When my son was 14 months old, I started to have a hard time keeping him dry all night long. Even using cloth diapers with two inserts and a doubler, it still wasn't enough for my super soaker. And I felt so bad putting him to bed at night with such a huge poofy diaper. Plus we sleep as a family, so...
So I went to my favorite naturally-minded online community of mothers to ask around for some ideas on how to help keep all of us dry at night. I went straight to the diapering area of the forum and was about to post a question when I saw the Elimination Communication forum. I assumed it had to do with questions concerning elimination, right? So I entered and asked my q...
And the responses I got?
That must be uncomfortable for your baby to sleep in so much padding.
Why don't you just have him potty during the night instead of using diapers?
Potty? At 14 months? No diapers?
I hadn't even thought to start introducing the potty to my toddler let alone have him diaperless. What were these women thinking?
So I started asking questions in this strange Elimination Communication forum...
And the information I started seeing was very intriguing. Turns out Elimination Communication - EC for short - is a method of following your baby's cues, placing them on the potty when you can see that they are about to eliminate, and thus having a diaper free baby!
Diaper free baby?
Oh, boy, I thought. I've got to try this!
And we did. I still used cloth diapers on my son but instead of waiting to change him when I could tell that he had eliminated (aka: He was wet or not so sweet smelling anymore...) I started to watch for his elimination cues.
I started to take note of what his body language looked like or what he did when he was about to eliminate. I also taught him the sign for toilet that he could use when he thought he had to use the potty. Although it wasn't fail proof - hence the reason for continuing to use cloth diapers - it turned out to be quite easy to follow his cues, place him on the potty, and subsequently still have a clean diaper on his bottom!
By the time he was 15 months we were EC'ing him during the day almost flawlessly, dropping the number of diapers he soiled during the day considerably. I also got to use the potty once during the night which helped with the super soaking!
So what started as an accidental turn in an online forum turned out to be a very educational adventure!
When my daughter was born two years later, I knew I wanted to EC her too. When she was 3 months old, I started and she loved it! I'd hold her upright on the potty, she'd pee or poo (oh, aren't those newborn poos so cute!), and her diaper was still clean to use again! By the time she was 2 years old she was a potty pro, never needing a diaper at night, never having an accident at night, and learned how to use the potty on her own.
Many EC'ers don't use diapers at all, while others use woollies and very thin diapers. Every family finds their best way to EC. I loved it because it kept my kids mostly dry since they rarely used their diapers to eliminate in, AND it cut down on my water and energy usage.
If you're interested in trying EC'ing out, go for it! There is tons of support out there. Even if you are a mom who works outside the home and have your child being cared for else where, you can EC when you're with them at home and at night. And moms who EC have reported that because of it, their children have learned to use the potty all on their own at a very early age. Besides, this whole EC thing is nothing new. For eons moms have respected their baby's cues and responded to them.
So go ahead and be really green...have a diaper free baby!