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Pros and Cons of Starting EC with a Young Toddler

pros and cons ec with a young toddler

Hello, I'm Andrea Olson with Go Diaper Free, and I teach new parents about EC or elimination communication, infant potty training from as early as birth. Today, we're going to talk about the pros and cons of starting EC with a young toddler, 12 to 18 months.

So, starting with a young toddler 12 to 18 months. Whether you've heard about EC this whole time and you're just now finally getting a handle on this new parenting thing, and that's totally fine. Or, you just found out about EC and your child is between 12 and 18 months, or maybe you're researching early potty training and you really want to start during this age range or see what it's about, I've really good news for you. The pros include Montessori, Maria Montessori. Her whole philosophy was, "Do not do for a child what the child can do for him or herself." You want to set up the environment, and teach the child, and help them to be independent at age-appropriate times. But guess what? And, guess what, there's no buts here. The great thing is, the 12 to 18 months in Montessori way of thinking is the sensitive period for starting and completing toilet training.

So if you're in a Montessori Academy, your child's in Montessori preschool or school, they actually will put them in cotton pants, starting as early as 12 months old through 18 months. So their 12 to 18 month class, their toddler class, wears cotton pants. And they have got many potties. And they potty all the children together. Whether you potty train at home or not, the Montessori schools are going to be doing it for you there, because it's developmentally appropriate.

In 1957, 92% of children in the United States were potty trained by 18 months. That's not even the average age. That's all of them by that age. Today in the US, the average age is three-years-old, which means you've got five-year-olds still in diapers. So, this is definitely a good time to take advantage of starting EC, and finishing EC between 12 and 18 months.

The other advantages you have in your court are that baby is probably walking, and able to move to the potty, and able to learn how to mount the potty. My baby is in the swing over there as we talk, and he's probably going to wake up soon. But, they can Mount the potty. They can learn these things. The other thing is between 14 and 18 months, says Baby Center, babies have the mental ability to hold and retain repetitive action and thought, so they can learn things and they'll stick. So, you're teaching the different parts of potty independence, and it sticks. They can pick it up and they can retain it, they can repeat it, they can do it.

So if your child doesn't show an interest in the potty and you don't think they're ready, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, forget all of that. Your child is capable, was born capable. There are people in this world, 50% of children are potty trained by one-year-old in other parts of the world, where there aren't diapers. So guess what? Diapers are part of the problem. During this age range, you can absolutely ditch daytime diapers. Some can even ditch nighttime diapers. It just depends on your baby's temperament, how hard they sleep, etc. We talk about that in other videos as well.

Other pros of starting at this age are communication. They can actually say or sign or infer what they want, and very strongly. You've got the beginning of tantrums, which is great, because that means that your baby can express what he or she wants. And that includes going to the potty in the appropriate place.

The other thing is, the pro about starting at this age, it's awesome. You're not too late, you did not miss the boat. You've done diapers for only 12 months, only 16 months. It's not really ingrained in them yet. That's okay. The other part is, they're not in the no stage yet. They're not telling you no about everything yet. 20 months, 20 to 24 months, they're going to start telling you no about everything. So take advantage of it, start and finish EC now, and I'll teach you how to do that at I have lots of free resources, I have lots of paid resources. I got lots of resources. That's what I'm doing this for is to help you.

All right. The cons of starting at this age, that the baby has been in diapers for 12 to 18 months. That is a habit. You have taught him to use that as his toilet. You need to unteach that. It's easier now than it is later, so start now, but that is definitely something that's going to be a little bit of a challenge for some people.

The other thing is, baby's mobile. It's hard to observe a mobile baby. They're walking and running around. So, you can use a Sumo-style backup, and watch my other videos for learning how to do observation. And, you can take my Potty Time Master Course, to really master when baby needs to go to the bathroom, even at this age. And I show you, step-by-step, how to do this with an eight-month-old mobile baby. It applies to young toddlers too. There's a course within the course that will teach you that. So go to if you want to learn on that.

The other cons are, you might be back at work. So you might have to deal with the daycare and caregivers. And I'm going to cover that in another video as well. I cover that in my book. I really strongly believe in part-time EC, but I also believe that you can teach your caregivers too. I've got a child who's in preschool right now, who's 20 months old. And he has been out of diapers for the last two months because I've sent him to preschool and diapers because he wasn't... He's my laid back kid. He wasn't very reliable yet. We stopped using daytime diapers at 17 months with him. My others at nine months, 13 months. But with him, he's just a little bit more laid back. So I taught the daycare workers... Oo, he's about to cry. I taught the daycare workers how to potty him. I just dropped off a mini potty there today for them. So there are ways. It can be a challenge, but they are not insurmountable.

So that's about it for starting at this age range. Baby Branson is crying, so I’ve got to run. I'm Andrea with Go Diaper Free.

So that’s it from my starting with young toddlers video...hope you enjoyed listening if you’re contemplating starting EC with your young toddler (and wondering if you’re too late). Again, this episode is sponsored by my Wrapping Up EC minicourse, which will teach you how to complete what you’ve started with my book, Go Diaper Free. These two will set you up with success to start and finish ECing your young toddler within the 12-18 month span. Visit to sign up for that class.

xx Andrea

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

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 Emily Evans on May 25, 2021 at 6:33 am

    This video couldn’t have come at a better time! Just yesterday we started EC with our 14 month old. He’s pretty regular so we’ve caught two poops so far! My question is how long do you leave them to sit on the potty. I know my son was due a poop so popped him on but he got bored and angsty after a couple minutes so we let him come off, then a few mins later we turn our backs on him and lo and behold he pooped on the floor! No biggie but should we have kept him on the potty longer?

