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Thread: Anyone else practice elimination communication?(LONG)

  1. #1

    Default Anyone else practice elimination communication?(LONG)

    ...sometimes referred to as 'nappy free'?

    I first heard a reference to elimination communication when DD was 5 weeks old. I was at a caf? with a pregnant friend. At one point, she said something along the lines of 'that's if we decide to use nappies'. She continued talking and I remember thinking 'no nappies?, how can you not use nappies?' but the discussion had moved on and I didn't seek clarification. I had always thought that there were only two choices. Cloth or disposables, and I am definitely on the side of cloth. I now know that there is a third choice ? elimination communication or 'nappy free'.

    I began practicing elimination communication (EC) with DS1 at birth. The benefits of EC are numerous, and include ? it is better for the environment than full-time use of disposables and cloth; no nappy rash for bub; greater closeness and communication between parent and child; less washing than cloth nappy use; cheaper than disposable nappy use; greater freedom and mobility for the baby.

    EC is about tuning in to your baby, and recognising when they need to eliminate. All babies are born with an innate awareness of their elimination - it doesn't just fall out of them without their knowledge!! Basically, we train our babies to use their nappies as a toilet place. Babies have no desire to soil themselves, and sit around in wet or pooey nappies. From birth, babies will give off detectable signs or signals that they are going to eliminate. As a newborn, DS1 would wriggle and squirm, then build up to a cry as they peed.He would keep crying until he was dry again. If we do not respond to the signalling, eventually a baby will stop attempting to communicate this need and will, consequently, become conditioned to eliminating in a nappy.

    From birth, we made a cueing sound, 'pssss', whenever we noticed that DS1 was eliminating (it helps to give your baby some time out of a nappy each day so that you can observe this). At 2 weeks of age, we began holding him over a bucket or sink and making the cueing sound whenever we thought he needed to eliminate. We would hold him in a supported squat position, our hands under his thighs and his back against our chest. Gradually, this sets up an understanding between parent and baby, and the baby knows that you will respond. We were peed on lots of times at the start. It can feel a bit like trial and error at times, but once we had developed confidence in our ability to recognise his signs, we were hooked! He knew that the positioning and the 'pssss' sound were our way of saying 'we know you need to eliminate'. If he looked disinterested or arched his back, that was his way of saying 'no', so we would cease. If he relaxed, we knew that we had read his signals correctly, and a pee or poo was imminent.

    There are lots of different ways of practicing EC. Some people go 'all or nothing' and rarely ? if ever- use nappies. Other people take a part-time approach so that their baby wears a nappy at night or during outings. Other parents just catch the occasional elimination. If you know that your baby is going to poo, why not hold her over a potty or toilet instead of watching her struggle to poo in a tight nappy while lying down? No mess to clean off their bodies either, just straight down the loo! One less nappy to wash (or buy)! The majority of the world's babies don't wear nappies. These days, parents in the West have become reliant on nappy use for a longer period of time than previous generations, with some children still in nappies at 3 and 4 years of age.

    Some people mistake this method for early toilet training. That couldn't be further from the truth. EC is about listening to your baby, responding to their needs in the moment, and setting up a line of communication and trust. There is no coercion or punishment involved whatsoever. Sometimes I would be distracted and I miss the signals but most of the time I was in tune with him. The point is to maintain communication and help the baby to maintain an awareness of their body's elimination needs.

    DS2 is 10 weeks old. He wears MCN's but whenever I recognise his signals I remove his nappy and hold him over a plastic container (that we call his 'potty'). By the time he was 10 days old, I realised that I recognised his signals. I was sick with mastitis and wasn't even looking for the signals. He was wearing gorgeous MCN's and I had planned to start EC with him when he was a few weeks old. But it was hard for me to tune out from that once I knew - he would make such a distinctive noise, and I would imitate that noise as the cue (rather than using 'pssss' as we had with DS1).

    Sorry this is so long.

  2. #2

    Smile Practicing Elimination Communication

    yes I do EC with my baby too. You have a really great attitude towards it!

