Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 5


My vlog and post for today covers EC’ing and has a lot of Fletcher’s face in it. If you have missed my past vlogs you can catch Day 1 ,Day 2Day 3, and Day 4.

When I bring up the concept of EC (Elimination Communication) with most Americans they give me quite the puzzled look.  The conversation usually goes something like this:

“I like to put my kids on the potty once they can sit up.  It is called EC.”

“You mean, like when they are babies?”


“And then they use the bathroom?  How do they know when to go?”


“So when do you know when to put them on?”

“You follow their cues or time it to the natural, sensical rhythms, like after a nap.”

“Isn’t that just potty training the parent?”


The concept of introducing the potty to an infant or baby is nothing new.  Cultures around the world use some form of EC (under various other names) and have since the beginning of time.  Diapers are a relatively new invention, even cloth diapers are “new” to the world in the grand scheme of things.

My personal philosophy on ECing is to make it a fun, part time event.  Babies change quickly.  With Fletcher, there was a stretch of a few weeks where we had very few wet diapers.  I had the timing down and he was responding to my chosen signal of “psssssss.” Then he started crawling and wouldn’t sit still long enough.  We still did EC off and on as my schedule and his attitude allowed.  There were good weeks, bad weeks, and weeks where we never did it.

When I was hugely pregnant we stopped altogether and he lost a lot of his interest in the potty.  I was never set on getting him out of diapers before 1, or 2, but I did have the idea that he wouldn’t wear diapers as long as the American Average age of 30 months.  My MIL would have had a fit.  She EC’ed her own babies by putting them on the potty every half hour and they were diaper free by 1 year.

How does this relate to flats?!

Frankly, as we are all on Day 5 of Handwashing our flats, I see why mothers would be motivated to speed up the potty training process.  I have remarked several times that you hardly ever see an old photograph of a toddler in diapers or plastic pants.  Why?  Because they weren’t using diapers.  You better believe their moms were running them to the potty at that first grunt before they soiled their diaper.  Handwashing poopy diapers is certainly motivation to prevent the pooping in the diaper in the first place, would’t you agree? Besides, it has always made sense to me, even if you didn’t know about EC, to run the baby to potty if you KNOW they are about to poop and you have the chance.  When I see parents wait for their kid to poop in their diaper and they have plenty of advance notice, they even remark about waiting, I just don’t get it.

This isn’t an option everyone can implement.  Working parents can’t ask their care providers to EC their children.  However, there is no law against doing it once a day, once a week, or once a month.  Even preventing one poop from a diaper is one less to wash (by hand or machine).  And wearing flats coverless really gives you a picture of their schedule.  By seeing when they pee you and your baby can develop an understanding of their schedule.

For more EC resources follow my Adventures in EC tag (which hasn’t been updated in quite a while).  I also HIGHLY recommend reading The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative if you are interested in pursuing EC in earnest.

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  • Elle

    How funny. I posted about EC in my Flats Day 5 post today too, and I hadn’t even looked at your post yet! We must be on the same wavelength.
    Cotton Bottom Mama

  • Elle

    How funny. I posted about EC in my Flats Day 5 post today too, and I hadn’t even looked at your post yet! We must be on the same wavelength.
    Cotton Bottom Mama

  • Jessica C

    I wish that EC had gone better with my son. I was just too scatterbrained. He hated the potty seat I bought him too. He did pretty good when he was about 6-8 months old, but then I think it got too cold (winter came) and he didn’t like the cold toilet or potty. He got too active and threw a fit when I sat him on the potty. Now he’s almost 15 months and wants nothing to do with it. Oh well, I tried. I am hoping his interest picks up in the next few months like it did with my second son. My second son was completely potty trained by 2, and that was perfect in my opinion (better than my oldest son who potty trained 2 months before he turned 4 and still has trouble even at 6 1/2). I don’t mind the cloth diapers and will actually be sad when he is potty trained. Even this challenge has been kind of fun.

  • Ginger

    And for Round Two: The Diaper Free Challenge!!! LOL!

    I’ve read the DFB book, and I plan on trying ec with my on-the-way-baby, but not without some cloth diapers as back up! Can’t wait to try it, and all of my flat folds, on a real live baby.

    It helps to know about your experiences and that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

  • Jenniffer

    My 3 1/2 year old we started when he was 10 months.  By the time he was a year he pretty much was “poopy” trained.  I think he pooped less than 10 times in a diaper from the time he was 12 months until almost 3 years old when he was fully potty trained (yes! Even night time).  I didn’t appreciate the luxury of not having to change a poopy diaper until our 9 month old came along.  He’ll be starting pretty soon.  Changing poopy diapers is really NOT fun.  I didn’t read a book, but knew I wanted my baby to not be afraid of the toilet like my 16 year old was when I tried to start potty training him at 2.  THAT was a long stretch… I think he was potty trained by 4 or 4 1/2…  I think some of the best things we did were reading during potty time, treats for keeping diapers/underwear dry, telling Mommy that he had to go pee.  I’m hoping this go around will be better since the baby looks up to his bigger brother and will want to emulate what he sees him doing.  He’s already trying to walk, so we will see!

  • Paddedtushstats

    I am surprised you do EC when you make your living reviewing diapers! I am dreading my daughter getting potty trained because I lose one more subject for reviewing diapers. 🙂
    I have a little bit of sympathy for moms who “wait it out” while their kid is pooping. Whenever we try to put my daughter on the toilet when she is going to the bathroom she stops and screams and gets upset until we put the diaper back on her. One time when we were trying to potty train her (at 18 months) we let her go without a diaper for a while (a trick we heard helps) and the poor girl just held it in and cried. We have tried to encourage her to go potty (right up to the singing toilet), but alas, she hasn’t gone yet (I swear once she hears the toilet sing she will be SO GAME). 
    Am I doing something wrong?