Go Diaper Free is a resource run by me, Andrea Olson, to teach you the beautiful freedom from diapers that you can have with elimination communication...but what is elimination communication?
Elimination Communication is a gentle, non-coercive way to respond to a baby’s natural hygiene needs, from as early as birth. You can learn all about elimination communication on my Getting Started page.
Hi! I'm Andrea Olson. I make EC easy.
"Starting Elimination Communication with my son was not easy. Since then, I've worked to make it simpler for others than it was for me. Now that I'm on my
second third FOURTH fifth! baby, I've created an even better resource for parents who want to deepen their connection with their new babies (and a new resource for toddlers!). I hope you like the new Go Diaper Free!" - Andrea Olson
In the Beginning...
I never really intended on teaching folks about baby potty training, and probably like you, didn't even realize EC existed until my mid-20's, but it has become my passion, career, and motivation.
I started EC with my son at birth and was on the search for a resource that could make the subject simple and visual for my placenta-softened-brain to understand how it all worked. I soon got the hang of it and quickly digested all the research and began teaching other moms in mommie yoga how to practice EC too.
Soon after, I decided to make a pamphlet on the subject. Being the quadruple-Virgo that I am (ahem), that simple pamphlet quickly turned into a 180+ page book, a library of videos, an audiobook, a series of video minicourses, and a private support forum. Since 2011 I have continued to help thousands of parents worldwide learn about and practice EC with my book and online support.
Why is potty learning (from as early as birth) so important?
You could say I make it simple for parents to "go diaper free" by graduating from diapers early. I've found and filtered everything on the topic of infant potty training so folks don't get overwhelmed like I was. I simply removed the roadblocks to make things dummy-proof and easier.
On a deeper level (I am a psychology/mythology nerd!), I'm bringing a touch of the sacred to the profane: how we deal with our children's waste, as a culture. Do we bury it (eternally mummified in plastic and gel goo), teach them to ignore their instincts, train our kids to poo and pee on themselves and pretend it isn't there, give them the huge responsibility to train themselves out of something we've trained them into? Do we dishonor the Earth by stuffing Her with poo-filled Pampers?
Or...do we honor this natural process, honor our babies' communication and desire for cleanliness, tune in and assist our babies in property disposing of their waste?
Good stuff to consider! We are a diapering culture, so please please please leave any guilt at the door. If you're tired of (or uncomfortable with) changing diapers, or depending on them blindly, I have lots of resources for you. We don't know until we know...and we can only do as much as we're capable of. Remove the super-mom expectations...they do no one any good...
...and start using the diaper as a "back-up" instead of a full-time toilet (what an amazing yet tiny shift in this paradigm!).
Now back to the practical, physical stuff. I help parents of 0-18 month babies easily and quickly. I've recently begun helping parents potty train their toddlers, too. I have my Master's in Psychology, have worked intensively with kids over the last 10 years, and am both Director of the DiaperFreeBaby organization and Director of the Go Diaper Free Certified Coach Program. You are in good hands.
I've helped 100,000's of parents the world over, moms and dads and caregivers alike, start, troubleshoot, and complete EC with a sense of confidence, support, and relative ease. I've helped parents do it part-time and full-time, with daycare and without, in the city and in the country. After years of this intensive work with the diversity of others, I have virtually seen it all.
If EC resonates with you and you're just tired of changing diapers, I hope I can help fill in the blanks for you. If you're new here, let's get started with Elimination Communication, shall we? I can give you a great starting point and lead you to where to go to meet your family's specific EC needs. The sky is the limit!
Lastly, I wanted to share with you...
My 5 kiddos' elimination communication journeys (from Instagram)
Hey everyone! This is Kaiva.
In this pic he's 9 years old, first of my 5 babies, and my first EC-from-birth experience. This boy definitely set the bar high for what to expect (sooo advanced with the potty, language, and mobility) with my next 4.
Kaiva was born at home in Berkeley in 2010. I had planned to do EC from birth and read up before he came! I caught his first meconium poop in the potty and was HOOKED. I did naked observation with him on a waterproof pad starting on day 1. I started actively pottying him by 2 weeks old. Felt a lot of confidence by 6 weeks.
