#11: My Elimination Communication Story


Sometimes we just need to share our stories! Today I share my entire EC journey with my son, Kaiva, from beginning to end.

Since Kaiva turned 3 years old, I thought it must be a good time to share our whole infant potty training story, beginning to end.

I hope that my journey ECing Kaiva informs your EC practice or helps you in some way.

In this session, I share:

  • How I first learned about EC...and thought it weird but interesting
  • Starting EC
  • Disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers
  • Bumps in the road - crawling, walking, moving house several times, nighttime pottying, etc.
  • How I started writing my book, EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy (EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy (version 3.0) by Andrea Olson has been replaced by my new book, Go Diaper Free: A Simplified Handbook for Elimination Communication, by Andrea Olson)
  • Traveling internationally and doing EC
  • Doing EC all by your lonesome
  • EC Completion - daytime and nighttime
  • Issues with potty trained toddlers
  • EC for co-parents in two separate households
  • Preparing your toddler for ECing a new baby
  • Plus much more...

Right click here to download the MP3

Some links + resources I mentioned in this session


Click here to download the transcript for Session 11 (PDF)

Please share part of your elimination communication story in the comments below...or what part of my story has helped you?

Thanks! xx Andrea

Resource Recommendation

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

The Bundle: 7 deep dives into the challenge areas (Newborns, Nighttime, Outings, Potty Time, Potty Pauses, Back on Track, Wrap Up) you may face while doing EC with your baby.

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

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 4 children (7, 4.5, 2.5, and 1) 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.

Loved this post? Here are a few more:


  1. Miranda Gonzales on August 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Hi! So thankful for your story today. We’ve been pottying our son since he was 5 weeks old. I considered myself a part-timer even though I was home full time with my son. I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on us. We were doing great with EC for the first 6 months. We were supported by friends and family who knew what we were doing, not always by my husband. Sometimes he would be really on board and he and our son would have a great potty relationship, other times he gets frustrated with the situation, which is hard to see.
    At 6 months we began encountering “potty pauses.” We had gone on a trip and E. had done great while we traveled, but not so much when we got home. His teeth also started coming through. At 7 months we went on another trip, and again he did great while we traveled, especially in the car. At the hotel and then again at home we got off track again.
    I know some of our pauses are due to our inconsistencies, and when E. is with his father there are definitely more misses because D. just doesn’t have the patience or energy to help E out. I don’t know how to better communicate with hubs about this, I’ve tried showing him the dad sites, the letter to dads, but that doesn’t really work for my guy. I also know we’ve been hyper-focused on the potty in the past and not as much about creating the bond.
    In the last few days listening to podcasts and refreshing myself with the information on the website has really helped me renew the EC effort with my son, and we’ve had more naked time. I’ve witnessed some pees on the floor, but we’ve also had more catches. I was feeling like a failure before because I thought from your first book, Kaiva had completed at 6 months when he could sit on the potty by himself. After today’s story I feel like we still have time. I just wish I had the magic phrase or something to get hubs really on board and enthused about doing this with our son.
    Thanks for sharing your story! It accomplished what you hoped :-)

    • Andrea Olson on August 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Hey Miranda – thanks so much for writing and sharing part of your story with us all. It’s great that sharing my story, in all transparency, has helped you to normalize your own. Excellent. “In the last few days listening to podcasts and refreshing myself with the information on the website has really helped me renew the EC effort with my son, and we’ve had more naked time.” Wonderful as well. I think there are so many aspects to ECing that oftentimes it’s hard to unravel what exactly “it” is that trips us up. If you want to hop on the Forum, I can help you more directly with how to get hubs on board. I have some ideas depending on personality and such….so no worries.

      Would you mind posting a review on iTunes with how much the podcasts have helped you renew the EC effort with E.? I think it would help a lot of parents to see how you are using them as a resource. :) IF you can squeeze it in – being home full-time isn’t always most conducive to that! In any case, thank you for sharing and for putting effort into renewing your practice…sending hugs! xx Andrea

      • Miranda Gonzales on August 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm

        Thanks for responding and being affirming. I would like to comply with iTunes review and the forum. My forum pass hasn’t worked, unfortunately, I went there for help once. I have some info saved so I can check on that again. I went to iTunes initially after listening to this podcast and didn’t actually see how to comment… I must have been rushing too much. Will try to do what I can. I also like to share your website info and book info on my blog and blog’s fb page, so I know some people get the word that way. Thanks always for being an inspiration to us who want to communicate, bond, and potty with our children! P.S. I’m hoping to sign up for one of your personal chats in the future. Hopefully I can fit that in soon!

