Infant Pottying Today - Issue No. 4
A Publication about Elimination Communication from DiaperFreeBaby
Elizabeth and Jack, 6 months, started EC at birth
Letter from the Editor
What EC Is All About
by Christine Gross-Loh
This summer marks the end of a year during which DiaperFreeBaby Mentors, Contacts, and members were instrumental in helping to raise public awareness of the gentle practice of Elimination Communication, or EC. We've seen great numbers of parents flocking to DiaperFreeBaby for information because EC resonates with them for so many reasons: it encourages parents to listen to their babies and to stay attuned to their needs while allowing them to approach diapering in the most ecologically sound and reasonable way there is. We've all done our share in helping spread the word about what EC is - and what it's not - and the word continues to spread. But sometimes a growth in public awareness is accompanied by misperceptions, especially about something like EC that counters decades of standard practice and toileting advice.
For those out there who may not be sure what EC is really all about, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
EC is not about coercive toilet training; rather it's about gently staying in sync with and communicating with our babies.
EC is not about stressed-out parents; rather, babies and parents fall into a natural rhythm much like eating and sleeping, and EC can be done to any degree; parents are encouraged to figure out the pace that is right for their own families.
EC is not about achievement or about having the first toilet-trained baby on the block; rather, it's about creating a foundation of communication between a parent and baby - a foundation that will last a lifetime.
You can be sure that if you embark on the EC journey, you will make like-minded friends, find encouragement for your responsive parenting practices, and get your relationship with your new little one off to a good start. These are all wonderful reasons to look further into EC and DiaperFreeBaby. If you like what you see, we encourage you to consider becoming a member of DiaperFreeBaby. You'll find a membership application on the last page of this newsletter.
Call for Submissions
DiaperFreeBaby is always looking for good writers who are enthusiastic about sharing their EC experience with parents new to EC. For our quarterly publication, Infant Pottying Today, we are specifically seeking submissions for the following columns:
Cover Story: an 1000-2000 word piece on some aspect of the practice of EC which would be of general interest to most readers.
Getting Started - a personal story about getting started on EC, which could include how you discovered EC, why it appealed to you, and what it was like to begin. 800 words and up.
Graduation: Different stories about graduation - the journey to a toilet-independent lifestyle. This experience varies for everyone and as such we welcome hearing about your individual experiences. 800 words and up.
Question from an EC'ing Family, FAQ, and Helpful Tips: Brief, 300 words or less answers to specific EC'ing questions. We need both questions and answers. Past examples have been: EC'ing in Cold Weather, EC'ing in Public, Nighttime EC.
Creative Corner: Poems, essays, or artwork on the topic of EC.
Photos: Photos of your EC'ed baby. A few tips: make sure you're down at baby's level and close up, try to have a clean background (no stray or dangling objects), and help baby to put on a happy expression for the camera.
Please send your submissions or your questions to Infant Pottying Today.
Support for Practicing Parents
by Laurie Boucke (Mentor, Colorado, and author of Infant Potty Training and Infant Potty Basics )
These are historic times. In the early twenty-first century, there is more support than ever for EC parents in industrialized societies. Even so, some newcomers to infant pottying still feel they face an uphill battle where support is concerned. The very concept of potty teamwork with infants sometimes strikes uninformed friends and relatives as ridiculous, impracticable or impossible, and in such situations, some parents may not have the societal support and examples that teach, inspire and sustain mothers in traditional societies.
Most EC families in non-industrialized or lesser-industrialized societies have experienced infant elimination training themselves. It is and has long been the norm for them, so that women and children have a life experience of loving support from both their families and communities. Due to many generations of unwavering acceptance and positive acculturation, the attitude towards infant toilet learning is nurturing and tranquil. No one finds it unusual or strange. No doctors or psychologists frighten families with stories of psychological damage caused by infant pottying. In these cultures, babies generally don't wear diapers and are not subjected to anger, impatience, punishment or worries about keeping carpeting or fancy clothing clean and dry. They do not have to undergo diaper untraining and are free to run and play as toddlers, without interruption by boring and confining diaper changes and potty sessions.
