How to go nappy free (not for faint hearted)

Nicole Moore
Nicole Moore Supplied

ELIMINATION communication

Up until a couple of weeks ago you'd probably never heard of it. Or maybe you missed that story about the Queensland mum who has "never used a nappy and never plans to".

>> READ: 'I've never used a nappy on my baby, I don't ever plan to'

She is practicing elimination communication - also known as natural infant hygiene, infant potty training, diaper free - or here in Australia, nappy free.

It is a system of toilet training, a method that involves observing the baby and looking for toileting cues, according to New South Wales mum and nappy free advocate, Nicole Moore.

Nicole first went nappy free with her eldest 14 years ago and made a film about the process.

"I used to go around doing talks and demonstrations but I made a film and used to show it and do a Q&A."

The mother-of-two said she started the film project when her eldest was six months old and today the DVD - Nappy Free! has been sold all around Australia.

But she said nappy free is still not common practice in Australia, despite 80% of the world doing it.

"It is still practiced in Africa and Asia and it is extremely common even today in modern China.

"But it isn't mainstream here.

"It is more common in alternative parenting cycles but that's because nappy free goes hand-in-hand with other attachment practices such as baby wearing, co-sleeping and prolonged breastfeeding."

Nappy free is a way to
Nappy free is a way to "reduce the ecological footprint of each child" Supplied

Nicole describes nappy free as a way to "reduce the ecological footprint of each child".

"There are eight steps to go through before a nappy reaches the baby's bottom.

"This way you can make those disposables go further."

Nicole also said nappy free doesn't mean not using nappies, ever.

"Nappy free is also about being free to choose - it's about being free to choose how and when you use them, you can use a nappy and take it off for the baby to do a wee.

"Sometimes I would use them at night and very often I'd use an open cloth nappy on my lap."

So, how would one go about going nappy free should they decide to?

"You need to be really relaxed about the process. If you're not okay about wee on your lap occasionally then going nappy fee is probably not for you.

"Window of opportunity is between newborn and six months. You can still start practicing after six months but it will be a little bit trickier.

"Every baby is different. They develop cues and you respond to them and it creates a communication loop that strengthens each time you listen to it

"The way to learn is to leave them without a nappy on and observing them for a period of time.  In that newborn phase a lot of women put in that time with the newborn so it isn't too big a stretch.

"What do they do before they eliminate?

"If the baby is lying on the floor and you see it does a little wiggle and then does a wee and during that wee you make your verbal cue.

"You need to decide as a family what your cue is going to be. Then you build on that communication loop."

Any vessel can be used
Any vessel can be used Supplied

Nicole said they type of vessel used for the elimination doesn't matter.

"Toilets, buckets, any vessel will do. They do it and when you get a chance you empty it. You might have a few vessels, a bucket near your feeding chair or by the bed.

"I live in the bush so it was very easy for me, we just used a tree.

"When in public you just pick and choose your places. I can count on one hand the amount of people offended by it, had more people interested in what I was doing."

Nicole has taught a lot of people about the practice of going nappy free and raves about the symbiotic relationship it creates.

"It is a great practice that brings baby and caregivers close together. It creates the framework for extra level of intimacy and attention and works very well with other attachment practices of baby wearing, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding.

"It creates a symbiotic relationship between baby and parents because one of the ways you read the baby's cues that they need to go, is by using your intuition. 

"It also brings the father into closer intimacy, giving him an opportunity to expand his telepathic communication with the baby.  And proof, when he gets it 'right'.

"And the environmental impact is massive, it reduces washing and costs and it greatly reduces nappy rash."

Alexia Purcell is News Regional Media's social media editor. Follow Alexia on Facebook:

Topics:  editors picks parenting

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