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How to tell when it’s Potty Time

This is a re-post of an article originally published by Andrea Olson on November 18th, 2018


How to Know When Your Baby Needs to Pee - Elimination Communication

When you're doing EC with your baby you're gonna need to know how to determine when your baby needs to pee.

In potty training language, this could be considered your baby's "PeePee Dance."

In EC language, it's what I call "The Four Roads to Potty Time" and it includes 3 other things in addition to said PeePee Dance....

Why more complicated than just a Dance?

Well, that's because we're dealing with young infants here (ages 0-18 months)!

And although they are constantly communicating, it does come out in their own unique little language.

And sometimes that's not enough...sometimes we can't see or hear any signals at we'll need to call in all the options.

So, how best to know when it's time to pee?

Well, in a well-rounded EC practice there are 4 primary signs that tell you it may be Potty Time:

1. your baby's SIGNAL(S) (aka his PeePee Dance, although there are over 60 possibilities from body language to cute little noises to extreme fussiness to a "smiling" grimace, all personal to your baby)

2. your baby's NATURAL TIMING (when your babe usually does her business, in intervals after waking and feeding)

3. GENERIC (or common) TIMING (times when most babies typically need to go)

4. your INTUITION (if you don't know what this is...keep reading! I'll illustrate.)

Okay...that may sound like a LOT. (That's because it is!!)

To help SIMPLIFY all of this crazy stuff (that's what I'm here to help you with), I've written several role plays (excerpted directly from my Elimination Communication book) that will help you visualize what I mean....

Role Plays of Possible EC Potty Times

Here are 6 sample scenarios to help you see what leads to potty time. #1 is about Signaling, #2 about Natural Timing, #3 shows a combination of both Signaling and Natural Timing, #4 is about Generic Timing, #5 is about Intuition, and, finally, #6 illustrates a combination of Intuition and Natural Timing.

1. So you’re sitting around and your baby is playing nicely, and all of a sudden she gets grumpy and starts crying. That’s a Signal you’ve come to know and you see if she needs to potty.

2. Your baby is playing nicely after you fed her. It’s been about 10 minutes and you know she usually needs to go by now. You offer her the chance to potty, knowing her usual Natural Timing.

3. You fed your baby 10 minutes ago and she is playing nicely until all of a sudden her energy shifts, she gets a bit grumpy, and she starts crying. You put the two together: (a) she just ate (Natural Timing), and (b) she is Signaling you. You offer her the potty.

4. You are about to transfer your baby from the baby carrier to the carseat after grocery shopping. You offer her a pottytunity first (based on Generic Timing). When you get home 15 minutes later, you offer another pottytunity upon getting her out of the carseat (also based on Generic Timing).

5. You are carrying your baby around the house without his diaper on, when all of a sudden you feel warm and if he’s soaked you! You move him to the other hip and find yourself to be completely dry (this was a “phantom” pee...a.k.a. Intuition). You offer him a pottytunity and he goes!

6. You are cooking dinner and have the thought “the baby needs to pee” (Intuition). It’s been about 20 minutes since she last breastfed, which is her usual time to potty (Natural Timing)...but the thought “the baby needs to pee” keeps nagging you (Intuition) til you decide to leave the stove and offer the baby a Pottytunity. Voila! She pees.

Remember: These 4 events may shift over time...with every miss and every catch, remain open to change & evolution.

Hope you all enjoyed these role plays and now have a better understanding of what it might look like when your baby needs to pee!

IF one of the above situations happens to you, you can test out EC to see if it's right for your family! See my EC videos for some more hands-on examples.

Remember: if you mis-guess or have a miss (accident) then you've just received a ton of valuable information for next time! Take it in's the most helpful advice that comes from the "mishaps." :) you have an example of "how you know when your baby needs to pee" that comes from your own life? If so, please leave your favorite one(s) in the comments, below!

Thanks! As always, I hope you have a great time doing EC with your baby!....Love, Andrea

Watch the Video Version (new!)

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

Disclosure Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from purchases made through the links on this page.

Resource Recommendation

Potty Time Master: is my minicourse about the "when" behind pottying your baby.

Getting EC Back on Track:a minicourse that walks you through observation, logging, and getting back on the EC wagon

The Golden Window Newborn EC Course:A deep dive into how to start EC with your newborn baby

Go Diaper Free:

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.)

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