Yes, you can start EC at 12-18 months of age. And finish.

Pros and Cons of Starting EC with a Young Toddler

You can start potty training at 12 months old with elimination communication.

Okay, okay. I just did that for Google. So people can find this post. You are not actually starting potty training at 12 months old...with EC, you are starting to tune in to your baby's needs, learn his or her patterns, and beginning to potty baby.

And...you can finish potty training by 18 months old!

(Yes, yes. I did that for Google, too. You'll be finishing EC at 18 months old, not potty training. You get my drift.)

First I'd like to explain something...then you can watch my short video on this topic.

You're not too late!

Did you know that you can start (and finish) EC, both!, between 12-18 months old?

Most people who start with an older baby (aka: Late Start EC - although that title discourages people so I've stopped using it) are here because of 1 of 2 things:

  1. they didn't know EC existing until today, or,
  2. they were so overwhelmed with having a new baby that EC fell to the wayside...and now mama and daddy are emerging from the new baby bubble and are ready to give it a go.

And then sometimes they don't.

Guilt can be a terrible thing, really.

But, even and especially in the face of that guilt, I want to encourage you to start EC between 12-18 months...because by starting, you can also finish!

(Btw, 12-18 months is Montessori's "sensitive period" for toilet learning. READ: it's easy in this window.)

(How? Start with my book - at whatever age your baby is 12-18 months today. It has a hybrid plan, a pure EC plan, and all the building blocks to potty independence so you start out on the right foot. Starting blindly? It sucks, trust me! You'll probably give up! Start with my book. Then...finishing. Finish with my Wrap Up minicourse - at 16-18 months or start finishing right after you start starting. Make sense? Beginning to end. 6 months. Done deal.)

So, back to today's video. Pros and cons.

This video covers what's great about this age (and what's a challenge - including how to solve those challenges). It is only 6 minutes long. Go:

You'll learn:

  • why this "sensitive period" is easier than waiting til your child is 2 to potty train
  • what skills your 12-18 month old is developing...and how they will fast-track their potty learning
  • whether cotton pants or PullUps are recommended in this age range
  • how you can actually set up completion while starting EC during this age
  • at what ages your child's brain is primed for retention of the whole process. and,
  • just how recently parents did exactly this (toilet trained at 12-18 months of age)!

Watch it and be amazed. Then...

Please comment below with whether you started EC at this age (or whether you're planning to after reading this) and how it went!

Looking forward to seeing where everyone is...no judgment zone!!! <3

xx Andrea

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 4 children (6, 3, 2, and newborn) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day.

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14 Comments

  1. Kate on September 25, 2017 at 7:36 am

    We tried at 12 months. It went okay for a while, though she wasn’t signalling or initiating or anything. After a while she became so resistant that we would have had to forefully hold her down (and she’s strong) so we stopped. I plan to try again at 18 months, which is the next time I have a block of time to commit to it.

    • Andrea Olson on September 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Hey Kate! So sorry to hear this happened for you. It would have definitely helped if I had gotten my Potty Pause course out before that happened (it is out now at http://godiaperfree.com/minicourses/pottypause) – but if you wait until 18 months to try again, go ahead and potty train with my book – it is faster and much more in line with her 18 month needs! http://godiapefree.com/potty-training-book is my book for 18 months and up. You’ll do great! Resistance is a SIGN that you should wrap it up and make a decision, as a parent, to stop using diapers. Use either tool above. You’ll do great. And note that I also have a wrap-up course if you DO want to wrap up with pure EC or a hybrid of EC/potty training – http://godiaperfree.com/minicourses/wrapup. xoxoxo Andrea

  2. Lauren on September 25, 2017 at 10:19 am

    We started EC at 14 months with the help of your book. Our daughter wasn’t talking yet so we had a lot of misses the first few days but over time my intuition kicked in and we started having more catches. I’m happy to say she’s been diaper free (except at night) since 17 months! She’s 23 months now (and just started saying poopoo and peepee) and no one can believe she’s been out of diapers for 6 months already! Thank you so much!

    • Andrea Olson on September 25, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      And that, my dear Lauren, is *exactly* what I am talking about in today’s video!!! You are a perfect example. Thank you so much for sharing your success. Even if you start in this window, you can finish in this window, and all babies are totally capable of this. Thank you SO much for sharing this – and also for sharing the reality that babies can be ECed…and out of diapers during the day, permanently…even if they do *not* signal. They eventually do! Yours did! Yes!

