Elimination communication (EC) is nothing fancy. It just involves communicating with newborns and babies about their elimination needs and responding to any cues or feedback they give. Sort of the same thing most parents will do for their babies when they are hungry. If you are new to this concept, read some more about it here: Nappy-Free Babies at bLaCk sheep.
Elimination Communication Gear
- A baby
- A potty bowl / potty
- A regular toilet
It is pretty simple. You don’t even need to order a potty bowl online – you can just use any empty container such as an ice-cream container. Keep in mind the potty bowl is designed for the baby to sit on while holding the bowl in your lap or between your legs.
How to ‘Pee’ a Baby
A good way to start with a high degree of success is this: Feed the baby and put her down for a nap. When she wakes, the first thing you do is immediately put her on the potty and make a cue sound or signal. Most EC’ers seem to say “Psssssss” to cue the emptying of a bladder, and a grunt for the bowels. Say your cue sound again or make the sign as soon as you notice your baby has started to pee. You might have to sit there for a few minutes but it will happen – all babies usually get restless before waking up to pee or feed before falling back asleep.
Responding to Cues
All babies will cue you when they feel like they need to eliminate. Contrary to popular opinion, [LINK http://blacksheep.hubgarden.com/nappy-free-babies/ babies are self-aware]! Keep an eye out for the following cues;
- An increase in activity
- Getting restless in sleep
- Pulling off the boob and wriggling
- A certain noise, fuss or cry
- A certain facial expression
- Sometimes an increase in body heat is noticed especially in newborns
- Wet nappy (especially if it is not that wet – they aren’t finished)
A handy thing to remember is babies won’t eliminate in their sleep, they will stir and come awake (even if not awake all the way) before eliminating. The same goes for breastfeeding – babies just don’t eliminate at the same time they are feeding, they often come off the boob and wriggle a bit.
Offering Toileting Opportunities
This is also a part of elimination communication. Even if the baby is not giving any cues, make sure opportunities are offered. For example, put the baby on the potty for a few minutes before going in the car, and again after taking her out of the car. This communicates to the baby that they can expect elimination opportunities and many will soon opt to wait for such an opportunity rather than soil themselves.
Night Time Toileting
Sheepskin rugs and a natural fibre sheet on top is a good way of protecting the bed from accidental wetting. However a cloth nappy is a good backup – you know you’re covered when you are just too tired to sit up and reach for the potty. Most babies usually are dry at nights before they are dry days (a complete reversal of mainstream toileting). Offer before bed and offer first thing in the morning.
Give it a try! EC is not as hard or inconvenient as one may think.
- Nappy Free Babies – an article introducing the idea of elimination communication and challenging conventional toilet learning logic.