The Diaper Free Movement how to Learn Babys Elimination Cues and never use

What’s the most environmentally responsible choice in diapering?

One reason people give for choosing cloth diapers is the environment: cloth diapers reduce the manufacture of plastics and petrochemicals used in disposables, and reduce the contribution to the landfill. Proponents of disposable diapers say that the water consumption on the side of cloth diapering is just as bad for the environment. What’s the best answer out there?

Neither.

I will let you in on a little known secret that is gaining in popularity these days. It’s called infant potty training, natural infant hygiene, or elimination communication. You may be thinking, “yeah right, that’s just parent training…” Well, yes and no. A parent practicing elimination communication (EC) after a while just gets a sense for when their baby needs to go, and provides baby with the proper receptacle. Is it a lot more work to be that in tune with your child, and to carry them to a potty? For the most part, yes. But it is also worth it.

Let me back up here… first, why would a parent want to do this? EC creates a strong bond between parent and child; you are learning to watch your child for minute clues that they need to eliminate. So minute, that when asked, the parent often can’t point to what it is that let them know the child needed to go. Bonding this securely helps lay the way for future parenting in other areas, such as discipline. Many EC parents believe that diaper babies is training them to defecate in their clothing, that it is an unnatural state for humans.

How does it work? Some parents go by a baby-defined schedule: ie, the baby always poops after nursing or upon waking from nap; or a timed schedule; or by watching baby’s cues. The parent holds the child over the receptacle (toilet, or potty chair), and gives the child a cue to go, such as a “pssss” or “shhhhh” sound, or small grunts, or whatever the family has worked out as their cue. The baby understands this is the appropriate to make waste.

What if a parent has to work? This is the true beauty of EC: it doesn’t have to be done all the time! If it is just done at home on the evenings and weekends, the baby will retain her connection with her body’s elimination functions which will make potty training easier. Many people, myself included, use diapers and EC in conjunction: for my daughter, diapers were a back up if we missed a pee; for my son, he pees so often, in little bits, that diapers are used. Both of my children, however, have been “poop-trained” from the time of introduction of solid foods (so, 6-8 months old). To me, this alone is worth it: I never have to sniff a baby butt to see if there’s poop in a diaper. And let me assure you, they ARE able to control their bowels are such a young age, it is truly amazing.

Children who are EC’d often train earlier than their diapered peers; usually sometime in the first half of the second year, depending on the child and the parent. EC is not forcing a child into doing something they are not capable of, it is merely providing them with an opportunity to not soil themselves. There is no negative repercussion should they have a “miss”, and they are not forced to pee when they don’t want to. It is a very flexible and ancient system for dealing with a baby’s waste. And it is by far superior to both cloth diapering and disposables when it comes to reducing your environmental footprint.