A mother has shared her experience practicing elimination communication or toilet training her two-week-old daughter from birth rather than putting her on nappies.
Cindy Lever, from Queensland, has opened up about her and her husband’s practice of toilet training their daughter, Chloe since birth and refusing to put her on nappies.
Ms Lever explained that she prefers doing elimination communication (EC) also known as natural infant hygiene in which a parent uses timing, signals, cues and intuition to address their infant’s need to eliminate waste. “It is fun and addictive and I love that it allows for an even deeper connection with my baby,” she said.
She recalled how her husband thought she must have “really gone mad” by planning to do EC, but immediately changed after seeing her hold their baby over the sink for her to pee, and says he is now also “addicted” to it.
Ms Lever further explained that elimination communication is practiced by many cultures around the world, but has been lost in the West.
“Babies are no different from adults and naturally don’t want to soil themselves. Using a nappy is something they get used to when their cues to go the toilet are not heard or understood. This instinct is then lost altogether at about six months old if it has been ignored,” she said.
She also said that babies can communicate their need to wee or poo, contrary to what a lot of people believe. “However, just as they can let us know when they are tired, hungry or when they have wind, if we slow down and tune in it is possible to read their toileting needs too,” she said.
Ms Lever said that she uses a combination of ‘common sense, instinct, timing and listening’ to her baby. She said that some of these vocal and physical cues include ‘lots of squirming with vocal cries/grizzling’, which over time, makes it possible for her to get a feel for her baby’s routine.
She detailed that she started by taking her baby to the toilet when she wakes from a sleep, then shortly after a feed, and at night, when she will start to wriggle and squirm quite a bit in her sleep.
Ms Lever said she also makes sounds such as ‘wee, wee’, ‘psss’, and ‘poo poo’ which were her cues to go to the toilet.
However, she said that being an expert at this takes a lot of time and hard work. “Initially it may feel like a bit of work on top of all the other demands of a newborn…But as I remind my husband I’d rather be doing this than changing a two or three-year-old’s poo-ey nappy and the closeness that you develop with your baby is even more intense and rewarding,” she said.