Elimination Communication: Potty Training Type

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There are alternatives to classic potty training methods. Credit: Getty Images


Elimination communication (EC) is a type of potty training that goes back to time immemorial because one of its goals is to forgo diapers altogether. Here's how it works: When a parent or caregiver knows or feels that the baby needs to go, he or she removes the diaper or clothing and holds the infant over a toilet or other appropriate receptacle. Because the baby is pre-verbal --i.e., parents are starting this early after their child's birth -- way before most parents think about potty training -- caregivers need to be on the alert for body language cues, patterns (e.g., after a feeding or a waking), intuition or simply by the clock.

EC training can begin as early as birth but can also start in later infancy or during the toddler years. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics believes there is no set age at which toilet training should begin, they do say that children younger than 12 months have no control over bladder or bowel movements.

EC's rising popularity is certainly influences by the economy (diapers are expensive) and environmental concerns (diapers are not biodegradable), but it's also a natural extension of a common practice called attachment parenting.

ParentDish answers all of your potty training and diaper questions.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.