According to Wikipedia, "Elimination communication (EC) is a practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant's need to eliminate waste."
It is still the practice in much of the world and has been the way that baby elimination has been done for thousands of years. I would assume that this is what Mary did with Jesus, but I have not researched it extensively.
The key to elimination communication, or EC, is communication. Any baby can eliminate the day away. It is the communication that makes it special.
When we had our first baby, I was all for EC, but it just didn't seem to happen. With our first, even though we told everyone we wanted to use cloth diapers, we got a ton of disposables as gifts, and we got hooked. It wasn't until our second came that we broke our disposable addiction.
I started EC with Bobby this past spring when I started getting serious about potty training Daniel. This worked well as they learned together. Except, Daniel is fully potty trained; Bobby is not. He's not tall enough for his feet to touch the floor while sitting on the potty.
There are cues in this delicate communication between baby and mommy that let me know it's time for him to go.
He stands differently when he has to go. You know when a kid stops swimming in the pool because he's peeing? It's kind of like that. He holds his legs a little different where he stands and stops what he's doing.
Everyone has a pooping face. Catch the pooping face while the goods are moving down his bowels and before they come out.
Sometimes, when Bobby has to go, he stands by the potty. This is the most clear signal, and I'm glad he's learned it is effective. Sometimes he'll come stand next to me and do the other signals.
I couldn't tell you exactly how frequently he pees or poops, but every once in a while, I think, "He needs to pee."
Does this save money?
If you're using disposable diapers, this definitely saves money. Not too much is saved with cloth diapers, except some on laundry. We still use diapers at night and when we go out, so I am still cleaning diapers. When you first start out, it feels like you're cleaning up messes continually, which will actually increase your laundry.
The Husband Factor
Sometimes, I go out to run errands on Dan's day off by myself. This is pleasant for me, but my husband, I have found, is not as keen on catching subtle communication cues.
The Brother Factor
Daniel is keen on catching subtle communication cues. He wipes my tears during sappy movies. He and Bobby spend all day together, every day. Every once in a while, I hear Daniel say "Bobby ew," which means, "Bobby's pooping." I run and check and sure enough, he has the pooping face. I whisk him to the potty and, plop!
This isn't fool proof, by any means. We still have accidents. He's better with pooping than peeing, although I've heard other moms have it the other way around. I have to be paying attention for this to work. Having a small apartment is to my advantage, because he's always just a few feet from the potty.
For this next baby, I'm going to wait until the baby is past that newborn stage, when the baby sleeps all the time. Then, we'll see how it goes. Baby wearing is helpful for younger infants, as you can see their face and that is where they will be sending cues. I didn't do much baby wearing with Bobby by the time we started EC because he was old enough that he wanted to play on the floor with his brother.