Whether you’re a new parent exploring all of your options or an old pro looking to try something new with your next child, any method that totally eradicates the need for using diapers every single day is sure to pique your interest.
Seeing as the average infant gets through around 2,700 of the things in their first 12 months of life, with an approximate cost of at least $500 (and that’s talking disposable, not cloth!), it’s a huge way to eliminate some of the cost of bringing life into the world.
However, something as tricky as learning to teach your newborn how to pee and poop on command requires the right tools for the job, which is why we’ve picked out five of the best-rated books available right now for your perusal.
To find out more about elimination communication itself, and the reasons you stand to benefit from trying this out over just opting for diapers, have a look at our clear and concise Buyer’s Guide, which should help you make an informed decision.
Likewise, if you’ve still got doubts or concerns about EC in general, you might find your worries are alleviated by our set of Frequently Asked Questions, which provides answers to some of the most common queries asked by fellow customers.
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OUR TOP PICK
With a multimedia edition that includes a paperback copy, digital copy (easy to read on your phone), and a full five hour audiobook! This edition includes access to private video library, printables and access to a support group to help you succeed and answer any questions. Go Diaper Free is a great place to start.
You’ll pay less than the cost of attending a live demonstration or parenting class, and still learn EC as a hands-on process, which Olson argues is the best way to learn, claiming this natural alternative to Pampers frees you from diaper dependence.
No matter if you’re just considering alternatives, taking a break from potty training or confused about the whole process, her book teaches in multiple ways, using simple, visual and flexible methods to suit different learning styles.
Where previously this guide was separated into age groups, this 5th anniversary edition has further simplified EC for beginners, although a separate downloadable plan for use with young toddlers is still available to access online.
Reviewers report that, rather than take a soppy and sentimental approach, this guide is more straightforward and saves the emotional support for its own skippable section at the end. If you prefer clarity of content, this is the book for you!
- Multimedia package gives you a physical and audio copy, plus website access
- Cheaper than attending a class that might not even help
- Tried and true methods expressed in clear, easy to understand ways
- Updated edition makes for an even easier read
- Access to a private support group
- Some Kindle users have struggled with loading images on Apple products
Promising to teach you to save thousands on diapers, reduce landfill waste, avoid nasty rashes and further the bond between you and your child, Ingrid Bauer’s Diaper Free is another great guide to the EC method worth trying out.
Not only will you find a guide that is based on extensive research, other case studies and Bauer’s own maternal experiences, this book serves as both a warm and helpful companion whether you’re a potty training beginner or a well-practised professional.
As reviewed by Teresa Pitman, a representative of renowned breastfeeding support ground La Leche League International, who declares it a valuable addition to the library of any new parent, it’s backed by experts and mothers alike.
Bauer’s work has appeared in publications across the world, from Canada, the USA, Australia and Europe, and she regularly writes and speaks about parenting and natural alternatives, so you’re in safe hands all around.
Available in paperback form or as a Kindle eBook for a more affordable price, it’s easy to have a copy on your phone or other smart devices to pick up and browse through no matter where you are in the world… even if you forgot the book!
- Supported by experts, written by an expert
- A supportive and non-condescending guide that actually helps
- Evidence based guides, as opposed to general speculation
- eBook available for use on the go
- Lots of the authors own opinions, which may not be useful for EC beginners
Not only is this one of the most affordable EC guides we’ve found, but it’s also refreshingly progressive and enlightening, teaching parents how to identify and appropriately respond to their babies’ natural cues and signals.
Described as a support group within a book, you’ll find helpful guides are paired with inspiring testimonials in every chapter, from parents who have successfully practised EC and are able to offer tips and encourage newbies just starting out.
Avoiding the harmful ‘all-or-nothing’ approach that some parenting books can take, Gross-Loh chooses to address three parenting styles, looking at full-time, part time and occasional EC-ers, to provide a guide that suits everyone.
Having also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and The Atlantic, Gross-Loh is clearly a talented writer, putting you in the trusted hands of a fellow parent whose children were both EC trained before they turned two.
It’s available in both paperback and kindle versions, so you can read in a way that suits you, and thanks to her warmth and wisdom, infant potty training can become not just easier, but enjoyable and, dare we say it, even fun!
- More affordable than other EC guides on the market
- From an author who successfully used the EC method on her own children
- Not just practical guides, but inspiring stories and hot tips, too
- From an established writer published in bestselling papers and journals
- As it’s more than a “how-to” guide, some readers may feel the filler is unnecessary or distracting
Although this book is not solely focused on EC, and serves more as a guide for parenting in the first 12 months of life altogether, Massaro and Katz have compiled the perfect companion for new parents looking to apply a more natural approach.
Boasting eight enjoyable chapters, packed full of tips and stories from experienced moms in a ‘soothing yet sassy voice’, there is compelling research presented on holding, breastfeeding, sleeping and pottying, as well as self care for parents.
Without being condescending or pushy about personal views on parenting, the authors offer real, genuine advice, having clearly performed a whole lot of research about their chosen subjects, and will likely surpass your expectations!
There are also contributions from leading practitioners, including Dr James McKenna, Dr Janet Zand, Naomi Aldort, Gill Rapley, Nancy Mohrbacher and others, offering scientific perspectives on this less traditional set of methods.
You can pick it up as a Kindle or a paperback copy, and you’ll find that it’s half the price of competing EC guides, whilst providing you with far more information than you’ll have access to with other authors.