For Western parents who lack support or feel isolated, there is now a fabulous network of resources available. The Internet has been key in spreading the word and wisdom of EC, and this is covered in this article. But perhaps you live in a rural area with limited or no Internet access. Perhaps your online time is restricted or nearly non-existent due to holding a full-time job, homeschooling, taking care of sick or elderly parents, or for medical or financial reasons. Or perhaps you have never used a computer before. This article addresses means for support for people in all these situations.
The most comprehensive online resource is the publisher of this newsletter, the non-profit DiaperFreeBaby organization. If you don't have Internet access, you can learn a lot about DiaperFreeBaby by reading this newsletter. Hopefully this will inspire you to make an effort to visit their website (I'll tell you how) where you can find numerous specialized articles; contact information for support groups, mentors and meetings in most of the 50 United States as well as in many other countries; links to online discussion groups where you can read about the experiences, opinions and advice made available by numerous practitioners, authors and medical professionals in many different languages; links to online stores that sell everything you need for your baby; and more.
If you have received a printed copy of this newsletter and do not have Internet access at home, you can go to your public library to get online. If you have not used the Internet before, ask the librarian to help you find www.diaperfreebaby.org. Once you find the website, you will see a directory on the left side of the homepage, and from there you can visit the different areas of the website. If you can't get to the library, check to see if there is a Internet café in town. These are places that provide free use of computers for customers who buy a drink or food in the cafe. Or you can ask a neighbor, friend or relative to help you get online for a short time.
For those who do not or cannot go online, there are plenty of other sources of support.
For some, the most important form of support comes from one or more meetings with other practicing families. At these meetings, parents exchange information and can view clothing, potty equipment, books and other items made available by those who attend. You can also see demos of different ways to hold and potty a small infant and learn different strategies for dealing with all aspects of infant pottying.
Books and multimedia products
There are now several excellent books available. My two books are listed at the end of this article. If your local bookstore doesn't have what you want in stock, they can special order any book you request. If you don't want to buy a book, ask your librarian if the library has any books on infant potty training or diaper free babies. If not, request your librarian to either acquire its own copy or get you a copy via InterLibrary Loan.
There are also a few DVDs available. The Potty Project released in 2000 by pediatrician Barbara Gablehouse addresses a mainstream audience and gives a general overview that provides medical support and combats skepticism. In October 2006, my 2-disk DVD Potty Whispering will be released with commentary by EC'ers and medical professionals; video and photo demos of various positions and receptacles; interviews from around the world; case history information and more.
Supportive family members can make a difference so it's a good idea to ascertain whether any of your family members are open to infant pottying. Family support from a spouse, partner, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister or brother will make life easier for you and your baby. It may take time for the "other parent" to accept what you are doing and in this situation, it's especially helpful to find support outside the home for a while.
Older siblings can offer wonderful support too. They can motivate, inspire and help you potty your baby and share in the joys.
Friends and caregivers
Find out if any of your friends or preferred caregivers (baby-sitter, daycare provider, or nanny) are open and supportive. If so, their backing, understanding and occasional assistance will give you a boost. It's possible that they will be so inspired by the communication they witness between you and you baby that they may one day decide to give EC a try with their own child or children.
If you have [Asians] or other immigrants living in your community, find out where they are from and if they are familiar with infant pottying. They won't have a special name for it, as it is simply the way they toilet train in their homelands. Infant pottying is especially prevalent in India, Pakistan, China and Vietnam. If you meet any women from places such as these, ask their advice and see if they can show you different positions to use with your baby. They can be most inspiring and provide valuable tips. If you go out without your baby, consider asking them to baby-sit and potty your baby a few times while you are out.
As with most things in life, you can be your best support or your worst enemy. Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't expect too much too soon and do not strive to be perfect. It's fine to take breaks or to use diapers in between potty visits or as a backup. Remind yourself to use the three C's: Remain calm, confident and communicative with your baby.
If at potty time you find yourself among negative or skeptical people, a good solution for this type of situation is to be private and discreet when pottying your baby. If you excuse yourself and go to a rest room with your baby, everyone will assume you are going there to change a diaper. Let them think this and then potty your baby as usual over the potty, toilet or other receptacle behind closed doors.
Knowledge is power. Learn from as many of the resources listed above as possible, and find ways to combat skepticism and criticism. It helps to know that you're not alone and that certain myths are rampant, almost to the point of being (boring!) mantras. Medlore and myths have been created by a small number of self-proclaimed medical experts with no official medical studies to back their theories. Once these myths and misunderstandings enter the mainstream, they are hard to rectify in the public eye. Here is a selection of some of the most common myths for you to disregard:
"Mommy is potty trained."
