with other local people to discuss the ups and downs. Hae

More advice about Elimination Communication

August 2005

Re: Cloth Diapering - What Are My Options?
Another nice way to reduce diapering costs and hassles, no matter what type of diapers you use, is to practice Elimination Communication, where you start teaching your baby to eliminate in the toilet (or somewhere besides his diaper) as early as a few days old. This system is practiced in much of the developing world and was even common the US until 60 or 80 years ago. You can read about it on the internet or get a book about it (it is also called Natural Infant Hygiene, Infant Potty Training, and other things). One East Bay group that meets weekly and exchanges emails is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EastBayDFB. EC has worked for us so far--with a moderate level of effort, our 14-month old now averages fewer than 6 diapers a day. A Dad

April 2003

Re: Cloth diaper logistics
We EC (use Elimination Communication) but did do cloth diapers with the first 2 with a service. I simply placed all diapers in the service bag and left them with the service. ... Since you're not yet doing diapers, why not check out EC? I did it with my last two and would never go back to diapers.
http//groups.yahoo.com/group/eliminationcommunication/ http//www.vavoova.com/diaperfreestuff/links.html