  2. duke johnson on August 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. After listening I felt much better about our experience knowing that the struggles we’ve had are totally normal. We’ve been working at it since 2 wks and now at 13 months this has re-energized us to keep moving forward. Not always easy but we will do it anyway!
    All the best, Duke & Sanford

    • Andrea Olson on August 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Yes!!! Yay!!! You are not alone. I’m so happy you feel a new influx of energy knowing that. It’s hard to do EC when a lot of folks just don’t…so I’m glad we can normalize things for ya. :) It’s definitely not been easy for me, either, but at 3 yrs, looking back, it’s totally worth it. Keep it up….xx Andrea

  3. Me on June 10, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for this. After reading your EC and toddler books I had very different expectations about what a “toilet trained” child should look like. But this podcast clears up those misconceptions. Your 3 year old was still doing wees during play time because he didn’t want to stop playing. Saying that you ditched nappies at 9 months was true, but your child was still definitely not toilet trained. It gives me a bit of a reality check.

    We started putting our child over the potty from about 3 or 4 months old for poos only. That’s all I was really aiming for at the start, as we were using cloth nappies and it made a huge difference to our cleaning jobs. We certainly had a poo potty pause whenever he started to move around more, especially around 12 months. But I would hold him on the potty and keep his attention there with a book. Whenever it got too stressful and he wasn’t signalling, I just let him poo in his nappy a few times and then he went back to signalling. He’s now mostly good with poos, with only the occasional poo in the pants on waking or when sick.

    Wees were not really a priority because it seemed like he was doing a wee every 15 minutes at times, and that just wasn’t something I wanted to deal with. We dabbled though. By around 6 or 7 months I started trying out the wake-up wee with him, and found rarely wet his nappy during a short nap. At some stage I started putting him on the potty before bed and whenever he woke up through the night, because otherwise he would wet through. We also put him on the potty at change times, otherwise he would crawl off our floor-based change mat and wee on the carpet. But we really didn’t focus on it. I thought I’d try to do a bit more around 15 months old, but he was still a very frequent wee-er and it just wasn’t something I could do whilst keeping my sanity. But by around 21 months he started to hold his wee for longer. A little while later I tried out your toddler method for day-time, which seemed to work well for the first 3 weeks or so. We are now 3 months past the start point and really struggling and in a bit of a limbo, not really wanting to go back to nappies (which in reality are not any easier as he wants to be changed as soon as he wees anyway), but sick of wee on the floor and couches. His resistance to us taking him to the potty is much more than what your suggestions have been able to help us with, yet he still seems to want to go in the potty at other times. So at just past 2 years old, we’re still going with it.

    Your story has given me a bit of perspective – your idea of a potty trained child is very different from mine, and we’re probably still “normal”. It think we’ll stay in limbo for a few weeks until I have a bit of a break from work and can really focus on the communication part again (and in the meantime, I’ve bought more cotton training pants to make the messes easier to clean up). A sort of blended maintenance / reset period, I suppose, as a full reset doesn’t seem like the right option. Wish us luck that we’ll get through this!

    • Andrea Olson on August 26, 2015 at 9:52 am

      I’m so glad to read that this has normalized things for you! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. :) xx Andrea

  4. Tamara on June 10, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Hi. I just listened to this and still have a million questions. My son is 4.5 months old and we’ve been able to catch some pees in the tophat potty but never any poos (he poos so infrequently it’s hard for me to figure out as he’s often squirming around). Also, he squirms around so much on the little potty (i tried an infant potty seat on our toilet too as I feel this would make for an easier transition later but he really doesn’t seem to like that — not sure if it’s the cold plastic on his butt) that it’s hard for me to make him sit there for more than a minute.

    My main questions are: when you carry him, are you using diaper back-up? I feel like I still have no sense of his signals just intuition and timing and an occasional signal when he’s on tummy time and naked. And mostly i only potty him from naked time, haven’t had much success with it when he’s in diaper (mostly out of my own laziness).

    I feel like maybe I need to go back to observation time? I don’t know… feeling like I need a step by step. maybe it’s back to re-reading parts of the book!

    • Andrea Olson on August 26, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Yes I always use a diaper back-up until I ditch diapers in the daytime, which is usually shortly after they begin walking. So, that includes the carrier. Also…I would definitely use a seat reducer on the big toilet for the sitting bit. And, you can always go back to observation if need be. Use a sumo style diaper with a burp cloth in the center so you can tell immediately when he’s wet. And re-read away!!! You’ll always find something new. :) xx Andrea

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