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 26, 2021 at 4:48 am

      It seems like you left him on there for the perfect amount of time. You don’t want to keep them on there too long. I would try offering a little privacy next time, like turning your back or stepping out of the bathroom. Seems like that is what he is asking for. 💕

      • Avatar Emily Evans on May 26, 2021 at 11:55 am

        I never thought of that!! It happened again tonight, he came off the potty then when we were in another room he pooped on the floor. That is super helpful! Thank you so so much!

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 3, 2021 at 3:50 am

          My pleasure, and way to notice!

  2. Avatar Ashleigh on May 25, 2021 at 11:35 am

    I agree with the comment above. I finally started EC with my son who just turned 12 months. He’s fairly regular so I think this is a good time to start. I purchased the book a couple months ago and now I’m finally ready to dive in! Wish us luck!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 26, 2021 at 4:44 am

      Wishing you all the luck, but I know you got this! 💕

  3. Avatar on May 25, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    I purchased your book a little over a month ago. I was super excited to get started with part time EC and to the easy catches but I’m scratching my head wondering how. My 12month old is not walking yet but is very mobile. When I try to sit him on the potty,he freaks out. He stiffens his legs and screams at the top of his lungs. We have only caught one pee and no poos. I know when he’s about to poo but when I take him to the potty, he throws a fit, and holds the poop. Sometimes for hours! What do I do?!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 26, 2021 at 4:30 am

      Hey there,

      I would make sure your little one knows what your plan is. Simply tell your little one, that he will start using the potty to go pee or poop. Then do observation time to make sure that you are reading your little ones signs properly. Often times the arching of the back is because we are over offering. Even offering just a 5 minutes later can solve resistances. Lastly, make sure to try some distraction techniques. At 12 months, there is SO much exploring to do, it can be hard to get them to sit long enough to relax.

  4. Avatar Casey on May 25, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    I started EC about 2m ago. My daughter will be 12m this weekend. She was doing such a great job until about two weeks ago when she stopped using the potty and sometimes cried while on it. She still uses it for the first morning pee. I backed off because it seemed she felt pressured to poop every time. However I know she has to poop and she won’t use the potty. What should I do? Is this common?

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 26, 2021 at 4:33 am

      Hey there,

      Around 12 months there is a big developmental leap often taking place and that can cause some resistance to the potty. It is also a time where independence starts to grow, so try offering some privacy when you know your little one needs to poop. Just busying yourself in the bathroom or stepping out can make a huge difference.

      By the way, great job backing off and going with the flow of your little one! Sticking with the easy catches is a great way to keep EC going even in the mist of a resistance. ❤️

      • Avatar Casey on May 26, 2021 at 7:45 am

        Thank you for responding so quickly! I hopefully she’ll be back on track with some privacy.

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 3, 2021 at 3:49 am

          My pleasure! 💕

  5. Avatar Mariela Clemenson on June 15, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Hi! We’ve been ECing our 14 month old son since a few weeks old and it’s been mostly great. Some potty resistance but no full-on potty pauses. He started crawling at 6 months so he has been very mobile for a long time already (and we had to switch from his mini potty to the toilet seat reducer around 7 months because he liked to escape) however he is now just starting to walk on his own and expressing more resistance to sitting on the toilet. I have tried:
    *bringing out the mini potty—still tries to escape although he likes to play with it. Caught maybe 2 pees in it. Can’t get him to stay on it!
    *cut way back on pottytunities—just big transitions and his timing (about every 45min-1hr in AM and 1-2 hrs in PM) we have him in tiny undies for the daytime and I know his cues but he is refusing to signal or come to me when he needs to go.
    *had already given him lots of pieces of the process like wiping with TP, flushing, taking seat reducer off, closing lid. Now we added him washing his hands on his own with soap—I just hold him up to the sink.
    *privacy—he tends to do a bit of both. Sometimes goes while I’m watching him, other times after I have left the room. I usually stay with him for a minute and then leave for a couple if he hasn’t gone by then.

    I don’t know if we should try the 2 week re-set because he still pees and poos in the toilet 90% of the time even though he protests very loudly the entire time.

    I bought the wrapping up EC mini course (great!) but also wondering if I shouldn’t be trying this as he is mastering walking? My gut just tells me that he wants to do it ALL himself but he is physically not capable yet with balancing and coordination. Thinking about buying a step stool for him to use (with my help) to get up closer to the toilet seat. Any other suggestions? Should we do the re-set, or wait for him to “master”walking (what does that look like?!), or go back to diaper back ups—we’ve been using tiny undies with a cloth wipe folded up to absorb and diaper covers since 8-9 months. Feel like we’re SO CLOSE and I don’t want to go backwards. Help!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 21, 2021 at 2:37 am

      Hi there,

      You mentioned doing a re-set multiple times. If you gut is telling you to do this, then go for it. However catching 90% of pees and poops is great, and for that reason I would recommend staying the course.

      I suspect that if you get through this developmental stage of walking, I bet you can wrap up shortly after. 💕

  6. Avatar Herndo Florez on January 19, 2023 at 11:48 am

    My con. Though I was already on the potty, I always peed inside my underwear! That was unless I’m helped to open my underwear! Then I pee through my underwear!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on January 19, 2023 at 3:42 pm

      Dependiendo que edad tiene su bebe, es normal que necesite ayuda asta casi los dos anos para bajar los pantalones y calzones.

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