Thank you to Marija Mikolajczak for this guest post.
It seems like more and more people are hearing about elimination communication. Maybe this is part of an overall trend of eco-friendly living, or due to an increase in interest in attachment parenting. Who wouldn’t want to wash (or buy) fewer diapers? And having a closer relationship with your baby sounds great!
Sometimes parents get stuck on how to get started with EC, since they may not personally know anyone else who has ever done this, in contrast to those countries where “holding baby out to pee” is the norm.
I think an easy way to get started is by prioritizing communication. Rather than focusing on trying to get all the “pee into the potty,” it helps to shift your thoughts to opening up a dialogue with your baby or toddler.
At the next diaper change, you can start explaining what is happening to your baby. I used to narrate to my son, “I see your diaper is wet. You peed. I’m going to take the wet diaper off. You’ll be much more comfortable in this clean and dry one.”
Throughout the day, while you are playing and interacting with your baby, each time you observe her eliminating, just simply note, “You peed.” It’s easier to know when, if your baby is naked or using a non-waterproof diaper or training pant.
The next time that you think maybe your baby needs to go, you can take your child to an appropriate potty place. Remembering the “communication” focus, you can let your child know what you are doing, such as “I am thinking you may need to pee. Lets go to the bathroom to see if you want to pee into the toilet.”
If your baby pees into the toilet, you will probably feel excited! A comment stating what happened and reinforcing the benefits of using the toilet can be helpful, such as “You peed in the toilet. Wasn’t that nice to stay clean and dry?”
Whatever happens, you can let your baby know you will try to take him or her to the toilet again next time you think s/he needs to go.
Anytime you feel uncertain, you can turn to the EC forum on Mothering.com for support and advice.
Marija Mikolajczak lives in New York City with her husband and son. Marija’s family practiced elimination communication with their son from birth, as well as other forms of attachment parenting. Marija is a co-leader of the Queens Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network and Organizer of a Meetup group for traditional foods cooking. After ten years as a union organizer and anti-sweatshop activist, when Marija became a mother she was frustrated with the challenge of finding clothing that was not only practical for use with EC but also manufactured under fair labor and eco-friendly conditions. So Marija started EC Wear which sells split pants, legwarmers, training pants, cloth diapers, and other clothing for babies and toddlers, in addition to manufacturing a number of specialty products for elimination communication.
Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.