Elimination communication is getting more and more attention lately, and for good reasons. It's an excellent way to help your baby stay clean, dry, and aware. I've seen a lot of questions crop up as EC'ing gets more popular, and a big one is “when can I start elimination communication with my baby?”
A Window of Opportunity
Your baby is ready for elimination communication the day he or she is born! You can hold your baby over a small container or over an open diaper right away.
I usually start EC with my babies within the first few days. I never determine a set date, but generally decide to try EC within the first week. I started with my third baby, Brennan, when he was a week or so. I started a day or two after birth with Galen, Honor, and Corwin, my fourth, fifth, and sixth babies.
Your baby passes meconium first, which is the sticky substance that lines the intestines while in e womb. Some parents prefer to wait until this has passed to begin EC, while others like that they can catch it and avoid having to clean it off of their baby! It's up to you.
Starting a Little Later
Some cultures started elimination communication later, but all generally within the first few months. There is a window of opportunity because babies are very aware of their elimination at first and generally hate to be wet or dirty.
Starting in the early months is a good idea because you take advantage of your baby's natural awareness. It's also nice because your baby isn't yet mobile – meaning you don't have to worry about chasing a curious kid around!
Diaper free time is much easier. Spread a mat on the floor, your bed, or your lap and let your baby be diaper free. You can watch to see what your baby does right before a pee or poop, thus learning his or her cues.
You can also get a good sense of timing: that's how frequently your baby potties. Use this information to decide how often to offer your baby potty opportunities.
Don't give up hope if your little one is older and you're just learning about EC. Infant potty training can begin at any time, though it may be a little tougher to get going.
I found out about elimination communication when my first baby was 6 months old, so that's when Cassidy and I got started. I used timing, paying attention to how frequently she needed to go. We began by always going after her naps – I was sure to catch a pee that way!
I also took Cassidy with me anytime I needed to use the bathroom and set her on her own little potty.
Every child is unique, but my “late starter” Cassidy has been my earliest “graduate” – leaving all diapers behind well before turning 2. My others have lagged behind that (update: Honor followed in her sister's footsteps and graduated well before 2!).
Remember that elimination communication is not early toilet training – it's a natural way to care for your baby's elimination needs. Three of my babies have learned “early” …One not so early!
You can start whenever you're ready to start: birth, two weeks, two months, six months and upward. Each age has good options for discovering your baby's cues.
(NOTE: Want proven, practical strategies to make elimination communication work for you? Use these 5 proven techniques to connect when your baby and have EC success! Get them here.)