Last week at MOMs group I sat down at a table and a mom said “you’re that diaper freak, aren’t you?” She was smiling and I was flattered! Yes, I am a diaper freak and proud of it. She said she has read my blog but she practices Elimination Communication.
What is so awesome is that she started doing it before she even knew it had a name and a big following. Because I am no expert on EC I will let another experienced mom give you some insight into the history of EC:
This excerpt is taken from the July/August 2008 Quarterly newsletter provided by www.diaperfreebaby.org.
“Cover Story: A Short History of EC and DiaperFreeBaby
By Amanda Alvine
Responding to an infant’s elimination needs without using diapers has been and remains the norm in many parts of the world. However, many in the US and in other first-world countries have had to rediscover this approach, known variably as elimination communication (EC), infant potty training, natural infant hygiene and elimination timing. Once practiced only by a small number of innovative parents, EC has gained visibility and is now mentioned alongside other potty learning methods.
Infant pottying was once widely practiced in Western societies, but coercive forms of early potty learning practiced around the beginning of the twentieth century created a societal backlash against any form of early toileting at all. By the 1950s, pediatricians began recommending that parents wait until children were older and “ready.” Currently, mainstream US culture still follows this philosophy, with many parents feeling that it is better to wait, and could even be damaging to offer the potty too soon.
However, individual parents rediscovered a form of EC while interacting and caring for their babies. Dr. Thomas Hall noted the experience of one such parent, Mrs. Lela Humpries, who started offering her babies the potty in 1947. With her first son, she noticed his pattern of having a bowel movement while feeding, and a specific facial gesture that preceded it. By the time he was 6 weeks old, she would unpin one side of his diaper and pull it aside to position him over a potty in her lap, all without changing his position or disturbing his feeding. Her first two sons were both consistently using the potty for bowel movements by 6 months, and for all eliminations by 14 months. She responded to her third son, who had Down Syndrome, in the same way, and once he started walking at 16 months, he would walk to the bathroom when he needed to go. Ingrid Bauer, author of Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, found out that her mother had also created her own form of EC because she felt that her children did not particularly enjoy wearing diapers. Starting when the children were 6 months of age, she would sit them on a potty and sing to them, with the result that both Bauer and her brother were independently using the toilet shortly after their first birthdays.
In 1976, an entire child-centered community began infant pottying. A man named Gridley White had seen what he called “elimination timing” used in Asia, and suggested that it might work in their community. No one in the community knew how to do it; they understood only that it “had to do with baby being consciously communicative” and the caregiver “being in the baby’s timing,” as Linda “Natec” Penn recalls. Not to be deterred by a lack of knowledge, one mother tried it with her one-month old, and he peed. From that point, it caught on and all the babies in the community were more or less diaper-free. Natec took this newfound knowledge to other parents through presentations in 1977-78. She would ask the babies present to let the group know when they had to pee, and to everyone’s delight, it worked! She continued to teach parents and babies about this new approach to elimination, and in 1992, she took the information to a wider audience when she published a pamphlet, Elimination Timing, on the web at www.parentsplace.com.
Another parent named Laurie Boucke discovered the practice of EC when her third child was an infant. A mother visiting from India taught her how to hold and cue her 3 month old. She referred to the approach as “Indian-style toilet training.” In 1980, Boucke wrote an article entitled “Conscious Toilet Training,” and later published a book, Trickle Treat, in 1991. Since then, she has written a comprehensive book on EC entitled Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living as well as a more compact version, Infant Potty Basics: With or Without Diapers…the Natural Way. All three of her books have helped and encouraged countless parents on their EC journeys……”
To read the remainder of this informative article please visit www.diaperfreebaby.org at this link.
If you are interested in finding other moms near you that are praticing EC you can browse the Diaper Free Baby website’s “Find Local Groups” link.