You're a passionate EC parent. But still, you feel a little awkward talking about elimination communication in public or with new parents. Sound familiar? You aren't the only one!
We've all been there. We begin talking about EC, and in our heads it all sounds perfectly logical, as we know it is, but then we catch the look on the person's face across from us. Our fight-or-flight instincts kick in, and soon we're bumbling and apologizing, and then changing the subject to - literally - anything but this.
On today's episode of the Go Diaper Free Podcast, we will go over how to break the ice and inform others about elimination communication with confidence, and without sounding crazy.
You will hear:
- How to talk to expectant parents about Elimination Communication
- Approaches for talking to parents with children of various ages, and what NOT to say
- How to strike up a conversation when someone sees you pottying your own child
- Tips for responding to naysayers
- Methods for discussing Elimination Communication with your pediatrician
Links and other resources mentioned today:
Download the transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast where we’re all about helping you potty your baby as early as birth with elimination communication. I’m your host, Andrea Olson, author and mom of 5 EC’d babies...and this is episode #31: How to tell others about EC (and not seem crazy).
Today’s episode is special in that it’s a sample lesson from my Certified Coach Training Program. You’ll find the shownotes and a full transcript over at godiaperfree.com/31.
And a quick announcement before we begin. I’ll be teaching a free master class next week: How to Make Money (and Change the World) Telling Others About EC: My 3 Step Method. In it you’ll discover my simple method (and my very special secrets) to bring EC to your town, make money, and gosh-darnit, change the world...doing what you're already doing, anyway. You can save your spot at godiaperfree.com/coachclass.
Okay, so today’s session is for you if you’ve ever found yourself sharing about EC with people you know - or don’t know - and it kinda came out all wrong.
Tell me if any of this sounds familiar....
Sometimes you’ll go on and on about EC to someone because you are EC’s biggest fan, and you will eventually see their eyes glaze over and their face go blank. Uh oh. Did you overwhelm or underwhelm? Do they now think you’re crazy? Did you just lose a potential friend? Did you just do a terrible job explaining EC and now this person will be lost to it forever?
Lots of self-doubt and embarrassment and second-guessing.
If you’ve been there (um, I have!), let me start with a little heart-to-heart about how to talk to others about EC (even complete strangers). More comprehensively, we’ll talk about how to tell others about their POTTY OPTIONS…even if they’re complete strangers.
For those of you who can not stand going to littles gymnastics and seeing 3 year olds in diapers…yep, this is for you as well!
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If they’re pregnant…
This is how I do it. This is an example for a pregnant woman or a pregnant couple.
I would go up to them and say, “When are you due?” And they’d answer. I’d directly ask them, “Have you heard of infant pottying, or EC?” And they’d either say yes or no. If they seem interested, I’d say, “Well, since you’re researching stuff while you’re pregnant anyway, here’s my card. I have a ton of free information on the practice. It’s amazing that our babies are born with instincts for good hygiene, and I personally love not having to change poopy diapers. I’ve done EC with all 5 of my babies, from birth, and they’ve been done at 9, 13, 17, 12 months, and TBD with my newest one.”
They might ask a question or two, or they may not. I would also add, “It’s good to know your options, whether you choose EC or not, and you can also potty train super early and it’s the easiest at that time.”
And that’s about all I’d say to the pregnant mamas and daddies. And leave them to their own research, or at least I’ve planted the seed!
- • •
If they’ve got a baby 0-12 months old…
With parents of newborns through about 12 months, I’d approach them like this. “How old is your baby?” And do some small talk like normal. I’d ask, “Have you heard of EC, or infant pottying?” They’d answer yes or no. Then I’d say, “It’s what they do where there are no diapers, and what we humans have done for all of human history. Most parents do it with a diaper backup but are done with diapers by 14-18 months, without having to potty train.”
They will either raise an eyebrow of interest or furrow their eyebrows in disdain. If they say “We’re not even there yet.” I’d say “Oh, of course not! No worries. Well, if you think about it over the next few days and you’d like to skip the next 2 or 3 years of diapers, just check out my website resources (and I’d give them my card). It’s really easiest to be done with potty training by 18 months, and a whole lot easier. I feel like every parent should know their options.”
- • •
If they’ve got a toddler, 18 months and up…
Now, if I see a parent of a child who is a toddler, whether a young one or an old one, and in diapers or PullUps (you can tell by the bulge, right?!), I would take a slightly different approach. I would say hi to the child and ask her how old she is. The parent will probably answer for her. I’ll ask the parent, “Have you guys started potty training yet, or thinking about it?” They say, "Oh yeah. It's dragging on," or, "We don't want to pressure her." Or, "We thought about it," or, "She showed interest but then she stopped."
