What is baby pottying (Elimination Communication /EC)?
All babies pee and poo. The question is, where do you want them to do it? Most parents assume that a nappy is the only option but this is not the case. Your baby can easily be held over a potty, toilet or other appropriate place to eliminate, from birth. In essence, this is all baby pottying is!
You don’t necessarily need to read a ton of books before you start, but starting off the right way, by getting to know your baby’s signals and timing, will help you succeed. Many parents are surprised that their baby seems to know what to do straight away, but pottying in the long term is not about guesswork or beginners luck. So a little time spent doing your homework will pay off in the long run.
Why offer your baby a potty?
Helping your baby use a potty instead of using a nappy means you save money on nappies. This significantly reduces the environmental impact of producing disposables or cloth nappies. From birth, babies can show us through their body language what they are doing and we can respond to them just like when hungry or tired. Using a potty takes seconds and is quicker than cleaning after a soiled nappy.
Helping infants and young toddlers to use a potty is not a new concept; it was the norm in the UK until the introduction of disposables in the 1960’s. In fact, baby pottying is still a mainstream practice in many cultures around the world.
Is it potty training?
No it’s not potty training, but when your baby is old enough (from around 18 months), you can ditch the nappies completely. Formal potty training at this age is usually easier and quicker if your baby is familiar with using potty. Despite what mainstream thinking may suggest, you CAN potty train from around 18 months, and it DOES work. Doing it at this stage will save you you (and the planet) years of unnecessary nappy use.
When to start
Many parents practice baby pottying (elimination communication/EC) from birth. In fact, starting within the first 3 months is good because once they can crawl or walk potential misses will travel with them! Also, their signals tend to be at their strongest during this phase. However, its never to late to start, or apply the same gentle principles for babies who are ready to learn independence (anytime from 12m but usually the best ‘window’ is sometime between 18-24m).
When to potty train?
Anytime from around 18 months is a good time to stop using nappys. Go Diaper Free has some excellent info on how to do this, in her comprehensive book the Tiny Potty Training book. If you have practised elimination communication, many parents report that it formal potty training is easier and quicker. Doing it at this age also preempts the time when babies typically become resistant to instruction.
Where can I find out more about baby pottying?
There is a lot of information on the Go Potty page. You can also visit bornready.co.uk, nappyfreebaby.com, godiaperfree.com and many other sites and blogs you will find via google.