The terms elimination communication and natural infant hygiene were coined by Ingrid Bauer and are used interchangeably in her book, Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdome of Natural Infant Hygiene.
Ms. Bauer traveled to India and Africa, where she noticed that most mothers would carry their diaper-less babies, yet she saw no elimination "accidents" as would be expected in industrialized countries where babies wear diapers almost continuously from birth. Subsequently, she raised her own children with minimal use of diapers, and eventually began to share her approach with other mothers and caregivers.
The elimination communication potty training method does not use diapers. The caregiver simply offers the infant a potty (small portable receptacles) whenever the baby exhibits signs that she needs to go to the bathroom. Signs differ for each child but caregivers closely observe the infants so they can spot the signs, such as squirming, fussing, passing gas, crying, a look of concentration, or by following a timetable such as, ten minutes after every feeding. Those that use the method remind us that caregivers check for soiled diapers already. Caregivers already look for signs for when an infant is hungry or tired so why not include elimination to the list?
Elimination communication training can begin as early as birth but can also start in later infancy or during the toddler years.
Children who use diapers get used to eliminating in a diaper. They need to learn how to use the toilet. Diapers keep waste close to the body and may lead to diaper rashes. Children are also exposed to the chemicals in diaper detergents or disposable diapers. While elimination communication requires some work at the beginning, it pays off when the child learns how to use the toilet readily.
The Elimination Communication Steps:
- Pick a day when you won’t leave the house and remove the baby’s diaper. Keep activities limited and to perhaps on or two rooms without carpet and mop near by!
- Place the baby on the floor or play with the toddler and watch for potty signs.
- When you notice these signs sit the baby on the toilet or holding them over the toilet and make the “pssss” or “ssshhh” sound. They might pee or potty right then or perhaps not but continue this process, repeating it until she uses the toilet.
- Children often will pee on a floor if the signal has been missed by the caregiver.
Some prefer this method because it is cheaper than buying diapers and is environmentally friendly since disposable diapers are not biodegradable. It is also a natural extension of attachment parenting.
Would you work for parents that want you to use the elimination communication potty training method?