19 Weeks: Elimination Communication

We are definitely planning to use cloth diapers in our house. There are so many different brands these days and so many women are doing it that while I know it’s a bit more work than throwing plastic in the trash can, I’m committed to trying it. For both the planet and for the cost savings over time. We’ll probably use disposables for the first few weeks, but hopefully once the cloth fits and we get used to parenthood, we’ll convert to cloth.

Thanks to Stephanie, we have a head start on getting to know brands and having a stash to work with right off the bat! When we found out we were having a boy, blog reader Jen emailed me to see if I had plans to donate the girly diapers. She has a newborn baby girl and was hoping to learn more too. I probably would have put these on my little boy to be practical, but in the spirit of paying it forward, I sent Jen a stack of pink 🙂



I have to say, I have no idea what to do with the diapers I have. I can’t really figure out how to get the inserts in there. And I’m pretty scared to see how our washing machine handles poop, especially when solid foods are introduced.

But thanks to the wonderful world of blogging, I’ve stumbled upon these super helpful posts on processes and brands. All it takes is one blog post to make something scary seem approachable!

More Like Home

Daily Garnish

Young House Love

Neverhomemaker + This One

Concrete Runner

Run Ma Run

Girl Evolving

Side Of Sneakers

Please link to yours below if you have one!

New Kinds

One compromise that I think are pretty new are the G-diapers with the biodegradable inserts that you can throw away or flush. You’d still have to buy the inserts, which aren’t reusable, but the environmental impact is still drastically reduced. I watched a You Tube video on how to use them and it’s still a bit messy because you have to tear the inserts apart before you can flush them, but definitely a newer option out there.

Elimination Communication

But perhaps the answer to the question of how to handle the poop is to not using either disposables or cloth. I was recently introduced to something called Elimination Communication. Have you heard of it? Parents train their infants to go to the bathroom in the toilet while they hold them over it. And to put it simply, it’s kind of like dog training. You watch your baby closely for cues that they have to go and hold them over the toilet, make a ‘ssssssss’ noise and they let it out. They do still wear diapers because there are usually some “misses,” as they call them, but the diaper changing is much, much less of a strain and potty training usually happens much earlier.

There is information on this site, and I also met a woman in Cville who started doing it at 4 months at a baby fair. And Pregtastic did a very helpful episode on it that explained it in everyday language.

It makes a lot of sense to me. According to the episode, babies are aware of when they are going to eliminate. They are in control of their bladders and bowels. But we train them to ignore these cues and go in a diaper whenever they want. That makes real potty training pretty difficult because we have to un-train the behavior of going whenever they want and re-train what was natural to begin with!

The experts recommend starting EC around 4 months, but you can start earlier, and there are a variety of ways to do it. Since an infant can’t sit on the toilet yet (or even a potty chair), the parents sit with the baby backwards on the toilet and make the sounds (ssss). Watch this video to see it in action!


I have no idea if I’ll do this full time (it is possible to do it part time) but I’m definitely going to give it a try!

155 thoughts on “19 Weeks: Elimination Communication”

  1. I cloth diaper my kids, but definitely get disposables for the first few weeks. You will have enough going on and will be sore/uncomfortable/tired to boot-plus newborn diapers are super tiny and adorable 🙂 Once the baby starts eating solids i have a roll of toilet paper handy where you change him-grab it and flush it-easy peasy.

    1. I used cloth from the beginning (when we got home from the hospital). My LO does not do well in disposables, as we learned from the terrible diaper rash we came home with from the hospital. We used prefolds/covers until she could fit into the one-sized diapers more comfortably.

  2. I’ve heard of EC but thought it was kind of weird. But once again you explained something in a way that makes it sound logical and practical. It makes sense that potty training can be so hard when a child is used to just going whenever in their diaper and how using EC can help with that perhaps. Thanks for making me think! 🙂

  3. I’ve heard of EC, but to be honest, I am not convinced by it. Really all you are doing is learning, as a parent, to watch for their cues as to when they are going to pee/poo. I thinking peeing really is harder to guess too! At that age a baby can barely control their limbs, let alone anything else! I had so much else to contend with when my daughter was 4 months, I don’t think I could have considered spending time on something like that!

    1. I’ve “practiced” EC with my now 9-month-old more or less since he was born, and I’m definitely still in the skeptic camp. I love the idea and I really want it to work, but it’s not as easy as many of the anecdotes in books make it sound. He is by NO means diaper-free, and it just doesn’t really seem to click for him.

      You can read about our EC “journey,” such as it is, starting with this post, which has links to the earlier posts: http://hergreenlife.com/2012/01/31/psst-psst-ec-at-six-months/

      I haven’t updated in awhile, mostly because there’s not much to share, and on the bad days I’m just annoyed at how much of my life I’ve wasted sitting him on the potty while nothing happens.

  4. Ooooh! Hot topic today. I can’t wait to see the comments on this post. Potty training/learning Is such a hot topic for people!
    As for diapers. I still need to order the rest of mine. I do have 3 little gpants…they are so cute since they aRe smaller than the OS diapers. I know people like g’s because they have a slimmer profile than some of the other diapers.
    As far as poop goes…if you are exclusively breast feeding poop is water soluable and your washer should have no problem. And once they start on Solids I think the poop should be more solid as well and easier to get off the diaper. At least from what I have read. There are hundreds of websites about cloth diapering (including blog posts) I have read a lot but I think once I start I will have to read them All again!

  5. I just bought some Grovia Newborn and BumGenius Newborn last night actually. I plan on getting two systems – newborn and then CDs for after the 13lb mark. I think there are big benefits to having a newborn stash. Less leaking, clothes fit over diaper better, etc… Once my baby is out of the newborn stage, I’ll use a combo of pockets (I like the BumGenius 4.0) and AIOs in assorted brands (I currently have some GroVias hybrids – I like that they are organic and that I can use a disposable insert if we’re traveling).

  6. Every mom I know has tried and successfully done EC for a while (weeks) then backed off. I never asked why but I assume it’s mentally trying at a time when you’re probably not feeling up for it.

    1. My sister-in-law used EC from the start. My nephew is 19 months and takes himself to his potty when he needs to! I haven’t gotten pee’d or pooped on once while babysitting him and anything that requires less diapers sounds reasonable to me.

  7. YES it is definitely possible to EC part time! I’m pregnant with #3, and I used cloth for my daughters, we are planning to EC this time around. I’m reading Diaper Free! by Ingrid Bauer and my friends who have EC’d say that it’s the only book you need to read. It’s very convincing and I’m super excited about doing it this time. My mama friends who EC’d their kids were done with diapers before their first birthdays. I have come to understand though that EC is definitely one of things that doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”.

    I figure that dealing with baby’s elimination is going to take time effort no matter which way you do it, so why not put the effort into learning baby’s cues while saving money and not further burdening the environment too? (and saving time down the road!) Cloth diapers still use resources (water, soap, energy for drying, although you’ll be air drying some), so they aren’t a perfect solution to disposables either. At this point we plan to EC full time but use cloth when we do need to diaper.

    And as far as poop in cloth diapers go, breastmilk poop washes out really easily and is truly no big deal. And once you start solids, you’ll shake most of it into the toilet before you put in the washer, so it’s not like you’ll be filling your washing machine with poop! That was one of those things that I wasn’t thrilled about with cloth, but turned out to be no big deal. 🙂

  8. Wow, this is interesting! I’m not a mom, but between your blog and HTP, I am learning a lot about pregnancy and babies. 🙂

  9. I will definitely be interested to see how this goes. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers talking about it, but haven’t found one who was really able to do it successfully. It’s definitely an interesting idea although it does seem more like “training” the parents than the babies. I hope it works for you!

