Skip to content

When to move from diapers to undies

GDF Podcast 41

You may be wondering  (along with 25 other people who email me every day with the same question): when should you transition from diapers to undies?

Of course it's a popular question. Eliminating diapers from your daily routine and your budget is something we all look forward to as parents.

Obviously, the decision is ultimately yours, and today we are going to talk about your options concerning when might be the right time to cut diapers out of your life.

You will learn:

  • Developmental milestones to look out for
  • How to use your routine to your advantage
  • Whether to use a middle-step between diapers and undies
  • Options for back-ups
  • How to trust your own intuition
  • Indicators that it may be time to move on from diapers

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:

Transcript download: When to move from diapers to undies

Watch the Video Version (new!)

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Thanks for Listening!

To help out the show and help more parents find out about EC:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes
  • Share your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments section below!

What is your plan to get out of diapers? Please leave a comment below with your experience!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

xx Andrea

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my husband and 5 children (newborn to 8 years old) 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.)

25 Comments

  1. Avatar Julia on May 7, 2019 at 6:26 am

    I love this podcast so much! I was just talking to my husband about this.

    I started moving my now-15-month-old into undies when he was about 9 months old. It wasn’t like a switch flipped, I just tested out the Tiny Undies that I got and wanted to see how he moved and felt in them. He seemed unaffected one way or the other LOL

    I noticed he looked more free in the undies (duh!) but I knew he didn’t yet understand what it meant. At first, I’d only put him in for a 45 minute block every now and then, and only after I knew he’d just been to the bathroom. The time slowly grew, the frequency of the experiment grew, and yes, a few piddles on the floor later, and before he was 12 or 13 months old, he was in the undies during the day full time. I only later got the padded trainer-undies for travel days and short visits to the park nearby.

    He’s starting to not pee in his diaper overnight!! We are very excited. I am more daring than my Hubster to try undies overnight. I’ll start with the trainers. I know there will be lots more accidents down the line, but I think he’s ready to be a full time undies baby!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 8, 2019 at 2:36 am

      Hi Julia! You have done an amazing job transitioning to undies, way to go! If he is staying dry at night, definitely jump on that. Congrats on a totally diaper free baby! xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Jaclyn on May 7, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I have 18 month old twin girls that are so excited to use the potty. I had envisioned training them seperately, but they are both showing signs and now I cant imagine not doing them together. Ive got the potties, ordered the underwear (it took a while to find 18 month underwear) and one of the girls just did a #1 and #2 in the potty after her bath (without my telling her to)! I am wanting to wait one and a half weeks for the upcoming 3 day weekend, so my partner can help. With things moving so quickly, im not sure I can hold off (atleast for one of them…shes really getting it).

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 8, 2019 at 2:38 am

      Hi Jaclyn! Your instinct is right, it tends to work better potty training twins together. It might be a little slower but it really helps to transition both at once. If you start training and feel like you need a plan to follow, check out my potty training book. Sometimes a plan makes all the difference. xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Jade on May 7, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    I did the full switch just before a year and while we had accidents it was a great decision and she was fully independent in using the potty by 21 months. So it was a transition still. Lots of reminders to go pee and me being on my game to help with no accidents then it was almost all of a sudden she just started to always take herself. We haven’t done nighttime diapers in a long time and do the dream pee. Andrea can u touch on how and when to transition out of the dream pee?

    • Avatar Ruth Gibbs on May 7, 2019 at 6:45 pm

      We tried every now and then not doing the dream pee and eventually they just did it. 3-6 months of doing the dream pee but depends on age and for us the sex of the child.

      • Avatar Jade on May 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm

        Hmm. We have been doing dream per for over a year now. Each time we have accidentally missed it we have an accident. She is 2.5

        • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 10, 2019 at 1:18 am

          Some kids need a dream pee well into school age, it really does vary. You can try here and there to see if you can drop it, but don’t stress. Hopefully she will be able to wake herself up to go soon. The Night Potty board book helps teach kids that process, it might help. xx Andrea

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 8, 2019 at 2:42 am

      Hi Jade! It sounds like you have done a fantastic job, way to go! If you are doing two dream pees, try to get rid of the early am one first. Then shift the other dream pee as needed. If you are only doing one dream pee, just try eliminating it and see what happens. You can try this at any time, but keep in mind some kids need a dream pee for quite a while. If you try dropping it and it doesn’t work, just go back to dream pees. Try again later. xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Melissa on May 7, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Can you link to the blog post you referenced in the podcast?

