Lucy's baby blog. Video 40 – Elimination communication

By Lucy Stephens | 26 June 2014

Have you heard of it?  Some people have, some people haven’t.  It’s basically a means of toilet training that can start from birth.   Most developed countries assume babies have no control over their bladder and bowel movements, elimination communication shows that actually babies are born with some ability to control their bodily functions!  Toilet training in developed countries appears to have got later and later going from under 18 months in the 1940’s to up to 36 months today.

Many developing countries or non-Western societies use elimination communication as a means to toilet train their babies.  When you really watch a baby carefully, they actually signal in some way prior to needing the toilet.  Things such as changes in facial expressions, flushing, tightening their tummy, shivering, breathing changes, vocal cues etc can all be signals by the baby that they need to go to the toilet.  If a parent or caregiver is sensitive to these cues, they can offer the opportunity of a potty and allow the baby to eliminate.  The idea is that you make a sound or ‘cue’ the baby as they eliminate, which they then associate with going to the toilet.  Once you’ve established a cue sound, it’s easier to give your baby opportunities to go to the toilet and cue them – times such as after a meal, when they wake up, when you take them out of a sling/wrap are all usual times when a baby might need to eliminate.

Carrying a baby in a sling or wrap is probably easier to learn a baby’s signals, but also giving them nappy-free time where you watch and learn can also be very useful.   Naturally you may want to put down a waterproof mat to enable easy cleanup if you miss something!!

Children trained in this way may be toilet trained between 6month and 2 years old, with most trained before 18months old.  Some studies show that nappies actually cause a child to lose sensitivity to the need to go to the toilet hence making it harder once they are older to toilet train.  It’s a very interesting subject and you certainly don’t need to practice EC all the time – you can do it part-time, just in the house, just at certain times of the day.  You can make it work for you.  If you’re interested use the internet to search ‘elimination communication’ or there are a couple of books and articles below that you might find interesting.  Let us know how you’re getting on!

Articles

Infant Potty Training – What It Is and How To Do It - http://www.babycenter.com/0_infant-potty-training-what-it-is-and-how-to-do-it_1745035.bc

What’s Potty About Early Toilet Training? - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1885320/

Books

Gross-Loh, Christine.  The Diaper-free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative for a Happier, Healthier Baby or Toddler.

Bauer.  Diaper-free: the gentle wisdom of natural infant hygiene.

Boucke, Laurie.  Infant potty training: a gentle and primeval method adapted to modern living.