Back to the original subject - EC and AP
Here`s what I wrote about this on my homepage:http://www.s-line.de/homepages/bradf...amilieECAP.htm
Attachment Parenting and Elimination Communication
Parents practising Attachment Parenting (AP) might at first be rather sceptical, if EC is really what they should do. After all, they favour child-led weaning. They are prepared to sleep together until the child is ready to move to his own bed on his own account. Wouldn´t it be against those principles to have a baby out of diapers, before he can decide for himself he doesn´t need them anymore?
Perhaps a bit of the confusion is caused by also calling it "Infant Potty Training" - sounds a bit like a rigorous training routine applied to infants - which is definitly not what Laurie Boucke had in mind when she coined the term. That´s why I like to name it "Elimination Communication" or "Natural Infant Hygiene" - both expressions already make it sound more compatible to AP, don´t they? :-)
In my opinion "toileting" your infant is not at all contradictory to what AP is all about
AP is about reading and responding to your baby´s cues - so is EC.
My baby not only tells me when he is hungry, or sleepy, or wants to be picked up, but is also trying to communicate his elimination needs. I found it to be of great help to know another reason a baby who had just been fed, was neither tired nor wet or soiled, might have to cry. Maybe he´s just telling you, that he has to go and doesn´t want to in his clothing? And it´s so easy to help - if you consider the possibility, which we usually don´t in the western world. :-(
AP is about attachement, about forming a close bond with your baby - so is EC.
Working together in caring for your baby´s hygienic needs is another area to form a strong bond of communication and trust with your baby.
AP is about caring for the baby the "natural" way - breast instead of bottles, family bed instead of cribs, wearing the baby instead of putting it down in a playpen - and so is EC.
Nothing is more "natural" than responding to your baby´s elimination needs by holding it at an appropriate place to eliminate. This is what mothers have done with their babies for thousands of years. Even organic cloth diapers are "unnatural" in comparison.
AP is about being there for your baby NOW - so is EC.
EC helps you to live in the moment. You try to deal with your baby´s elimination, when the need occurs, instead of changing and cleaning him afterwards.
AP is NOT about raising kids the way that´s most convenient for you at all times - neither is EC.
So if you might say EC looked like a huge waste of time to you, I´d reply that time spent caring for my son´s needs is never ever wasted. Wearing him is not a waste of time. Brestfeeding him is not a waste of time. Being there while he goes to sleep in the evening is not a waste of time. And helping him to eliminate in a proper place and not soiling himself is no waste of time, either.
Anyway, as with other AP practises, what looks like an uneccesarily huge investment of time and energy at the beginning, pays off later and usually makes life actually much easier for both of you. When breastfeeding is well established, it´s a breeze compared to preparing bottles. A baby who got his fill of closeness and attachment, turns into an independent and contend toddler. And a baby who had had the possibility to communicate his elimination needs, gets better and better at expressing those needs, as well as getting more and more control of them. So today - my son is 17 months old - I´m definitly spending LESS time on those issues than I would if I was diapering him. There are the occasional wet pants to throw into the washer (about 5 a week at the moment) but no diapers to wash or to change. Apart from that, I have to pull his pants down and up again when he has to pee (he´s practising, so I suppose he´ll soon do it himself) and clean him after his daily bowel movement - not that there is much to clean, as he didn´t sit on it in a diaper.
I don´t think EC means "weaning" babies off diapers before they are ready. Diapers as a toilet are just not the same category as breastfeeding or the family bed. I´d rather compare them to pacifiers - a substitute for the "real" thing. A pacifier replaces the mother - her breast - and a diaper also replaces the mother - her attention for the baby´s elimination needs. Of course you should "wean" a child slowly and carefully of those things - but isn´t it even better not to introduce them in the first place? Or only to use them as "backup" when really necessary?
As "readyness" is concerned, it depends on your definition of readyness. Of course an infant cannot say "I´ve got to pee", go to the potty, pull his pants down, sit down and do his business. But you wouldn´t say a baby is not ready to eat, before he can say "I´d like some cereal", open the cupboard, prepare the cereal, take it to the table and sit down to eat it with a spoon! So in my opinion a baby is "ready" for EC from birth - he has some awareness of his elimination, and he can communicate those needs. That´s all that´s needed. And he´ll "graduate" to complete toilet independence when he´s ready for THAT.
In my opinion many conventionally diapered children reach toilet independence long after they would have been "ready" without diapers. They suffer from what I call "toilet-confusion" (like nipple-confusion, which makes babies refuse the breast) They became unaware of their elimination needs, so they have many "accidents". They forgot how to "let go" at an appropriate moment - so they sit on the potty with no results. They request a diaper for pooing, because to poo at any other place scares them - the diaper has been the place to do it for years.
Of course there are also many children who are not confused by full-time-diapering and who self-train easily before their 3rd birthday - as there are children going back and forth between breast and bottle without difficulties.