Elimination Experiment 3.0

Welcome to the January 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener and gentler. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Bella, my third baby decided diapers were not cool very early on. She was adamant that she could and should use the toilet like her older brothers as early as 8 months.

Now at 19 months she has gotten really serious about being diaper free. She has also been really successful at getting undressed in the blink of an eye!

A few years back I saw a book sitting on the parenting shelf at the library; it had a catchy title: The Diaper Free Baby. I confess, the idea to me was totally absurd, but I was curious. I picked it up and read a little bit, and I was totally surprised.

At that time, my first was about ten months old and he disliked having his diapers changed after pooping so I had been letting him sit on the toilet instead. He was used to hanging out in the bathroom and knew what a toilet was for so it seemed like the easiest thing to do than to have a struggle about changing a diaper. The book called this sort of thing “Elimination Communication.”
From the book:
>> Elimination Communication (EC) is NOT potty training. It is a gentle, natural, non-coercive process by which a baby, preferably beginning in early infancy, learns with the loving assistance of parents and caregivers to communicate about and address his or her elimination needs.<<

I hadn’t really thought of what we were doing as some sort of method or even anything that I would find in a book. It started because Maxi seemed curious to do what we were doing and then it just worked, there were no more struggles or tears and so we never looked back. From 10 months to 22 months we did what is sometimes called “part time EC” even thought I didn’t consciously think of it as that and then he was done with diapers all together.
When my second was born as soon as he showed interest in sitting on the toilet I helped him and again it worked. He wasn’t diaper free but whenever he asked to go on the toilet and there was one near he did and the rest of the time we went with regular disposable diapers.

Back to Miss Bella and our current attempts at EC, aside from being stealth on her abilities to wrangle off her pants and diapers, on her quest to be diaper free, Bella isn’t really all that concerned in consistently sitting on the toilet but rather happy to eliminate when she is ready, location not being so much of her concern.
No, we don’t have poop and pee puddles all over the house, just the occasional one, like the time she pooped a tiny bit in the living room while my (child-less)brother-in-law looked on horrified-oops!! There are however lots of attempts of what I kindly refer to as the “streak and squat” and sometimes in public places. I do wonder why public toilets are so attractive to little ones…

Recently at the grocery store Bella asked to take her shoes off. That right there should have been my clue but I didn’t quite make the connection. Anyways, she asked for her socks to come off and next thing I know she was standing and desperately tugging at her jeans and finally she started signing and saying “poop-poop.” We made a mad dash to the nearest restroom – three floors down on a busy escalator- and then resumed our grocery shopping, her totally happy, me just a tad frazzled but also quite amazed at her determination!

So this EC experiement 3.0, a.k.a Bella going diaper free full time has been a bit hectic and full of hilarious moments. Experiments 1.0 and 2.0 certainly were a bit smoother sailing. This concept I will say is really interesting and hats off to any parents out there doing it from infancy and sticking to it. For us, part time we’ll do for now.

Have you ever heard of EC or Infant Pottying? What is your take on it? (We are talking about poops and pee pee but let’s keep it clean please!)

If you have tried EC – what age did you start with your infant and how did it work out?



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Make your own moisturizer! — Megan at boho mama whips up a winter skin-friendly moisturizer.
  • Cold Water Only — Brittany at The Pistachio Project talks about how you do not need hot water to wash laundry.
  • Family Cloth… Really?? — After lots of forethought and consideration, Momma Jorje finally decides to take the plunge with family cloth.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle : 5-5-5 Things A Day — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about decluttering her home in an attempt to create a gentler living space. She takes on a new project where she sets a goal of reducing, reusing and recycling every day.
  • Pros and cons of family cloth — Lauren at Hobo Mama would love to continue replacing paper products with family cloth … if she could only get over how damp she feels.
  • Craftily Parenting — Kellie at Our Mindful Life finds that crafting makes her a better parent.
  • Changes — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen couldn’t choose just one area to experiment with, so she wrote a long post about all the fun changes initiated in her life!
  • Life without Internet: Not all it’s Cracked up to Be — Adrienne at Mommying My Way tries to go a week without the Internet, only to realize a healthy dose of Internet usage really helps keep this stay-at-home mom connected.
  • My Progression to Raw Milk — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her natural parenting progression all the way to trying raw milk.
  • mama’s new little friend. — Sarah at Bitty Bird tries a menstrual cup to “green her period,” and is pleasantly surprised when she falls in love with the product!
  • Before you throw it out, try homemade laundry soap! — Jennifer at Practical OH Mommy shows visual proof that homemade laundry soap is cheaper, easier, and works better than the store-bought chemicals!
  • Oil, Oil, No Toil, No Trouble — K from Very Simple Secret talks about her foray into the oil-cleansing method.
  • I Need a Hobby — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro couldn’t decide which experiment to run, so she did them all.
  • 7 days of macrobiotics for a balanced family — The Stones make a [successful] attempt to release the “holiday junking” with 7 days of macrobiotic meals to balance their bodies and souls. Elisabeth at Manic Mrs. Stone includes an explanation of macrobiotics.
  • Chemical Free Beauty Challenge — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction turned to natural alternatives for her daily beauty and cleaning routine, with great results.
  • Greening my Armpits!? My Green Resolution — Shannon at The Artful Mama talks about how she decided to give up her traditional antiperspirant and make the switch over to crystal deodorants and definitely isn’t looking back!
  • Going Raw (for a while) — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares her family’s experience with raw food.
  • Do we get to eat gluten today? — Sheila at A Gift Universe has been trying to figure out if her son does better with or without gluten in his diet … but it’s really hard to tell for sure.
  • Hippies Can Smell and Look Fabulous Too! — Arpita of Up, Down And Natural details her experience of going shampoo-free and overhauling her cosmetics to find the balance between feeling beautifully fabulous and honoring her inner hippie.
  • Our cupboards are full…but there’s nothing to eat — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud takes on the challenge of chomping through the contents of her storecupboard rather than going shopping — but there’s something that she just can’t bring herself to do …
  • Elimination Experiment 3.0MudpieMama recounts the messy adventures of her baby daughter trying to be diaper free.
  • Family Cloth Trial — Amyables at Toddler in Tow talks about making and using family cloth wipes in the bathroom for the first time.
  • Taking a Hiatus — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares how her experience of much less internet interaction affected her family and how it will change her approach in the future.
  • Trying Out the Menstrual Cup — Lindsey at an unschooling adventure ditches the tampons and gives menstrual cups a try.
  • Managing Food Waste in Our Home — Tired of the holiday waste, Robbie at Going Green Mama takes a weeklong focus on reducing food waste in her home, and learns some lessons that can take her through the new year.
  • Going Offline, Cloth Tissues, and Simplicity — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses over her time away from blogging and social networking. In addition, she shares her newfound love of cloth tissues and simplicity.