  5. Avatar Lia on May 8, 2019 at 2:18 am

    I loved this podcast. This is really great and hands-on advice.

    We did it this way with our 1st baby (I had not read your book and was just guessing what to do and listening to my instincts) and it was a success.
    With our 2nd baby we took of the diapers at 9 months. It worked okay but we definitely had quite a potty pause during the learning-how-to-walk-phase.

    Thanks for sharing your EC wisdom with us. xx

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 10, 2019 at 1:19 am

      Hi Lia! You have great instincts! It also sounds like you had great success with EC, that is wonderful. xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Whitney Schornagel on May 8, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for posting this podcast exactly when I needed it!
    My baby turned 1 today, has mastered walking, and we reliably catch poos and most pees.
    He’s generally in undies or trainers during the day with minimal misses and diaper backups are only used during sleeps and car rides.
    I’ve been considering taking the leap for a month now, but this podcast was the encouragement that I needed.
    Thanks again Andrea for your awesome wisdom and support!
    -Whitney

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 10, 2019 at 1:16 am

      Hi Whitney! Serendipity! Gotta love it. I am so glad this helped you find the resolve to make that final leap. It sounds like he is ready for it. xx Andrea

  7. Avatar Isabelle on May 8, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    PLAN-Let’s go! Diaper free!!
    My baby is 13 months and still learning to master walking, so I’m contemplating putting off using the baby potty (from TinyUndies.com), but will still attempt to show him how to sit on it. Today I caught a morning poo while he was in the tub, I brought him over to the toilet after noticing the signals, I let him do his business while I turned to something on the wall to give him privacy, and with the sink water running (he did not dive to reach for me because I stood a bit further this time). My plan is to come back to EC-ing wisdom, but with the developmental adjustments. I will organize my schedule to better accommodate diaper free time observation, to help me with the easy catch. Since I have yet to catch a pee, I especially want to focus on the pee upon early waking, where I will point to the toilet area, and sign for toilet with a closed fist as I say it, before taking him over, so he can eventually point before he goes. During diaper free time, I’ve been experimenting with commando cotton pant, and the size 18mths tiny undies “LEARN” (from TinyUndies.com), and when there is a miss, he really gets the full “cause-and-effect” with the undies more than the pants. I hope to recover from irresponsible naked time (where he’s left naked and pees or poo on the floor or carpets, due to me being busy with food prep. ect.). Until he masters his walking, I will continue to use disposable diaper back ups for naps, and night time, and for car ride, Im contemplating using tiny trainers (from TinyUndies.com) back ups with the covers I was previously using in my cloth diaper system. I’ve been doing cloth diapers since he’s a baby; disposables have been less bulky, and a time saver, because I’ve been away from home and traveling on weekends, but I’ve also been using them for night time during the week because they hold more pee, though I’ve noticed that it’s usually more full in the early morning, hence my focus. I’m guessing it’s a potty pause i’m experiencing with him, because I would like to be able to use it soon over the next two months, and can take advantage of the developmental mastery around 15mths where I can ditch the diapers completely during day time at least. After I receive my recent order, (from GoDiaperFree.com) I will go through The Tiny Potty Training book. Listening to this special pod cast, I went ahead and listened to all of them, and i’ve decided to forego the support group; Andrea and her team have been amazing, and I am going to be as amazing in my tiny successes.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 10, 2019 at 1:14 am

      Hi Isabelle! It sounds like you have a great plan laid out. I love how much thought you have put into it. I think switching to training pants is a great idea, it really helps with them gain awareness and progress. xx Andrea