"A baby cannot be aware of elimination."
"It's impossible. A baby cannot control elimination before the age of 18-14 months."
"It's too inconvenient."
"It's too convenient, just a way for you not to have to wash diapers."
"It will harm your baby because it pressures your baby."
"It makes you obsess about elimination."
Laurie Boucke is the author of:
Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living, 500 pages, 2002.
Infant Potty Basics: With or Without Diapers, the Natural Way, 115 pages, 2003, abridged version of the longer book.
My Reluctant Partner and How I Got Him on Board with EC
by Marie Colantoni Pechet (Contact, Massachusetts)
The first thing you should know about my husband is that he showers at least twice a day. For a long time, he insisted that I shower after a yoga class. (This was Iyengar, not Ashtanga, for anyone who might think I came back sweaty.)
You should also know that he has since accepted that fact that I don't shower after a yoga class if I didn't sweat, so he does have the potential to change his mind and actions.
When it came to our son, he had absolutely no problem with the idea of changing dirty diapers. He did, however, have a pretty impressive process for the whole procedure. For any diaper change, before the old diaper came off, he had a new one positioned on top of it, and he immediately covered the baby's penis to protect himself, the changing table, the walls, and the world, I guess, against any spontaneous spray. We joked that the poor baby's penis never got any fresh air. For poop, I swear that the whole area was cordoned off and sterilized. I stayed away from watching those diaper changes, as I just couldn't keep my mouth shut, and told myself that I should welcome and appreciate the break.
Then I heard about EC. It seems that once you have this knowledge, you just can't go back!
When I started EC, he thought it was one of my offbeat ideas, which he is now used to and tolerates. They also kind of amuse him at times, I think. To his credit and my relief, he never resists them.
But he did react to the dirty mess he thought it would create. Pee on the floors completely grossed him out, and required a complete sterilization of the area. Poop on the floor, much less the carpet, was too awful for him to even consider. Oh, and it horrified him to think that our child might touch the toilet in the process.
This was my project, and our unspoken agreement was that it was okay as long as he wasn't expected to do it too. I could do it during the day, when he was at work and didn't see any resulting mess. When he was in charge, he would use disposable diapers.
To be honest, I had no clue what I was doing with EC, but it felt right in my gut and I was determined to try it. So, I started for about an hour a day, in the morning when we weren't rushed, and our son would either be naked or have on underwear. I would do it each day either until I was tired of cleaning up, or, after I got better at reading his signals, I would do it until the underwear got wet.
After awhile, our babysitter started practicing EC as well, and between the two of us, we generally got up to a full day of confidently dressing him in underwear, even if we didn't catch all the pees and poops. Our son also became comfortable with letting us know when he had to go and expected that we would respond.
It wasn't always a smooth process, and it was especially hard to go through the frustrating times because I felt like I couldn't complain about it to my husband, and couldn't effectively brainstorm with him. Thank goodness for EC discussion groups!
I think this part was important: I never asked my husband to do it, and tried not to talk about it too much or push it on him. Gradually my husband saw EC going more smoothly. Also, over time, our son was clearly taking more control of his desire to use the toilet rather than a diaper. One time, we were on a flight and our son insisted on using the airplane bathroom. They feel filthy even to me, but I took him, he peed, we flushed, returned to our seats, and my husband took note.
It was only a matter of time before my husband was ready to respond to our son's requests. One day, the three of us went to a concert together. My husband had been in charge of dressing our son, and had put him in a diaper. The concert was almost over, and our son said, "Need to pee!" We wanted to hear the last songs, and my husband said, "Just go in your diaper." But, our son would have none of that, and insisted on finding the bathroom (and bringing my husband with him). I think that event helped to convince my husband that our son really could reliably communicate the need to go and, moreover, actually preferred the toilet to the diaper.
One success, and I thought he'd be hooked. But I forgot about the mess factor. Back at home, our son would insist on using the toilet, my husband would take him, and there would often be spray everywhere. I could feel the tension as I sat in the next room. My husband would then get out an arsenal of cleaners that I didn't even know we had, and I laughed to myself, thinking that this part was more difficult than EC itself!
