Did you know that there is another environmentally friendly alternative to diapers?
What if I told you that this method has been around for centuries even before diapers were invented and commercialized. It is called Elimination Communication (EC), sometimes referred to as Infant Potty Training, or Infant Hygiene.
EC has a very long history going back to the time… well… since we were born! Through the years of continual modernization and industrialization, EC has evolved in its own way as we have our lives. But the benefits and dynamic flexibility of EC still remains, which is why EC is still practiced today by many families worldwide.
Here are the top 5 reasons EC is SO great:
- You can be a super flexible with EC. From doing EC with very little time dedicated, to part time, to full time... the flexibility of EC is endless and that is what makes it accessible to any family. My EC journey was met with ups and downs, and the beauty was that through all those trials and tribulations, I could choose to put EC on temporary hold, or continue through the chaos with the security of having EC.
- As parents, we are learning to communicate with our child. We communicate with our baby in many ways, but communicating also involves listening in a different way. When you EC babies, you are learning to be aware of a different kind of communication that you just don’t get with feeding, changing diapers, or holding them. Instead of just second guessing, EC really teaches you how to understand and translate what our little one is needing, and trying to tell us.
- You take part in helping the environment. When you catch a pee or poop, often it goes right into the toilet and heads into a sewer to be treated at some chemical plant. Any disposable diapers that would have been soiled would eventually end up in a landfill, which I am sure you are aware never really decompose. Unfortunately, even cloth diapers have their environmental impacts, just as compostable do. Therefore, if you just practiced EC at least once a day, you would prevent over 1200 diapers from going into the landfill over the lifetime of the average potty trained child in the U.S., and this estimation is very conservative as only half the kids in the United States are potty trained by age three. Most kids that EC are potty trained much earlier.
- It develops healthy habits because you are teaching your child hygiene from a very early age. We as adults pee and poo in the toilet because we know that is hygienic and clean to do so. So when we teach our little ones the same thing we are teaching them how to be healthy. We are telling them that peeing and pooping in a diaper and then sitting in it, is not as hygienic, nor really ideal.
- Ironically, EC can be really fun. There is nothing like catching a pee or poop in the toilet, and it becoming so fun that you just want to catch more. To see your baby poop or pee in the toilet is just a feeling that you will never forget. It is part amazement and excitement of witnessing your little one’s ability to use a potty from the start.
Although there are many more benefits to start EC, I will let you find the rest out for yourself. If possible, starting EC from birth can feel very rewarding for both baby and caregiver(s). Even if EC is not started from birth, there is no time like now to start. EC can be practiced from birth to around 18 months. After 18 months, some children begin to benefit from a potty training type of philosophy. So take the class, read some books, start now, even if you’re just a few weeks pregnant.
Written by: Jennifer Renee Chu.
Jenn is an Apprentice Midwife who runs Little Ones Welcome, a holistic Acupuncture practice, where she integrates Western and Eastern perspectives on women's and children's wellness.
Jenn started Elimination Communication/Infant Potty Training with her son when he was 2 months old, but found that she needed more tools than what a book could offer.