  10. Your baby may be able to signal when he “needs to go” but that is not bowel control. I am interested to see if there are any controlled studies that have been performed that assert a baby has any control over their bowels before 12 months, as most studies I’ve read suggest.

    That being said, I don’t think there’s anything WRONG with this method, if you have the time. I also wonder how it works for nighttime and if it can truly be done part time. And if done part time, is it effective at all? Genuinely curious.

    1. By bowel control I mean that they know when they are going. Not that they know how to hold it. The episode answers the questions – clearly I am no expert!

    2. To add to/clarify my above comment in reply to SB, our practice of EC has definitely been part time, since our little guy’s been in daycare three days a week since he was 14 weeks old, and the daycare refuses to put him on his potty.

      Given the interest in this topic, I’ll be writing a post soon with more of my thoughts on EC thus far and what I would have done differently in the beginning. I don’t think the EC books give a balanced picture — they are definitely biased toward success stories.

    3. If you think about it, we didn’t have diapers (even cloth diapers) for a long time and even now some cultures do not diaper children. They watch for signals that they have to use the restroom and take them to a designated place/use a pot/etc. There was a long stretch between realizing that human waste was unsanitary and using diaper type things, and in the interim EC was used in various forms to prevent babies from excreting waste everywhere.

  11. In parts of Asia all the baby clothes have splits in the back so the mom’s can just crouch down and let the baby ‘go’ when they signal they need to, no diapers ever. Obviously this is a lot easier when the momma is wearing the baby 24/7 but I’m just saying that it is the primary method used parts of the world.

    1. As one of those babies (born in India in the early 60’s), I will vouch for this method. Not that my mother called it EC or knew of it as anything other than what moms did for generations. My brothers and I never wore diapers and “went” out in nature (not in front of anyone) or in the typical squatting hole in most Indian homes back then. We wore shirts and bottoms that were more like loose skirts (easy to pull up). Don’t remember the exact age(s) we went on our own, but she says definitely by the time we were walking (my brothers around 11 mos. & me around 13 mos.), we went ourselves & just needed her help to clean up. I will say my mom carried us around 24/7 and even though she had plenty to do, she was always clued in to our need to go. I’d imagine it takes lots of patience and focus — and staying in the present moment. In other words, not being distracted by the busyness of life. So, go for it Kath! You might be surprised at how uncomplicated it can really be.

    2. This is true…but they go wherever they are…..ie, I can’t tell you how many times I saw kids squatting in the street, sidewalks, stores, markets…..ugh.

  12. I knew one couple who used the g-diapers and didn’t like it (they just couldn’t do the poo). I have hear excellent feedback on Flip (which also does disposable inserts in addition to regular cloth liners).

    When solids were first introduced to my son, the poo wasn’t too awful & I just used the liners & threw out the solids. I will say…. the poo thing became a hindrance for me once he stopped breastfeeding all together at 16 months. I can’t quite recall when we stopped cloth diapering him due to poo issues, maybe after 2 years.

    Love the links you posted for the elimination communication… I’ve not heard of that before and am interested in it.

  13. The concept that cloth diapers have no environmental impact is an overused misunderstanding. First of all, everything has an environmental impact. Secondly, while it is true that they contain less chemicals and create less waste than a disposable diaper, you still have to account for detergent and water… And consider that all water you use ultimately requires treatment. It is a trade off of what you consider the lowest impact to be, but it is indeed subjective.

    As for ec, I am not sure if you have ever spent any appreciable time around a baby, but if you are capable of dashing to the toilet in the 30 seconds between the first grunt and the firing of the poop jet, all the more to you!

    1. It’s not described as a running to the toilet scenario. It’s more preventative – take them before you take their diaper off, before a feeding, etc. The idea that it’s messy and a hassle is a misunderstanding

    2. I agree it’s subjective in terms of impact. I think that using plastic that never ever goes away and ends up in 5 floating gyres in our oceans- creating masses sometimes twice the size of Texas and destroying ecosystems- is definitely a bigger impact than the use of water and the treatment of that water. All of the information I have read on the subject comes back to cloth being better than disposables, even when you account for the use of water and treatment of that water.

      1. my friend is in business school in boulder–and she learned in class that if you live anywhere w/ water scarcity issues, then it is more sustainable to use disposables bc water scarcity is a huge problem.

        i don’t have kids and i live on the east coast where we have tons of water….I’m just passing on information that seems valid to me!

  14. I definitely believe that EC can be done (there’s a good chapter on it in the book How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm), but my hesitation is this: doesn’t it kind of make you a slave to baby’s routine and restrict your movements? Meaning you are not as likely to be able to go about your normal routine (what if you’re reading the paper in a cae with bambino and miss the cue?) Although diapers are wasteful, I agree, some innovations are there to give us more time/freedom etc., no? I think EC probably made sense when we were living in villages and a baby had multiple caregivers…it’s a little different when you are on your own and trying to take care of other errands as well.

    1. You can do it part-time, and it’s also a preventative practice – meaning you try to catch it before it’s too late at certain times

  15. As a parent of school aged children, I’m curious to see how you feel about all this stuff when you actually have a baby. I applaud your curiousity and determination to learn and figure it all out. Much of motherhood is learned on the fly, as you go, by tuning into your baby and letting them teach you. Honestly, the EC thing seems crazy to me. Bananas. When you’re getting up every 3 hours around the clock to nurse and care for your baby for week, it becomes about keeping it simple and (some days) just surviving !

    1. I think a part-time approach seems to make the most sense. But tons of women have done this successful – like the woman in the video with a 5 week old! I would probably wait until later when I have had more time to adjust

    2. Best comment ever. I’m 23 weeks, and I’m trying not to go into this mother thing with a ton of expectations and rigid requirements. And I’m very Type A. I know, in the end, the things I can’t control will just make me feel like a crappy parent so I’m trying to go in with a flexible state of mind.

      1. Agreed. Wholeheartedly. It seems like many first-time moms (and bloggers, especially!) have very grand aspirations of how things will go once they have their baby. As a first-time mom of a 4-month old baby boy, I can tell you that the first few months are purely survival mode – they are fantastic but also the hardest thing you will ever do – and you will be thrown more curveballs than you can ever imagine. You will laugh at your pregnant self after you’ve been living with a newborn for a few weeks, TRUST ME. Just sayin’.

        1. There is a big difference between saying “I read about this and it sounds cool” and “I AM GOING TO DO THIS and it is going to work and be glorious.” That’s not what I’m implying at all. Just because I am interested in learning another way to do something, doesn’t mean I’m insisting it’s the right way or that it will be easy.

  16. Cloth diapering isn’t hard. And, most of the poop comes off before you stick them in the washing machine. I guess the poop doesn’t bother me because I have a dog and have to pick its stuff up on a daily basis. Just make sure you follow the directions on how to wash the diapers properly because you want them to last a long time.

  17. I have done quite a bit of research on the G-diapers but I have sooooo many questions. I am still confused on how regular clothes fit over some of those huge/bulky diapers- especially because our babies will be need to be in warm/winter clothes for most of their diaper wearing first year, while we are still learning how it all works. I have so much to learn!!!

    1. Hi Julie- I use gDiapers with my daughter and she can wear pretty much anything over them- they aren’t super bulky. I have had no problem fitting tights over them, leggings, etc.

