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Can a baby successfully potty train? Through elimination communication, some experts and parents are saying yes. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Parenthood has more options today than ever before – toilet training included. While the transition from washable or disposable diapers to a diaperless baby can seem like an overwhelming task for parents, there are more ways to potty train than ever.

One such method, elimination communication, has even divided experts.

But what is elimination communication? According to a American Academy of Pediatrics In a journal article, the toilet training method is also known as “natural infant hygiene” and is “the practice of using the infant’s natural timing and signals to recognize when it needs to. to defecate or urinate “.

The article explains that “by identifying these clues, caregivers can coordinate elimination in the toilet rather than in a diaper.”

Alanna Gallo is the founder of Player. To learn. Prosper., a brand aimed at helping children develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills through unstructured independent play. She is also co-host of FamSummit parenting course and mother of four children aged 6 and under.

Gallo recounts how she stumbled while using elimination communication in her house.

“We are following a loose version of elimination communication in our house,” she said. Yahoo Life. “It started because we apply cloth diapers to our children and wanted to avoid pooping as much as possible. When my first baby started eating solid foods it became very clear when to go, so one day I started taking her to the bathroom. “

When Gallo noticed that her son was showing signs of having to go, she would hold him on the potty seat and talk about the process, recounting what was going on. Slowly he learned and after a few months he was able to communicate his needs: when Gallo asked him about the potty he would get excited and bounce back to signal that he was ready.

For Gallo and his family, the time spent on disposal communication has paid off.

“By the time of 10 months, my first son was using the toilet almost exclusively for pooping and he was out of diapers by the age of two,” says the mother from New York, NY. “My other children have followed a similar pattern and we are currently using this method with our fourth child, now 9 months old.”

How to start elimination communication

Smriti tuteja, a mother of two from Bangalore, India, is helping who used elimination communication with her two children from 3 months old.

Tuteja says elimination communication helps to bond with the child and develop a better understanding of their needs, as well as help ease the transition to proper toilet training.

For parents who begin their journey with elimination communication, Tuteja offers these tips: “First, observe their potty patterns and schedules. Once a pattern has been determined, introduce audible cues or positions that tell the child to let go. Then it can be helpful to have a portable potty or potty seat in every room. “

“For starters, parents who are considering elimination communication for infants should pay special attention to their posture,” she adds. “A deep squat with the back facing the parent’s stomach is an ideal position that won’t stress their back while they learn to use the toilet.”

Why the elimination communication?

Michele Swaney is a mother of three, potty training expert and CEO of Potty school, an online toilet training resource. Swaney says elimination communication has many benefits.

“Think of elimination communication as the most natural, rhythm-of-life approach to noticing signs and signals of your child’s biological needs that you can pay attention to for bonding and hygiene reasons,” he explains. -she.

Swaney shares elimination communication generally makes the potty training process easier to fit into the rhythm of his daily and family routine. According to Swaney, most children who practice elimination communication lose diapers at a younger age with fewer long-term accidents.

Benefits of elimination communication

Youth author and early childhood educator Iveta Ongley is the mother of two daughters aged 6 and 2. Ongley says she has practiced elimination communication with her two daughters and sings the praises of the toilet training method.

“This practice has been around for hundreds of years and is used by tribes around the world,” she says. “It’s a way of understanding your child’s basic needs and getting in tune with them.”

Ongley shares that the practice has helped her better understand her children and has supported their relationship building from the start. “The benefit of elimination communication is the parent-child closeness,” she says, “the way they learn more about each other and the sharing of one of the most intimate moments.”

“A practical benefit,” Ongley adds, “is definitely less washing if you use cloth diapers or less waste and more savings for those who use disposables. Children also learn to be more independent and are able to help themselves sooner. “

Swaney recommends elimination communication for children 0-17 months of age.

According to the mom from Orange County, Calif., Elimination communication can also increase bonding with your baby and help prevent diaper rash and urinary tract infections.

“Elimination communication, above all other reasons, is really about communicating with and meeting your child’s needs,” she says. “One of our children was expected to have a lot of learning and developmental delays, so we started communicating by elimination with this child as soon as we could after the birth: I thought if the child may never be able to speak or physically go to the bathroom. , at least I could do my part to try to learn all the signs of when the kid tried to communicate and respond lovingly to that. “

Yet while many parents and experts say elimination communication has a list of benefits, not everyone agrees that it is the best way to potty train.

Elimination of communication criticisms

Quiara smith, mother of a 3 year old daughter, works as a holistic pediatric occupational therapist in pelvic health and is the executive director of Aloha Integrative Therapy. The Fargo, N. Dak. mom tells Yahoo Life she never suggests elimination communication.

“As a pediatric pelvic health therapist who works on grooming skills with a variety of neurodiverse children, elimination communication does not follow typical development and physiology,” she cautions.

Smith shares that some studies show that children under 12 months of age have no control over bladder or bowel movements, and there is very little control between 12 and 18 months. In fact, most children are unable to control their bowels and bladder until they are 24 to 30 months old, with the average potty training age being 27 months.

“Elimination communication is just about following body patterns and putting a baby on a potty,” Smith says, “but they don’t learn or master the skills.”

“In order to be independent in the toilet, bowel and bladder control, children must be able to have good sphincter control, sit upright on a potty or on the toilet on their own. and to understand the association between the feeling of a compelling need and the ability to act independently on it, “she continues.

Smith says many children whose parents choose to engage in elimination communication have bowel and bladder problems when they are older, explaining that constipation, bedwetting, and sensory differences are all possible side effects of communication by elimination on the road.

Still, Swaney suggests parents learn the basics of elimination communication to decide what’s right for their family.

“Potty training for children is a definite need in our society and the typical norm,” she says. “There are many unexpected times in life when circumstances can allow people to learn the basics of elimination communication.”

“It doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment,” adds Swaney. “It can be done at home only, on weekdays only, during waking hours only, or for those under 12 months of age for small parts of the day. You can go at your own pace, and you can still. start and stop if necessary. “

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