Today’s post is written by Michelle Barber from New Mercies.
Chances are if you are cloth diapering you have heard of the practice of Elimination Communication (EC). Simply stated by Wikipedia,
“Elimination Communication (EC) is a toilet training practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues and intuition to respond to an infant’s need to eliminate waste.”
If you are anything like me, you may have first heard of EC and thought “Well, that’s weird…an infant on a toilet? Isn’t it just better to let them potty in their diaper?” Keep in mind that I am an only child who grew up in the superficiality of a busy town like LA. Where you can’t eat, drive, or fill up your calendar fast enough (don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful Cali and wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else).
Thinking EC was “out there”, primitive, only for special moms and special babies, very time consuming and a really hard thing, I immediately passed on it as an option for my family. Man, was I wrong…for passing on it that is.
It is “out there” by today’s standards. It is primitive, but that is a great thing because easy and modern isn’t always what is best for us. And, I believe, it is for every mom and every baby if they so desire. I mean, we were all created to eliminate naturally so why not start out where we’re going to end up in a few years…which is sitting on a toilet. In addition, if there is any extra time needed to practice EC it is well worth it.
So how did my perspective change and how did I get started? Accidentally, I came across references to EC multiple times as I was researching cloth diapers while pregnant with my 2nd son, Ezra. Each time totally disregarding the idea for reasons previously stated.
One morning I had been researching how to make homemade lotion, when I came across a video of a mama who made her own lotion, used cloth diapers and practiced EC with her son. She said her son was potty trained at 19 months. I was sold right then and there!
If I could make it easier for Ezra to potty train later, and avoid some of the potty training challenges I was currently experiencing with my 3 year old, Shia…then alright! This is for us! I then viewed a related video of a father demonstrating how his 3 month old son went potty. It seemed easy enough. I decided I was going to try it.
Minutes later (I’m glad it was minutes so I didn’t have time to think myself out of it), Ezra woke up and I took him right to the toilet. I held him securely over it, with his back to my chest, holding his little legs; knees gently held against his chest and said, “Do you have to pee-pee or poo-poo?” One second, two seconds, three seconds, four seconds…and…viola, his first poop & pee in the toilet!
Let me tell you I was so surprised and excited. I told him, “You pooped and pee-peed in the potty! Good job!” He smiled. I cleaned him up, jumped up and down in amazement, and called Nana to share the joy.
How easy! How fitting! It felt right. Why didn’t I know to do this with Shia? The very next day I went out and got Ezra his very own potty for around $4 bucks – easy, inexpensive, no need for the fancy or not so fancy little potties that cost over $20 dollars.
Since that day a little over 2 months ago, we’ve never looked back. Ezra has responded tremendously to the practice of EC. And what a perfect complement it has been to my cloth diapering routine.
It all began with a desire to save money and a call to do something better for our children and planet. Why not use cloth diapers starting now,” my husband and I decided after we attended a cloth diapering class. And I am so thankful for it because it has opened our eyes. It has opened up a whole new world of natural alternatives to what main stream society presents as being good for me and my family but in fact is not.
The benefits of cloth diapering, and now EC, have been endless because it has proven to me that natural living is not too hard or impossible to fit in our daily lives. Yes, it is work. Yes, there is a learning curve. And like many of you know, it takes effort and long term commitment. But the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices.
When you choose to live more naturally, you are living more purposefully and more unselfishly at whatever degree you live it. Like the saying goes…a little goes a long way.
In closing, why was I so adverse to EC in the beginning? Like anything else, we tend to avoid what is unknown to us or different. We like to stay in our comfort zone or where we know we won’t fail. But how can we make a bigger impact if we don’t take a chance and do something we may not normally do.
So whether it’s living more organically or following a lifelong dream; whatever your heart is telling you, I encourage you to branch out and try those things that may be a little “out there” for you. You just don’t know – it may positively affect your world in ways you have not imagined.
P.S. In part two, I will go into more detail of who, what, when, where, why and how we practice EC in our family, alternate ways of practicing EC, and what I believe is the ultimate key to making EC a positive experience for all.