Elimination Communication is the communication between caregiver(s) and baby on when the baby needs to eliminate. Layman’s terms is it’s catching all of baby’s urine and waste on a potty. Infant potty training is another term used but in my opinion it’s more ‘parent catching’ training when the baby is an infant.
The idea behind it is babies are born with the ability to communicate that they need to eliminate, similarly, they communicate they need to eat. Is it true? From my personal experience, yes! More about my experience can be found in Baby & Child magazine.
So if you’re still with me and accepted this may be a possibility for you and your child, here’s how it works.
Regardless of when you decide to start this with your baby (newborn – 1+ year), you will need to keep them diaper free and observe when they eliminate. What do they do beforehand? Do they make faces? Do they make sounds? Do they get a look on their face? It might be something very obvious, and it may not. If the child is already used to going in a diaper, they may have stopped doing any type of sign, but it doesn’t mean they won’t start giving you a sign again when they understand what’s happening. How long you continue the observation period depends on how long it takes to recognize a pattern.
During the observation period, start making noises as your child is eliminating. Pick a noise for pee and a different noise for waste. The baby will start to associate these noises with the action.
After you see baby is regularly signing in some way they are about to go, you put baby over a potty. Forms for this can be: a small floor potty, sitting with the baby on a big potty (example picture below),using a bowl or pot of some sort between your lap, holding baby over a sink/grass/wherever you find it acceptable for baby to eliminate.
As you have baby in position to eliminate, use your cue noises. I personally made the noises when we first got on, to signal baby could go, and then again when baby was going to reinforce the cue with the action. Sometimes I’d be making noises nonstop to encourage baby, but always, use the noise with the appropriate action when baby is eliminating (ie, pee noise when peeing).
When to remove baby from the potty is also a communication. Maybe baby went a lot and you don’t think there will be more, or maybe baby hasn’t gone at all and you don’t know how long to wait. This is what I find to be the trickiest part. Maybe baby also gives you a sign, maybe not and you have to use your judgement.
That’s it really! As time goes on, you can start putting baby on the potty intermittently and making the cue noises. It transitions from you catching all of their signals to them also eliminating from your cues. There are different techniques and ways to go about this. Maybe you want to use a diaper just in case, maybe you don’t want to do overnight, maybe you’ll keep your kiddo bottoms off all day, maybe you’ll put the baby on every 30 minutes, maybe you’ll watch intently and catch absolutely everything. It’s all up to you and what works for your family. Even if it’s ‘part-time’, your baby will keep their innate ability to control and recognize when they need to eliminate which is going to be extremely helpful for when you get to normal potty-training days.
There are so many directions I could take this post but for now I’ll keep it simple and if you have questions or want to know more, reply below and I can add more posts as requested =) Happy catching!!