Psst, psst: The EC update

Startling statistic: 40 years ago, over 90% of babies were out of diapers by 18 months, and today, only 2% of babies are out of diapers by 2 years!  Whether cloth or disposable, that’s a lot more diaper-time for today’s little ones.

Reading about Elimination Communication (EC) midway through pregnancy activated my green radar — baby peeing and pooping in the toilet (or in a little potty or other receptacle) equals less dirty diapers to wash.  Less washing means less water and energy used — what wasn’t to love.

I read Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh, and it all seemed pretty straight forward.  And then I had a baby . . . .

Matthew actually caught a few pees in the hospital, but between my surgery recovery and Gabriel’s fussiness, we got off to a pretty slow start with EC.  I was pretty frustrated and discouraged, especially after the book made it sound so simple.  Gabriel met our attempted potty opportunities with cries, but no pee or poop.  We worried that his back was sore from the six UNNECESSARY lumbar punctures and that the potty position led to more pain.

The Dude is now 11 weeks old, and in the past few weeks, things seem to be clicking.  Most pee and poop still happens in a diaper, but we consistently catch 2-4 pees a day.  It is amazing how long he can stay dry, and he really does seem to know what is going on when we give him a potty opportunity.

"What's a guy have to do to get some privacy around here?"

When we’re home, we offer the potty when he wakes from a nap, and with almost every diaper change, using “psst, psst” to cue pees.  I can read his poop signals pretty clearly, but at this point, he usually poops DURING a feeding, and I really don’t want to interrupt his meal just to set him on the pot.  I do acknowledge the bowel movement by making the poop cue (we use a gentle grunt).

While we are far from diaper free, we are succeeding at Elimination Communication.  Each catch provides encouragement to continue the journey and see where it ends.


  1. EcoCatLady says:

    Wow! I’m impressed! My ex’s daughter was in diapers (or pull-ups) until she was nearly 3. It makes total sense to me that if they understand then there’s a much greater chance of them using the pot.

    BTW – Is it just me, or does anybody else find it amusing that a woman who writes a book about baby pee and poop has the last name “Gross-Loh”

  2. EC is easy, it is just that the books fail to mention or don’t focus on the fact that their audience has not grown up in an ec culture, so did not learn from childhood, we must learn from scratch. We have a learning curve to manage and generations of wisdom to rediscover.

    Can’t wait to see how your journey turns out.

  3. Melanie says:

    After a painful potty-training experience with our son, we tried EC with our daughter. I agree, the reality is more difficult than the books make it out to be. But I think it was well worth the effort in the end. One thing to keep in mind is that it is about the journey, not about how early you get them “trained”. We went into it with this expectation based on what we read that she’d be diaper-free by 1 year, and that just wasn’t the reality. It led to frustration when the daycare we put her in at 12 months wasn’t supportive, when she had “potty pauses” etc. If I’d gone into it with different expectations and a better understanding of the process, I would have avoided a lot of frustration. Even if the road is not smooth or swift, every “catch” is one less diaper. Oh, and (in the case of the “misses”) poop is a lot easier to clean off of hardwood floors than smeared on baby bums inside a diaper. Enjoy the journey!

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Yes, I’m definitely trying to see it as a journey. We start daycare next week, and I’m not even sure I’ll bring it up with them, or just accept that daycare will be diaper time. He’ll only be in daycare 3 days a week, so I’m thinking we just focus on the other 4 days.

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