EC reminded me that "this too, will pass". Our son is now almost three years old, and has been reliably using the toilet for longer than we can remember. My husband still gets grossed out if our son's aim isn't perfect, but helping him use the toilet is simply a way of life now.
Featured Diaper Free Baby Group
Washington D.C. Metro Area
The D.C. metro area has a thriving DiaperFreeBaby community, thanks to energetic DiaperFreeBaby Mentor, Ilana Ratner. Monthly meetings are held in Maryland (North Bethesda) and Virginia (Falls Church). There is talk of bringing another Mentor on board in the D.C. area itself as interest grows. As with so much else in this modern age, much contact between members is initially made online, and group momentum is maintained through pre-existing online elimination communication Yahoo!Groups.
How did Ilana become interested in becoming a Mentor? "Our group originally started when another woman from Virginia, who is on an email list I'm on, asked if anyone out there EC's and wants to form a group." Ilana soon became a DiaperFreeBaby Mentor and has been holding monthly meetings in the two locations ever since - which means she organizes and attends a meeting every two weeks! Meetings usually have 3-7 parents attending, although many people benefit from the online support group as well.
Amanda Alvine, another DiaperFreeBaby Mentor who recently moved to the D.C. area, is now helping out local DiaperFreeBaby groups, including Falls Church and North Bethesda. Ilana says, "I'm excited that she moved here from Boston and attends the meetings. It's so nice to have help and experience here." Ilana is particularly happy when there are other experienced moms at meetings, "so there are more people who can share their thoughts and experiences and give suggestions to those starting out. We usually have enough people for good conversations about EC. If there is no one new to EC at the meeting, we discuss whatever particular challenges or successes we've been having, problem solve/provide suggestions, and sometimes segue into whatever other related parenting topics arise."
How does Ilana help spread the word about EC and her local meetings? "The woman from Virginia - the one who initially contacted me to start a group - sends emails to all her local Yahoo groups to help spread the word about the Falls Church meetings. For Maryland, people find out through the DiaperFreeBaby website, emails I post at my Yahoo! Groups, and word of mouth. I try to send a reminder email to anyone who came to a meeting and gave me an email address. Now Amanda makes up little postcard size reminders to hand out at the meeting so people can post them about the next meeting. I've also posted flyers in a few places (the maternity center, local organic market, the learning center where I hold Maryland meetings, and a vegetarian/vegan restaurant." Ilana will occasionally bring different potties, training pants, prefolds and prefold belts, split-crotch pants, or EC books to meetings so parents can have a look at what's out there.
Falls Church meetings are held in a library conference room for free. A volunteer who is part of a local babywearing group reserves space for the DiaperFreeBaby meetings each month. Those meetings are held at different times each month, which is helpful for members who can't always make it to a morning or an afternoon meeting. Finding a space for the North Bethesda group was more of a challenge. Ilana finally found a space at a local Jewish Learning Center, and picked a regular day and time for meetings to make it easy to remember. She says, "Since there is a small school there they have a little playground outside that the kids can play in after the meetings if they want."
To find your local group, please visit the Local Groups page. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor, you can find more information on the Become a Mentor page.
Question from an EC Family
Q: How do I EC when traveling?
A: Many people travel at this time of year, and if you're one of them, you might be wondering if you can continue to EC while traveling or if you should take a break. While some families do find EC to be a challenge while traveling because their baby is thrown off by the change in routine, others find that they have more time to relax while on vacation, which is a great aid in EC'ing. Since you might have a little more freedom from daily household routines, EC might fall into place a little better now.
Consider taking a familiar potty along in your suitcase (it's lightweight and won't take up much room), or an insert if your child is old enough to use one. There are a number of useful items on the market, including portable, collapsible potties and inserts. Offer your child a potty opportunity, or "pottytunity," every so often, especially if you or another family member happen to be using the bathroom. Other times to offer pottytunities are before leaving in the morning, before/after meals, or when you happen to be near a bathroom and know you won't be near another one for awhile. If you are a cloth diaper user but are using disposables while traveling, you may consider using them with a liner so that you and your baby remain aware of his elimination (disposables are made to feel dry, which can inhibit awareness).
