The EC wardrobe: What kind of clothing do I need to do elimination communication?
We’ve mentioned in past episodes that, when doing elimination communication, we want to reduce any “friction” for starting and keeping up with this counter-cultural aspect of baby care.
Dressing baby appropriately can only help!
The right clothing can empower babies to “do it myself” instead of peeing in their underwear (or all over the floor).
Okay. Let’s make things really, really simple for you and your baby. Starting with...
Use what you’ve got
The first thing I want to say is that you can and probably should just use the clothing you already have!
I’m going to share something about my mom real quick. She is a collector. Before even going to a yoga class, she researched all the studios, found a bunch of classes that she thought she might like to take, purchased an extra-thick yoga mat and some yoga pants, got a few other accessories...but, she never ended up making it to more than one class...and an enjoyable yoga practice never actually happened. She. Never. Went.
I share this because if you spend alllll your time gathering up specialized clothing and gear for elimination communication, and planning out what you are going to do at various stages, you may never end up building the foundation of a strong day-to-day potty routine...and an enjoyable EC practice will never happen. You won’t move forward.
Okay, so, at the beginning, use what you’ve got! Remove the barrier of “I have to gear up” and just get on with it. Collect more clothing and gear later, AS you need it.
Ditch the full-length snappies
If you have a bazillion snaps to undo each time you want to potty your baby, you will lose your desire to potty your baby. It’s just too much of a hindrance...are ya with me? By the time you get the dang thing off, baby has already peed.
Switch to the zippered ones - the ones with the zip at the bottom if you can. Or use a long sleeve or short sleeve onesie shirt that has only 3 snaps, and put some pants over that.
Button two of the three snaps
If you do use the onesies that are just t-shirts with the flaps on the bottom, only button the outer two of the 3 or 4 snaps. This allows you to quickly open the onesie snaps with one hand while standing up near the toilet, as you’d just slip your fingers into the gap and pull.
This is my husband’s preferred method and he assures you it is the BEST idea in this whole episode...much better than any of my ideas. ;0P
Use loose-fitting elastic-waisted bottoms with regular t-shirts or short dresses up top
If you want to really make it easy, and don’t mind if baby’s tummy is occasionally exposed, you can find very small regular t-shirts or short dresses and use regular elastic pants with them.
If you want baby’s belly to stay warm when using the tshirt and pants method, our friends at @pipifax.windelfrei make a very nice “tummy warmer” that you would love!
Get baby chaps
For very easy warmer observation time and changes and pottytunities in colder weather (or homes), grab some baby chaps and simply use the diaper on the outside, over them.
Baby chaps have a wide open gap - think cowboy chaps and you’ve got the idea.
When you remove the diaper to potty your baby s/he will technically still have pants on.
We’ve used this method while camping in 40 degree weather with an 11 month old...this combined with legwarmers was just the solution, with a cloth diaper and cover affixed over the bottoms.
Speaking of legwarmers!
I own so many pairs of BabyLeggings, it might be considered a hoarding situation. You see, I get 5 pairs for free when I pay for shipping, and in that situation, the sky’s the limit y’all!
Use legwarmers and just a diaper backup if it’s warmer outside/in your home, or use them underneath whatever pants or bottoms you’re using so that when you remove the pants for potty time, baby’s legs continue to stay warm. Win/win!
Speaking of removing things for potty time...let’s briefly discuss how to...
Choose the right back-up (see the blog post/podcast on that)
Diapers, trainers, and undies...oh my! Which one do I choose, and when?
The full-on blog post about this can be found on my blog at godiaperfree.com/53.
Check it out - it will leave you with zero questions.
A summary of that post is this: use whatever backup works best for you at each age, keeps you super low-stressed, and also helps your baby signal the strongest.
During observation time you will want to use Tiny Trainers or a sumo-style diaper back-up.
When baby begins to walk, you’ll want to switch to cotton bottoms at home, such as Tiny Trainers or Tiny Undies, during awake times.
On outings and at preschool or daycare, Tiny Trainers covered with TinyUps will keep pants and carseat relatively dry in case of a miss.
That’s the summary version, but it’s important to put the right back-up under the clothing you choose, and that blog post will help you do just that!
Learn how to remove diaper/bottoms while you’re standing up
No, that’s not a typo…I want you to learn how to change your baby’s bottoms while YOU are standing up...until baby is standing and walking steadily.
Do this if your baby pees when laid down to remove the clothing and diaper before you put him/her on the potty.
While standing up near the toilet, get a good one arm wrap around the baby’s torso or cuddle a smaller baby to you, pull off the pants (this is why elastic-topped, loose-fitting pants work best...footed if they’re not walking yet so you can just grab the pants’ feet and pull), and then detach one side of the diaper and then the other, or pull off the undergarment.
Do this with caution and be careful...obviously! This is what I do all the time to avoid that lay-down-and-pee-in-the-diaper problem that happens when I am just too darn slow to get baby on the potty.