      1. I tried to use g-diapers (love the way the look, so cute) however, my babies tummies and thighs were too chunky for them. They left deep marks on the sides where they are velcroed, I even went a size up but they didnt work for my babies. 🙁
        I used Bummis system, 2 piece cloth diaper system, meaning you need the pre-folded cloth diapers too. This allows for easier washing I found.
        I also used Kushies, an all in one, which were super convientent. The only down side was a longer drying cycle. I loved the all in ones the best. You could also put in a throw away liner, (a little thicker than toilet paper) for when they are older and the poopy is more solid. That was great too!
        I didn’t start using cloth diapers until baby number 2 and 3 came along. However, I ONLY used disposables in the early months, it was way too overwhelming to try any cloth diapering system during the new born stage.
        As for the EC training, it just seems plain crazy. Although, I have heard of it, I have not researched it. It’s one of those things that would never work for me, I am having baby number 4 and have no desire to run to the bathroom with an infant, full time or part time.
        With no training or pushing the potty on my 3 boys, they were all “potty trained” between 2 and 2 and a half years old. They let me know that they were ready, the whole process took less than a week.

  18. Hi Kath, I’m one of the tofu folks at Twin Oaks, and just wanted to chime in that EC is almost the default here and it’s great. We have two 9-month-olds right how who do EC, one two year old, and one three and a half year old who’s been “potty trained” for basically her whole life. When she was two, I had weekly hangout dates with her and another, non-EC two year old whose (cloth) diapers I had to change. Ugh. I was so glad I wasn’t his parents, it was so gross!

    I didn’t realize EC could be done part-time, or start as late as 4 months; the going knowledge here is that it’s much more effective if started pretty early (within a week or two) and maintained vigilantly. But I don’t know anyone’s actually tried the alternatives. Also, I’ve heard parents say that you make a trade-off in the sleep department, since they’ll probably be peeing/need to be peed in the night for a long time. As far as what it looks like in practice, for the first year or so parents and caretakers are really active in offering the baby the chance to pee–squatting them and cueing every 20-30 minutes. This can be a hassle in winter, with bulky clothes. At some point (over a year old, I think) babies start signaling to indicate that they have to go. (Lots of parents here are also into baby sign language, by the way–it’s kind of cool because they can master some simple signs before they learn to talk.) By the time the little girl was 2ish, though, she was pretty much self-sufficient peeing wise: she knew when she needed to go and if she was outside or near a little potty, could do it all herself.

    I’ve thought that EC would be more challenging in the mainstream, since it’s less socially acceptable to pee babies in random outdoor places like we do here. But I bet on the whole it would still be less effort than diapers. I’m so glad you’re considering it! It makes so much sense, I really want it to catch on in the mainstream. If you want EC parents’ perspectives, I could put you in touch with a few of my parent friends here.


  19. Love that you brought up EC! I know that it can be controversial b.c when someone hasn’t heard of it their immediate response to it may be discomfort…but I think that’s a little premature! I was a nanny before school and worked for a family that practiced EC with both of their girls (actively w the 1 yr old at the time, and the 4 yr old was obviously already potty trained then). It worked great for them and the reality is that you do get to know the cues. Of course there are some mishaps along the way, but it really is a nice way to approach potty training in a more natural sense. The only time it got a bit more difficult was when she could walk! Then she might be walking around the deck and if you turn your head for a minute…she’d poop! haha…not THAT big of a deal because this is when you start to just train that behavior on their little toilet more, but they ended up using diapers more if she was running around a lot and at night. Saved a lot of material and potty training was MUCH easier! Good luck with it!!

  20. I agree, great in theory but really not that practical once you realize the work and demands (so worth it!) associated with an infant, baby and then toddler. Babies are messy, no doubt about it and by going into it thinking one can ‘control’ all the uncontrollables can set someone up for quite a reality shock. I understand your exploring all of these alternatives but I would suggest taking into consideration those who are living it already and who have ‘been there’. It seems you’re goal is to integrate this baby into your life as cleanly as possible. Keeping the nursery clean, modern, and free of the clutter and colors that newborns actually enjoy and can appreciate. Again nice in theory but I feel your approach at this time might lead to quite the shock once you have a real live baby, screaming, pooping, not sleeping and demanding every moment of your time and attention (especially at the beginning). I am not saying these things to be mean but just speaking from experience. It feels a bit like those who put all their time and money into a wedding without considering what a marriage really is. Babies and children are amazing and worth all of the messiness and demands, but it really is a lot more enjoyable and practical if you learn to go with their flow (again in the early stages) and over time you can learn to integrate them into your ways, schedules, whatever works for your family.
    Best of luck, you seem to have lots of wisdom and experience of your commentors in this forum around you.

  21. I never heard of EC. Wish I would have heard about it sooner. Potty training my 3 yr girl has been a struggle – nothing like her two brothers.

  22. EC really interesting hmm.. I’ve used cloth diapers on my son since he was just shy of 2 months. They are wonderful and the learning process to stuffing and washing comes quickly. Its easy don’t be alarmed. When they are newborns and have a runny poo you just rinse it out in the sink. It sounds gross but really your just rinsing your digested breastmilk and really not that gross at all. When they are older and eats solids the poo just falls out into the toilet and flush. I wash diapers everyday to every other day to keep them clean and smell free. Its a breeze and total money saving. I rarely buy disposables only for long trip or outings when I dont want to hull a full bag of cloth diapers. Check out Cotton Babies online for several different brands. I like bumgenius but haven’t branched out to others cause I wanted mine all the same and I love them.

  23. I have done partial EC with both of my boys and have been VERY happy with it. When my firstborn was 6 months old, an older friend told me about how she’d done it with her two now-grown boys. So since my little guy was quite predictable, going at almost the same time every day, I decided to try it without looking anything up at all. It worked, and after I “caught” the first poop, I had less than a dozen or so dirty diapers after that until he fully potty-trained at just over 2 years old. I would say that yes, we as the parents were the trained ones for a few months, but after that, we just started setting him on the toilet every time we changed him, and he would wait until then to poop, and frequently pee in the toilet at that time, too. We didn’t worry about the wet diapers, that wasn’t my goal- I simply didn’t want to be dealing with all of the poo, and wow, it was SO great!
    My second boy is now 7.5 months old. I started “catching” his poops around 5 months old, but he was not as predictable, and therefore I usually only get them about half the time, but I think that also has to do with me being more distracted with two kiddos now! I also found it easier to see cues (mild straining, passing gas, different fussiness) once he started doing more solids, so my catch-rate has gone up lately since we started on solids more slowly with him.
    Good luck! I would personally recommend being relaxed and easygoing about it, and thinking of each “catch” as a success, rather than going for full blown EC- just think, each success is one less dirty diaper to clean up! :).

  24. No input on EC – it’s not something that I would have the patience for. As for cloth diapers, I have a four month old and we used cloth from the day we got home from the hospital, no problem. You may be interested in this: http://www.thestork.biz/ It is the diaper service we use, local to Charlottesville, and we love it. It’s a nice compromise – you can cloth diaper but don’t have to worry about washing everything. We bought our own covers (Thirsties Duos with snaps) instead of renting them, and bought a wet bag for when we go out. We’ve found that Chinese prefolds + covers are super easy to use, even both sets of grandparents use them with no issues or confusion.

