There is a growing movement among attachment parent enthusiasts that aims to get more babies out of diapers and onto the potty – as infants. Elimination communication is a practice where parents use a baby’s signals and cues to address their need to pee or poop. Parents begin to recognize these needs and then put their baby on a toilet so they can eliminate waste without using a diaper.
It sounds crazy at first. How can a parent possibly know when a baby has to go (aside from the obvious – just waking up)? And how can a baby control when they go? Wouldn’t this lead to a lot of messes?
Elimination communication, or EC, is practiced in many non-industrialized countries around the world. Those in favor of EC swear by it, and many babies under the practice have never worn diapers, or seldom wear diapers.
Diaper Free Baby, a non-profit organization supportive of elimination communication, claims that babies are aware of their elimination needs from birth and communicate those needs through various vocal and bodily signals. The organization says that babies can consciously release their bladders and bowels within the first few months of life, and when they’re taken to a potty, they connect with bodily sensations and learn what to do. EC also focuses on gentle, non-coercive communication based on babies’ interests and needs.
Enthusiasts say elimination communication can be practiced full time or part time, by working parents or stay-at-home parents. It reduces the waste disposable diapers create, saves families lots of money they’d spend on buying diapers and eliminates diaper rash. It also gets young children potty trained well before the national average of diapered 3 year olds, typically between 12 and 18 months.
There are books, videos and workshops that teach parents how to teach their babies to poo and pee free of diapers, however this practice certainly isn’t for everyone.
Some people balk at the idea, and picture children covered in pee and poop, rolling around the carpet. Those who practice EC swear it isn’t like that – at all.
The EC community is growing throughout the United States and there is more support for parents, but whether you choose to diaper your baby or not, is entirely up to you.