Tuesday, January 15, 2008
What is EC?!?!?
EC - Elimination Communication, IPT - Infant potty training, Diaper Free, Natural Infant Hygiene
EC means communicating with your baby about when they have to eliminate or go potty. When a baby is born he knows when he is hungry, when he is tired and when he has to go to the bathroom. He uses subtle (or not so subtle) cues to communicate his needs to his caregiver. By using timing, intuition, the baby's body language, and the caregiver's cues the caregiver is able to have a verbal/non-verbal back and forth discussion about when the baby has to go potty. This way the caregiver can hold the baby over an appropriate receptacle and allow him to eliminate without getting himself dirty.
For example, when your baby squirms 10 minutes after a feeding she is telling you that she has to pee because her bladder is full from the feeding. By recognizing this squirm you can then take off her diaper and hold her over the sink/potty/toilet..... and make a cueing sound. We use sssss (you can use anything you want). The timing, they way the baby is being held, and your cueing sound indicate to the infant that it is time to relieve herself and so she does. Now you can put the dry diaper back on and she will feel happy to have relieved herself and not have to sit in a wet diaper.
The baby doesn't always give a cue and you won't always make it to the potty in time but you feel so much closer to her and have such a deeper understanding about how to fulfill her needs. She will cry less and be happier because she can relieve herself in a comfortable way. Would you like to sit in a wet/dirty diaper? Why would your baby be different? Just because she can't say "I don't like sitting in a wet diaper" doesn't mean she does!
Lots of people keep their babies in diapers full-time and still practice EC. The simple act of giving pottytunities on a regular basis keeps the lines of communication open. Your baby will try their best to communicate their potty needs and you can try your best to take your baby when you can. Some people will pull over on the highway for a potty break, others won't. You have to do what you're comfortable with. Sometimes you can put a lot of pressure on yourself to "catch" all the pees and poops. This can be quite stressful and not very fun. Its important to remember that EC is about communication, not catches, and that your baby is, just that, a baby, she will not always be able to hold it or to tell you when she has to go. As she matures she will be more reliable and consistent and your communication will be even more effective.
Although it may feel strange (at first) to hold your tiny baby over the toilet, hoping something will happen, you will be amazed at the results! Your baby is waiting for you to catch on to what she has been trying to tell you since she was born......GIVE IT A TRY:)