Hi. I'm Andrea Olson of Go Diaper Free. If you wish to begin helping your baby use the toilet instead of diapering full-time, and you want to learn how to do elimination communication but don't know where to begin, this page is for you.
I believe learning EC should be simple and straight-forward, and that pottying your baby should work well even if done part time, even with a diaper back-up. I am all about co-creating a successful, good-smelling baby-raising experience with you!
What is Elimination Communication?
The GDF Definition
The best way I can define EC is this:
Elimination Communication is a gentle, non-coercive way to respond to a baby’s natural hygiene needs, from as early as birth. Like all mammals, human babies instinctually resist soiling themselves, their sleep space, and their caregivers, and they clearly communicate about it from birth. With EC, we learn baby's signals and natural rhythms and assist them with this process until they naturally gain independence (usually by 9-18 months of age).
Another way to think about it: What did humans do before diapers? And what do humans do in regions where diapers are not commercially available?
An example: If you've ever cared for a baby who just won't stop crying, you probably tried feeding her, holding her, rocking her, shushing her, singing, etc, and then, last, checked her diaper...and find it was wet or soiled! However, if you had only known what that cry meant from the beginning, you'd have offered baby the potty. 9 times out of 10 she was crying for you to get that diaper off of her so she wouldn't have to pee on herself or her bed...or you.
With EC, we tune into what our babies are born asking for, team up to help them use the toilet while they develop motor skills and long-term memory, and eventually teach them how to do it themselves. It's a very natural transition to toilet independence.
EC works because this is how NATURE created us. Babies are extremely instinctual, and when we parents zoom out, we can see that they are trying to tell us what they want - beyond eating, sleeping, and staying warm!
Pottying your baby can make baby-raising cleaner, easier, and MUCH more connected. Plus, it protects the environment while your baby's dignity remains intact.
Now let's look at the various ways Elimination Communication can be practiced with your 0-18 month old baby....
(18 months and up? Check out my gentle potty training 101 page.)
Types of Elimination Communication
And what to expect
Parents who EC use the diaper as a "back-up" instead of a permanent, wearable toilet. We invest our time up-front (not as much as you'd guess) so we don't have to potty train and reteach our children to go in the toilet later.
Most parents use a diaper back-up til baby is 9-16 months old, and the vast majority do EC part-time (in other words, it's super-convenient to blend EC into any busy schedule).
Now I'm gonna walk you through 4 different types of Elimination Communication and what to expect from each. Please click on the title or the "+" button below to read each section!
What Elimination Communication is NOT
Time to resolve some myths
Let's reverse the commons myths by sharing some TRUTH before we go any deeper.
1. Elimination communication NOT as time-consuming as full-time diapering and later potty training.
Any type of potty learning takes time and knowledge. However, most ECers find paying attention to and pottying a baby much easier and faster a process than cleaning up a diaper mess. Plus, we shave off an average of 18 months of time changing diapers, per kid.
2. Elimination Communication is NOT your 3-day boot camp and will not happen overnight.
It is, indeed, a long game. But isn't parenting? Teaching eat independently? To read? To swim? All these things take time. While doing the up-front work of learning your baby to practice EC with him, you're more deeply connecting with your child. We think that's worth the up-front time.
3. Elimination Communication will NOT damage, rush, or prematurely push your baby.
EC is not damaging or all humans for 100,000s of years would have been damaged. It doesn't rush your child - it is a natural process. It is empowering. If you're "baby-led" and you don't want to "rush" them to stop using diapers, I'd invite you to really look at this choice you've made. You teach them to go in diapers, or you teach them to go in the potty. It's not baby's choice...it's yours.
4. Elimination Communication is NOT going to ruin your new carpets.
Naked baby peeing everywhere?! Not in my house. We must modify EC to be practical for our Western lifestyle. We use "back-ups," including diapers, underwear, training pants. We use clothing. We use tiny little things called potties that require skill to sit upon. We use public restrooms. We use toilet paper! The way I teach EC at Go Diaper Free is convenient to the modern, busy lifestyle.
Elimination Communication Essential #1
A Single Starting Point
A single starting point is the first essential for any parent practicing Elimination Communication with their baby.
There is a lot of free EC info on the Internet. That is a great option for some, but I don't recommend winging it off of free info you find on the web or on Facebook Groups for 3 important reasons:
- Advice-givers (other parents) have no vested interest in giving you accurate information...or in following up with you when things don't go as planned. They've ECed maybe 1 or 2 of their own babies. They have other jobs or priorities. You may be left hanging.