  25. Hi Kath!
    I’ve been enjoying the baby posts, but I have to tell you the advertising on this site is driving me crazy. Every time I open the page I get hit with that awful banner sliding in on the bottom, and now 2 different video ads with sound play at the same time, and with them playing on top of each other, it sounds horrible. I have to rush to close the banner and hit mute on both commercials before I can read the post. So distracting.

    1. Sarah,
      Thanks for the feedback. These are things I’m working on. The bottom banner should ONLY open if you hover over it. And there should never, ever be sound in the ads – we think that was a glitch in the system. If you see them again, can you please tell me which ads they are? That’s the key to getting rid of them!

      1. I just clicked in and a gatorade ad at the bottom of the page had sound. Agreed they are very distracting and annoying.

        Also about EC, a friend of mine did it straight from birth with incredible success. However they are the most laid back people I know and were fine with getting pooped or peed on. The key for them was patience, a whole lot of time, and a lot of knowledge about the subject. Not for everyone, but I think it’s interesting.

          1. One of the pop ups caused a virus and crashed my computer yesterday!! I’m not sure what I’m doing back actually, a bit scared it will do the same again, but I REALLY wanted to comment on the EC post. (will do that now in a separate comment) 🙂

            1. Really? Can you send me any data to prove that? (Not questioning you..just need to be aware if it’s true)

              1. I’m not sure how I’d do that? (I’m very computer illiterate!!) All I know is I clicked thru to your site from google reader and an advertisment started playing and all of a sudden the computer spazzed out and a message sayign virus alert came up then it all went dead. Could’ve been a fluke though?! I’m getting someone to look at the computer to check it didn’t do anything strange to it, tonight, will get back to you if they manage to trace a source.

                1. Please let me know. Say is a reputable company so id be shocked if their ads have viruses. If so, they need to know to prevent anything else from happening.

        1. Carly, Are you in Canada? And is there any chance you clicked on the ad, or it just started playing sound?

          1. I’m in Canada and the ad at the bottom of the page and the ad at the side automatically play every time I come to the blog. The bottom ad starts automatically — I’ve never clicked on the ads. I also don’t see what they have to do with pregnancy and babies!

                1. Sarah, can you confirm that you’re definitely not putting your mouse pointer anywhere near it? So it’s just auto sounding? [It shouldn’t auto sound, but it …sounds…like that’s what happening!]

                  1. Hey Kath,

                    Yup I’m in Canada, and I’m definitely not clicking the link or putting my mouse over it. The sound starts right when I open your page. It only seems to be the Gatorade ad though! Hope this helps 🙂

                    1. In Canada as well, and sound started right away when I went to this post. Mouse was nowhere near – it was from the side ad, I forget what it was for but definitely wasn’t Gatorade… might have been AirWick?? Also, bottom banner is there everytime I click to a new page/post and always has been. – irksome..

                    2. ..as soon as I sent that comment (so when the page refreshed), another ad (this one was definitely AirWick) started playing – including sound that was skipping. Also banner came back across the bottom. Fyi!

  26. Kath, I AM SO EXCITED you mentioned this. I recently listened to the pregstatic episode and was totally stoked! My aunt did EC with all three of her boys and they were done with diapers by 16 months. Also, my little sister from Beijing was exposed to EC, as previous poster mentioned the split pants thing. When my parents adopted her at 18 months, she thought diapers were aliens! Heck if I can get one catch a day (I’m 12 weeks along and planning on trying it) I’d be thrilled. I’m thinking before and after breastfeeding? They are going to poop anyway! I dont mind waiting a few minutes for it while I am perched on the toilet with my baby. Fewer diapers to wash!

    1. I agree – 1 catch a day (poop especially!) would be worth paying attention to. You don’t have to make EC your life.

  27. I read this blog and I was happy to see this detailed post on EC from a real person, not just someone promoting EC in theory. She had great success with it and it didn’t seem like much of a hassle at all. It might be an interesting read for you- http://oneshinystar.com/?p=1851

    1. Oh, and I found it interesting that they say they only use about 3 diapers a day, and when they finally throw them out it’s sometimes not because they’re dirty, but because the closures don’t work anymore from being opened/closed to let her use the potty. If you’re using cloth diapers you might be able to use less.

  28. Though I’m a major skeptic only because I don’t know enough (anything) about EC, I just wonder whether the time commitment early on (which seems like it could be significant) is actually worth it compared to the time you spend actually potty training once the baby is older. I work full time so during those early months that I was able to be home with my little one I really just wanted as much snuggle and play time as possible. For me, I don’t think the mental energy investment would’ve been worth it…to me I just wouldn’t consider it a necessity.

    And Kath, I truly commend you for being as gracious as you are in your comment replies, when they are not always the sweetest comments!

  29. While I agree that potty training is hard (and maybe harder than it needs to be), I think you’re going to find EC challenging unless you are able to devote your attention 24/7 to your child’s needs. It’s one of those things that sounds great when you’re researching and planning but then reality sets in. A reality where you are sleep deprived, your partner is still working, maybe you are having to work also, etc. etc. etc. and all those things that sounded great turn out to be just that – great ideas and difficult in practice. The parents I know who’ve tried it either gave up nearly right away (once they had to go back to real life of working, etc.) or did it part-time and their child potty trained just as well/as poorly as any other kids (and they complained that they tortured themselves with it because it didn’t turn out all that well in the end).

    So…by all means, learn about stuff but remember: When the baby gets here and reality sets in, you’re NOT a bad Mom if you choose something completely different when it comes down to it. You’re not a bad Mom if you choose sleep over running your kid to the bathroom every 30 minutes all night. You’re not a bad Mom if you wind up hating cloth diapering. You’re not a bad Mom if breast feeding doesn’t work. Etc. Etc. Etc. Just remember that. Too many people do all this research and decide ahead of time on all these great healthy/good for the environment/etc. ideas and commit to them before they have any clue what being a parent is really like. Just remember… it’s OK to completely change your mind and do the opposite of what you said you’d do. It won’t make you a bad Mom. It’ll make you human – just like the rest of us. 🙂

    1. Yes, yes, YES. So easy to create an image of what motherhood is like and then when the baby is here, feel disappointed that things don’t fit neatly into a box.

    2. You don’t have to do it 24/7 though. Even reducing one diaper a day can make a difference.

      And I totally agree – none of those things make you a bad mom. But I think it’s good to learn about different techniques and options out there that might not be what everyone else at Babies R Us is doing.

      1. My sister-in-law started doing this with her son at 2 weeks when she noticed a pattern to his elimination…she claims to not have changed a poopy diaper in 3-4 weeks. It doesn’t seem to take any more time than breast feeding, and certainly less time than changing a big blow-out diaper.

    3. This is exactly what I wanted to say!!!! You don’t know what the reality of a baby is until you really have it.

    4. Ditto to this post.

      I found I’d rather spend time doing other things rather than hanging out over the toilet. One diaper saved during a day wouldn’t have been a big deal to me in the big scheme of things. I also thought potty training wasn’t that much of a stressor. When the child was ready it happened pretty quickly.
      Good luck to you and good for you for exploring all options. So great to have choices.

      1. I think most kids won’t wake up at night to go to the bathroom until they are older. And just because your kid isn’t potty trained at night doesn’t mean that they won’t be during the day, which is the greater of the two in my opinion. I think EC isn’t so much about being potty trained early as it is about knowing your baby and being attentive to them in a way that not many parents are these days. If you haven’t tried it, you don’t really know what goes into it. To put you child on the potty takes less than or equal to the time it takes to change a diaper. There is a time commitment up front, but I would take that to the toddler battles over sitting on the potty at 2.5 years old any day.

