Couple Ditch Diapers And Use ‘Elimination Communication’ To Potty Train Daughter At 2 Weeks Old
Aug 04, 2022 by apost team
As the 17th-century saying “Spare the rod, spoil the child” shows, parenting has constantly evolved throughout history. In 18th-century Europe, parents would send their children to live in the country with a wet nurse, a woman who would breastfeed and raise the infant for pay. And back in the 1960s, mothers would still smoke and drink while they were pregnant. Both of these likely sound ridiculous — if not outright evil — by today’s parenting standards. The upshot is that the idea of a “good parent” isn’t a fixed concept; mothers and fathers everywhere are always trying new things and taking inspiration from social movements and other historical developments.
One Australian couple, Montana Lower and Tom Linwood, is diverging from typical parenting techniques by using “elimination communication” instead of diapers.
In August 2020, the YouTubers uploaded a video on their channel, On the Way, to share what elimination communication is and how it means that their daughter, Blue, hasn't needed diapers since she was two weeks old.
Elimination communication (EC) involves using intuition, timing, signals and cues to determine when a baby needs to go to the bathroom instead of relying on diapers. That means that Linwood and Lower looked for signs that Blue needed to go to the bathroom, and then they took her to the toilet. The Australian parents argued that EC not only means that babies don’t have to use diapers but also that it helps them to learn how to go to the bathroom themselves. While Linwood and Lower seemed convinced of EC’s benefits, their video has also led to some criticism.
Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-)
Linwood made the point that similar to how “every mom knows when their baby’s hungry,” parents can also look for cues for when a baby needs to go to the bathroom.
Lower said she thought the idea was "crazy" at first but shared that it took only one day of Linwood "really committing" to taking their daughter to the potty every time she looked like she might need to go for her to become toilet trained. From that day on, Lower said Blue would look to them when she needed to go to the toilet, and then they would take her to the bathroom.
"Babies are born with absolutely no preconceived knowledge of how to go to the bathroom and so if we don't teach them to go in their nappy, then we don't have to unteach them," she explained.
According to them, EC is the process of using a toilet for your baby instead of relying on a diaper. They wrote in their video description: "The biggest reason why we started taking Blue to the toilet at 2 weeks old is learning that being left to sit in a soiled diaper can add to shame and disassociation with our intimate areas — especially for girls. And it makes sense!"
According to Healthline, there are many benefits to EC. It can be better for the baby, as they may experience fewer rashes and infections associated with wearing diapers. Normally, when a baby wears a diaper, their skin isn’t able to stay dry and breathe, and so their skin is more likely to get inflamed or irritated.
Another benefit for the baby is that EC might help foster a stronger bond between parent and child.
“The act of responding to your vulnerable baby and their needs can help strengthen the connection you have with one another. This goes back to attachment parenting,” Ashley Marcin explained in her Healthline article.
She also added that EC could promote better understanding between babies and their parents since it encourages caregivers to pick up on a child’s cues, such as crying.
“Babies cry for all sorts of reasons, but going to the bathroom is one of the big ones that makes them fuss. Once you get in tune with why they’re crying, you may gain a better understanding and empathy for those cries,” Marcin wrote.
Of course, EC does have its drawbacks, too. Marcin noted that EC demands a caregiver’s full attention, so it might not be compatible with brand new parents or for nannies and daycare workers. What’s more, EC can often lead to unwanted messes.
In February 2021, Apost.com readers weighed in on Linwood and Lower’s video and EC parenting.
“If the parents are watching the baby for signals that he has to go, who is actually trained? This isn't toilet training. It's parent training. When the child recognizes that he has to go and then relays it to the parent, then you can say he's toilet trained,” Enola Hoffman Christensen commented.
While many readers were similarly critical of EC, Victoria Aiya Levno made the point that while she “could never” use EC with her own children, the practice is quite normal in other countries. Levno also added that it saves money and is better for the environment.
As their video from November 2020 shows, Lower and Linwood have continued to practice EC instead of using diapers.
What do you think of the EC method? Would you try it out with your babies? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to other parents to get their opinions.