I would just respond, "Oh, yes. That's totally normal. Actually it's really hard because we don't know what we're doing with potty training at all these days! You’re definitely not alone. But if you're interested I do teach potty training and it takes about seven days average to get through the potty training experience, and it's a lot easier if you know what you're doing. I also have a free support group every month where we sit around and talk about EC, which is when we start with babies, and we talk about toddler potty training. If you want to, I'll give you my card and you can look it up and kind of see what's there because it shouldn't really take more than a month to finish the whole thing and it's a lot easier if we know what we're doing. We are so clueless these days.”
Then they can look it up, or not. I’ve again planted the seed.
- • •
If they see me EC and we talk about it…
Now if someone sees me ECing and we talk about it, how do I answer their questions about “what are you doing?”, “What is EC?”, and “How do you know your baby needs to pee?”
For this, let’s use our Certified Coach, Kate’s, answer (because it’s better than I can come up with!):
“Like Andrea mentions, I've found analogies, comparisons and descriptive visualizations to be an effective way to explain EC. When people ask, "What exactly is EC?", I say, "Picture how you would potty a child in a third-world country where you do not have access to disposables or a washing machine. (This relates a bit more to me because my children LOVE to potty outside!) You would pick a potty place/s. You would "listen" to the baby's cues and respond." This response then inspires the follow up question: "How do you know when your baby needs to potty?" My response asks him/her to compare a baby's need to his/her own need to eliminate: "Do you potty when you wake up?" YES. "Do you poop after drinking a warm beverage?" YES. "Do you potty when getting out of the car after a long trip? Do you potty at transitions?" YES. YES. Thus, via comparisons, the questioning adult understands that a baby's potty needs are very similar to his/her own.”
- • •
For the naysayers…
And how do I address naysayers?
I simply say, “It works for us. I don’t have to change po opy diapers and EC takes no longer than changing a diaper. My baby loves it, don’t you baby?!” and that is that.
- • •
For those who say it’ll damage the baby…
And when people say it’s damaging to rush them or train early?
I ask one of two questions: “What did people do before diapers? For example, in 1957, almost all babies were potty trained by 18 months. Disposable diapers were invented in 1961. That has doubled our potty training age. If early potty training were truly damaging, then every human being for 100,000s of years before 1957 was damaged.”
“What do you think people do where there are no diapers? They listen to their babies and help them stay clean and dry. And their babies are potty trained by 9 or 12 months, worldwide, in today’s world. They are not being damaged to do so.”
Or if they say, well you can’t do that in modern society, I say,
“Well, I do it, with a diaper back-up, and sometimes I take a break, and my kids were all done early and are all darn smart. So, I’m proof that it can be done in balance with modern lifestyles. I don’t have to change poopy diapers…and that makes it worth it for me.” With a smile.
If they want hard scientific facts, go ahead and send them to my blog post at https://godiaperfree.com/dangers-of-early-potty-training-do-they-really-exist/ that lists all the scientific studies...none of them say that toilet training or EC prior to 2 years old is damaging, and many of them say that delayed toilet training (after 2 years old) has been linked to causing UTI, medical constipation, and a whole slew of other medical, psychological, and emotional issues for the little ones.
The facts prove it. Go there if you need to.
- • •
If they don’t want to rush their baby…
And what about rushing? Most natural parents choose to delay potty training because they think it should be baby-led. I would gently say, “Well, when you think about it, we put them into diapers instead of teaching them to go in the potty from birth. So, we have the job of deciding when to take them out of diapers, and teaching them how to do so. Waiting for our children to say they’re ready comes directly from the diaper companies and the pediatricians they’ve hired to do their marketing. When you really think about it, it’s just a ploy to keep you in diapers longer. Even if it’s cloth, all kids were potty trained in 1957 by 18 months of age, and they used cloth back then. It’s really up to the parent.”
- • •
It’s too much work…
And when people say that is way too much work?
I say, “Cleaning up a poopy diaper is way too much work. I’m lazy and grossed out by poopy diapers. EC is a lot less work than changing diapers, and I don’t have to potty train later. It’s just a choice among many, I guess!”
- • •
Let babies be babies…
And when people say “let babies be babies”?