  30. Hi-We did something similar to EC with my daughter, though we didn’t give too much thought to it. Starting at about 9 months, she’d get the red face and I’d put her on a potty and let her finish. She hated having a messy diaper and started screaming as soon as she’d gone, so I just figured it was easier this way. She was trained for #2 first, but #1 wasn’t too far behind. We didn’t make a big deal of it, put her on if we caught the cues, and she was trained, night and day, by 19 months. That said, there are hassles to being trained that soon, meaning you have to be ready to start finding a bathroom wherever you are sooner. At that age, when they have to go, they have to go.

  31. Wow, this is so interesting! (Oh dear…how far have I fallen that I found this interesting???) Thanks for bringing EC to my attention, Kath. I also plan on cloth diapering but I am also willing to give this a try.

  32. I have many friends who successfully ECed. For me, in the beginning, just getting the hang of nursing and life with a baby was all I could possibly handle. She was also too tiny to fit into cloth dipes and it was a leakfest. By the time she was about 4 mos or so, we went to CDs and I CDed for the rest of her diaper duration. You will get the hang of them and will figure out really quickly what to do…better covers, more inserts, different insert material, how to wash them, what soaps to wash them with, etc. For the times when you’re not ECing or if it doesnt go as planned, knowing you have your CD plans all lined up is great!

  33. My hubs and I are hoping to have kids in the next year, and I would love to do a combo of cloth diapers and EC. I’m terrified of returning to work (which I will have to do after the FMLA of 3 months) and not being able to do things “my way” because I’ll have to rely on a day care. I wish it didn’t have to be that way. I’d love to hear more stories of moms who were able to go back to work and use these techniques.

    I know it’s by no means easy to be a either a stay-at-home OR work-at-home-mom, but it definitely gives the parents more freedom to raise the child anyway they like, rather than having to hope that your daycare honors your wishes. At least I’ll be able to get one that supports cloth diapering.

  34. This is a completely fascinating post. I find myself reading parenting books now, mostly because I’m a teacher and dorm mom. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like to actually have a kid, and I”m so interested by all the trends out there. I will dEFINITELY tune in to your potty-training methods, if you’re going to try EC. Wow. That is something I have not heard of.

  35. EC is something which several of my friends do, and I do part-time (just for poop) with my 2nd baby.
    I really believe its an extension of attachment parenting and would extremely hard to do if you weren’t planning on practicing a lot of the attachment parenting philosophies. For example, if baby is spending a lot of time sleeping in his crib on his own, or riding in a buggy, you’re not well set up to pick up on all the subtle cues. Co-sleeping, and babywearing, and generally being close to your baby all the time make EC far more realistic 🙂

    1. We put our son over the sink or bathtub till he could sit on the potty (Ikea has a great one Kath!). Just keep it washed frequently, especially before company comes over 🙂

  36. I used cloth diapers with my daughter — mainly prefolds and FuzziBunz. At 12 months I kept her diaper free in the house, she was trained by 18 months (some say I was trained, I knew when to offer the potty, I could read her cues — but what does it really matter, it made life so easy).

    The two books I used were http://www.amazon.com/Diaper-Free-Before-Healthier-Toilet-Diapers/dp/0307237095 and http://www.amazon.com/Potty-Training-Signs-Linda-Acredolo/dp/1933877103

  37. Once they starts solid foods you just flip the diaper inside out, drop the poop in the toilet, dangle the poopy part of the diaper in the water of the toilet, swish the diaper while flushing the toilet (hold the diaper tight so it doesn’t get sucked in the toilet), the drop the dirty/wet diaper in the very very close by dirty diaper holder.

    Then to wash always have a high water level, prewash cycle, wash on hot with an extra rinse. I used Charlie’s Soap and Purex Free and Clear. I washed every other day.

  38. ah! diapers 🙂 i love ’em. we’re taking our gDiapers for a test-drive tomorrow on our day trip. i’ll be sure to let you know how they work for us! so far, they are pretty awesome. and don’t worry about your washer handling the poop. hahaha it all works out. at least with breastfed-poop!

  39. Hi Kath,

    I live in China were EC is easily the norm. The start babies out in these split pants, where the seem from the crotch to back of the waste band is essentially open. Sure, EC is practiced pretty much anywhere (street, sidewalk, literally anywhere!), but it is RARE to see a child in diapers or not potty trained beyond the age of two. My local friends say that you can tell when the baby is ready by both a temperature increase in the genitals, as well as they baby’s facial expressions. So from someone who lives in a society where it works – more power to you! My baby is due about a week before yours, so I have loved sharing this journey with you!

    1. I live in China (Beijing) too! I’m so happy that the weather is warming up, but that means that the children are back to relieving themselves on the sidewalk. I have a friend that walked through a stream of urine last summer… Ai Ya.

  40. I love my Fuzzibunz and Bumgenius 4.0s! I started ECing around the 6 month mark because my baby starting on solids and I could tell when she was about to go #2. Catching #1s is a whole different story though.. I have no idea how to tell when she’s about to do that! To me, the major benefit to ECing is not having to clean poo out of cloth diapers!

  41. Cloth diapering is so fun/cute! I think you will really like it. On the other hand, I cannot understand why anyone would want to mess with EC. Why bother with all that at such an early age? As they don’t have control, it’s pretty much just training for the parent. Time flies when they’re little. The time when he will GET potty training, when his body is ready for it, will come sooner than you think!

  42. Hey, The EC is pretty much what the women that lived in Niger would do for their kids. They would know when the baby was about to poop and they would put it between their feet, and make a noise. I think it was easier there because mom’s aren’t as frequently in situations where they can’t immediately plop the baby down between their feet. It seems like it would be more difficult here. I’ll be interested to hear how it goes.

  43. The Chinese have been doing this forever! My husband and I lived there for a year and were amazed by the way they potty train. Baies don’t every really wear diapers. Baby clothes are sold with a big split up the pants, and you would often see a car pull over and a mom lean out with her lil’ baby so it could piddle (or the other thing) on the side of the road (good thing China employs street cleaners like crazy). Or, once the baby could toddle around, they learned to do this adorable squat and went wherever they were. I had Chinese friends that said they only ever had two or three accidents, because they learned the cues so quickly. It was an interesting way of thinking; they would say “Why do westerners want to make their babies sit in their own excrement?”. Same goes for nurseries. “Why would an infant need it’s own room? It needs it’s mother.”
    Definitely thought provoking!

  44. The politics of cloth diapering is pretty interesting. A lot of the major brands are made in sweat shops so while you are supporting the industry you are also essentially supporting unfair working conditions in the third world.

    A lot of local cloth diaper stores carry woman made at home – it seems a lot come from Australia for some reason. Anyway, since you seem to support locally made, that might be of interest to you.

    We cloth diaper our baby – started around 8 months since she’s little in size and we had leaks. We use Happy Heinys and some random, well made local diapers that have been great. We only have 9 cloth diapers (the idea of washing them every other day sounded appealing until I think about 2 day old fecal matter hanging out in a bag, getting more ripe) and so far it has worked out well. I also line dry mine inside every night so I am not using more resources.

    It’s good to vary the brands of your diapers because everyone absorbs differently, has a different texture on the surface (i.e. will poop roll off it or stick to it), and obviously has a different fit (not just around the waist but around the legs and the width of the crotch). Sampling different ones really helps finding the right fit. I might have CD earlier if we found a good fit.