Cue your child when you know she is going even if you're not always getting her to a toilet, and change as frequently as you can so your baby doesn't get too used to sitting in a wet or dirty diaper. Remember that if you find yourselves in sync while traveling, you might find yourself going through very few diapers at all. All family's experiences are different. For some families, EC will go well, while others will find themselves naturally scaling back and doing it only when they can. Some of it depends as well on the age of your child. If you have a toddler, you can make scouting out new bathrooms a fun part of travel. Remember to bring things along (a favorite toy or book or his favorite potty) to keep things as similar as possible to how they usually are at home. The most important thing, as always, is to remain stress-free. If you fall out of your routine while away, you will be able to get back on track when you return.
Have a question about the DiaperFreeBaby lifestyle? We'll address your questions in future issues. Please send your suggestions to Infant Pottying Today
Frequently Asked Question
Q: I'm going back to work full-time when my baby is three months old. She'll be in daycare/with a babysitter. Why bother? I'm sure it won't work.
A: EC has benefits for your child no matter how often you practice it. Many working parents have successfully practiced EC on a part-time basis, saving it for when they are able to be with the child (in the evening or on weekends). A little diaper-free time in the evening before your child's bath, for instance, is a nice way for parents to get in tune with their children after having been separated during the day. A child will not get confused being conventionally diapered at daycare and EC'ed at home. Many parents who are with their children full-time also practice EC on a part-time basis in this manner with no ill effects. It's a matter of finding the pace that works best for them.
Some parents will make it a priority to find a babysitter or daycare provider who will be open to EC'ing their child. For instance, they might bring the topic up during their initial interview with the caregiver. Sometimes caregivers have grown up in cultures where practicing EC is the norm and only need to be asked to do it with your child. Since it isn't the norm in our culture, they may not do EC with your child unless you specifically ask them to. Other parents will simply let their caregivers know that their child is being EC'ed and let the child and caregiver work out a rhythm of their own. It is not unheard of for babies to eventually signal to their caregivers the need to use the toilet.
Dress for Success: How to Dress your Child to make EC'ing Quick and Easy
When doing EC, part of what makes it easy is having your child dressed in clothes that are easy to take off. But that doesn't mean that you can't put your child in ordinary baby clothes. Fortunately, there are lots of options out there, as well as some pieces specific to EC'ing that are uniquely adorable.
For newborns, it's usually best to avoid long one-piece rompers, even if not EC'ing, because if you need to take the whole thing off, your baby may get cold and find it an unpleasant experience. It's easier to keep baby in a warm top and then leggings or long socks on the bottom as well as a diaper or easy-to-remove training pant. Some parents will keep their very young, immobile babies diaper-free and have them simply lying on a loose prefold or diaper in their laps so they can quickly take note of when baby is going to the bathroom.
As baby grows older and becomes mobile, those same one-piece rompers which are inconvenient for newborns can actually be useful. Many parents will leave some of the buttons near the crotch unbuttoned so as to make, in effect, a split-crotch outfit for the baby which makes it easy to assist baby onto the toilet.
At any age, clothing designed specifically for EC'ed babies will come in handy. There is a wide variety of clothing out there including split crotch pants, BabyLeg leggings, and training pants. Depending on how warm the weather is in your area, a simple long top or tunic over underwear is a simple and easy choice for your baby when you are relaxing at home. Your baby can wear a more complete outfit when going out. The communication skills you and your child hone during your relaxed moments at home will likely make it easier for her to signal to you the need to go to the bathroom no matter where she is or what she's wearing.
Questions and Surveys
Responses to: Why do you EC?
Vivienne (Boulder, Colorado) :
At first I was drawn to EC because I wanted to do something good for the earth. I hated the fact that babies generate so much waste and I already had a moral issue with adding another consumer to our population. I was also horrified by the current trend of children remaining in diapers into their third and fourth year of life. As I ventured down the EC path with my then 2 1/2 month-old son, I discovered more reasons to EC.
I noticed the way diapered babies never had access to their own bodies, how they always seemed off balance when trying to sit or walk, how their bodies were covered with layers of fabric and chemicals. Like all parents, I marveled at the perfection of my growing son and I was so happy that he could be naked and free to explore his body and the world. I didn't want his bodily functions to be a mystery to him. I want my son to appreciate his body and never feel ashamed about it. I like being able to respond to him and anticipate his needs. I also love not having to wash tons of diapers!