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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a Masters in Psychology and is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, and one cuddly dog.

29 Responses to Elimination Experiment 3.0

  1. I love that picture!

    This post gave me a laugh. I love how aware she is, at any rate! I did part-time EC from about birth with Mikko, and I’m doing part-part-part-time EC with Alrik (heh). Maybe it’s time to step it back up a notch… I love that you really can start at any time, at least!

  2. Glad it made you laugh 🙂 it’s so true what you said – starting anytime works 🙂

  3. […] Elimination Experiment 3.0 — MudpieMama recounts the messy adventures of her baby daughter trying to be diaper free. […]

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  4. We are doing part time EC with Ailia – it is awesome!! I love it, and now I know what all the fuss is about 🙂 Your story about the store incident is hilarious – I wonder when I’ll be brave enough to go out with a diaperless little one 😉

  5. I couldn’t try EC with Abbey if I had wanted to because her emergency intestinal surgery at birth left her without the ileocecal valve. . . which until now (3 1/2) and still, at times, makes her poops really runny, really irregular, and really nasty. I had heard about EC, but decided not to “go there” with Joseph. . . mostly because I can’t give up my adorable diapers that I make for him! LOL. It’s an interesting concept, EC. . . but I just don’t see the huge benefit in going diaper free. Though I admire you for your hard work in empowering your babe to do it!

  6. I’d heard that ECE is a component of attachment parenting- and we are wild attachment parents- but we went the other “natural” route- for us, it was perfect to wait until the natural inclination/embarrassment over soiling developed- which meant a much longer wait. Between 3 and 3.5- which is probably too long for most folks. I have two kids 19 months apart so it was easy to wait because we were still in diaper mode. As long as potty training doesn’t cause significant stress on the parent or the child, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way. Interesting post-

  7. Oh yay, Thanks for stopping by! I know lots of folks that wait that long also, totally agree it needs to be the right moment for everyone.

  8. Amy, how cool that you make your own diapers! Abbeys surgery sounds like a lot to go through, I hope you have had the support you both need for that. Maybe the biggest benefit of going diaper free is the work out and sweat trying to make it to the toilet in time 😉 just kidding. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. We have tried EC with our daughter, but she gives absolutely no sign that she’s about to eliminate! At all! We have wood floors so often leave her nappy off just because it’s so much easier than the screaming and restraint involved in putting a nappy on her! But she literally surprises herself, and with no sign will stand up and say ‘oh dear’, having already done it on the floor. I’ve watched her like a hawk and there is never any sign she’s about to do it. And she’s not interested in going anywhere near the toilet or potty, despite being 16 months old and seeing me use the toilet throughout her whole life. Ha ha. I guess all kids are different. I’m sure she’ll come to it in her own time. In the meantime we leave the nappies off for ease and just mop up the mess! 🙂

  10. I am always fascinated by EC!! I have to admit, I don’t know much about it at all, but it’s really interesting!! I love the story of your little in the grocery store! So funny that she’s so in tune!! I think EC in general is just another testament to the fact that kiddos are so much more capable than we sometimes give them credit for! Kudos mama!

  11. […] Elimination Experiment 3.0 — MudpieMama recounts the messy adventures of her baby daughter trying to be diaper free. […]

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  12. Arpita, thank you for your comment!

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  13. I love this! We also enjoy EC and our approach is very relaxed. It’s much more about communication than anything else. With one child I started at 15 months, the next two at birth. However, each time has been different and there has been an ebb and flow with actually getting waste into the receptacle. I really love how it is about communication and supporting our children as they grow instead of waiting until they seem ready by the culture’s standards. I love the part time concept, too. That’s probably how some would classify us. 🙂

  14. […] Elimination Experiment 3.0 — MudpieMama recounts the messy adventures of her baby daughter trying to be diaper free. […]

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