Kaiva was fairly straight-forward. He usually signaled by being fussy and I'd also offer at diaper changes. I caught just about every other pee. Poops were 100% in the potty except for the week he began to crawl. I amped up my awareness and we got thru it!
When he was 5-12 months old, I wrote the first version of my book, Go Diaper Free, and it has since changed 100,000s of babies' and parents' lives, probably saving millions of disposable diapers from being landfilled. And I feel super good about that!
I took Kaiva out of diapers at 9 1/2 months BECAUSE I got absolutely sick of the diapering struggles we had every time I tried to change him. I moved him to crappy Gerber training pants and then to commando (no diff IMHO!). By the time he was 17 months old, he was 100% reliable in telling me he had to go. (Telling his preschool teacher? Not-so-much.)
TODAY, Kaiva is a brainiac, soooo smart, self-confident, witty, and clever, and has a gigantic heart. He struggles with keeping his hands to himself and is pretty easily annoyed by smaller people...so I try to help him find the peace within and the love everywhere, every day. He's an awesome bundle of love. Kaiva is THRILLED to help babies out of diapers (he knows he's a LOL)!
Hey everyone, meet Isadora!
In this photo she was almost 6 years old and she's my second of 5 babies. Isadora was EC’d from birth but then around 8 months old hubs and I looked at each other and said “We are being so lazy! We are hardly catching anything or making an effort with EC!”
So we got back on track - did some observation with a sumo-style backup (grab my free observation log), got her new natural timing down, switched from disposables to cloth diapers for daytime, switched to the toilet seat reducer, started paying attention to the 4 Easy Catches (see my YouTube or podcast) - and she started signing “toilet” right away!
She was just waiting for us to get back on board.
She started walking at 11ish months and then by 13 months we had no need for the cloth diapers anymore, so we switched to Tiny Undies.
By 15 months Isadora was telling us “pee” every single time she needed to go to the bathroom. Has not had an accident since then.
Goes to show: our babies totally follow our lead, no matter what that is! It matters! So get equipped if you’re not, get my book, and be courageous!
(Btw. Today, Isadora is a very self-confident, smart, athletic, coordinated, verbose little girl with a heart of gold.)
Hey everyone, meet Cooper!
He is my 3rd of 5 babies and had just turned 4 years old in this pic. Coops was born unassisted, Wonder Woman-style standing up in the bathtub...daddy catching him as he quickly emerged. A super sweet 75 minute labor, followed by a peaceful, colic-free babyhood and an easygoing EC experience - until the end. We always joked that Coop *always* looked high...he was such a chill baby.
So Cooper hardly ever pooped his diaper backup - we started EC at birth with him - but our challenge lay in preschool (13 months). I hadn’t yet invented TinyUps - my pull up cloth training pant covers - so I sent him in a disposable and worked with them to potty him at school. I was also pregnant with my 4th, terrible nausea 24/7, and we were remodeling our newly purchased farmhouse - so I didn’t take him out of awake-time diapers 100% until 17 months old. HOLD UP! I know, still early!, but to be honest, this delay ended up causing resistance and confusion.
In retrospect I should have taken him out of them at 12 months but I SIMPLY DID NOT HAVE THE TOOLS - and didn’t think it would have made that big a difference. No worries tho! He’d pooped in the toilet regularly + was a happy babe, so I can’t complain. And I created TinyUps because of all of this. (Cooper is now a self-confident little bugger - so chill and empathic and relates so well with all beings. Very musical, excellent listener, and full of kisses and cuddles!!!)
The moral: EARLIER to cloth trainers or undies (daytime) is typically better, like after baby is walking - it prevents confusion, makes you more present, and things usually work out a lot more smoothly with EC wrapup. I did it differently with my next youngest, Branson!
Hey everyone, meet Branson!
"B" is the 4th of our 5 babies. I thought he was going to be my last baby, so I savored him (and his wild stand-up hair) every solitary moment.
