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Baby signals: stopping, starting + changing! – let’s dig a little deeper into EC signals today


Today's episode of the Go Diaper Free Podcast is all about baby signals.

How will you recognize when your baby needs to potty?

And, how can you teach them to signal?

Baby signals can differ depending on the developmental stage of your baby, so today we'll cover some of the common signals you will see for various ages and how you can recognize them.

The easiest time to start Elimination Communication is when your baby is a newborn because they tend to be especially vocal with their signals, but EC can be implemented at a later stage and we'll also talk cues for the older baby.

We'll go over what pottying would have been like centuries ago, and how you can let that information guide you through your EC journey.

You will hear:

  • Common EC Signals
  • What to do if your child stops signaling
  • How signals change as your child develops
  • The best times to start and stop (wrap-up) EC

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the transcript

If you prefer to read the transcript of this episode, you can download it by clicking or right-clicking here:


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Lastly, if you like the podcast and have a sec to leave a review, please do so here. It means the world to me (in that more new parents discover EC the more people leave reviews...yay!).

Your turn! Please leave a comment below with your baby’s current signal.

xx Andrea

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) 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. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar Emma K on January 15, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Great episode, Andrea. I really appreciate this clear and concise format as it is easy to fit in to a busy day!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 15, 2019 at 11:55 am

      Thanks for your feedback, Emma! So glad you like the format!! xox Andrea

  2. Avatar Kristan on January 15, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Great episode! Thanks for all of the useful information.

    My baby is 4.5 months and we’ve been doing EC for around 2 months. She doesn’t really signal when she has to pee, it just comes out. But I know when she has to poo. After waking up, after breastfeeding, usually before we start to put her to sleep. Usually with pees I just guess and try and it usually works.

    Never give up!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:23 am

      You are so welcome, Kristan!! <3 You gals are doing great!

  3. Avatar Bethany on January 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Love this episode! Perfect length. Your info is very helpful for me! I’ve learned a lot from you! My baby girl is 6 1/2 months. So close to crawling! EC is going really well, I’m not sure if she’s signaling a lot right now, but something’s working. We seem to be communicating well! We catch a lot of the pees, and mostly all the poos since starting solids a few short weeks ago.
    I wouldn’t mind a little more on EC while out and about. Any little tips on making it work best. :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Hey Bethany! Awesome! Yeah, EC is about the two-way communication, that doesn’t necessarily include a clear signal. It still works. :) For EC on outings, I have a lot of info in my book – – and also an add-on minicourse – – lots of resources to hopefully make it easier for ya!! xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Jessica on January 16, 2019 at 11:53 am

    From month 4 to 6, baby would often signal with a “crrrr” sound (especially while breastfeeding and looking straight into my eyes). Now, she’s started scratching her diaper when she needs to go. It’s much more subtle since her little hands are always busy wiggling around!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:48 am

      That is soooo cute!!! Thanks for sharing Jessica <3

  5. Avatar Rachael on January 16, 2019 at 11:59 am

    My LO is now 14 months, but we’re still not having great success. Don’t get me wrong I’m super glad when we do catch, but it’s only about 60% of the time. I know we should be looking at wrapping up at this age, but I think I need to do more research on it. She’s also currently getting three teeth!! (Wow) so EC as well as sleeping through the whole night is a bit of a struggle right now along with solid foods and pretty much everything but playing and nursing. BUT when she does tell me she has to go, it’s still grunts for botb. I’m considering moving the potty into our living room as we have a baby gate up as mom works while watching the little and the potty is in her room…. Any thoughts appreciated!! Thanks Andrea. I have found your content helpful during our EC journey!!

    • Avatar Diana on January 16, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      That must be a lot for you to handle right now! Sometimes teething can really interrupt life:( but 60% of the time is majority so that means you’re getting closer to 100!
      My daughter grunted for pee and poop until like 20 months. Keep honoring her cues and taking her when she does signals. Try your idea of moving the potty to the room, it may work!

      • Avatar Rachael on January 17, 2019 at 9:53 am

        Thank you!! That’s good to know. I think I’ll give it a shot!

        • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:50 am

          I totally agree with Diana (she is one of our Certified Coaches – do reach out to her if you need more personalized help and she and you can get on the phone!)….60% is the majority! Stop counting, for now, and start CONNECTING. She is going thru a lot and you can best support her thru transition times right now…and going with what signals ARE there (vs. hoping for some other signal that is not there, to appear). You might consider doing a potty training experience by 15 months to wrap it all up. I think you’ll be successful! Get my PT book and read up in the meanwhile – :) xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Tiffany on January 16, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Great episode! Exactly what I needed to hear. My lo is almost 4 months and I’m currently struggling recognizing any signals for pee. She seems to be holding her bladder longer; my timing will be way off with when she actually needs to go. Poop is much easier. She really doesn’t like to have a poopy diaper so she tries harder to let me know and I normally catch 100% of poos.
    I love hearing about how your EC is going with Twyla. Have you experienced any regression from your other kids following her birth? I am currently trying to bounce back from a regression from my 2 1/2 year old boy. Any tips there appreciated.
    I am looking forward to more podcasts from you. You have excellent advice and always encourage me to keep at it! Thank you!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Hey Tiffany! So glad this has helped you. 100% poops at 4 months old is AWESOME. Seriously. You are still learning each other. It seems completely normal. :)
      No, no regression from her birth, but definitely some more accidents because MY attention is divided. So, I enlist help from my older ones and we often potty together, all at the same time. Baby first, then 2 yo, then the next, me, etc. You get the picture. For your 2 1/2 year old…involve him in a meaningful way, in all the baby care, as you are able, and you may see things turn around. Also getting him a new potty of some sort can add incentive. :) Thanks for your feedback – I’ll keep at it so you feel continually encouraged! xx Andrea