  45. We started EC with my son at 4 months. In the beginning, you do a lot of watching and guessing, but really, it gets so much easier if you put in the time early on. Now at 22 months, we still have misses for tinkles and he wears cloth diapers when we go out, but in the last 6 months, I think we’ve only had three poos in his diaper (two were at play dates and he was too excited playing to tell me). That alone is enough to make me a believer! He does much, much better at home if we leave him diaper free. I have a friend who started with her son very early, and he was completely potty trained before 2. Even with EC, kids are different and some with be trained younger than conventional, and some will still take longer. But I think either way, the process is rewarding. I remember when I first realized how EC makes me feel SO in touch with my baby and how I felt I really understood him so much better because of the time I spent with him learning his cues.

    I understand people are skeptical because its very different than what our culture tells us. Children are capable of lots of things if we would let them. It doesn’t matter if it’s control, awareness, or learned behavior. Good for you Kath for keeping an open mind!

    Our second baby is due in June and I am going to start even earlier. It really makes life easier! Oh, and you must have leggings (baby legs) if you are going to EC. You can get the diaper off in seconds, no pants to hastle with, and they are cute!

  46. I’ve been CD with bumgenius 4.0/3.0 for 18 months now and just love it! The poop issue isn’t as messy or gross as I thought it would be. While BF- it can just be thrown in the washer– no residue mess at all. When solids come into play, the poop totally changes consistency and it literally can be dumped into the toilet before washing leaving the diaper just wet from pee. We’ve had no issues and just love how it helps prevent any sort of diaper rash or irritation for her, unlike the disposables. But, every kid and situation is different, it has just really worked for our family. Rumor has it that CD helps with making the child more aware of when they are going to the bathroom which aides in getting potty trained faster. So far, I agree as we’re almost got her pt!

    Good luck with EC! I read about it when I got my CD and also after I went to Africa. I think all of us mothers should support eachother and if you are able to try something that could benefit your baby or your family, go for it! I’d love to hear how it turns out and I hope it works for you guys!

  47. Very interesting discussions here today! I’m due next week with our first and we are planning on CDing as well. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here yet is a Diaper Sprayer. It is for when your child starts eating solids and their poop becomes more solid, the sprayer attaches to your toilet and you can spray off the poop rather than dump the whole diaper. Apparently it also is good for post partum. Obviously I don’t have experience yet to talk about, but it sounded like a great idea to me!

  48. My niece was adopted from China at the age of 10 months. In her newborn and infant China life, she, like all babies there did not wear diapers, had the split pants, and would pee and poop when held over toilet. Once my sister and all of us got the hang of it…..it worked beautifully. My niece was totally independent in potty training by 16 months except for some help with wiping thoroughly and hand washing. My sister and brother in law “wore” her and co slept with her for attachement reasons (and most of world does it) and she is a an amazing 6 year old happy, flexible, kind, funny, and creative child today–

    I think we do things here out of convenience rather than what is best for our babies. None of us would be comfortable sitting in our own feces or urine. .. I applaud you Kath for looking into non-traditional ways of raising your baby.

  49. A lot of my couples in my childbirth classes rave about the Flips cloth diapers. I used Fuzzi Bunz but they weren’t as adjustable as the Flips so they end up costing a bit more. I babysat recently for one of my couples (my boys are now 9, 13 and 15!) and they used the Flips and I really liked them and thought they were very practical with how adjustable they are–thus eliminating the need to buy more sizes. Worth checking out 🙂

    Oh and I only cloth diapered with my last son but I LOVED it and didn’t find it all that much extra work at all (and I also had a 3 and 5 year old that I was homeschooling 🙂 I would do it again in a heartbeat! It’s definitely easier if you breastfeed also since their poops is generally easier on the wash machine than the solid poops from formula. Up until he was eating solids I never even had to rinse them at all before putting them in the wash. And even once he was eating solids, I just shook it over the toilet and then threw them in. Easy peasy 🙂

  50. No comments about EC, but ads also autoplay for me with sound. I am in Canada. I reloaded with my cursor far away from the ads just to test them. They were on the top right of the page and one was a Finish ad, and the other a Lysol one. The banner at the bottom also pops up without my cursor moving over it.

    I’m going to save all this cloth diapering info though for when I start making babies in a couple years. It seems things have changed since my mom used cloth diapers and rubber pants on her kids!

  51. Cloth diapering is very easy. We used prefolds and covers and they were simple and worked like a charm. They also have these diaper liners that are kind of like a roll of toilet paper. You tear off one, stick it on the diaper, and then when the baby poops, you throw it in the toilet and flush. Easy. If the baby pees, you can wash it and reuse it once or twice (it’s a heavy-duty paper). And then you wash the mostly poop-free diaper. Also, diaper services are awesome for the first few months–less to worry about.

    Also, for those who argue that disposable diapers are more environmental (for whatever reason): our landfills are not designed to handle human waste and human waste is full of pathogens. Also, we don’t wear disposable clothes or eat off of paper plates (well, at least I don’t). Also, cloth diapers do best with a gentle detergent, no bleach, and no dryer sheets, so washing them is just about the most gentle washing process around.

    EC is fine if you want to spend a good portion of your time watching the baby for their toiletting habits. I have a couple of friends who do it and it seems OK–to a point. At the end of the day, you’ve spent the entire time obsessing over when they are going to pee and poop–meaning you have to be uber-alert above and beyond all of the other things you have to be alert to. And the baby often pees or poops without the parent catching it, so that means actually dealing with more pee or poop on things you don’t really want pee/poop on (clothes, floor, chairs, your hands) than you would if you diapered. It’s kind of gross to be around if you aren’t the parent who’s decided to do it. Finally, the majority of these babies aren’t potty trained any earlier than kids who are diapered–and you’ve been “potty training” for years versus for a couple of weeks. I agree with the person who mentioned that this method seems to make the most sense in a “village” type situation where everyone is doing the same method and there are many adults watching the baby versus 1 or 2 at a time.

  52. I don’t usually comment, but I just had to respond to this post because I think any wisdom you can get from other Moms while you are pregnant is priceless. I know several Moms who have used EC and they seem okay with it. I’m not against it, but I know you will spend a LOT of time on the toilet with your little one. With one baby, this may be possible, but not when you have your second or third child. For us, it didn’t make a lot of sense to spend that much time just to make potty training easier. Really, potty-training is not that bad. We used a method called 3-day potty-training and it worked like a charm. My son only had two accidents and then he got it. You do have to devote three full days to sitting by his side and not leaving the house, but it’s only three days. In my mind, this is SO much easier than trying to guess when a 4 month old is peeing and racing to the toilet in time. Not to mention the fact that infants, especially breast feed infants, poop 5-6 times a day. All the time you would spend on the toilet with you baby seems like a lot more work than the three days I spent potty-training my son. Just my thoughts:-)

  53. Not sure I would have had the time and patience for ec…but both my kds were completely potty trained as they turned 2..,,.which was fine with me!

  54. Kath, I hope you can check out my website on cloth diapers! I have over 4,000 followers. I do weekly video reviews of diapers, and also have a thorough cloth diaper information page. I have cloth diaperers fill out surveys on diapers and show the statistics so you can compare different brands.

