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3 Mums Going Nappy Free Using Elimination Communication to Potty Train Babies

Did you know there’s a way you can toilet-train your baby and avoid the need to buy nappies? Yes, BABY, there sure is, but it’s not for the feint hearted! It’s called Elimination Communication (or EC for short), and it’s a gentle and intuitive approach to toilet training your baby.

How does elimination communication work?

Essentially, the core principle is watching and responding to your baby’s signals, such as facial expressions, body movements and sounds, to determine when they need to go to the toilet. So, instead of relying on nappies to manage toilet time, parents and carers watch and help their babies use the toilet or another designated place when it’s time to go.

And let’s face it … with the increasing cost of living and focus on sustainability for the environment, teaching your baby to ‘go potty’ with elimination communication can actually be a cost-effective and sustainable solution for parents (as long as you have the time, patience and inclination to pursue it.)

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Meet 3 mums who’ve used elimination communication for baby toilet training

Although you may not have heard of it, elimination communication is actually being used by mums around the world, and with great success. Meet 3 mums who are nailing the process and love to share and inspire others with this technique.

Annabel Fenwick Elliot started ‘potty training’ her son at three months old. She said she’s still getting used to learning his cues, but knows to put him on the top-hat style potty when he wakes from a nap and 10-15 minutes after his feeds.

@annabelmaud Update on our elimination communication voyage #eliminationcommunication #pottytraining #newmum #newmom #fyp ♬ Wes Anderson-esque Cute Acoustic – Kenji Ueda

Clara is following in her mother’s footsteps and potty training her four-month-old baby like her mum did with her eight children. She said it’s not for everyone, but she chooses to do it as she’s grown up in that way.

@clarazlife I learnt this way of potty training from my mother who raised 8 kids the same way. However i have just learntfrom this app that this is called elimination communication. I hope this will answer most questions and here are my step by step tips incase i did not make much sense: 1) make a decision yo start and let all parties know 2) suport baby of potty at consistent times, morning and night 3) dont stay more than 5 minutes on the potty. 4) this is not play time, so keep chill keep calm and some encouragement would be nice 5) CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES COME ON💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾 6) Stay consistent and trust the process #momsoftiktok #mumlife #mum #pottytraininngtips #eliminationcommunication elimination communication uk elimination communication 7 months elimination communication 6 weeks elimination communication training #mayimbialeliminationcommunication elimination communication newborn elimination communication at daycare elimination communication negatives#CapCut ♬ original sound – Clara’s Life | 🌟Mum of 3 🌟

Dr Carole Keim MD used elimination communication with her two-month old daughter, and suggests others try it before judging.

@dr.keim How to potty train a baby/infant – it’s called elimination communication and can be done at literally any age. I started at 2 months of age with mine! #thebabymanual #EC #eliminationcommunication #newbaby ♬ original sound – Dr. Carole Keim MD

10 key steps to start toilet training with elimination communication

  1. OBSERVATION: Begin by observing your baby’s natural cues for elimination, including facial expressions, body movements, and sounds. Take note of the times your baby typically eliminates, such as after waking up, before and after feeding, or during periods of increased activity.
  1. TIMING: Choose specific times to offer the toilet based on your observations. Expected times include waking, after meals, and during nappy changes. Be consistent with the timing to help your baby establish a routine.
  1. CUES: Establish a specific sound or cue that you use consistently when it’s time for elimination. This helps your baby associate the cue with the action. Over time, your baby may begin to recognise the cue and respond accordingly.
  1. POSITIONING: Find a comfortable and safe position for your baby during elimination times. This could be holding them over a small potty, using a special baby toilet seat, or simply holding them over a basin.
  1. elimination communication baby toilet training potty
    Elimination communication can encourage body awareness. Source: Bigstock

    COMMUNICATION: Use a gentle and reassuring tone when communicating with your baby during elimination. This helps create a positive association with the process. Be patient and understanding, as it might take time for your baby to get accustomed to this new routine.

  1. NAPPY-FREE TIME: Allow your baby some nappy-free time during the day. This helps them become more aware of their bodily functions and provides opportunities for successful elimination on the toilet.
  1. CELEBRATE SUCCESS: Praise and celebrate your baby’s successful toilet attempts. Positive reinforcement helps reinforce the connection between cues and actions.
  1. GRADUAL TRANSITION: EC is a gradual process. As your baby becomes more accustomed to using the toilet, you can gradually reduce reliance on nappies, especially during the times you’ve identified as key for elimination.
  1. FLEXIBILITY: Be flexible and understanding. Only some attempts will be successful, and that’s okay. It’s about communicating and building a connection with your baby.
  2. ADAPT TO YOUR LIFESTYLE: Adapt EC to your lifestyle and circumstances. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Even incorporating some aspects of EC can be beneficial.

 

What are the Pros and Cons of Elimination Communication?

While EC can foster a deep connection between both the parent and their baby during baby toilet training, potentially accelerating potty training, it also presents its challenges including a significant time commitment and patience in bucketloads. Let’s delve into the pros and cons by providing you with balanced insights to help determine if this approach might be suitable for you and your family.

Pros of Elimination Communication

  1. Strong bonding: EC fosters a close and responsive relationship between caregiver and baby. It enhances communication and trust as caregivers tune into the baby’s cues and needs.
  2. Early awareness: Babies who practice EC often develop a heightened awareness of their bodily functions from a young age. This can lead to earlier independence in toilet training and a greater sense of bodily control.
  3. Environmental sustainability: By reducing or eliminating the use of nappies, EC contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing landfill waste and conserving resources.
  4. Cost savings: EC can lead to financial savings by reducing the need for disposable nappies or the number of cloth nappies used over time.
  5. Cultural and historical context: EC is rooted in cultural practices worldwide and reflects historical norms before the widespread use of nappies. Embracing EC can provide a deeper connection to these traditions.
  6. Health benefits: Some proponents of EC argue that it may reduce the risk of nappy rash and urinary tract infections by minimising contact with waste products and keeping the baby’s skin dry.

Cons of Elimination Communication

  1. Time-intensive: Practicing EC requires a significant time commitment from caregivers, especially in the initial stages when observation and responsiveness are crucial.
  2. Challenges in lifestyle: EC may be challenging for families with busy schedules or working parents.
  3. Social acceptance: EC may not be widely accepted or understood in some communities or social circles, leading to potential criticism or discomfort from others.
  4. Potential for stress: Introducing EC too rigidly or expecting immediate success can lead to stress for both caregivers and babies.
  5. Limited accessibility: Access to resources and support for practicing EC, such as appropriate toileting facilities and community knowledge, may vary depending on location and cultural context.
  6. Individual variation: What works for one baby may not work for another. Some babies may have stronger cues or be more receptive to EC than others.

So there you have it. What do you think? There’s no doubt that Elimination Communication is a personal choice and might not suit all families or babies and takes time, effort, communication and patience. You know yourself and your baby better than anyone, so you will know whether this technique is for you.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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