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How to Start Elimination Communication

You can start elimination communication at any time - from birth or later.

Since the emphasis is on communication, rather than potty training, your goal should be to practice healthier infant hygiene while building your relationship with your little one.

Four Steps to EC

According to author of Infant Potty Training, Laurie Boucke, there are four main steps to implementing elimination communication. Since each parent-child relationship is unique, there is no fixed length or guaranteed outcome. The four main steps for beginners are:

Mother-baby communication

1. Observation / Familiarization

Parents or caregivers must observe and learn to recognize the infant's behaviour associated with the need to eliminate:

  1. timing - feeding, waking and elimination patterns
  2. body language - wiggling, fussing or agitated behavior, facial grimaces, passing gas, delatching while breastfeeding
  3. sounds - grunting or crying

2. Anticipation / Intuition

The parent will know when a child needs to eliminate, and will then give a cue such as a sound (e.g. "pss" or a specific whistle), a hand signal or a word or phrase. The baby will learn to associate this cue with using the potty.

3. Position / Location

By repetition, an infant or toddler will learn to associate a specific position in which she is held or a specific place with eliminating.

4. Reciprocal Communication

As the infant matures, her ability to communicate intentionally in various ways will develop.

Infants may learn sign language, unique hand signals or vocalizations to indicate the need to use the potty. Infants as young as 8 or 9 months are able to learn a variety of baby sign language to express themselves effectively.

Older children even enjoy special potty songs and rhymes that they have learned to encourage elimination while on the potty.

Rewards and punishments are not used with elimination communication, and any pressure is counter productive (and not considered EC by definition).

So, are you ready to start elimination communication today?

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