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How To Start Your EC Day Right

This post was originally posted on February 11, 2016, and has been fully updated on July 27, 2021 to include an audio (Podcast) version, a video (YouTube) version, and to include some basic updates. Enjoy! xx Andrea

Listen to the Podcast

Watch the Video Version

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

This is a guest post from our Go Diaper Free Certified Coach, Jen Cutright, who teaches parents EC in Apple Valley, CA, the surrounding high desert, and part time in Bishop, CA. I hope you enjoy her pragmatic, fun suggestions for your morning potty routine! xx Andrea

You know those days where everything (including EC) just doesn’t go right from the beginning?

How about, instead, those days where everything (including EC!) seems to flow just about perfectly?

What?!? You mean you don’t have those? Well, I’m here to tell you how to create those kinds of days from the get-go.

Disclaimer! I am not a professional….anything. I simply have 2 small girls close in age and have had to learn the hard way to parent them pretty much alone. I have no family nearby, I move too much to find good sitters, and my hubby has an extremely demanding job. But here is the value to my knowledge: I am pretty much starting from scratch when it comes to anything to do with these small humans we call our children. I was not a ‘kid-person’ growing up. I did not babysit as a teenager. Children were not drawn to me like they are certain ‘kid-people.’ In fact, my husband and I agreed when we married that neither of us ever wanted children. It took 8 years of marriage before we were blessed with that ‘need for children.’ So I had no previous experience, training, or even insight. I had NO IDEA what to do with children (or what they do), much less babies.

You really don’t believe me? Well, when I was pregnant with my first, I was visiting a friend with a 2 year old. We decided to go for a walk early in the morning, but her son was sleeping in a bit. I actually thought we would leave him home ALONE to sleep while we walked the neighborhood by ourselves. It never occurred to me how wrong this was…. YES! This is the truth! That’s how bad it was.

And this is us now!!
jen cutright - Certified Coach

Ok, story of my life over, let’s move on to the reason you’re here:

How to start your day right - with both EC and the rest of your daily activities.

This should apply to children of all ages and stages of Elimination Communication.

From the moment your children wake, have EC on your mind. Not in an intense way, but more like - it’s on your to do list today.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a morning person or not, this works the majority of the time (except for those days that are bound and dog-determined to go awry) if you can get your sleepy butt in gear.

The first morning pee (and/or poo) is the easiest and best to catch! And with that accomplished, EC will feel so successful the rest of the day! Your child will probably feel that sense of accomplishment along with motivation to do it again.

I know, it sounds so simple. It is, and it isn’t. You’ll find it works well, then you flop on the weekends, or you have a bad day, or you have a couple of bad days in a row and you forget the routine. But just like anything you want to become a habit, you’ll need to suck it up and get back on that wagon.

Here is a video of my daughter at 13mo using the potty first thing in the morning:

Here are my best tips to make a good EC day happen

  • Get things ready the night before:
    • Have your preferred little potty in the room where the baby sleeps, ready to use.
    • Have wipes or a roll of toilet paper right next to it so you’re not scrambling with a dripping baby.
    • Keep a stash of just a few special little toys or books that are for the potty only, and set out a new toy by the potty each morning. (This works especially well with mobile babies to draw them towards the potty first thing.)
  • Keep your mind on EC (once again, not intensely, just ‘back-burner’ type of way) when you go to bed so that you wake with that as your first thing on the to-do list.
  • If you’re not a morning person:
    • You’ll probably want to get up before your child usually does and wake up a little.
    • Or if your little one is not on a schedule, keep some water next to the bed and take a swig as soon as you need to get up and help your child. It will help you wake up (I’m not promising a sunshine mood though).
    • And definitely get things ready the night before.
  • If your child is not a morning person and is particularly grumpy or just doesn’t need to ‘go’ first thing, don’t sweat it. Adhere to the fact that urinating first thing in the morning is mandatory and, keeping things calm and ‘matter-of-fact,’ lock yourselves in the room where you’re pottying until that first pee/poo is caught. (This has worked on both my girls, who are complete opposites in their personalities and even peeing habits.) It may take a few days or even a week for them to realize that this is the norm...just hang in there.
toddler reading potty story to baby sister
Early morning bathroom session with my 3yo reading to her 16mo sister.  Having the big sister in there reading (the Tiny Potty board book) helped when we hit resistance.
  • If your child sleeps in his own room, keep a baby monitor near him set at high sensitivity if possible, at least in the morning, and listen for the moment he wakes so you can rush in (CALMLY, BUT QUICKLY) and get that catch. This works especially well when encouraging nighttime dryness.
Montessori EC room set up 1
This is my 1.5yo's Montessori room set up. Mini potty is stabilized on a rug right in front of her bed.  Next to it is her favorite book, and a fun light up toy. She slept commando the first few weeks of night training and was able to use the potty quickly and on her own when she first woke.

Making this a habit for you and your child will take you so far in your EC journey! It’s so rewarding to see your child eventually just expecting this morning potty routine and eventually doing it on their own. And you’ll get bonus points towards night-time training when you tackle that if you haven’t already. The child anticipates that first morning pee and will usually hold it better.

