Moms mindful of baby's every cue with Elimination Communication

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Oliver Satterfield and his mom, Victoria, have been practicing E.C. since Oliver was just 2 days old. Mom says Oliver trained her because he never liked being in a wet diaper. (Photo courtesy Victoria Satterfield) | Zoom
In honor of the new moms out there, we take a look at one popular trend in baby-rearing that could do away with traditional potty training for good.

It's called Elimination Communication or E.C. The idea is that even newborn babies can do their business in the toilet if we just make an effort to bridge the mother-baby communication gap.

Juliet Swedlund has been practicing E.C. with her 10-month-old daughter Tennessee since she was introduced to the idea through a breastfeeding support group.

"I just thought if anything this would be a neat way to understand her better," says Swedlund.

It's all about looking for those little cues that the baby is ready to relieve themselves. Just like you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make them drink, there's really no way to force E.C. on a child.

"Sometimes I would potty her and she didn't want to go, and I have to honor that as well, even if it meant she peed on the floor five minutes later," Swedlund says.

Even very practiced E.C. babies won't always hit the mark. Some babies don't get the hang of it at all. Like Kelley Parker and her first son, Will.

"I found that he most often peed while he was eating. I never did quite get the hang of nursing and holding a bowl at the same time. It was very awkward," says Parker.

When Parker's second baby, Sam, came along, she thought she'd try again. This time, Parker says she's had an E.C. success story.

Victoria Satterfield started using Elimination Communication with her son Oliver when he was just 2 days old.

"He really trained us more than us trying to lead him," says Satterfield. "From the day he was born, he really didn't like being in a wet diaper. Within a couple of days he started crying out before he would wet."

Her husband wasn't on board at first, but Satterfield says by the time Oliver was 3 months old it was clear E.C. was working. They would only have one or two accidents a day. Satterfield recalls one particularly messy incident involving her husband's bare chest.

"Oliver had the biggest breastfeeding B.M. of his life," says Satterfield. "My husband is a very clean, meticulous person, so this was the epitome of horror for him. I think he might have gone off and cried as he was cleaning up."

But, Satterfield says she has no doubt she'll use Elimination Communication again on her next baby.

Swedlund has started an E.C. support group online for other Seattle area mothers looking to create a better line of communication with their new bundles of joy.


Kim Shepard, KIRO Radio Reporter
Kim Shepard is a news anchor and reporter for KIRO Radio and the office optimist. She's energetic, quick to laugh and has a positive outlook on life.
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