So, as I mentioned above, I should have taken Coop out of diapers much sooner, and I vowed to learn from my mistake. With B, I did just that. At 12 months old, one month after he started walking, I removed day diapers from the picture permanently. It was the best. decision. ever.
BUT WAIT! I wasn't ready! I was afraid to let go of the convenience!!!! HE WASN'T "THERE YET." BUT. I was equipped now: I trusted my heart . I focused on teaching him all the steps he needed to own the process, and I also had TinyUps (my pullup cloth covers) now. These helped his learning tremendously!
By the time he began preschool at 13 months, we had him used to a great rhythm of transition time pottytunities and also used to wearing Tiny Trainers/TinyUps at home and on outings. I gave the teacher some pointers (she'd already worked with Coop last year) and we worked out a plan of when to potty him at school. ACK RESISTANCE! The first week.
SOLUTION: I gave them the tip to "give B privacy! Turn your back and don't talk to him when he's on the child toilet" - and he never resisted them again. Branson is now 30 months old and he sleeps "commando" (pants-only) at night. BTW! This guy would have been a BEAR to conventionally toilet train. I am so grateful for EC, you guys! Seriously.
B is like a miniature wrestler. Nickname "Brutus Branson" or "Dancin Branson," full of vast emotional waves and the biggest heart. He is giving, sweet, and like the picture...a total freaking HAM.
This is Twyla, our 5th and final baby.
I snapped this photo of T when she was 7 months old. We can count on two hands how many times Twyla has pooped her biodegradable diaper backup - this girl is ON IT!
We had Twyla in a beautiful 75 minute unassisted birth back in November. My midwife quit...BY TEXT...3 days before my due date because she didn't want to drive out for an appt. So I got mad. Then I got smart. I studied my draft manuscript of The Unassisted Birth Manual (I swear it is almost done y'all!) for 5 days and then shipped all the kids off to grandma's house. Next morning 4am, easeful waterbirth with hubs.
We started elimination communication with her the very first day. We potty her when she wakes up, when she screams out (her fave poop signal lately!) while playing contentedly on the floor, at transition times, and when she gets wriggly in our arms or baby carrier. She is SUCH a chill baby (HAD to be the unassisted birth!).
Twyla is so loving. So vocal. She is already starting to sign "toilet" and "hungry" and "tired" - and she DANCES when her siblings ask Alexa to play ANY music, esp funky 80's stuff. Our plans? To take her out of daytime diapers right after she masters walking, to continue to teach her the words associated with needing to go, moving to the bathroom, and going in the toilet, and to wrap things up between 12-18 months by teaching her...and SAVORING every moment of it!
Twyla is adored by her siblings and now that she's crawling, a real go-getter! If only she could catch that cat....
UPDATE: we took Twyla out of daytime diapers at 12 months old, into Tiny Trainers, then into Tiny Undies at 15 months, and she's doing AMAZING...all pees and poops in the potty, even though she doesn't say anything except "Mama" at this point.
PS - I also teach new moms (who have big dreams and little babies) how to bring their business idea to life (or figure out what in the hey they can do to work from home and not have someone else raising that baby)...in MamaWorx. Come visit me over there. We have a lot of fun getting out of that new mom inertia and into the world with our gifts...while running the house and raising the babies. Come say hi and grab my free 50 MamaWorx Hacks, possibly drop in on one of my live Q+As, or take my full program this fall. XO Andrea
PPS - Here is my full "official" biography in case you were wanting to know more about me, me, me, or need it for some sort of media coverage you're preparing:
Andrea Olson is the proud mama of 5 children - all ECed from birth, all out of diapers by walking - and owner of Go Diaper Free and Tiny Undies. When she started Elimination Communication with her first baby, she struggled with how to actually potty her newborn - where were all the visual, simple instructions...and were there any other parents doing EC? Since then, Andrea has made it super-simple for 100,000s of parents worldwide to start EC with their own babies, as early as birth...and has trained over 300 coaches to host EC communities across the globe. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband, kiddos, sweet kitty, and (at last count) 18 backyard chickens.