I have a zillion reasons! Off the top of my head, here are a few:
I used cloth with my older daughter and got into the habit of changing her the moment she peed. I was checking her constantly. It seems kind of silly in hindsight to put something on in which to pee once you have the knowledge that babies can tell you BEFORE they have to pee and also that they can hold it a fairly long time. Once I realized these facts, it was obvious to me that training my daughter to pee in her own clothing was something I'd only have to undo later so why not work on teaching her to pee while NOT wearing something in the first place?
My older daughter had a diaper rash for the better part of her first year. I did not want to repeat this!
I have never had to change my second daughter lying down. Whenever we missed, I simply washed her off in a sink, wherever we were. As I like to travel light, this meant I didn't need to worry about wipes.
EC's been a great exercise in relaxation for me. I was a bit too uptight as a new mom about the whole process. I have come to accept this part of being human as a result of EC.
I value the lessons taught by EC. It is not about controlling my daughter. It's about listening and watching for her cues and sometimes making suggestions but being okay with allowing her to choose when and where she pees and trusting her.
It's been amazing to see the process from the start and realize how much control babies have. If they have this level of control from the beginning, what other assumptions have we gotten wrong? It has opened me up to a new way of thinking about what we assume to be true.
I love that in warm weather, I can dress my girl so simply, in just a dress and undies. In fact, I love seeing my little girl in undies as diapers have come to look so bulky to me.
Liza (Raleigh, North Carolina):
I EC for a cleaner, healthier baby, for a better environment with less going to the landfill, and so my baby will remain aware of his elimination needs. Learning how to communicate with a four-month-old has been incredible!
A Davis (Calgary, Alberta Canada):
1) This sounds quite selfish but I didn't want to deal with too many dirty diapers.
2) Then when I found Ingrid Bauer's Diaper Free! book while looking for cloth diapers on the web I became curious. I also thought about why I never saw cloths or diapers hanging to dry when I traveled to other countries After reading the book, I realized how wonderfully anthropological it was to be joined with other mothers throughout the world and time via EC.
3) Also I was drawn to the idea that it would lead my daughter to more independence as I hoped she would be able to move towards the potty on her own, in her own time when she was ready.
4) I wanted her to be confident in her bodily functions, in listening to her body and learning appropriate responses to her internal rhythms.
5) I liked how EC enabled me to trust my intuitions about being a mom just like breastfeeding did.
NEW Question: What are your favorite strategies for public pottying?
Please send your responses to Infant Pottying Today
. We'll publish them in a future issue.
Laurie Boucke, Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living, White-Boucke Publishing, 2000.
Laurie Boucke, Infant Potty Basics: With or Without Diapers, the Natural Way, White-Boucke Publishing, 2003.
By Amanda Alvine (Mentor, Maryland)
When looking for information on Elimination Communication (EC), the internet and DiaperFreeBaby can both offer a lot of information. But books have a unique way of imparting information, and one practical guide and reference on EC is Infant Potty Training, by Laurie Boucke.
After an introduction to the concept of EC and an overview of some philosophical underpinnings, the book launches into the nitty gritty of *how* EC works. With chapters such as "Signal and Cues" and "Part-time Pottying," Infant Potty Training has a lot of well-organized information to offer to both a parent new to the practice of EC and an experienced Mentor looking for help with an unfamiliar situation. A detailed Table of Contents makes it easy to find just the right section. However, the book is so full of interesting and useful information that it can be hard to read only the piece one is actually looking up!
One aspect of the book that I find especially useful is Boucke's liberal use of pictures. In the section on signals and cues, a sequence of photos illustrates how a sibling can sign with a baby while the baby potties. Throughout the rest of the book, photos make Boucke's descriptions very concrete. For instance, a parent unsure of how a fragile newborn can be effectively supported over a potty place can turn to "The In-arms Phase" and see several pictures of newborn positions. And the list of cues is the most exhaustive that I have seen, covering each part of the body in turn and then moving to vocal, intuitive and manual cues. I take Infant Potty Training with me when I am introducing others to elimination communication, with the pictures and cues list tabbed for easy reference.
Infant Potty Training can also be a resource when one comes up against a myth about EC that seems difficult to answer well. Chances are, it has been addressed in the chapter entitled "Dispelling the Myths". The chapter on history gives the reader a more in-depth understanding of why our culture is so against starting potty learning "too early." And much of the rest of the book, especially the last part on cross-cultural comparison, can help modern parents to increase our knowledge of how other parents and cultures deal with elimination. All of this helps to put the way we potty our babies into context.