Begin to change baby while s/he stands when s/he begins standing and walking
This part’s about your baby. Have baby stand while you change him once he begins standing and walking.
Developmentally, laying down a baby who has developed into an upright position is no longer appropriate. A standing/walking child can be changed standing up next to the toilet. Use a long mirror so s/he can see what’s going on and start to participate in the undressing and dressing parts.
This meets a child where they’re at, and is a great alternative to laying down a child (that can be infantilizing, you guys!).
Have baby begin to change own clothes
As soon as you spot baby trying on your bra or wrapping clothing around her head and torso, you might want to begin inviting your baby to change her own clothes...at least in small ways.
When you’ve got an accident or missed a pee, engage your baby in helping to pull off the wet bottoms or place them in the hamper or trash. Have them sit on a low stool in the bathroom, in front of a full-length mirror, and make sure everything in the bathroom is easily within reach.
They can also help put the undergarment and pants back on! I came up with a great tool to teach baby self-dressing, that is also self-correcting. It’s my LEARN undies and training pants over at my Tiny Undies shop.
Baby puts the undies on the ground so “Bear’s lookin’ at me,” grabs the orange handles, puts one foot into blue, one into grey, and pulls them up to the knees.
They can do this while sitting on the ground or on a low stool. Then, help him or her get the undies over their rump, and have them pull the rest of the way up.
This trick can teach your baby how to self-dress at a very early age, removing frustration and friction from the equation!
So begin to adjust your baby’s EC clothing today
This may be as simple as only buttoning two of the three snaps in your snappy top. This could mean getting some baby chaps and placing the diaper over it. Or possibly legwarmers and a cloth diaper backup over that. Or loose-fitting elastic-waisted bottoms with regular t-shirts or short dresses up top.
Proper clothing is one piece of a larger pie when it comes to empowering our babies, decreasing frustration, and removing this “invisible” friction from the big picture.
Tell me, in the comments below, how you are gonna tweak your baby’s clothing to be more EC-friendly over the next seven days!
I look forward to speaking with you below!
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)
Disclosure Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from purchases made through the links on this page.
I do the outer snap buttons thingy too!! Game changer! Haha
It really is Liza! xx Andrea
I’m surprised you don’t sell baby chaps in the Tiny Undies store, Andrea! I would totally buy some!
We used to but no longer do Tarah. xx Andrea
I actually take her onesies and do pull it up to the side and then snap them out of the way there, like a t-shirt. If you use the first snap on the same side for front and back, it fits well and then you can tuck the excess under. Not sure if I’m explaining that well. I just don’t like dealing with snaps in a rush to the bathroom and I don’t like the tails hanging where they could end up in the potty…
I totally hear you re: the infantalization problem of laying down a standing/walking baby. I find it easy when getting the pants/diaper off, but struggle when trying to get a good fit putting a diaper back on. I know, I know, the goal is to not need diapers, but any tips for getting the diaper back on a baby who loves to move?
It just takes practice Emily. If you use disposables, they have baby sized pull ups. If you use cloth, just snap/velcro loosely, then readjust once it is pulled up. Training pants and a Tiny Up are also a great option. xx Andrea
I totally can picture it Karen, very clever. Thank you for sharing! xx Andrea
We are still awaiting babies arrival. So I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds like you could cut the bottom half of onesies off if you were wanting to avoid the snaps and have a “tshirt” for quick pottytunities!
Congratulations on your pregnancy Shalyse! Yes, you can definitely turn onesies into shirts. Many people just cut and hem the bottom, totally up to you! xx Andrea
What’s the code again for babyleggings? I think I need a few more!
Hi Bethany! The code for 5 free pair (just pay shipping) is GDF16 . You can never have too many! xx Andrea
Definitely going to try the onesie thing! And I just ordered a bunch of baby leggings!
Awesome Rebecca! You’re going to love the leg warmers, so cute!! xx Andrea
Why not buy t’s that aren’t oneies? I bought white t’s if that’s all I could find, and for variety would dye them if I couldn’t find colors…saves cutting things up…but, if you don’t care about that go for it!
Hi Suzy! Sometimes it is hard to pass up a cute onesie! Regular T-shirts would definitely work too. xx Andrea
This episode confirmed for me that laying my baby (who has begun resisting dressing/changing/pottying) should be in an upright position for those things as much as possible. He is less likely to make to fight me on it! When he was a newborn and on, I cut the crotch out of many of his overabundance of onesies to make little shirts for free!
I’m so glad it helped Mandy! Your instincts were correct, I’m sure things will go much more smoothly with upright changing. xx Andrea
…Whoa…sorry for all the typos!
I use those gowns. It’s pretty cold in our house. I have tried the zipper footie pjs and they are a pain and baby has pee in the diaper while getting it off. He needs his hands and toes covered or he gets grumpy and cold. Its 67 at the end of the day in the second coldest room in the house today.
The gowns are a must in EC. The footsie PJs are near impossible to do EC with, especially the ones that zip only on one side.