    Here is my website link, I hope this can help: http://www.paddedtushstats.com

    Here is a link to a cloth diapering intro video where I show stuffing a pocket diaper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UQDyF9ObuYQ

    Here is the page where I run statistics on diapers based on baby types:

    I do a whole lot more stuff and am HAPPY to help you if you have any questions. I have been following you for over 3 years now, so it would be an HONOR to return the favor and help you back 🙂

  55. Do you mind if I deter you a bit away from the gdiapers? Most full time cloth diapers who have tried them, tried them at first and found them to be terrible. I do a video of them here (http://paddedtushstats.com/2012/01/18/gdiaper-all-in-twohybrid-cloth-diaper-system-statistical-results/) and you can see that people did not really like them.

    Other HYBRID diapers (that’s ones like diapers with disposable inserts) are Flip and GroVia (there’s also Mabu Baby, which is sold at Walmart, but I don’t recommend that at all). Both Flip and GroVia do very well (you can see reviews on my site).

    As far as the poop is concerned, you don’t put that in your washer when solids are introduced. You either use a liner (which looks like a dryer sheet) that you can just flush down the toilet once soiled, OR you can use a diaper sprayer, which attaches to the toilet. Some people also just dunk the diapers, but that is kind of gross to me. But it really is easy with the liner and/or sprayer.

    One brand I recommend looking into the Best Bottom Diapers. Those are very affordable because they are one size, you can swap out the insert, and reuse the cover between washes. (http://paddedtushstats.com/2011/09/01/best-bottom-diapers-review/)
    Also, the most successful performing diaper (out of the over 5,000 survey responses I have received on diapers) is the Softbums Omni. This one is one size, with reusable inserts as well. Plus you can buy the flip, grovia, or gdiaper inserts and just lay them in this. (http://paddedtushstats.com/2011/08/27/softbums-omni–statistical-review/). There is a kit for this from this retailer that is a great way to test out cloth diapers: http://greendiaperdemos.corecommerce.com/Cloth-Diapering-Mythbusters-Kit-p217.html

    I hope that helps Kath! I really want to be of help to you since you’ve done so much for me!

    1. Tara this is so helpful! You are surely an expert. I’ll check out the ones you recommended, and your intro video was great to explain all the kinds!

  56. We love our cloth dipes! I have a 2 1/2 yr old (just recently potty learned) and a 5 month old and they both have had cloth from the very beginning. Our steepest learning curve was figuring out how best to wash (we have a front-loader HE, so water amount was an issue). We finally found the best route and haven’t looked back. I hope you enjoy cloth!

    I also wanted to add that I found it so perplexing how so many people reacted negatively to your mention of EC. As fellow mothers, and women in general, I think we do ourselves a disservice by making so many negative remarks if someone tries something a little off the mainstream. We all have lofty ideas of how we think life with a new baby will be and sometimes reality falls short. Sometimes it’s even better 🙂 We should be supporting each others endeavors, celebrating successes and encouraging during challenges. Best of luck with EC- let us know how it goes. And enjoy the remaining 20 weeks…it goes so quickly!!

    1. I totally agree. It seems like some people try assuage their own feelings of exhaustion and overwhelmedness by trying to knock excited pregnant women down a notch. It’s true that you can’t understand how difficult and wonderful parenthood will be until you experience it, but that becomes no less true once you’ve had it explained to you a hundred times.

      EC is not for me (nor are cloth diapers), but what’s it to me if someone else plans to give them a try?

    2. THANK YOU!

      I was just about the say the same thing. I had my first 4 months ago and spent my pregnancy researching different decisions, not in a neurotic way, but just in an effort to parent thoughtfully. I didn’t advertise my decisions, but when they came up in conversation, I got SO much pushback for a) wanting a natural birth and b) wanting to use cloth diapers. Lots of women just roll their eyes and think that if they couldn’t fathom those things, there was no kinda way you were going to be able to accomplish them. Baloney!

      You know what? I prepared for my birth and achieved a natural delivery (even though I was induced!) and have been using cloth diapers successfully. And even if I had fallen short of my aspirations, should we commend ourselves for trying? Maybe some people just don’t want us to feel like failures if we have to abandon some of our aspirations, but goodness people – we as women are capable of so much – why don’t we choose to believe in each other more?

      I’ve heard of EC – a friend of mine has had amazing success with her 9 month old. Honestly, I think it makes a lot of sense. I get that some people might think it’s crazy – but filling the earth with lots (and lots) of nasty, chemical-ridden diapers that never degrade can’t be sane.

      Kudos to you, Kath for investigating your options. I hope you’re not deterred by others who think you shouldn’t even try. You’re one of the most capable bloggers I’ve ever followed – you’ll be great at whatever you chose to do!

  57. I think everyone made really good suggestions for cloth diapers to use. For the disposable dipes, I’ve used Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Diapers. They can contain leaks, are re-usable for all day ECing, and are relatively environmental-friendly.
    I can’t tell you how glad I am that you included EC in your post. As a mom and author of an EC book strongly endorsed by DiaperFreeBaby, I can tell you with confidence that EC can be done part-time! 🙂 I’m a work at home mom so not full time mothering per se. As I say in my book, do as much or as little EC as you are able. It shouldn’t be stressful for either you or your little one. If you catch a poo or a pee, great! If not, it’s a whole new level of connection with your LO.
    Also, just to segue from diapers, when you do give EC a try, there’s a top hat potty that you can use to EC on the go. I’ve got a 10% off coupon code on the Gear section of my site, if you or any of your readers need/will need it – http://ecsimplified.com.
    Andrea, EC Simplified

  58. So my family and I just finished up 2 years of living in China for my husbands work…where most babies don’t wear diapers…where “elimination communication” is just what everyone does because diapers are still kind of a luxury good that most people still can’t afford. As such, I think for being such a crunchy, cloth-diapering, attachment-parenting Mama, I probably have a slightly less positive viewpoint of EC than most people in the US. I think EC is a really wonderful thing to do around the house, but in a country full of people holding babies up over city sidewalks and garbage cans to do their business, it does lose a lot of its appeal. 🙂 It does seem that Chinese babies can communicate their need to go much younger than American kids; but since learning how to “hold it” comes more with biological maturity than cognitive maturity, I don’t know if it matters too much. In America, we make kids go to the bathroom on toilets; in China, since most public bathrooms are really, really, unclean and treacherous, few kids use them until they are at least kindergarten age-before that they just continue going in the street or over a gutter. So, do they potty-train earlier? Maybe? But, at least out in public (where Chinese babies spend most of their days), I think proximity to a clean and appropriate place to go to the bathroom matters just as much as whether a kid can tell you they have to go. In China, its just that its socially acceptable for a kid to do their business anywhere that’s convenient. I don’t know, I’ve been out of America for awhile, maybe they have all sorts of portable EC toilets for babies now? 🙂

  59. Sorry, I hope my comment didn’t come off as too negative! I’m really interested to hear how EC goes for your guys and I Think in America its probably a totally different ball game than what I’m used to. As for cloth diapers, we use bum genius 4.0s one size, with snaps–and we love them! (snaps because its amazing how fast our son figured out velcro! :)) We use wool covers from etsy at night which works wonders-even when we are traveling and using disposables, we still use the wool cover to help with leaks for our little side sleeper. Personally, I think cloth diapering a breast-fed baby is soo much easier and more pleasant than disposables but its not like using disposables makes anyone a bad mom, its just diapers and poop! Whether we cloth-diaper or use EC, it all becomes irrelevant after a few years right? 🙂

  60. Kath – I’ve been reading your blog for years and haven’t taken the chance to say CONGRATS! Just wanted to pipe in and say that I also used cloth (Bummis covers with prefolds) for all 3 of my kids AND Elimination communication for the last two. I was so excited to hear that you’re open minded to the EC! I never regret that I did it, but I also used sign language (word “toilet”) along with the “sss” sound so my kids could sign to me when they needed to go. I recommend it. You wouldn’t believe how many times my husband and I were at a family gathering and how nice it was to wave across the room at him and sign “toilet” to him and point at our child so he would know where we were going!