    Have fun,

    what resources have you found helpful, besides your baby?

    (Tribal baby mum)

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I have heard about this but didn't ever try it myself. I find it amazing that it works so well.

    Just a question (probably silly). Does it make toilet training easier or is it just a natural progression?

  4. #4


    Chandra, I have found your resources very useful! I used to be on the yahoo group. Nice to meet up with you here. I have found it so much easier second time around. I have also read a couple of the books, Diaper Free and the original nappy free 'bible', can't think what it is called now.

    I feel as though I can't ignore Rowan's signals even if I wanted to! However, I am a bit more relaxed than I was with DS1. I used to stop the car and pee him by the side of the road or do the mad dash behind a tree if we were out. But I find that a little trickier with 2 other kids in tow. So we are getting some good use out of our MCN's too. However, we are catching most poos, and we are doing it at night too.

    Tinkerbell, EC is a different philosophy to toilet training but I suppose it was a natural progression to independent tolilet use. My DS1 still needs me to wipe his bottom. But by the age of 2 years and 5 months he was staying dry during the day and using the potty or toilet without us having to 'remind' him . Prior to that we were still offering him opportunities to use the potty. He is 2y 7m & still wears a nappy at night. I don't know when he would have stopped wearing nappies if we had gone the more 'traditional' way. My daughter was conventionally TT and she started using a potty at 22months, and was out of nappies during the day at the same age as DS1. However, having him out of nappies 'early' was not necessarily a goal for me. I loved the communication that we shared and I loved being able to directly and immediately meet a need for him. Plus save on washing nappies!

    There were frustrating times too, such as when he went on a 'potty strike' at 10 months. This coincided with his ability to walk, so that is all he was focused on and he didn't signal as clearly or even want to go on his potty. Frustrating at first, but then I backed off completely. The 'potty strike' lasted a few months but then we were back on track.

    I'm sure Chandra could add a lot more, she has much more experience and knowledge than I do (and a great web site).

  5. #5


    Hi there,

    I want to give EC a shot. DD is 14 months and I've had enough... of nappy rash that never goes away. Nothing I do helps to make it better. And I'm sick of people telling me to try this or that, it worked overnight for their little one... well, it doesn't for mine! Her skin is super sensitive and NOTHING I have tried works except letting her run around home without a nappy on (and pee all over the place, and get sick from the cold... grrrh!).

    We started her in disposables at birth and she had constant nappy rash. Then we switched to cloth. It was good for a while - during the warmer months when I would put the nappy on without a cover - but now in the cooler months the great beast named "nappy rash" is back, and I am completely fed up. For a while when her bottom was going well in cloth, she was happy and co-operative during nappy changes, but now it has gone back to having us both in tears and angry at nappy changes, and it being this big battle between us. Time for a change.

    I'd love any support or tips you have to offer. I know because she is older it is going to be harder... but I've got to do something.


  6. #6


    Oh Shellshell,

    I just typed a lengthy response one-handed as I nursed DS and it has vanished in to thin air! How frustrating!

    I will re-do it tomorrow. Sorry about that. I think I am going to cry!

  7. #7


    I was at a shop and the woman behind the counter had her DD with her and was explaining how to do it. It was the first time I had heard about it. I might look up some of the resources and look into it, but i'm usually pretty out of it for the first few weeks with bubs so we'll see how i go. But I will follow this thread to see how others go with it!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    In the poor house...


    I watched a clip on Youtube last night about this and i was fascinated.

    The one i watched - the lady had just started her daughter at 7.5 months and said it was going really well. She puts her daughter on the Potty through the day and over night she sits her over the toilet on one of those padded toilet seats so its not so cold. She also takes the padded seat to the shops with her.

    Such a natural instict ! An amazing way to communicate.

    She called it Elimination Communication or Natural Infant Hygiene.

