Full-Time, Part-Time, and Occasional EC
What are Full-Time, Part-Time, and Occasional EC?
Some people are hesitant to begin Elimination Communication (EC) because they think that it will entail a full-time commitment from them. While many families do practice EC full-time, it can also be done part-time or even occasionally while still reaping many benefits. It is not uncommon for families to find themselves practicing EC to differing degrees and shifting between categories depending on their situation at the time. The beauty of EC lies in its flexibility. Below is an overview of full time, part time, and occasional EC.
Full time EC'ing families are committed to trying to stay aware of as many of baby's eliminations as they can. To this end, they may choose not to use diapers or other waterproof backup, as this can muffle a parent's awareness of when a baby is about to or has already eliminated, and catches may be easier with trainers or underpants.
Full-time EC'ers figure out what works to help them catch eliminations when they are out and about, traveling, or EC'ing at night. They recognize that, like other aspects of parenting, EC progress is not always linear, but they recognize the value of process over results, and have a full toolbox of options to choose from to adjust to each of baby's developmental milestones and stages.
Part-time EC'ers are generally committed to practicing EC consistently, but not necessarily round-the-clock. They practice EC to whatever extent they feel able to accommodate, and they and baby benefit by remaining aware of elimination.
Part-time EC'ers may use diaper backup but also employ some "diaper-free" periods, perhaps once a day or several times a week or whenever they feel they are in a situation which will allow them to enjoy a stress-free, enjoyable bonding experience - for instance, in a carpet-free part of the house or outdoors. Even by just catching some catches every day, parent and baby can remain remarkably aware of elimination and patterns.
Part-timers may begin to practice EC on a more full-time basis when baby is older and going longer between elimination, signaling more overtly to be taken to the potty, or showing signs of approaching toilet independence.
For people who are hesitant about trying EC, occasional EC is an option which might help them to explore its feasibility for their family. Occasional EC'ers may begin with typically successful potty opportunities, such as right after awakening. They may even begin by simply sitting baby on a potty during a diaper change, when the diaper is off anyway, or by having baby go diaper free before or after the bath. Occasional EC'ers, like other EC'ers, recognize the value of mutual communication with baby as an important tool in helping parent and child to remain aware of elimination. As occasional EC'ers figure out how EC works and gain confidence, they may find themselves increasing potty opportunities.
Remember that these are just rough categories and are not meant to be definitive or rigid. EC is a mutually flexible process between parent and child, and most families find themselves unconsciously adjusting how much or little EC they practice as is practical for them and fits their family philosophy. EC has many benefits for babies and parents, regardless of the degree to which it is practiced.
Getting Started with EC: the When and How of Elimination Communication
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