Another HUGE benefit of this practice is that you get into a ‘get up and get things done’ routine, and you might find yourself getting up even earlier to get yourself ready for the day before you have to try to do it with a kid or two hanging on you.

I know I LOVE the days that I can make this happen.

Jen Cutright
GDF Certified Coach, Apple Valley area, California
Visit my coach profile and local Facebook Group here

Resource Recommendation

Potty Time Mastery: a minicourse that helps you get extremely good at detecting the 4 ways to know the baby has to pee

Go Diaper Free: my popular EC book that simplifies EC, beginning to end

Jen Cutright

About Jen Cutright

I'm Jen! Jesus is my superhero. The Proverbs 31 woman is my mentor. I am a FarmGirl at heart, no matter where I live. My husband completes me. My daughters have taught me to search out the most natural way of living without complicating things. Visit my local GDF Facebook Group here.


  1. Avatar Heidi on February 16, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Great tip! I love how much independence you allow your younger daughter. We always start the day with a morning pee, but my son still doesn’t initiate it himself.

  2. Avatar Ruth Gibbs on February 17, 2016 at 3:18 am

    This worked with my older boy but with my younger girl, I hover there waiting for her to wake up and I can see her waking slowly and as she does, she does a wee in her nappy and then she wakes up fully. It is a bit frustrating as I can’t get that morning wee without waking her up myself which seems mean, not to mention waking the other two!

  3. Avatar Kenneth McNay on April 22, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Getting a morning catch is working great for us. It’s encouraging to see baby pleased in the morning too; she really seems happy sitting on the tiny potty.

  4. Avatar Stella on October 18, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    I love the idea of having a bed my 1.5 yo can get out of herself and potty herself. She is still in a crib as of right now. Do you practice Montessori in most of what you do? How do you get her to go to sleep by herself and stay in bed? I don’t see my 1.5 yo doing that. Do you have any resources you would suggest to help with this goal?
    Also, does she ever make a mess of her pee/poo afterwards? My older child (son) started dumping his little potty after going poop and pee in it onto the carpet in his bedroom. He would smear into the carpet and onto the walls. Needless to say it took me a while to realize I needed to take his mini potty out of his bedroom.

    • Avatar Jen C on December 11, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      @Stella, I’m sorry for the late response.
      To get my girls sleeping in their bed and staying in their beds, we just did it in steps. Laid them in bed and stayed in the room, putting her back each time until she fell asleep. 3 weeks later, we’d stand outside the door and listen, and put her back each time she got up. A few weeks after that, we’d just check in on her every 5 min or so and she learned quick. As with most parenting skills, consistency is key. They love responsibility with boundaries. And yes, we used a lot of Montesorri Methods, especially the way we would present things and teach things. Very minimal talking, and very straight forward, no nonsense words.
      Yes, she made quite a few messes, but not purposely. Something about the responsibility of dumping herself in the big toilet, she just couldn’t wait to do it. I know it’s both a personality thing, and it’s a maturity issue. Just be very straight forward, and don’t beg with your kids. Tell them what you expect of them and walk away. They’ll begin to want to follow the rules because they don’t see you freaking out or overreacting to issues. There’s no room for arguing. And finally, realize that this takes time. Like a year. When we train young, we know their body is ready, it’s just their mind that needs to keep up, it’s so busy playing and learning other things. :D

  5. Avatar Erika C-B on July 27, 2021 at 7:42 am

    I’ve been trying to do this but we hit so much resistance from my son most mornings, and then I worry about insisting too much so he doesn’t go on the potty for the rest of the day. Not really sure how to strike a balance here…

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on July 27, 2021 at 11:02 am

      It really depends on your little ones age and personality that will determine the most effective route.

      Trying different things to find the resistant can be helpful. For instance, some little ones want cuddles before peeing upon waking.

    • Avatar Sondra Orts on July 29, 2021 at 4:58 pm

      This has always been my concern as well, I totally avoided this over the last couple of months during EC, and then during PT because she began strongly resisting all pottytunities we offered if she didn’t think she had to go (except before bed). But then 3 weeks into PT I noticed she has gotten so good at holding her pee for so long in the mornings, now she will just let it all out at once before we can get to the potty because her bladder is tired of holding it in, and it started happening for all her other pees during the day too! I realized not having the habit of going in the morning was contributing to the habit of holding it for so long. So just last week, my husband (i am too weak to carry her right now for medical reasons) started taking her in the morning around when she woke up (not letting her stay in the crib for so long while we get things ready downstairs, potentially avoiding her feeling wound up and raring to go by the time we got to her), and it has been a big help for us. She has gotten more in the habit of relieving her bladder before it becomes too full. Hope this helps!

      • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on August 9, 2021 at 1:01 pm

        Thanks SO much for sharing this! 💕

  6. Avatar Jane Doe on July 27, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Around what age do you suggest starting holding a little one on the potty and/or using a mini potty?

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on August 9, 2021 at 11:31 am

      It really depends on the little one. Some babies like being held over the toilet or tiny potty from the start.

      Generally, I would say people start putting their little ones on potties when babies feel ‘too heavy to hold’ and/or can sit up with little to no assistance.

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