Four kinds of clothing for easy Elimination Communication:
Sometimes called split crotch pants or chaps, split pants are based on traditional baby wear that has been used worldwide for thousands of years. The pants simply have an opening at the crotch so that the wearer can use the toilet without removing the pants. There are a few different styles but the key difference is how big the opening is. When I was getting started with EC in early 2007, I heard people talking about putting a cloth diaper over split pants, but I didn’t understand exactly how that would work, because I thought the pants would get dirty in a miss. I began making a split pant with a wide opening that was more practical for using a diaper on top of the split pants. When there is a miss, the diaper (or training pant) gets soiled but the pants do not. The floor also stays clean. I called my split pants L’il Baby Chaps and soon chap-style split pants were available at other stores as well.
Tucking a prefold or flat diaper into the waistband of split pants is an economical diapering solution. Prefolds and flats are the lowest priced modern cloth diapering option. You can buy prefold or flat cloth diapers in a range of materials, from organic cotton at the higher end, cotton/hemp blends, or imported cotton at the lower end, or you could even use hand towels or receiving blankets. Using split pants with a diaper tucked in enables you to fit EC easily into your day and routine. Your child will be able to move freely around your home without concern that a miss will stain your carpets or cause embarassment or fights with your partner (believe me, I’ve been there!). Your toddler can play and you can communicate about pottying when its relevant.
When a diaper gets wet, you can quickly and easily change it out for a dry one, usually without even stopping your child from playing, because it’s not necessary for an older toddler to lay down for diaper changes–you can easily tuck the diaper into the waistband of the pants. When you take your child to use the toilet, you easily remove the diaper while the pants stay on. It is very fast to do, and it keeps your baby warmer during chillly weather. When you are just starting with your EC practice, chap-style split pants can be used with or without diapers so that your baby stays wam and comfortable while you observe your child and make your cue sound(s) when your child pees or has a bowel movement. When you leave the house you can put a waterproof diaper (or cover) on top so you can potty conveniently on the go.
When your child is more independent and is able to move to a potty by him or herself, and especially when most poops are caught in the potty, you can switch to a narrower opening split pant that is used without diapers, such as our EC Wear Split Pants. Discreet split pants cover more of your child’s bottom, adding modesty and warmth. When your child squats or sits on a potty, the split opens up. One of the reasons parents love these for elimination communication or earlier-than-average potty learning is that the skill of pulling down one’s pants (and then getting them back up again!) can come later for some children. Being able to squat with split pants gives young ones the ability to potty independently, overcoming the challenging transition time when a toddler wants to do everything “by myself!” but doesn’t yet have the coordination or planning ability to deal with removing pants before sitting down to potty.Next in our EC Clothing Guide: Diaper Belts