This well-written and thorough reference book could be useful in any EC'ing parent's library. For a parent new to EC, the thoroughness and length of Infant Potty Training might be a bit daunting, but Boucke has also written a shorter version titled Infant Potty Basics, which covers the same information in a more compact way. Infant Potty Training retails for $19.50 US, and Infant Potty Basics for $13.00 US.
I Can, I Can, I Can EC
By Elizabeth Parise (Mentor, Massachusetts)
You do not like EC.
So you say.
Try it! Try it!
And you may.
Try it and you may, I say.
I want to be diaper-free
I will try it.
You will see.
I like EC!
I do! I like it, DFB!
And I would potty him on a boat
And I would potty her behind my coat
And I will potty him in the rain.
And in the dark and on a train.
And in a car. And near a tree.
EC is so good, so good, you see!
So, I will potty her in the sink
And I will potty him at the rink
And I will potty her in the house
And I will potty him with my spouse
And I will potty her here and there
Say! I will EC Anywhere!
I do so like EC, you see!
Beatrix , 6 months, started EC at 2 weeks
Harry, 5 months, started EC at birth
The Language of EC
When talking about when to take a baby to the potty, EC'ers will often use the term: "pottytunity." A "pottytunity" refers to any opportunity to potty the baby - this could be during a diaper change, after a nap, before a bath, before getting in a car seat, stroller, or sling, or when arriving at a new location. Especially for part-time EC'ers, these pottytunities are great times to potty your baby and have a high likelihood of a "catch."
DiaperFreeBaby and Elimination Communication in the News
by Elizabeth Parise (Communications Manager, and Mentor, Massachusetts)
Over the past few months we have seen everything from slick national and international pieces to good old-fashioned grassroots outreach. Neither type is any more important than the other; each has its unique place spreading the word about EC.
We've seen more magazine pieces, including American Baby and Parents. These magazines are available in pediatric offices across the country and will continue to inform parents for months to come. Twins Magazine opened up the possibility of practicing EC with multiples. An article in WNC Parents from North Carolina was quite positive.
The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article in their Close-up section which appeared in several communities throughout the Salt Lake area. The Asheville Citizen-Times and Poughkeepsie Journal ran the same or similar articles as the WNC Parents article.The Daily Republic in Fairfield, CA presented a well done piece.
We've continued to see international and multi-cultural interest including both Telemundo and Univision television. In Canada there was a long article by the Montreal Gazette and a positive piece by CityTV in Edmonton.
We've seen, or rather heard, more radio interviews including an interview with me on Y98 in Missouri and a long interview with DiaperFreeBaby Co-founder and Executive Director Melinda Rothstein on NaturalMomsTalkRadio.
Two of my favorite outreach efforts, though, are each on opposite ends of the spectrum, MSNBC News Live and Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival Festival.
On July 2nd MSNBC News Live with Contessa Brewer aired a well researched segment on EC and DiaperFreeBaby. It consisted of a taped piece of DiaperFreeBaby Contact Beth Schwartz from New York City sharing her experiences EC'ing her 8 month old daughter after full time diapering and conventionally toilet training her three older children.
Melinda Rothstein then appeared live in a split screen satellite interview with anti-AP Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon. Melinda was able to correct the misconceptions put forth by Emily by talking about ways EC can be done by other caregivers and part time. Contessa Brewer was quite positive, having been convinced by her time spent with Contact Beth Schwartz on the benefits of EC.
Another of my favorite outreach efforts didn't take place in a news studio or travel across country at the speed of light. It took place amongst the grass, earth and sun along the Hudson River in NY. DiaperFreeBaby set up a booth in the Activist Area of Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival. This area, which "gives groups the opportunity to explain to the public how their efforts heal and transform the world into a better place," typifies grassroots outreach. There is something magical about the festival setting.
At the festival DiaperFreeBaby launched our "clean Earth, happy baby" campaign by creating environmentally focused EC literature, selling Enviro Pottying Systems and giving away our new "clean Earth, happy baby" pencils.
I talked with people from a variety of backgrounds on many facets of EC. I invited folks into the booth to let their babies play, nurse or just sit and chat. I spoke with parents, grandparents, healthcare professionals, infant care providers, pre-school teachers, babysitters, special needs specialists, even a colon therapist. Other exhbitors also showed great interest and excitement about EC and DiaperFreeBaby.
