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Okay, What exactly is EC?

558 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  tippie
I can't believe I've been coming to and reading posts for more than 4 years. But I never needed to come to this portion of the website, and I never realized that Elimination Communication meant 'potty training'! My, how stupid I feel!

Well, I've been parenting naturally for more than 3 years, baby wearing, natural drugfree birth, sleeping with babies, bf, responding to cries, etc. But I never realized there was a way to naturally potty train. I *do* know in India, many of my cousins and friends potty train their children very young; by just never putting diapers on and reading cues of when they want to go. With hand signs or sounds, the babies communicate.

Anyhow, I guess I got caught up in the whole mainstream point of view... just give it time, the child will want to go when he wants to go.

So, here I am. Older ds is 3.5 years old and not yet doing all his poops in the toilet... just a couple here and there. I have been 'working' with him on and off for a whole year almost! And baby is almost a year old and haven't even thought of potty training him.

So, if I were to EC, what would I do? What exactly does elimination communication mean? How does it work? Is there a guarantee for getting the kids to poop in the potty, or is it just when the individual child wants to? I am pretty queasy around poop and peepee on the floor, and we have carpets. (They're not new, but not old either).

Can it be done if you're really busy? going back and forth to doctor's appointments? Or do I just set out a week or two to focus on ECing? Please help, and please explain all the basics of how this works.

Or is it just waay too late to start with my 3.5 year old?

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Wow, this going to end up being an essay, but here goes...

It's called elimination communication (EC) because the idea is that you communicate with your baby about his or her elimination needs. I think you already know and understand that part of it.

The theory is that children in "western" societies are trained to use their diapers to eliminate and then lose that awareness they naturally have over their bodily finctions. Then, 2-3 years later, they are told, "Okay, you have to use the potty now." The result is that they have to re-train themselves to know that they can control their peeing and pooing.

There are many ways to EC and be successful. Some people choose to be diaper-free all of the time or part of the time. For example, some people set aside a few hours a day of diaper-free time where they take dc to potty as necessary. One mom has a 3 strikes rule -- 3 misses and the diaper goes on. Plenty of people, like our family, use diapers as backup and just take dc when we think dc needs to go. It is definitely possible to part-time EC; baby will still be able to maintain body awareness even if it's done only part-time.

I have to say that it can get frustrating, and it's easy to get caught up with the misses. It's important to focus on the catches and to look at them as one less diaper to toss or wash or one less mess to clean up.

The optimum time to begin is between birth and 4-5 months. However, there is information about "late-starters." I think someone will be able to provide the links. Your 3.5 year old falls into the "traditional" potty training category, but EC principles can help. I think with him, it shouldn't be "off and on." Once you start, you shouldn't go back. Maybe put him in trainers during the day and diapers at night and for naps in the beginning? Then graduate to trainers at night after frequent dry naps and nights.

Regardless, EC begins with observation. Summer is near, so it'd be nice to have both of them outside with naked bottoms for a few days. Your older dc will be able to reacquaint himself with his body, and you can see if there's any behavior that accompanies your younger dc's elimination patterns. When you see them poo or pee, you can pair their behavior with a verbal cue (e.g., "ssss" for peeing). Eventually, they will associate the verbal cue with eliminating, so that when you take them to potty, your cue will signal to them that they can relax their muscles. So, it really is two-way communication.

We're Asian, but my mom trained me when I was about 3. The cues still worked for me. She also sat me down to potty about 20 minutes after eating because the body has a reflex to empty the colon when the stomach is full.

If I think of something else, I'll post again.

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