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Mamas just relax: 4 tips for stress free EC

Mamas Just Relax - 4 Tips for Stress-free EC

This is a guest post from Natalie Robbins, our certified coach serving Indianapolis and surrounding areas. Enjoy! xx Andrea

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get caught up in measuring my success with EC day by day.

Today, for example, I felt so good about myself. I caught a poop and *almost* all pees! Only three wet diapers - killing it!! ☺

One day earlier this week though...I ONLY caught about three pees. The rest, AND a poop, ended up in the diaper. ☹

But, what I so often forget is that one good day or one bad day is NOT the measure of EC success, or even my mom skills.

The point of EC is the learning process. Over and over again Andrea stresses in Go Diaper Free that the EC journey is non-linear. But it’s so hard to remember sometimes. 

I hate to break it to you, but counting diapers, or obsessing over the number of catches isn’t going to help the EC process - if anything, it’ll probably set you back.

The answer: Let go and RELAX!!! ☺

I’ve found that my days tend to fall into three main categories:

EC Obsessed

I am bound and determined to keep ONE diaper dry ALL DAY LONG. It’s a bit unrealistic, especially with a 5 month old.... but supermom can do it all, right?

Of course, this turns into me trying to take the lead, offering way more pottytunities than necessary, and when the inevitable miss occurs, becoming quite frustrated with my less-than perfect record.

Spaced Out

Whether it’s navigating the hurricane of e-learning, trying to keep up with housework, visiting with friends, feeling sick, or whatever else - I am mentally SOMEWHERE ELSE and EC is literally the last thing on my mind.

Somehow I forget that when she gets fussy, I should try the potty; and after unsuccessfully trying several minutes to calm my frustrated baby, the realization hits me: She had to pee, duh. I consequently change diaper after diaper all day. 

At least I have a scapegoat (work was on my mind, etc.), but I still feel like a failure, whatever the distraction had been.

Easy Does It

I don’t worry about EC. I potty the baby when she wakes up (or after nursing upon wakeup as she usually insists on food first) and she, the baby, *clearly* fusses that she needs to go potty, otherwise I don’t even think about it. ☺

As EC becomes more a part of our routine, these days are thankfully becoming more common. When we came up on our 4th month of EC practice around 7 months old, our baby started to become more independent and communicative. I found more of a balance of being in tune with her, but not stressing over a possible miss.

So mamas, if you’re trying to be perfect and measuring your success by the number of catches, just relax. I promise you’ll be glad you did. ☺

4 Tips for Stress-free EC Tips for staying chill

4 tips for staying chill....

  1. Don’t rush the training pants

    I notice I’m just a teeny bit more tense when I put my baby in trainers and a teeny bit less confident in her ability to communicate when she needs to go. 

    • The solution? Use them for short periods when you are CONFIDENT in your child’s ability to stay dry (mornings are typically our best time, so I’m not worried about her being in trainers then.) Otherwise, use a backup you won’t stress about getting wet. OR, if you use trainers, let the baby primarily play in an area covered by yoga mats, or put a prefold down on the floor underneath a not-yet mobile baby. Whatever it takes to make you feel JUST AS nonchalant as when baby is in diapers.


    If I put her on the potty first and she is hungry, I’m left with a VERY unhappy baby. I want to avoid any negative association with pottying as much as possible.
    • The solution? EVERY time my baby fusses, I put her to the breast FIRST. If she needs to use the bathroom, she will refuse to nurse and scream at me - a pretty clear signal. Then, I can confidently potty her knowing she definitely has to go. ☺ A top hat potty can create an easier transition from feeding, and a happier baby as well. I’ve also earned a degree in “acrobatic nursing” – primarily kneeling and feeding while my baby sits on the seat reducer or minipotty, those times that I’ve forgotten the proper order of things, but don’t feel like rediapering to nurse. 
  1. Keep an eye on the clock

    When I’m not sure how long it’s been since her last pee, I hover more.

    • The solution? Every time she successfully uses the potty, I make a note of the time. That way, next time she signals, I have an idea of how long it’s been, and can judge whether or not she probably needs to go based on my knowledge of her natural timing. Otherwise, I go about my day as usual and don’t think or worry about the potty until I see a signal or it gets close to when I expect her to need to go. When I look back on these early days with my baby, I want to remember the fun memories (not just the pottytunities), so I make it a point to integrate EC into our routine but not let it become the focus of the day.

  2. Don’t let mobility immobilize you

    It can be frustrating if your baby’s signals become VERY subtle upon beginning to crawl.

    • The solution? Rely on natural timing and intuition far more than ever before, but do NOT over offer for the sake of catching a pee, or you will be most certainly inviting Sir Potty Pause over for a visit. A couple days of observation can be very helpful, and learning from misses, instead of beating yourself up about them, is the best thing we’ve done. I’ve learned that crawling to me after playing independently, approximately 45 minutes after the last time she peed is OFTEN a signal from my little one. We are still relatively successful, but we also don’t stress over misses.

What helps YOU relax and hover less? Comment below!


PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)

Natalie Robbins

About Natalie Robbins

Natalie Robbins first stumbled across EC when her daughter was 3 months old, and has been an enthusiastic advocate for it ever since. She has a background in Deaf Education, and is now a certified Go Diaper Free coach, working to provide ASL access to the hidden gem of EC for the Deaf Community. Natalie is also a strong proponent for Natural Family Planning, particularly for the knowledge it provides to pinpoint and address any hidden fertility difficulties. She hopes to one day be certified to teach NFP and share this love with others as well. Natalie enjoys hiking and reading books aloud with her husband and daughter, visiting beautiful churches, teaching elementary students (in ASL....she could never handle the noise of a regular classroom), and reading up on breastfeeding, natural family planning, and of course, elimination communication. She vlogs about her EC journey at ASL Pottyventures.