      • Avatar Isabelle on August 16, 2019 at 11:32 pm

        Hello dear Andrea, I’m so thankful for what you do and teach. My babe is now 16 months and a half, and I’m so ready to ditch the diapers. I’ve decided to just let him go commando pants for two weeks with a diaper cover, which means frequent changes, and surely to send a message. When he turned 16 months there were a few moments where his resistance to sit on the toilet dissipated, it was brief (it’s like I dreamt that I caught a pee in the toilet, which I’m sure I did), but the resistance came back, even stronger it seams. I continue to teach skills, and am trying to do the easy catches, but not so easy when he throws his back and cries when I try to sit him on the toilet seat reducer, even after moving him to it when I actually see him pooing. I’ve moved the potty in the bathroom, on a soft carpet, with a basket of relaxing toys and potty books, we’ll see if that helps.too. I’m wondering if I should get s step to help him mount the toilet, any ideas about the resistance tho? Not sure how I’m supposed to wrap up EC, when I haven’t had much success in catches .

        • Avatar Andrea Olson on September 18, 2019 at 8:19 pm

          There can be resistance in the beginning, hopefully things have progressed. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job teaching independence, that really does help. You might not want a step stool just yet, but it is a good idea to try a seat reducer so he can’t just get up. Then use distractions to keep him happy. If you feel he just isn’t making progress you can try either the hybrid plan that comes with the Go Diaper Free book or the Tiny Potty Training method. xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Erin on May 10, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Hello Andrea,

    Thank you for this episode. You touched on a few things I had questions about and I am in a similar situation as Julia (above). My son will be 9 months next week and I have been experimenting with tiny undies (very occasionally) since 6 months. As you mentioned, my son is super resistant to getting a diaper on, in fact I am usually chasing him around or trying to get him to look out the window so I can throw a diaper on. I will try what Julia mentioned with more regular 45 min intervals in undies after the potty. Do you think transitioning now is too early or can the diaper resistance temporary?
    Now I am working full time so a disconnect is growing. My nanny (amazing 19 yo) is having great success catching both 1 and 2. Do you recommend revisiting observation timing on the weekends for parents? And maybe using the undies to monitor during these observations? After nap times there has been dry diapers but in the morning we have a really soggy diaper. My point is there isn’t consistency yet so maybe using a combination of backups is best for now. I have your board books and love them but at this point my son just likes to eat them.
    Apologies for so many questions in one swell swoop, but understanding when to transition to anything results in my questioning everything.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 12, 2019 at 1:21 am

      Hi Erin! I think you have the right idea. I would definitely do observation on the weekend if you are feeling out of sync. Undies/trainers would be perfect for observation. As far as transitioning to using trainers more, if you are getting most poops I would give it a try. Another thing you can try, if you aren’t already, is doing standing changes. It also helps with resistance. xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Ros on June 2, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Hi Andrea, thanks for all the super-helpful advice! My baba is 13 months, and I have been trying to work on a combination of EC/potty training since his first birthday, when he started walking. I keep him commando much of the day, and manage to catch some poos (though no luck at all with the pees!) but he doesn’t really seem to be getting it yet…. I regularly put him on the potty, but he moves off pretty immediately, and often then pees right after! So right after these misses I pop him back on the potty and he will sometimes (maybe half the time) sit there for a bit, so I’m hoping this is him getting more comfortable with the idea, what do you think? Thanks a lot!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on June 5, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Hi Ros! It sounds like you are doing a great job with EC! It is a good idea to put him on after a pee. If you’re not making progress in a few months, I would move forward with potty training. xx Andrea

  10. Avatar Bethany on July 26, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    We are experiencing things a little backwards from the norm and I wondered if you could give me a little guidance here: my 10 mo old is doing really great with EC (we’ve been doing it since nb). Her disposable diaper stays mostly dry, even at night. But as soon as I put cloth trainers on her she pees in them without signaling to me. I’m guessing she’s just used to the disposables, and if that’s the reasoning then I’ll just have to start a few steps back when switching to undies. Have more misses for a while until we make the transition. Is this correct or other thoughts? Thank you so much!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 11, 2019 at 10:20 pm

      Hi Bethany! It is very normal for them to have a learning curve with undies/trainers. It’s also not uncommon for kids to signal better in a certain back up. It’s okay to continue to do some diaper free time in trainers, she’ll get used to them with time. When you’re ready to ditch diapers, just go for it. Don’t let her current misses in trainers deter you. xx Andrea

Leave a Comment





Scroll To Top