    Not sure if i could do it but i am impressed. Need to think a bit more about it.
    My Mum said she used to hold me over the toilet at 4 months cause i wouldnt go in my nappy and always before i had a bath.
    mmmm......*thinking* - if i tried it i reackon i would be a part timer

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    We are doing it part time here... we were doing really well, but after being overseas and then being sick, it got lost and now Mj doesnt like sitting on the potty and will say no - im not sure if she realsies that she doesnt need to go, or just doesnt want to.
    She is really interested in the toilte atm (we use a padded toilte seat now too) and also sits her Doll Doll on the potty - sometimes we sneak a bit of water underneath Doll Doll and make a big fuss thats she has done wee wee.
    I t hink that it is just a stage and will persevere, but i hope that i havent stuffed things up...
    She was doing so well and from about 12 months was pretty much poo trained - she would get up and do one after her morning BF and sometimes after her arvo one.
    She does point to her nappy now and say poo - but thats after she has done it.
    I guess the awareness is there and thats the main thing.
    Just not sure how to get things back

    Well done for starting so early - i wish i had known about it when Mj was born.
    We started part time at 6 mths

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    in the eye of a toddler tornado


    I have to say I thought this was a crazy idea but then about 6 weeks ago I started sitting DD on the potty before her shower and bath. Before long she was pretty reliably doing a pee morning and night when placed on the potty. I'm flushed with success (excuse the pun) and keen to consolidate but not sure where to go from here. Any suggestions welcome!

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    What we did was just increase the times that we offered the potty.
    I found the bes times were directly after a nap or a sleep as often they would have a wee then.
    Also if you can have nappy free time, take not how long it is from meal time to wee and try and offer the potty then
    Pretty soon you will see the cues.
    Unfortunatly i think i have misses my window here and will take some time to get back all the work that we have done.
    Google Charndra, this will give you loads and loads of info and tips
    Good luck

  12. #12

    Default We are researching EC & hoping to try it, as least Part-time

    I first heard about elimination communication (EC) in a magazine a couple of months ago. We are expecting our first bub late October & I started researching using cloth nappies. My partner was not very keen on the idea of cloth nappies but I still hoped to be able to persuade him. Then I saw an article about EC, I could not believe I had not heard about it before or at least wondered myself about the fact that in the majority of countries worldwide & traditionally through out the centuries there must have been other ways.

    Anyway I want to find out as much as I can & see how we go when bub arrives, I imagine if we manage to practice EC it will be on a part-time basis but am really excited about giving it a go, it sounds like it would really enhance the communication & intuneness (making up words ) between us & bub. I have been getting updates & information from the Part Time Nappy Free website as a free member but am wondering if anyone has joined & received access to the online learning recourses? If so, would they recommend it? As we still have a while to go before bub arrives & this is our first baby, I am really not sure how it will go & I imagine to start off there will be so much going that I will not be able to be using an online guide. Just wanting to hear others experiences.

  13. #13


    yes, cam & coco, EC definately does enhance the intuitiveness and communication with your baby. Our EC journey has been wonderful, eye-opening, bonding and frustrating (at times).I am much more relaxed ECing the second time around. As I said in an earlier post, I have no trouble noticing my DS signals, and I couldn't ignore them if I wanted to!.

    I guess I call myself a part-timer, as my DS (4months) wears nappies. This is mostly to do with the weather. Come Spring, he will be nappy free most of the time. However, I find that I have no trouble getting his clothes and nappy off in plenty of time. One of the most obvious signals is when I am BF him, and he starts popping on and off the breast and groaning and wriggling. When my DD did this, I thought it was a BF problem (I didn't practice EC with her). It was so liberating to discover with my eldest DS that it was not a BF issue, but a clear signal that he needed to eliminate.

    With DS2, I realised at 10 days old that his signalling was really clear. As soon as I opened myself to it, it was unmistakeable.

    I definately recommend that you give it a go. Once your bub knows that your are responding to their signals, they will keep signalling.

    I found the tribal baby site useful but haven't subscribed to the 'paid' content ( I am sure I would have if it had been available at the time I had DS1). Also, check out the oznappyfree yahoo group.

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