- Too much information (TMI) can lead to overwhelm and even non-action. When you post a question to an EC Facebook Group, you'll get a ton of differing opinions. Try them all and baby will be confused. Try to pick the "best" option and you will be confused.
- When you start EC by winging it you miss the opportunity to set up a foundation for future success (and fail to prevent common problems). Sure, every young baby will pee when put into position. Is it truly EC...or is it beginners' luck?
These 3 reasons above are exactly why I recommend going with a single starting point. You have an expert at your disposal, clarity with much less overwhelm, and a strong foundation for ongoing EC success.
The Book I Trust...Because I Wrote It.
Learning how to get good at EC from plain text and anecdotal advice can be a big challenge. I was so frustrated by the available resources when I began EC with my first son that I created my own - one that truly provided the hands-on, visual experience that my readers deserve...from a strong base of research. I call my book Go Diaper Free: A Simple Handbook for Elimination Communication.
It has essential multimedia features that will teach you in the way EC was meant to be learned - hands-on, person-to-person, and visual. Bonuses currently include an audiobook version, video library, downloadable forms and guide, and a private support group. And, the book itself is a fun, quick read!
Elimination Communication Essential #2
The Right Tools
Gathering the right Elimination Communication tools for the age of your baby is one of the smartest decisions you can make.
See below for my videos on EC tools for three age groups: Newborns, Mobile Babies, and Young Toddlers.
Below that, find my full Supply List in PDf format. It is fully clickable! The search for good EC gear is now easier. :)
Why are the right Elimination Communication supplies so important for new parents of young babies? Because with the right tools babies signal more strongly and resist much less, and you experience a lot less stress with learning this unfamiliar process.
Also, knowing ahead of time which tools fit which baby's age and stage with help you transition to the best diaper or other back-up, potty seat, and easy-on/easy-off clothing particular to your growing, changing baby's needs.
Down the road, you'll be prepared, which is the key to success with Elimination Communication (and parenting, for that matter!).
I only recommend tools I've personally used, myself, with my own babies...and I've helped 10,000s of parents find gear that fits their babies, too, with their multitude of stages and needs.
What gear do I need to EC a newborn 0-6 months?
What gear do I need to EC a mobile baby 6-12 months?
What gear do I need to EC a young toddler 12-18 months?
The Baby Potty Training Supplies I Use + Trust.
I've used a few core brands from the very beginning and I trust them deeply. Baby Bjorn for mini potties, Potette Plus for portable potty seats, Seventh Generation diapers and wipes, Naturally Diaper Free and EC Wear for EC clothing and handmade items, and more.
I've even started my own line of Tiny Undies and Tiny Trainers training pants, plus wet/dry bags, at TinyUndies.com, because my kids had nothing to wear when they went diaper-free! My sizes start at 6 months and go up to 5T.
I'm currently designing the next generation of top hat potties (newborn potty bowls) because you just can't get them anymore.
I hear stories from other parents all the time about the difficulty in finding potty gear for kids this young. Thankfully, I've made it easy for you to find everything you need to make EC an even bigger success.
I highly recommend everything on my supply list and supply videos.
Get Started the Right Way
My Free Easy Start Guide
Before you venture off full steam ahead with your newfound infant potty knowledge, I'd love to share with you a one page resource that gives a great overview of the four most important aspects of elimination communication.
This handout is exclusive to the over 10,000 parents on the list. You won't find any of it on my blog or in my book. With it, I'll send you nuggets of wisdom and tips and will generally aim to keep in touch over your journey. I do this because I want a personal connection with you where I can offer you guidance in nurturing your new potty practice with your baby.
(And sometimes I throw out some questions and just LOVE getting replies from our community.)
Get immediate access to the Easy Start Guide by clicking the button below and entering your info at the top of the page this button will bring you to. I can't wait to help you get started!
You're amazing and wonderful!
Thank you for being here with me
I'm here for you as your biggest supporter and your personal guide.
I want to hear your success stories. I want you to tell me where I can be of even more help. I only create resources when I hear it from our community that they are needed...and I do my best to make them great.
I want to share in your Elimination Communication experience as your friend and biggest cheerleader.
I try my hardest to reply to all emails. I strive for non-judgment and acceptance...you won't find any parenting critics here!
I believe that EVERY new parent deserves to know their diapering and potty training options from the MOMENT they're pregnant...and I sincerely believe that babies deserve their dignity and deserve to be diaper-free (free from dependence upon diapers).
In everything I do here at Go Diaper Free, I just want to make the world a better place through teaching Elimination Communication - for our babies, ourselves as natural parents, and our precious environment.