Infant Elimination Communication

Parents often dread potty training.  Teaching a child to use the toilet after he has gotten accustomed to using a diaper seems like a daunting task.  But many parents claim that infant elimination communication, or EC for short, is less stressful and more effective than traditional methods.

What is Infant Elimination Communication?
elimination communication infant

EC has been used in many cultures for centuries.  It is simply the practice of learning to recognize the signs that your infant needs to eliminate, and taking him to the toilet when you see them.  It is generally started before six months of age, but some parents start later than that.

Each child has his own individual way of communicating that he is about to urinate or have a bowel movement.  It’s up to the parents to pick up on these signs.  Some things to look for include passing gas, grunting, squirming, or a serious look on your child’s face.  Your child may do some or all of these things, or he may give cues that are unique to him.

Once you’ve figured out the signs, you can start taking the child to the potty when you see them.  Parents often develop signs, either verbal or visual, that let the child know that they are in a place where it is acceptable to eliminate.  If he does, some praise will reinforce the behavior and make him more likely to continue with it.

Can You Eliminate Diapers Altogether?

One reason that some parents choose the EC method is because it can reduce the need for diapers.  While you will probably need some backup in the early stages and perhaps also when traveling, the possibility of not having to buy diapers or even wash cloth diapers is quite appealing.  Some parents find that using cloth diapers enhances their children’s success with elimination communication due to the fact that they can feel the results of elimination.

Some parents choose not to use diapers at all when practicing EC potty training.  Many of these parents claim that their children rarely have a bowel movement in their underpants or while being worn in a sling or other cloth carrier close to the parent.

The Debate About Infant Elimination Communication

Some experts feel that elimination communication potty training is inappropriate due to the fact that it is started at such a young age.  They claim that because children under two years old do not have fully developed muscles, they cannot control their urination and bowel movements.  There are also psychologists who argue that early toilet training can cause problems later in life.

EC supporters claim that it is not damaging to the child because he is not coerced into going to the toilet on his own.  If done correctly, EC puts the caregiver in charge of getting the child to the toilet when he needs to go.  The child will realize what is going on and start going to the bathroom on his own when the time comes.

Elimination communication sounds unusual to some parents, but it is an easy concept to implement.  It has the potential to make potty training easier and less stressful, and it could save you a lot of money in the long run.  Once you’ve deciphered the signs that indicate your child needs to go to the bathroom, the hardest part is over.

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