Potty training is no walk in the park, as any parent who is going through or has already gone through the process of convincing their child to eliminate waste into a terrifying gigantic bowl that roars when you flush it will tell you. It’s hard enough to get a 2-year-old to sacrifice their bodily waste to the porcelain god, so the idea of getting a baby who’s just 4 months to get down to business seems practically impossible.
Still, some parents do try it, to varying levels of success, through a process called elimination communication, and Kandi Burruss of badass breastfeeding and Real Housewives of Atlanta fame is one of those people. She’s posted a few pictures of baby Ace with his bum on the bowl, along with an invitation to haters to step off if they dislike the idea of it.
It would appear that more than a few people have impolitely declined that invitation. They’ve accused Burruss of everything from being too lazy to forcing her child to grow up too quickly.
In actuality, elimination communication isn’t new, and Kandi Burruss isn’t even the first celebrity to give it a shot. Because the practice comes part and parcel in attachment parenting, other celebrities who advocate AP, like Mayim Bialik and Alicia Silverstone, are also big advocates for putting babies on the porcelain throne.
Still, elimination communication is even older than the rise of widespread baby wearing and baby-led weaning. In many cultures, you’re more likely to raise a halfhearted shoulder in a shrug than a judgmental eyebrow if you mention that you put your infant on the toilet before they can walk. Places like India and China are chock-full of parents who use EC for one reason or another, and they’ve done it for a long time. Even Americans used to toilet train their kids before 18 months of age. Now we typically wait until kids are between 24 and 36 months.
The idea behind the practice is that babies are capable of communicating when they have to go before you find a special surprise in their diaper, and even the skeptics among us know this to be true. Think of a baby’s screwed-up pooping face, which is cute but usually most often observed right after you’ve spent an hour buckling them into a car seat.
Once you learn the signals and signs, from there it’s just a matter of getting your tot to the toilet so the magic can happen. Professional potty whisperers claim that they can even get their kid to eliminate on cue by making a sound or gesture that signals “go time.”
Does it work? It must. In developing countries, you’ll see bare-bummed babies on hips all the time with no accompanying blowout, so those moms must be doing something right.
The list of pros on the infant toileting pros and cons list has other biggies too, like the fact that EC produces less landfill waste (no diapers) and can keep a baby rash free and comfy in their nethers (again, no diapers).
As far as cons go, while there’s no reason to suggest — as some of Burruss’ parenting expert critics guest posting in the comments section of her Instagram insist — that EC is detrimental to a child, the American Academy of Family Physicians has said that there’s no benefit to toileting a child before 26 months of age. So at worst it’s woo, not child abuse. It’s not as though she’s having Ace eliminate over a shark tank ringed by pyrotechnics.
The other con, obviously, flies in the face of people shouting down Burruss for being lazy. EC is a commitment. It takes time and dedication, and getting your kid to the toilet and cooing at them about how wonderful their peeps and poops are is hardly as easy as changing a diaper.
It’s like so much of modern parenting today: a lot of extra work for maybe some benefit. Just like breastfeeding, baby wearing, hand-mashing your own organic baby noms and banishing the good old playpen, elimination communication is work. It’s also work that, unless you are Kandi Burruss’ personal carpet and upholstery cleaner, affects you in exactly zero ways. She’s not asking you to do it.
Different strokes, everybody. Burruss says EC has worked for her before. If it works for her again, then congratulations. Then she’s just a lady bombarding her followers with pictures of her (cute) kid on the toilet. Let she who has not posted one of those throw the first stone.
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