September 27, 2005

Elimination Communication Hits England (Or Returns, If You Count Those Stonehenge Druids)

On the occasion of some how-to books, The Times of London has a one-eyebrow-raised article on that crazy American trend, "elimination communication." [China and India, where there are two billion-plus early potty trainers/trainees, gets a one-line mention somewhere deep in the piece.]

Now whether infant potty training is for real or for you, I'm a little annoyed at the condescending dismissal that goes, "Um, shouldn't you be spending that time 'laughing, singing, playing.'?" Brazelton copped out of the debate with that line in the Boston Globe article a while back; here it's some pediatrics official named Cheryll Adams. If you're attuned enough to sense when your kid's gonna pee, aren't you also already immersed in his thinking and development? This mutual exclusion point is disingenuous at best.

Is this baby too young to be potty trained?
[timesonline, via dt reader buck]


I can't imagine trying to figure out what cues a six month old baby is giving in regards to "pee-pee". It's hard enough sometimes to figure out if they are just hungry or tired.

I find it interesting that the author of the Times' article didn't even try to sound objective about EC, she's openly hostile to the mere concept of it. And she made no mention of India in the article, which is where author Laurie Boucke got her initial "sphincter control training" ideas from...

The first time I read about EC was on the excellent website from Spain,, where I was reading up on Attachment Parenting and came across Boucke's articles on sphincter training. At the very least, I find it interesting from an anthropological perspective. And I totally agree with everything Greg says in the second paragraph of his post. Maybe our Western mainstream society should make some effort to recognize that by the OVERUSE (please note the deliberate emphasis of the word) of pacifiers, baby swings, strollers, and Baby Einstein videos, etc. we are disconnecting ourselves from our babies' needs and our ability to interpret their cries, grunts and facial expressions. Just refer back to Greg's post about the finding that the Aka Pygmy fathers are the "best fathers" in the world.

For the record, I occasionally used a baby swing, we own & use two strollers, and still rely on the Exersaucer to keep the kid happy and contained when I'm home alone cooking dinner -- these things can be useful when used sparingly so I'm not advocating their elimination from the planet. I also haven't tried to implement EC but that was mostly a practical consideration involving the possibility of our baby going to daycare if I went back to work. We ARE considering trying EC now that he's older and I'm still home with him...

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