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Elimation Communication, Clean less mess!

Posted by Cloth Diaper Blog Guest on 5/14/2011 to Green Living
Just prior to the birth of my first daughter, friends of mine asked if we were planning on using disposable diapers, cloth diapers or no diapers. My wife and I already planned on using cloth diapers. But what in the world was this last option: no diapers? I was intrigued. After some research, I discovered what this “no diapers,” otherwise known as Elimination Communication (EC), is all about. Now, just about two years later, I am all about EC. Why?

Here is a rundown of the benefits as I see them:

● If you are the least bit successful with EC, you will have less mess to clean up, both in terms of the diapers and your baby or babies.
● Like cloth diapering, EC is an eco-friendly choice because by reducing the number of diapers you use, you are reducing the amount of energy spent on washing diapers.
● Because you will reduce the number of diapers you use, and the amount of laundry you will do, you will save some money.
● EC reduces diaper rash, for two reasons. For one, with EC, it is common practice to offer frequent potty opportunities and to make frequent diaper changes. The result is less wetness-caused diaper rashes. Secondly, many parents who practice EC give their babies a certain amount of diaper-free time. It stands to reason that a baby who wears diapers less will have less diaper rash.
● EC fosters communication and bonding between parents and children. EC is not just about putting your baby on the potty when you decide. It is about watching for cues, listening to your baby and tending to their needs.
● EC fosters independence. Although your baby needs your help to get a diaper on and off, or get to the potty, EC teaches your baby early on to listen to their own needs. It gives them some control, whereas conventional potty training assumes babies are developmentally unready.
● Your baby will have an early understanding and acceptance of his or her elimination needs, so you won’t have to suddenly tell them not to go in their diaper anymore, as is done in conventional potty training.
● Your baby will likely be out of diapers earlier. Ever since our daughter was about 13 months old, she rarely poops in her diaper--maybe once a month. The average ECer is out of diapers by around 18 months.

I feel like the bonding and communicating I do with my daughter as a result of EC is the most important benefit. After all, EC is about communication. But in this article, I want to focus on the fact that you will have less soiled diapers to clean, because I know many parents would seriously consider EC if they knew that fact.

I, for one, am ecstatic that my wife and I cleaned only a handful of pooped-in diapers in our daughter’s first six months. When she started eating solids, things changed a bit, and it was more of a challenge to predict or understand when she had to go. So, we had some “potty misses,” though we still caught a lot. Then at around a year, she started to tell us, verbally, and with body and sign language.

I cannot understand why all parents--especially dad’s who have historically been hands-off with such things--would not want to reduce the number of soiled diapers they had to deal with. I do not enjoy cleaning every skin fold on a baby. I also do not enjoy pre-washing a really messy diaper (since we use cloth diapers). I know that if parents knew elimination communication was even possible, they would come to see the energy it actually saves. I am both tickled and thankful when my daughter does her little pacing, holds up her hand in the potty sign, and says “uh oh,” or “aaapooo” (her word for poop). I simply get her diaper off. She sits. Sometimes I read a book while she goes. I tell her she pooped on the potty. Then it’s just a wipe, and we wave goodbye to the poops as they get flushed in the toilet. I say often say to people that they should at least try offering potty opportunities before and after naps and sleep. Before and after sleep is a fairly predictable time for a baby to pee or poop. Doing just this step can make your life so much easier.

While I am eager to see if our daughter is out of diapers before the age of two, that isn’t really the goal. The goal has already been reached: we provide a very hygienic mode of diapering, and we share great communication with our daughter. The rest are extra perks.

Guest Blogger:
Byline: Jeremy Dyen is a musician, husband and father. He and his wife have been using cloth diapers and practicing elimination communication with their daughter since February, 2010. Jeremy has toured internationally and worked with Grammy-Award-winning artists, though he now enjoys a loving life as a stay at home papa. You can read his blogs at and