I would say, “Hmmm…that’s a really good soundbite but it doesn’t pan out. Babies don’t choose diapers, we choose them for our babies. Babies in the 50s and prior were exactly the same as today’s babies, but they were all out of diapers by 18 months. Babies 1,000s of years ago didn’t even wear cloth diapers. So, letting babies be babies just doesn’t pan out.” :)
- • •
And how about my pediatrician? How do we talk about EC to them?
Pediatricians are tricky. Their training manuals actually teach them that sphincter control isn’t possible til 18 months of age. I would keep it hush-hush, not evangelisize, and if you have to remove baby’s clothing you may say, “I am going to potty her first because she pees when her diaper is removed.” Then get out your tophat potty and do it without wavering in your conviction that you believe in EC.
If they say, “Oh you shouldn’t blah blah blah,” say one of the things above. You can also throw out facts like the 1957 one or like the fact that babies have sphincter control at birth (just look at the way they hold the meconium in until born). Give them the website where they can get educated. Or just say, “this works for us, it’s what they do in other countries where there are no diapers.”
And if they witness you pottying baby like I did in my ped’s office just two days ago, say, “See, that wasn’t coercive or forceful at all, now was it?” and show them the pee/poo in your potty!
- • •
Relatives during a holiday…
And the relatives during a holiday?
I wouldn’t mention it. During the baby pass around, I’d just keep baby in a back-up or keep an eye on baby’s signals and/or natural timing, say “excuse me, we’ll be right back,” and just take baby to the potty at your usual intervals. IF someone asks about it, use Kate’s explanations above.
- • •
Friends who diaper older children…
And our friends who have kids still in diapers at older ages…how do we talk about EC without turning them off?
This is kind of tough, I have to admit! I’ve been accused of having a “superiority complex” and lost a few friends right off the bat because they interpreted my success at EC as trying to be a better parent with a better baby than them (and we had same-age babies). What you can do is say, “You know, you don’t need to EC or potty train for us to be friends. But if you get sick of changing diapers and you truly just don’t know how to potty train, you should use the book by the author who wrote the EC book I used to get started…she has a potty training book and it will teach you how to do it without M&Ms or rewards. It’s there if you want to do it. But, I do know it also gets harder as your child gets older. I won’t judge you either way, ok?” A heart-to-heart. Always helpful. Show your support, because it’s likely your friend needs it!
- • •
The #1 thing…
The #1 thing to remember is to not evangelisize the practice. People get really turned off by that. Instead, be assertive in broaching the topic, and maybe half the time you will have helped someone find a resource that they otherwise wouldn’t have found out about, or would have discovered “too late.”
Lastly, when you talk about EC to anyone, do not come across as “yeah, it’s weird” and buy into their beliefs about it in order to connect. Talk about EC as if it’s the most normal thing ever.
And, for naysayers, again the best default answer is, “It works great for us. I don’t have to change poopy diapers most of the time. And my baby loves it.” (Even if you’ve had resistance, zoom out and recall all the good you have experienced. That’s what makes EC worth it!)
- • •
And that’s it for today’s show!
If you liked this sample lesson from my program…you may want to join us for the next Go Diaper Free Certified Coach Training Program!
In it, you’ll learn more than just how to talk about EC…you’ll also learn how to teach it and gather our tribe in your local town!
You can sign up for my free master class, How to Make Money (and Change the World) Telling Others About EC: My 3 Step Method, over at godiaperfree.com/coachclass. I’ll link to it in the show notes which are, again, at godiaperfree.com/31.
In this free master class, you’ll discover my simple method (and my very special secrets) to bring EC to your town, make money, and gosh-darnit, change the world...doing what you're already doing, anyway.
If you’d like to skip the free class and go straight on over to learn about my coach training program, visit godiaperfree.com/coachprogram to learn more, enroll, or waitlist (if enrollment has closed by the time you’ve listened to this podcast).
Early bird enrollment ends in 2 weeks, regular registration 3 days later, and classes begin in about 18 days!
Again, if you’re listening to this episode after those dates, just visit godiaperfree.com/coachprogram to find out when our next class is happening...and to waitlist if need be.
Alright. We’re done for this week!
Thanks so much for tuning in. I’ll speak with you next time about Easy Catch #4 of 4. It’s my go-to. Please subscribe to this podcast so I can ping ya when that episode is live.
This is Andrea at the Go Diaper Free Podcast at godiaperfree.com, over and out. We’ll see ya next time.
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Have you talked to friends or family about elimination communication? Please leave a comment below with your experience!
I look forward to chatting with you below. :) xx Andrea
About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)