  1. Avatar Hannah on October 1, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear today!

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 1, 2020 at 10:44 am

      I’m so glad, Hannah!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 3, 2020 at 5:08 pm

      So awesome it was timely!

  2. Avatar Nicole C on October 1, 2020 at 7:21 am

    Thank youuuuu for this! This is ME in a nutshell!
    I’ve been both obsessive and spaced out! We were doing so well up from 3 months to until and I seemed able to read most of his signals, or time pottytunities right. Except now my boy is 13 months and we’ve had zero success for MONTHS.

    I have TOTALLY invited Sir Potty Pause with over offering and ever since… I’ve been lost.

    I know when he is pooping, but everytime I’ve caught him halfway, he will then discontinue his poop. So I’ve just kinda given up.

    But this was relevant to me and my biggest takeaway to is relax more.

    I keep forgetting to re-listen to the troubleshooting part of GDF, but that’s me, Totally troubled.

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 1, 2020 at 9:23 pm

      Relaxing more is definitely a great first step to getting back on track!

      Taking an observation day to get back in tune with his natural timing (and signals, if any) may help too. :) Good luck, and don’t stress! :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 3, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      I’m so glad this helped you identify your stress with EC! Now you’ll be able to adjust your approach and de-stress. xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Kayla Bauer on October 1, 2020 at 10:39 am

    This is great! I have 8mo twin boys and if I Put them on the potty every time They fussed, I wouldn’t get anything done except disrupt their play time. Its reassuring to know that its okay to have misses- and we have more misses than catches at this point- but we will get where we want to go eventually!

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 1, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      Absolutely! We just do what we can, and like you said, will get there eventually! Keep it up! :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 3, 2020 at 5:11 pm

      Yes! You don’t have to catch everything. Just making the potty a part of their daily life will have such a positive impact. xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Emily on October 1, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you for this reminder that it’s better to relax! I totally relate to feeling more stressed about misses when she has training pants on and needed to hear it’s okay to give myself break from them! Our kids are so much smarter and more intuitive than we sometimes give them credit for and I’m so glad they hold their own and teach us to relax when we hover or focus on the potty too much!

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 1, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      So true! They teach us so much! :)

      And, several months later, we’re pretty much in trainers full time with zero stress about it, misses or not….but if I start to get paranoid, I still totally throw on a diaper! Definitely don’t feel guilty for taking a break from trainers when you need to!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 3, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Emily! Sometimes we just need permission to relax and take a breath. Take a step back and you’ll be able to come back at it refreshed. xx Andrea

  5. Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 1, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Absolutely! We just do what we can, and like you said, will get there eventually! Keep it up! :)

  6. Avatar Lucinda Glover on October 1, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    “degree in acrobatic breastfeeding” 😆😂
    I have that qualification too!

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 3, 2020 at 10:25 am

      Lol, love it! Whatever keeps them happy, right? :P

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 3, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      Babies do make life entertaining!

  7. Avatar Nicole Crowe on October 3, 2020 at 5:47 am

    Great blog article Natalie! I liked your ‘take note of the time’ tip- it’s a good reminder when I get caught up. And it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one breastfeeding whilst potty ing… it happens at night and when he’s too excited to stay put! Lancelot started walking at 10 months and can now exit the potty area- breastfeeding is often the only way I can get him to relax to go before he shoots off to busy himself with his next exciting adventure!

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 3, 2020 at 10:31 am

      Thanks Nicole! I think being aware of the timing has definitely been the biggest help in our EC practice. Even just this morning I forgot to note the time, and consequently spent the next half hour worrying about when she would have to go instead of wholeheartedly enjoying our time together. 🙄

      And that’s too funny! A walking baby definitely brings a whole new set of challenges. :) So fun though.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 3, 2020 at 5:14 pm

      Nursing on the potty definitely works!

  8. Avatar Seva Water on October 3, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Thanks this was helpful! First time Mama and EC baby here, so sometimes I’m not sure how high the ‘catch rate’ should be with my 9 mo to be considered successful. I haven’t gotten any obvious signals since crawling at 5.5 mos, and so rely heavily on timing and transitions. Sometimes he pees right away, sometimes he fusses like crazy and then pees, sometime he fusses and just refuses. I think it at least somewhat hinges on my state of mind when I take him, because when I just breathe and say ‘hey, whatever, go if you need to,’ he often does, and when I say ‘man it’s been an hour and I need you to pee now so that I can go do this other thing,’ he probably won’t. Ah our babies are just too smart and tuned in.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 3, 2020 at 5:16 pm

      There is no right or perfect way to practice EC, you do what works for your baby. It’s very common to see a potty pause with a major milestone, things will get back on track eventually. Just keep at it, ease off a bit, and enjoy your baby.

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 10, 2020 at 11:45 pm

      Signals definitely can get a lot more subtle once baby is mobile. Good thing we have natural timing to go by as well! :) You’re so right that our babies can sense how we are feeling during pottytunities – all the more reason to stay relaxed! Best of luck on your EC journey. :)

    • Natalie Robbins Natalie Robbins on October 10, 2020 at 11:45 pm

      Signals definitely can get a lot more subtle once baby is mobile. Good thing we have natural timing to go by as well! :) You’re so right that our babies can sense how we are feeling during pottytunities – all the more reason to stay relaxed! Best of luck on your EC journey. :)

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