Split Pants for Easy Elimination Communication
Sometimes called split crotch pants, split pants, crotchless pants, or traditional names in their native languages such as Kai Dang Ku in China, baby pants used by modern parents practicing elimination communication 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 their pants.
There are a few different styles of split pants but the key differences are the material they are made of, and how big the opening is. At EC Wear, we offer three variations of split pants. EC Wear Split Pants™, L’il Baby Chaps™, and Re-Ewes Wool Split Pants™.
We’ve put together this helpful guide to how to make your practice of Elimination Communication easier using split pants.
Observation and Communication
When you are just getting started with your EC practice, diaper-free observation is the first and most important step to learning your baby’s elimination patterns. While you can use cloth diapers without covers which allow you to observe wetness during this observation time, actual diaper-free time will give you the best opportunity to observe your baby’s signals and be able to respond quickly with the cue sound so that your baby can learn an association between your sound and their body’s sensation of elimination. During this observation time, split pants can be used with or without diapers so that your baby stays warm and comfortable. With L’il Baby Chaps™ or Re-Ewes Wool Split Pants™, when you finish the observation period, you do not need to remove the pants in order to put a diaper on your baby. If you need to leave home you can put a waterproof rECtangle™ diaper cover on top so you can potty conveniently on the go.
Pottying with EC Pants
One of the biggest benefits of using split pants for elimination communication or potty training is the convenience of taking your baby to the potty. In contrast to typical baby clothing, which require a parent to lay a baby down to remove multiple layers of clothing, then carry your baby to the toilet or potty, and then lay your baby down to redress, split pants save a lot of time and trouble When diaper free with split pants, you simply carry your baby to the potty place and either help your baby sit on the potty or hold your baby in pottying position. Either way, the pants will open out of the way to allow your baby to eliminate. When using a prefold diaper under split pants, you can simply tug the diaper out of the waistband in the back and hold it up out the way while putting your baby onto the potty, and tuck it back in when finished.
Using Diapers with EC Pants
Split pants can be used with or without diapers. You can either use any kind of diaper, depending on your preference.
You can put a fitted cloth or disposable diaper on top of split pants. Our L’il Baby Chaps are ideally suited for this technique, with their wide opening that keeps the pants dry in case of a miss. You would just put the pants on, put a diaper on top, and pull the waistband up above the top of the diaper. Only the outside of the pants legs will be inside the diaper and very unlikely to get wet or soiled, except in especially significant misses. During nap times, using wool L’il Baby Chaps or Re-Ewes Split Pants are the best option, because if the pants do get wet, they provide a natural water resistance and even if saturated will stay warm.
Tucking a prefold or flat diaper into the waistband of split pants is an economical diapering solution. This works with all three of our split pants styles. The diaper would be made into a rectangle shape, for example, folding a prefold diaper into thirds lengthwise, and then tucked into the waistband of the pants, or using a diaper belt on top of the pants. 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 repurpose 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 rugs. Your toddler can play and you can communicate about pottying when it’s relevant.
Changing a Diaper with Split Pants
When a diaper gets wet when your child is wearing split pants, you can quickly and easily switch it out for a dry one, usually without even stopping your child from playing, It’s not necessary for a toddler to lay down for diaper changes–you can easily tuck the diaper into the waistband of the pants while they continue playing. When you take your child to use the toilet, you easily remove the diaper while the pants stay on. It is very quick to remove the diaper, and keeping the pants on keeps your baby warmer during colder weather.
Split Pants for Night-time EC
There are different ways to practice Elimination Communication at night. Many parents find that their child will go back to sleep more easily and stay asleep longer if their potty needs are met when they wake up for a nursing session. Pottying a baby at night can be tricky, as parents often struggle to take off multiple layers of clothing without waking the baby up entirely, resulting in a three-hour midnight play session and exhausted parents. We want everyone to get their rest, so we suggest using split pants with a diaper on top, so only the diaper needs to be removed, and keeping a little potty or bowl at arm’s reach in order to minimize disruption. Other parents, (or even the same parents at different stages of development) find that using a diaper belt and a prefold with rECtangle cover make it extremely easy to change wet diapers through the night without disturbing a sleeping baby. Nursing your baby during night-time pottying can be an effective way to meet everyone’s needs and keep the disturbance to a minimum. Using these techniques, many parents find their babies learning to hold their pee throughout the night even when they continue to wake up for nursing several times.
Moving Toward Potty Independence
Each child develops differently but all are sure to eventually reach an age where they begin to want to do things by themselves and exert their independence. For children practicing elimination communication, the “me do it” stage can often come while a child is still not potty independent but wants to be. At this time, split pants can help facilitate this opportunity to reach potty independence. A child who has not yet mastered the skill of removing their own pants, which is even more difficult when underwear or a diaper are added to the challenge, may not want to disrupt play to ask for help to go potty. However, the same child wearing EC pants can easily squat over a potty kept nearby and the split pants will open out of the way. Split pants can be preferable over leaving a child naked during this phase, not only because your child is warmer and more comfortable (and all the reasons any of us wear clothing), but also because the feeling of wet clothing gives a much stronger feedback than when pee simply falls to the floor. A child will soon realize its better to avoid the discomfort of wet clothing and the extra time needed to change into dry clothing, which is much less disruptive than a quick visit to the potty.