- Two authors - twice the reliability, more info and even better editing
- Expert contributors including scientists and doctors
- Focuses on the first year of infancy as a whole, not just EC guidance
- Easy and entertaining to read - not a stuffy parenting guide
- Experienced parents may find they already know a lot of the advice given
Declaring itself the foremost and most comprehensive resource on EC, Laurie Boucke’s third edition of her popular book has the most up-to-date medical research of any other book on the market, having been updated to suit a contemporary reader.
Thanks to 81 photos, including 66 that are full-color, understanding the process of infant potty training has never been clearer or easier, as the author has truly scoured the world for evidence to back her potty training guidance.
Offering guidelines for newborns, early starters AND late starters, as well as more than 100 baby signals to look out for, it’s chock full of useful information no matter what stage of the process you’re at right now.
Also utilizing commentary from psychologists, pediatricians and MDs, as well as anthropological reports and cross-cultural research on Elimination Communication from around the globe, you’ll struggle to find a more informative guide.
As a practitioner, Boucke has been researching, teaching and serving as a mentor for EC since 1979 - that’s more than forty years of lived experience she has to share with you, and there’ll certainly be something you don’t already know yet!
- 380 pages of guidance supported by professionals, including doctors and psychologists
- Worldwide cultural research and full color photographs to support
- Suitable for newbies and EC enthusiasts alike
- Informed by pediatricians and other professionals
- Not available as a Kindle eBook
Elimination Communication 101 - What Is It?
Of course, the whole point of buying a book about something, is to learn about it using that book, but you don’t want to invest in a process before you know a little bit more about it, so that’s where we come in.
Otherwise referred to as natural infant hygiene, infant potty training or simply diaper-free, the idea of Baby Elimination Communication revolves around observing your baby and learning to recognize their cues for needing the bathroom.
By figuring out the signs and signals and matching this with the right timings, you can effectively teach babies as young as a few months old to use a potty, totally removing the need for wearing diapers once you’ve got it down.
Sure, this might sound strange and unnecessarily difficult, but that’s just because you’ve been raised in Western culture. In fact, across the world, EC is not a method to try, it’s the standard for toilet training children.
This is indicated by the difference in the average age of successfully potty trained kids, which in non-industrial countries can usually occur by around six months old, whilst the average American child takes approximately three years to learn to go.
However, it’s important to note that, whilst the EC program is there to stimulate and encourage the natural understanding of using the toilet, it isn’t actually about getting your baby potty trained as quickly as physically possible.
You might not necessarily remove diapers from your daily routine altogether - or at least not straight away - rather, your dependence on them, and your baby’s willingness not to use them, will gradually decrease.
Benefits Of EC
Besides the obvious bonus of using fewer diapers and thereby saving yourself some cash, which is not just beneficial for you, but better for the planet overall, there are other reasons to give EC a try - you have plenty to gain and very little to lose!
The majority of babies will find EC is much more comfortable in general than wearing diapers every day, which as kids grow become bigger, bulkier and more irritating to drag around on their butts!
As another way of communicating non-verbally with your baby, it’s a great way to increase your bond and further that connection between you, establishing trust and bringing the two of you closer together.
By teaching babies that communicating they need to go to the bathroom and then responding to that desire, you’re teaching vital communication skills and showing them how to tell you when something is wrong or they need your help.
You might struggle to believe us before you try it, but EC is actually cleaner and prevents your baby from sitting in their waste for long periods of time, which reduces the possibility of diaper rash and other ailments significantly.
Possible EC Barriers?
It would be remiss of us not to mention any potential downsides, though there aren’t actually that many in comparison with the benefits. However, it might feel a little isolating at first, as it’s not as widely practiced in the Western world.
A top tip for connecting with other EC parents to combat this is by searching online for forums and virtual support groups, as this can put you in touch with people all over the world who may also be struggling or are able to assist you.
Another obvious point is that you’ll need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to establish a routine that works for you and for baby, so if you’re a busy parent already and find a work/life balance hard as it is, perhaps EC isn’t for you.
Similarly, whilst you’re still getting to grips with the method and understanding each other (you AND baby both!) there’s a higher chance you’ll experience accidents and have more laundry to do. It’s all a part of the process if you have the commitment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it too late to start elimination communication?
The answer to this question generally depends on who you’re asking, as even the experts will have their own opinions on how early is too early and how late is too late. As an average estimation, between 9 and 17 months is a good time to begin.
However, once your kid has hit around 18 months old, you’re probably going to want to go right on to potty training, as it would be a waste of time to employ EC tactics first - they’re essentially the same thing, the only difference is that infants can’t talk!
Can potty training too early cause problems?
Whilst you can begin observing your baby for cues and learning how they communicate at any age, trying to encourage them to use a potty before they’re ready could have issues further down the line.
It may be that your kid will begin holding in their pee and poop for too long because they are afraid they aren’t allowed to go until a certain time, which can lead to UTIs (urinary tract infections), constipation and even kidney problems if left untreated.
The most important thing you can teach your child is that they are free to go to the bathroom at whatever time they want to - it’s all about where they go, not when, and the sooner they figure that out, the easier things will be.
How do you hold a baby for elimination communication?
There are several positions that might work for a successful EC, but the classic, tried and true method is to support the baby's neck and back with your own chest, holding them loosely but securely by their legs and pointing their butts in the right direction.
If you have a boy and they need assistance with aim (!) then you can use your finger to direct the urine spray and make sure it goes where it’s supposed to. This position can be done standing or squatting yourself, and is comfortable for both parties.