      I get way too excited about such things. Congrats you guys. :) And thanks again for sharing this with everyone.
      xx Andrea

  3. Jeph on September 25, 2017 at 10:35 am

    With all the change we have had, I wasn’t able to be consistent with EC from birth, though we have used it during transition times pretty much all of his life. In the last few weeks he is seeming to really master the skill (he is 16.months) he is putting almost all bowel movements in the toilet and probably 80% of wet, though I am not training for naps or nights. I need my sleep! Those will come soon enough.. thank you for encouraging us to wrap it up at this age. I truly believe he is ready,

    • Andrea Olson on September 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Hey Jeph! Nice to see you here. Thank you for sharing so honestly what you’ve been through. Transition times, first of all, are so awesome. They are so valuable when doing EC part-time. Priceless, really. I’m glad you’re saving nighttime for later in order to get your sleep – yes, self-care! And yay for LO for mastering getting most of his refuse into the potty. You guys are 95% there. Remove those diapers, do a little training, and you’re a done deal. ;) Much encouragement to you – you’re doing great, esp given all you’re going thru! xx Andrea

  4. erinfontanilla on September 25, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Hi Andrea,
    I just found your materials and purchased your older toddler book. I wish I knew about them sooner! My son is 2.5 and has Down syndrome. He is walking, very active,learning signs and wants to communicate, but has very limited speech. I don’t want to wait until he is 3.5-5 which seems to be a more typical range to potty train a child with Down syndrome. Do you have any experience with your method working with children who have DS? Thank you!
    –Erin

    • Andrea Olson on October 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Erin!! Yes, one of our coaches in Colorado has ECed two Downs babies with much success, so potty training would naturally also work. Feel encouraged!!! These children can also be pottied from birth. Definitely! Any age! xx Andrea

  5. erinfontanilla on September 25, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Also, if he is developmentally more around the 18 month mark, would I use your earlier book? Thanks again!

    • Andrea Olson on October 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      I would use the potty training book BUT I would be very patient! It will be a more physical, less verbal process, very do-able. :)

  6. Zayra on September 26, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Hi! Thank you so much for this quick video! We’ve been very loosely doing EC w/ our youngest daughter. We started around 7 months and she now does her morning & after nap pee and poo in her potty. We are able to catch a few pees during the day. We recently started putting little undies on her but not every day and not all day. We cloth diaper at home an use disposables when we are out. She just turned 11 months so I’d really like I jump on the ball on this and get rid of diapers all together. My biggest concern is when we are out and about or when someone else takes care of her. Do we just take her little potty with us everywhere we go from now on? How do you tell caregivers that she’s potty learning without them looking at you like you have 2 heads? Lol Do I just say, “hey, here is my 11mo old, she’s potty learning, here’s her potty.” Any tips on this, and traveling outside the home on a day to day basis, would be great! Thank you!

    • Andrea Olson on October 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Zayra! Funny you ask, as I just created a new minicourse on this topic of Outings…it’s called EC While Out + About and has a TON of example videos of how I potty my babies while on the go (I do it with all 4). As for caregivers, just send your child in a cloth back-up (training pants or cloth diaper) and give them some back-ups in a wet/dry bag as well. Have them potty baby at the normal transition times you use at home, or with any signals you can tell them about. I outline this with an example video in my Wrap-up minicourse, which will also help you finish it all up! Enjoy this process!!! xx Andrea

  7. Eleanor on September 29, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Hi! Great video, thank you for posting it! It’s funny how my 14 month old has run through the signals you mentioned (diaper patting, hiding, running to me with his little potty).

    I have your book EC Simplified but was too overwhelmed when he was younger to begin. But now I can tell he is well into the sensitive time to learn.

    What resources should we refer to next? Should I read EC Simplified still, or skip it and move to the next book(s)?
    Also, he has trouble sitting on his Fisher Price Froggy Potty. He can’t seem to get onto it without help, and I think he likes feeling independent.

    Should I work on that with him step-by-step, or get a different potty? (He gets pee and poop shy if I hold him above the grownup toilet.)

    • Andrea Olson on October 16, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Eleanor! You are so very welcome. Sorry for my delay in replying…sometimes I can’t find the newest comments LOL. Okay, so, what I would do is wrap up with my potty training book. Do the ease-in period for as many weeks as you like. Use ECS for your next baby. :) And replace the potty with a smaller mini potty – see some options on my Supply List page that has a gallery of potties that I like. Unfortunately the Baby Bjorn small potty is no longer available…but I’ve used the bEco with much success. Best of luck – you’ll do great in this sensitive period. And no worries for not starting sooner…as I’ve said, it happens to many many many of us!!! :) xx Andrea

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