Wednesday, November 16, 2011

elimination communication

While I was pregnant, I read an article in Mothering magazine about Elimination Communication (E.C.)  

After I read the article, I thought back to my stay in India.  Rewind to 2005. I left for India two days after Hurricane Katrina struck.  At the airport, I remember seeing a front page photo of a family that painted on the roof of their house their need for  "food, water, and diapers".  When I arrived in India, I was living in a place still recovering from the 2004 Tsunami.  About a month into my stay, I went with my friend, Rajaveni, to her family's home in a village. She was holding her niece and asked me if I wanted to hold her.  I reluctantly took her asking, "will she pee on me?" as she wasn't wearing a diaper.  Rajaveni laughed at me and said "no."  I asked, "how can you know for sure?"  She said, "her mother knows when she needs to go to the bathroom." I thought of the newspaper image of the New Orlean's family needing diapers.  Obviously the villagers in the area hit by the Tsunami weren't in need of diapers, because they do not use them.  They did what mothers have done since ancient times.... learn the cues of their little ones. 

So after reading this article, I thought that we might set out to be diaper free.  Of course this is after we already did all the research on and bought cloth diapers. But then our baby was born.... meconium, little sleep, and my yoni was sooo sore.  But then at about 8 weeks we found our rhythm and started holding our little one over the potty to poop and pee.  I would sit myself on the edge of the toilet facing backwards and hold him (also backwards) over the potty. Eventually, when Avi was older and could sit up on his own,  we got the baby bjorn toilet seat and Avi started sitting on the potty frontwards.  We still use diapers.... lots of them... but most of them are just pee.  I haven't changed a poopy diaper in almost months!  One of the beautiful aspects of E.C. is that it's not all or nothing -- even part time E.C. is E.C.  

Some of my favorite moments in our journey of E.C. aren't captured in photos... but they include:
  • his first public poop was in what seemed like the smallest public bathroom in 100 mile radius.  I was laughing so hard at the fact that there was barely room for me to hold him over the potty. He was a trooper.  
  • in the middle of the night when Avi was tossing and turning and not sleeping.... he signed "poop". So we got out of bed and I put him on the potty and he pooped.
  • when getting ready to order at a restaurant and having to tell the server that they have to come back as I see Avi's cues (grunting, red face) and lift him from his seat and hightail it to the bathroom. A side note: as we've held him over potties in lots of places, he's not afraid of the noisy big echoey bathrooms. 
  • when playing outside with his friend, Avi stopped pushing his wagon, walked back across the cul de sac, down the driveway, up the front porch steps, and stood at the door and started grunting.  I took him inside, put him on the potty and he pooped.  :)
and then there are a few moments that we did capture in photos.... here are a few:


I feel grateful that we came across E.C. when we did.  I'm certainly not as cued as much as my ancestors and those mamas who live in villages that do not use diapers.  But I am glad for the diapers that we don't have to dirty.  Your thoughts? Experiences?


  1. Avi is such a good popper! We don't catch near as many of Z's poops on the toilet but she loves to try anyway. And since she saw Avi pooping a few weeks ago, she loves to talk about him on the toilet. It's pretty cute.

  2. hi! i'm a friend of lisa's. i, today, heard of EC for the first time..... this seems crazy to me but intriguing. what age did you start? i guess after they can walk? i have 2 girls and my oldest, madilyn who is almost 3, is still trying to get the hang of it... though she does not wear diapers at home she seems to love to pee [never poop, thankful for that] in her underwear. my youngest is 13 months, not walking.... would now be a good time to start? i do enjoy your blog... thaks for sharing.

  3. This is great. I guess I never really thought about how our ancestors handled this. You are both better Moms than I, Avi is so very lucky!!! Alex fought the process and was even held back at preschool because he refused to poop in the potty.

  4. @ kapdkins, thanks for visiting. It does seem crazy... but it is also really great. We started when Avi was 8 weeks old. yes, you read that right, 8 weeks old. We held him over the potty then and when he was old enough and big enough we got the potty seat for him. ....and just because your kids are older doesn't mean that you can't start now. Check out the links on my blog and there is also a diaper free website that has more information than one would want. happy pooping on the potty!


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