A friend of mine recently heard an interview with Mayim Bialik, an American actress who is now also a spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network, a group for parents focused on holistic, green living. One of the subjects touched on in the interview was that of 'Elimination Communication'. For those of you unsure of this term (as I was), it's essentially a form of toilet-training that involves none or minimal use of nappies. The parent has to tune into the signals their child gives when needing the toilet. Mayim had her second son trained by 11 months.
At first thought it sounds a bit crazy and extremely messy! However when you think of more primitive societies elsewhere in the world who don't have access or need for all the stuff we use with our babies and children, they obviously get by just fine and probably use a similar technique of looking for indications from the child. Same goes for when you think about many years ago before nappies were first used (back in the 1590s).
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that whatever you may think about the idea itself, it certainly gives the parent a strong incentive to develop a particular awareness of their child's toilet habits. With the reliance we have on nappies, the ease and convenience that they provide, we don't have the same incentive to toilet train our children. Often it's a case of needing to potty train because a nursery or school requires it or because your child reaches an age where it's normal to start the process.
Whilst it's not something I feel I'd be brave enough to tackle, I think it's a very interesting approach to toilet training. It encourages parents to trust and follow their instincts and to develop great awareness of their children. I definitely have admiration for those mothers like Mayim Bialik who have used Elimination Communication successfully for their babies. For me, this was something I hadn't even heard of before my friend related the interview she'd heard, but maybe that's just me! It obviously compliments the same philosophy behind attachment parenting, with a focus on a mother demonstrating sensitivity to her child's needs.
If you want to find out more, have a look at these websites here and here.
Had you heard of Elimination Communication? What are your thoughts about the approach? Can you imagine using very few nappies with your baby or none at all?