The highlight was when legendary singer and songwriter Pete Seeger stopped by the booth. He came looking for our booth to tell a story about his mother washing his cloth diapers out in a big metal washbasin over a fire as his family travelled across country in a homemade wagon. The year was 1920 and Pete was 1 1/2.
It is always a pleasure for me to be able to share these stories with you and for all of us to share EC with the world in our own ways no matter how great or how (seemingly) small.
Please check out the updated In The News page for all the new stories, including a new section for EC "Cameos."
New Programs from DiaperFreeBaby
"I tried it and I was hooked!" has been sung by EC'ers everywhere. People often can't *really* conceive of how EC works until they try it. This idea is the inspiration behind a new summer campaign, The DiaperFreeChallenge.
The "challenge" is to try EC for one day...try it and you'll be hooked. This could mean different things to different people. For some parents it could mean setting aside a day to let baby go diaper-free. For others already practicing EC it could mean a chance to accelerate the process and further tune-in to their child by taking off the diaper.
Parents who are completely new to EC'ing could start with some of DiaperFreeBaby's Simple Ways to Get Started with EC. A few simple ways to get started include offering easy "pottytunities" such as at diaper changes and after naps, or simply observing the signs your child may give prior to eliminating. We challenge you to try whatever appeals to you. That's the great thing about EC: It's adaptable to many different families' needs and lifestyles.
For those not ready to take the EC "plunge," the challenge could be simply to find out more. You can do this by reading a book such as Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living (reviewed in this issue) or Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene (offered free with membership while supplies last). You can also read an article or attend a local meeting or event.
In addition to the fun of "catching" your first pee there are some other fun things parents can do to illustrate to themselves some of the benefits of EC. Try keeping track of how much money was saved on disposable diapers for the day or how much time was saved on laundering cloth diapers. Coming soon: we'll post lots of fun ideas on our website. Accept the challenge today!
"No matter what the age of your baby is, EC'ing in the summer can be quite enjoyable for the whole family. For a newborn who pees frequently, not having to remove extra clothing can make the experience much easier. For a more stable baby sitting up on his own, the outside air and world around can be fun to observe while sitting on the potty. And for a mobile baby, some naked time in the great outdoors might be just what he needs in order to start taking himself to the potty." Melinda Rothstein, Co-founder and Executive Director.
This summer, DiaperFreeBaby is celebrating DiaperFreeDays across the country and across the world. These are fun social events highlighting the benefits of EC for parents, children and the community at large. Each one will be a little different, reflecting the local flavor of the area where it takes place. Some might be a playgroup at the playground, others might be presentations- perhaps with a multi-cultural theme. Still others might be an information tent on the town green. We'll soon be launching a new website with information on attending or hosting a DiaperFreeDay in your area.
Membership in DiaperFreeBaby is now available! Become a member today!
The biggest reason to become a member is to support DiaperFreeBaby in its mission of "helping families around the world discover and enjoy the emotional, developmental, environmental, and health benefits of practicing Elimination Communication." If you belong to a local DiaperFreeBaby Group, a portion of your dues will be earmarked for that local Group. As a member, you will also enjoy other membership benefits, a member discount on some items you may purchase from DiaperFreeBaby (our store will be online soon!), an annual members' report, and members-first access to our quarterly publication, Infant Pottying Today, starting with the next issue due out in October.
To find out more about Membership, please visit our Membership page. You can apply for membership online with PayPal or click here for a printable form to mail in with a check.
New Mentors and Contacts
Please welcome our new Mentors and Contacts:
Australian Capital Territory
Nicholls - Charndra
Edmonton - Terra
Liverpool - Anna
Drachten - Christien
Kosice - Viktoria
Pretoria - Barbara
Glendale - Reese
Oak Creek - Tina
Union Bridge - Leah
Holliston - Kelley
Milaca - Jessie
Minneapolis - Nicole
Brooklyn - Haya
Brooklyn - Kate
Kingston - Sharron
New York - Beth
New York - Lamelle
Columbus - Seraf
Kettering - Amy
Wood River Junction - Renee
Bainbridge Island - Elizabeth
Bremerton - Rachel
Seattle - Rachel