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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Thoughts on Elimination Communication & Potty Training

    I don't know if most moms are familiar with this parenting trend so I will describe it as best as I can-

    It is when a parent of an infant or baby pays close attention to the child's cues that they have to go to the bathroom. Instead of using diapers, the parent or caregiver will put the baby on a toilet when he/she has to go. The idea is that they will associate the potty with going, instead of a diaper that you will have to train them out of.

    I don't do this, so if anyone on here does, feel free to correct this or add to it!

    What I have observed is that despite the effort made by mom the kids usually end up going to the potty of their own volition at approximately the same time as non-EC toddlers. My SIL is all about this and it seems like she wants me to be a convert, but I don't think it's for me.

    Has anyone tried this or known anyone who has? If so, how do they do this outside of the home? My SIL never goes out besides dinners at my MILs where she spends most of her time with her kids in the bathroom! The idea of this would be a bit more appealing if I was convinced that I could maintain some kind of social life! But maybe potty training kills that anyway? I must admit, we're nearing 1 1/2 and I haven't started potty training. Is this terrible?

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    EC is not for me at all. I don't like the idea, for many reasons.

    Firstly, I have a very busy daily routine that doesn't allow time for me to stare at my baby's face every two minutes checking for a cue. Secondly, I don't like the idea of accidents on my floors. I know they happen occasionally anyway - after all, they are only babies - But even so, I want to avoid this possibility at all costs.

    Thirdly, I feel it would take away from time and attention I could give my older DD who will no doubt be feeling a range of emotions, no longer being the only child.

    Fourthly, its not something I would have time to do with a hypothetical 3rd child, and I won't do something with one of my children if I haven't done it with all of them.

    1 1/2 is still pretty young, don't worry about it. She'll do it when she's ready. My daughter was just over 2 when we started and I remember her GP saying she might revert back to wanting a nappy because she was so young being trained. Luckily that didn't happen and she was fine.

    Amelie Clara (2008) & Daisy Madeline (2013).

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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I think this works exceptionally well in places where it is acceptable to just hold the pants-less baby out and let them go on the ground, wherever you might be.

    One of our close friends did EC w. her daughter. They said that she was "potty trained" by nine months. They were pretty evangelical about this and kept trying to convince everyone to try it. From watching them do this, it really seemed more like potty training for the parents than for the child. Their daughter was 3 in April and she is still wearing diapers part time.

    This might work for some babies and some parents. But from what I saw w. them, it did not seem to. She could go in the potty, but she couldn't tell them that she needed to go and she couldn't go independently. Instead they would decide that she needed to go, carry her to the bathroom, and hold her over the toilet while prompting her. She wore diapers throughout this, but they said they used very few diapers b.c they could keep putting them back on her as long as they caught her before she went. If you have a lot of free time and you would like to spend that time holding a baby over a toilet while saying, "ssssssss" then maybe it would be a good way to cut down on diaper use.

    On the other hand, I have a good friend whose daughter started removing her own diaper at 15 months. She would take off the diaper, then go- on the floor, wherever. So my friend got her a potty and taught her to go in that, and everything was fine. She trained herself. Her second daughter is now 15 months and is nowhere close to ready. All kids are different.

    My son is now 19 months and we are not doing any sort of potty training yet. There are readiness checklists, and I am waiting till he meets them! He just started telling me when he has a dirty diaper, so that is a good first step. I would rather wait till he is actually ready and spend a week training him than start now and spend the next couple of years working on it.

    I really think that this is a lot like learning to read. Some kids will teach themselves. Others will need to be taught. You can start teaching a kid to read when he is two and spend the next three or four years teaching him. Or you can wait till he is five or six and teach him in a week or so.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    My SIL has her girls in underwear and is very proud that they haven't worn a diaper in whatever amount of months, but they sleep on wool pads that she made and urinate on them during the night. At family gatherings she gives the disclaimer that if you hold them they might pee on you! Um, no thanks!

    I find it hard to consider this as 'potty trained' cause to me it just seems like 'diaperless' with a vigilant mother!

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Los Angeles
    It only works if you are inseparable from the child, and-- as pinkballerina said-- spend all day staring at their face waiting for the scrunchy face or whatever their 'cue' is. If the child is under 12 months, you are training the parents only, not the baby. If there is *anything* you value doing more with your time than pretending to toilet train an infant (for bragging rights? Saving a few bucks on daytime diapers? Not sure what the reward is, really)-- like eating, showering, jogging, reading, spending time with other children, not to mention working or otherwise stimulating your self-- it won't work.

    The truth is children can achieve true continence long before the age of 2. In many developed, first-world cultures it is unacceptable for a child to reach the preschool years and not be toilet-trained. We tend to let the child show evidence of cognitive awareness of their own body, to show interest in the potty, to have the speech/language faculties to ask for it, etc before we begin training in the US, which is perfectly fine. Many cultures (not just hut-dwellers who whip out naked babies on the forest paths) start around 12 months, and children achieve control by 18 months. The nerves which supply the colon and urethra itself have completely myelinated by age 11 months-- meaning that children physiologically *can* achieve voluntary control of their sphincters starting at that age. Again, though EC depends not on teaching continence but on training parents to recognize signals, and does not lead to toilet-training in the important sense until children are well into toddlerhood.

    Personally I plan to start with my son (age 15 months) very soon. We are moving house this month and once we are established in the new one, we'll begin. He is cognitively advanced enough to grasp what the potty is for once he's placed on it; he can follow both parents into the bathroom and grasp what's going on there; after a few weekends of serious effort and reptition I think he will grasp it. I hope, but don't entirely expect, him to be trained by the time his sibling arrives in December, when he'll be 21 months old. In the Middle East, where his father is from, children are toilet-trained very early; his father was completely trained at 18 months and his aunts at 14 and 16 months, respectively.

    Again, I know I'm rambling a bit but I think what separates EC from this philosophy on toddler toilet training is a) EC requires really, really hard-core Attachment Parenting, which is incompatible with most people's lifestyles and desires; b) EC start with children so young that they anatomically cannot achieve continence or control, and as such is training the parents rather than the babies' c) EC is much more accident-prone in that diapers are avoided during daytime which obviously has consequences for your home, car, friends' homes, etc; d) toddler toilet-training involves cognitive recognition on the part of the child that s/he is eliminating waste, and that one does so in this special receptacle, and that one can ask to be brought to it when one needs-- i.e., it's true toilet-training.

    The average age for completion of toilet-training in the US is 3 years, 3 months. IMO it's perfectly fine to wait that long if you choose, as long as your children's preschools don't require them to be trained before entry.
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