  61. You will definitely want to buy a diaper sprayer once solids start. Breastfed poo doesn’t need to be rinsed and easily washes out in our HE frontloader. Once you introduce solids though, the dreaded peanut butter poo begins and their sweet smelling mustard seedy poop is a long lost memory 🙂 I have been cloth diapering for 3.5 years ( haha baby bunching 😉 ). I have tried many many kinds but have been most happy with Bum Genius Elemental (it’s organic to boot!). I do use the Bum Genius pockets for night to get a more customized absorption, but I love that I don’t have to stuff every diaper! Saves me a lot of time with two little boys and a baby on the way :). Good Luck! I have loved every second of cloth diapering.

  62. Hi Kath. I am a mom of 4. I have to say the whole idea of EC is just really, really bizarre to me. I haven’t had to “potty train” any of my kids b/c when they are ready to quit wearing diapers, they’re done and thats the end of that. Nobody has been older then 3.5yrs. and still in diapers. But if they were, I think I be ok with that too. They are really sweet, kind caring, funny and smart kids. But none of them were EC’d…My youngest is 2 and he is a boy. My time is so crazy limited right now that I consider a very good day to be one when I can shower AND wash my hair. Getting my baby to pee and poop in the potty at age newborn on up is just not a priority for me. I also feel that there is a crazy amount of pressure that we, as mom’s, put on ourselves. This EC idea is one more of those ideas that makes our job as a mom that much more difficult if not impossible. Sometimes the “old fashion” way of doing things isnt always the wrong way. I think that you should be very careful of the “plans” you make before Berf is born. Until you have the baby, its really hard to imagine how much your life is about to change. And 99% of this change is AWESOME, but it’s also a very, very big adjustment. That being said, I am sure you and Matt will be loving and doting parents. I just wouldn’t worry yet about how you are going to get the baby potty trained.

    1. But the “old fashioned way” isn’t necessarily wearing diapers – look at the other cultures.

      I never said in this post that I absolutely was going to make this work – I just said I’d be open to trying it.

  63. Great!! I say go for it and wish you all the luck. I am not trying to start a big debate, I was simply offering you some advice from a well experienced mom. Just take it for what its worth. You are absolutely adorable and will be a fantastic mom 🙂

  64. I use full time Gdiapers with cloth inserts and a liner. I have the whole time with Greta (besides the first month or so) and LOVE them. Just wanted to make sure you knew that there was a “full” cloth option and you dont have to use the disposable inserts (which I never do). Also, if you haven;t heard of it before Rockin Green is a great detergent. Ask me anything any time 🙂

  65. We’ve been cloth diapering now for 6 months and love it. I’ve also been half-heartedly practicing EC. My daughter (6 months) almost always poops in the toilet but it’s impossible to tell when she’s peeing. It definitely makes it easier to cloth diaper since I don’t have to always deal with poop. I would definitely get a diaper sprayer for once you start solid foods, it makes life so much easier. A couple of the people who work at Rebecca’s (in Barracks Road shopping center) cloth diaper and they gave great advice when I was just starting out.

  66. KERF, don’t listen to anyone that tries to put you off doing what you think is best for your baby. I have a three month old baby and we have just started elimination communication on a very occasional basis. My boy needs to wee very shortly after waking up, so I just hold him in the squat position over the potty and wait for him to go. It’s way easier to empty a potty than it is to wash out nappies! If he doesn’t want to, I simply put his nappy back on and try again later. If I miss it and he goes in his nappy, I change it. When I figure out the other times he needs to go, then I’ll just offer the potty at these times too. It’s no hassle, no extra work and I’m hoping that it makes the transition to toilet ltraining easier for my boy. Even if it doesn’t, at least my boy is not sitting in his own mess until I change his nappy.
    What people don’t seem to understand about EC is that it is the parent that is doing the training, not the baby (and I don’t think it’s too much work to pay attention to my baby- that’s why I had a baby in the first place!) The baby is just doing what comes naturally and the parent is learning to respond to the child’s needs.I think that it seems almost uncivilized to let a baby sit in its own poo or wee until it is convenient for the parent to change a nappy. Is it possible that people who judge EC are trying to justify their own laziness? It’s your choice and you shouldn’t be made to feel like it’s a silly idea. After all, it’s been working for centuries. I believe that it’s almost cruel to train your child to ignore their need to go, and then try to re-train them when they’re older.
    You might find that when you start it, it’s not for you, but well done for researching and thinking about what may be best for your baby. It’s far better to have a go at these things than not bother because it seems like too much hard work.

  67. Realize this post occurred awhile ago, but I thought I would share my thoughts.

    I never tried EC because I knew I could not maintain it once I went back to work. Levi pooped 4-5 times daily…sometimes more. I did use cloth diapers…still do. My son just turned 17 months. At 16 months, he wears mostly Charlie Banana Trainers (uses the potty during the day). I started potty training by creating an awareness of the potty. He also enjoys watching the Signing TImes Potty Time dvd on occasion. We have scheduled sittings after meals, but he largely tells me (grabs crotch and says “pee pee”). Of course, we have our accidents too, especially when we do not want to interrupt what we are doing to go to the potty.

    I know of two other friends that tried EC with their chidren, but both of their children are still in diapers (2 and nearly 3 years of age). I think life just got busy for them and it was no longer a priority.

    I tried a lot of things as a first time parent over the last 17 months, some I adopted, others I did not.
    It’s part of the experience 🙂

  68. I casually ec’d my two babes with great success. By casual I mean they also wore cloth diapers or just cruised around naked a lot of the time, and I didn’t worry about misses (thank goodness for tile floors!). I took them to the potty enough that they knew what was expected when we held them “in position”. The first time I tried was when my daughter was just 3 weeks old; as soon as I held her in position (a few minutes after nursing) she went, and I just about fell over in disbelief. I truly believe babes have that awareness, and ec, even part-time, helps them maintain that, so that ec’d babies don’t become three year olds that poop in their pants b/c they just didn’t realize they needed to go.
    I think ec is like so many parenting jobs…more work on the front end, but well worth it in the long term. My kiddos were completely done w/diapers (day and night) by 19 months and I was so glad to not spend any more money on diapers and washing, and even more glad that I never had to clean out the diaper of a big kid.
    It’s doable!

  69. I think the EC thing is slightly retarded, slightly genius. The “psss” noise does not make sense, however, until are old enough to understand and associate the “psss” as the sound peeing makes in the toilet. Other than that, i tried doing this and it was rather impossible. If you don’t mind the frustration and high failure rate, though, it might be right for you.

  70. I started EC with baby at four and a half months and I can definitely say that it is a wonderful experience. It’s really about bonding and communication with baby more than anything else. Baby signals and you respond and as a result the baby feels you truly understand their every need. I’m doing it as a part of attachment parenting and the commitment goes hand in hand with each other. Added plus that I realized a lot of the small fussing previously were really signals to eliminate. Makes me feel more in tune as a mother and you have to watch for the first few smiles the first few times you EC successfully.

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