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The 9 Major Mistakes Parents Make with EC

The 9 Major Mistakes Parents Make with EC by Andrea Olson


Hi there! I’m Andrea at Go Diaper Free. Let's get right into the 9 Major Mistakes Parents Make with EC…that cause it to fail.

The #1 thing that parents need to know about EC? With EC, it's all about you. EC is about your commitment, your attitude, and your consistency, as a parent. You are guiding the ship. You get the honor of helping your baby do what he can't yet do for himself. As with feeding and helping your baby sleep, you should learn how to do it and be consistent.

Which leads to the other piece: we do not live in an intact culture of actual day-to-day community, so you'll need to sit down and learn EC. It's just how it is. It doesn't have to be difficult, time-consuming, or complex. Find a good program or method and commit to it. Because although every good little newborn pees when he's held in position...most parents who wing it end up in trouble in months to come.

Ok, more on this later...

First, let's address 9 of the major mistakes that people make with EC! (By the way, number 9 is THE most important one. I've saved the best for last.) We'll take a quick look at all of these now.

1. putting off beginning. Here's the thing: babies are born ready. We're talking about you, the parent, now. The question is, are you ready? Just an FYI, things never settle down when you're a new parent. Once you've gotten the ropes, the rules change. The first window of opportunity to start EC is 0-4 months. From there on up to 18 months, it is totally doable, but the game changes at each stage. Plain & simple? Most parents regret that they didn't start EC earlier. And, you can start at any time.

2. half-assing it. No, no, no...You do not have to do EC full time, but yes, when you do do it, you should be committed and consistent (as you are with feeding and napping). Half-assing it causes confusion, rebellion, and in general, pee everywhere.

3. mis-using naked diaper-free time (yes, this can backfire on you!). Let's just say that naked diaper-free time is a point. one, do you want your baby habitually peeing all over your floor for 2 years? Two, if your baby is only potty trained while naked, your baby is not potty trained. and three, unless you live in a nudist colony, we wear clothes in the Western world. And, to clarify, "diaper-free" means free from dependence upon diapers. Got it? :)

4. relying solely on the clock (disregarding the other, more important, more lasting indicators). A baby who is ECed solely on by-the-clock timing will resist this in later months....just a heads up! I met a gal once who said they gave up EC with their newborn after 2 months because she just couldn't handle taking him to the bathroom every half hour on the half hour. I asked, "is that how you were taught to do it?" She was  winging it off of free info she got on the internet. Relying on the clock is not enough.

5. returning to work. When you go back to work, you need a bullet-proof plan to keep you committed to helping your baby pee when he needs to. Many moms give up, get really loose with it, or totally melt down when they return to work and try to do EC without a part-time EC plan.

6. not doing the initial work. Some parents skip the up-front work when starting EC. They sorta skip that part about observing, learning signals, and getting familiar with natural rhythms and such. Then, when the little one gets a mind of her own, the parent is constantly a step behind. Ouch.

7. making life "all potty." Making life "all potty" will result in potty rebellion. This includes hovering and extends even further into driving baby crazy with praise, questions, overtalking, trying to control your baby's pottying, and showing off to friends. Trust me, you'll want to avoid this. It's a tricky balance to do something you've never done before and not make your life "all about it." Ya know?

8. getting stuck in the EC culture. Although community support in EC is vital and the mommie lists can be warned. If you get too comfortable as part of this particular community, kinda like at the Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like but you may never leave. And you will want to be done pottying your baby someday, yeah? This is why my private support group is so great. Although I love you, I actually want you to eventually leave. So you'll have support in being done when you and your baby are actually done. And please, don't get me wrong! I am a member of all the EC groups out there and there are tons of helpful mothers & fathers, & brilliant replies. I just don't recommend getting too attached it all. Make sense?

9. winging it. All this said, you can totally just wing it and do whatever you've found out on mommie blogs, websites, and Facebook groups. you could join a forum or email list and get free advice. These things are actually enough for a small percentage of ECing parents. However, I've seen this way too many times: any small baby will pee when you hold them over the sink and cue. so you think you're doing EC but maybe you're just getting lucky. And after a few weeks, things start to get tricky. In 12 months, you've got serious potty pause problems and don't know why.

It's amazing that, as simple as EC is to start when you have the proper guidance and visual instruction, without that there are so many ways it can backfire if you wing it. There is so much great advice out there that winging it may waste your time, confuse you, and leave you feeling defeated.

So, start with a method, an approach, a tried-and-true process, from the beginning, and experience a smoother journey. Get an expert's support, somehow. For instance, I have a support group that's included with my book where I personally give support for as long as you need it. I've done the research and have experience beyond my own child. It really makes a difference.

Now remember, the #1 thing is it's all about you. Your baby was born ready. Are you ready to take the next step?

Get my book and Go Diaper Free today.




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Resource Recommendation

Potty Pause Resolution: A deep dive into getting you thru that deplorable potty pause.

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 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 Kim on November 22, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Very helpful information also read this:

  2. Avatar Trupti on December 22, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Hey Andrea, hope u r having a great day. I am doing EC and though am not able to catch all pees but I am thinking I am doing ok. After reading this page I feel I am WINGING sometimes. I do face rebellion sometimes. When my daughter is on her potty she resists and immediately when I take her off within 2-3 minutes she goes pee in her bloomer. I do follow clock as well as her sounds. She starts a kind of shout when she wants to pee.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on December 29, 2020 at 3:31 am

      Great job acknowledging and noticing her signals! It seems like you are really keyed in! 🙌🙌🙌

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