  7. Avatar Diana on January 16, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    My boy is almost 4 months. Some times I know certain signals is poppping off the breast when nursing. He’s aslo very predictable in the morning. 7:00 on the dot starts crying and wiggling in his sleep— he just needs to poo. So I potty him then. And he goes back to sleep; it’s been like that since birth. Sometimes he randomly whines or cries during playtime as a cue for pee as well. Starting for birth definitely paid off— his signals were SO clear as a newborn it was amazing.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Agreed, hands-down! Congrats on your new baby, btw!!! <3 You've got this nailed...and I'm sure you'll continue to enjoy the ebbs and flows as he grows up. xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Rose on January 19, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    At 6M old, Katherine is crawling and boogying and loves to play. She will get either super still or super squirmy as her main signal. Otherwise we are relying on natural timing (1 hour unless she has recently woken up) and transition times. Hoping she will start crawling better soon and realize she can crawl towards the potty as a cue.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:54 am

      Oh it most definitely will happen! Glad you’re aware of that signal…crawling to the potty is such a good one. :) Congrats on your progress and deep knowing of one another! <3 Andrea

  9. Avatar Heather on January 20, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Congratulations on your new addition. I love listening to your podcasts and all the fantastic information. I’m always aware of my son looking towards me if he wants a feed and he looks away from me or at the door if he’s wanting the potty. As you talked about in one of the podcasts – he had a potty pause around 6 months and although he’s back to using the potty again – he sometimes doesn’t want to sit down anymore or he’ll sit on the toilet but not the potty. I’m not sure why. Congratulations with your new potty too. Thanks.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 9:58 am

      Thank you, Heather! Congrats to you too for LO getting thru the potty pause. I think they often want to sit where the big people (you) sit…this is a pretty normal preference change as they get older. <3 Andrea

  10. Avatar Laíssa on January 22, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Thank you for this episode, Andrea. I loved that the format is short and straight to the point. It’s so simple and obvious to look for a uncomfortable sign but I didn’t before listening to this! I was just looking for specific signs and was not looking at the whole picture. This episode made all the difference for us. She’s 3 months old and we started 2 weeks ago. I went from 1 catch a day for 9 catches just after listening to your tips! Thank you!

  11. Avatar Andrea Olson on February 7, 2019 at 10:01 am

    You are so welcome, Laissa! Yeah, I think the point is, the baby is getting uncomfortable and that can come across in a variety of forms. The big picture. Thanks for further clarifying for me, too. :) Wow on the success jump already! Congrats on starting and stick with it! xx Andrea

  12. Avatar cami on July 19, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    Hi! Thank you for the episode.
    I’m having a really hard time now with EC it was going really well until he turned 10 months and began crawling and now trying to walk at 12 months. We used to catch 100% now maybe 40% :( I was feeling like I was doing something wrong or there was something wrong with him. I feel desperate at some points I hope it all works in the end. But it’s hard to understand why it would suddenly stop.
    Thank you!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on July 24, 2021 at 10:07 am

      Happy to help! ❤️

  13. Avatar Catriona on November 2, 2022 at 8:06 am

    Thanks for sharing this :) My second is 5 months and we want to start EC but we never had any signals at all when he was smaller – I found your website and podcast before he was born and it said we would see really obvious signals from birth but we did not. We aren’t first timers either. Is it possible that our baby doesn’t show signals? What could we do if there are none?

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 5, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      That is so hard sometimes! In my book Go Diaper Free I go over what signals can sometimes look like. There are so many and many times it’s so subtle it’s incredibly easy to miss. At 5 months he is still super young and going through many milestones that can affect his EC journey. You are doing great and you got this momma!!!

  14. Avatar Melinda on April 24, 2024 at 4:24 am

    My baby is 7 weeks and I’ve been doing part time EC with him since he was two weeks old. I’ve noticed over the past two weeks that I’ve been having nothing but misses, and I can’t recognize his cues anymore. I could just be doing something and easily recognize he is cueing and toilet him. But now it seems like he doesn’t cue at all anymore. On top of that, he cries right after he wakes up so I can’t toilet him until he has eaten and he usually goes during that time. Is there anything I can do?

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on April 27, 2024 at 5:22 pm

      Babies this young are changing so quickly. Has there been any changes in diet or in his elimination? Is he waking up gassy or in hungry? There is so much that can affect babies at this stage. The best thing you can do is to stay consistent. You got this momma!

      • Avatar Melinda on April 27, 2024 at 7:11 pm

        He wakes up with indigestion and GERD. I give him gripe water whenever I notice it. It also seems to aggravate his GERD when I straddle him over the potty since his knees go into tummy. So I feel bad when toileting him and take him off early, so he ends up having a miss in his diaper.

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on April 28, 2024 at 9:12 pm

          Since he’s going while nursing, what you can do is use the top hat while he nurses, or leave him bare bottomed over an absorbent pad while nursing this way, he is builds and maintains that mind body connection of when he has to go. Again, you got this! Give pottying while nursing a try, it might just be the game changer you need right now!

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