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How do you potty train a baby?: How I answered a group of 3rd graders at my son’s school career day.

GDF Podcast 44

Today we’re going to answer the BIG new thing on everyone’s mind: How DO you potty train a baby?

Sort of a big question, right?

Although I've spent yeeeaaaarrrrrs breaking this topic down into smaller nuggets of information, today I’d like to share my extra-super-simplified answer to this ginormous question...the way I explained it to a bunch of 3rd graders on Career Day at my son’s school.

(These answers will also help you explain EC to family and friends. #because3rdgraders y’all.)

Are ya ready?

You will learn:

  • Which instincts every human has, including 3rd graders, grown-ups, and babies
  • The difference between 'training' and 'encouraging a natural process'
  • What to begin with to ensure your success
  • The environmental impact of diapers
  • How to explain infant potty training easily!
  • And...a helpful EC tip for you from one of our readers.

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?) and read the transcript here:

Transcript download: How do you potty train a baby?

Watch the Video Version

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Thanks for Listening!

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  • Share your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments section below!

Do you have any tips on how to start EC with a baby, or do you have any questions about the topic of potty training a baby? Please leave a comment below with your experience!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

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 Sandy on May 28, 2019 at 7:29 am

    My tip for starting EC is for folks that camp. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on those special pee pads, you can use your tent footprint/tarp on the floor with a towel/prefold over it for diaper free time & observation sessions. Works like a charm to keep your carpet clean :)

  2. Avatar Erinkate on May 28, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    I was quite overwhelmed with BF struggles and having my first newborn so I didn’t start EC until 4 weeks. To begin I started observations in the bathtub. After nursing my baby in the bath I would set a timer and mark when my son peed. Doing this in the bath was relaxing, easy to clean and seemed the easiest way for me to notice when my son peed. He never has been much of a signaler for peeing. Once I figured out the intervals we started naked observation time on a mattress pad with the top hat potty. I feel this got him used to peeing in a receptacle. From the beginning catching poo was a lot easier with a bowl or top hat potty just by providing a lot of opportunities. He was and is still much much happier to go in a potty instead of his diaper even on the airplane.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on June 5, 2019 at 10:18 am

      That is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your story. xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Delila Leber on June 1, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Someone asked me yesterday whether doing EC part time could cause the baby to hold it too long because they are expecting to go in the potty instead of a diaper, and possibly affect them negatively because they’d try to hold it for hours. Can you tell me what you would say to that question? I wasn’t sure. Thanks! I’m ECing when at home only and not much at night with my now 10-week old. Her main concern was the fact that the potty isn’t being made available at all times consistently for a baby who doesn’t understand yet why that’s the case.

    • Avatar Sandy on June 1, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      I also wonder that, Delila. I read that chronic holding leads to issues like constipation, accidents, and reccurent UTIs, but not sure how accurate that is. I wonder what Andrea’s take on it is. From what I’ve read, my guess is that as long as you offer the potty frequently and/or predictably (i.e. baby knows they get potty at home but not out and about, or only in morning or after diaper changes, etc.) and you don’t shame them/act disappointed for going in their diaper when they need to, it may not ever become an issue. Not sure what you do when they get old enough to play and don’t want to be distracted by pottying, though.

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on June 1, 2019 at 9:29 pm

        That is information spread by a urologist. His experience with children is very skewed, he only sees them when they have a very big problem. EC does not cause any of those issues. There would be entire countries, entire generations in the US, etc that are constipated if it were true. xx Andrea

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on June 1, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Delila! Babies really can’t hold for very long, even if they really don’t want to use a diaper. They won’t hold to the point of damaging themselves. I’d say most babies that are part time EC’d freely use diapers, so it wouldn’t be an issue. Babies are really clever, they figure out when the potty is offered, who offers it, etc. It isn’t confusing as long as you are consistent with what you do for part time. xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Delila on June 1, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks for the quick response!

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