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Why I’m only catching the morning pee (or poo) lately.

This is a re-post of an article originally published by Andrea Olson on December 27, 2017

baby pooping face one - happy before signal

We are going through an elimination communication potty pause.

Yes, yours truly, Andrea Olson, queen of infant potty training, also has potty pauses.


am catching the morning pee (and poo if I'm lucky).

The photo above is what Branson, 10 months, looks like on the toilet right after he wakes up:

Happy. Willing. Engaged. Pottying!

Then, he gives a very common poop signal - staring off into space:

baby pooping face two - staring off into space signal


To my very trained potty eye, he is about to do something.

Sure enough, next up is the infamous baby poop face:

baby pooping face three - the big push

The big push!

(If your baby does this while in a diaper, gently say wait and transport to the toilet. 9x out of 10 baby will finish on the toilet.)

And this, folks, is our ONE catch of the day, lately.

Why the potty pause?

Often babies have a potty pause (which means they resist the potty, or won't go in it, but only in the diaper back-up, for days, weeks, or months on end) because they are about to reach a developmental milestone.

My baby? Well, he is working very hard on 2 new teeth.

And he is working very hard on this:

baby climbing stairs elimination communication

And he is just about ready to walk.

How it feels for me to be in a pause

Since I know that a pause precedes a developmental leap, I am relaxed about it.

I know that EC is not ruined. That all is not lost.

That we will be back on track once B is done with all the big work he's doing.


I am savoring our ONE catch of the day!

Practicing major gratitude for that one, for sure.

As I do this, guess what?

Magically, day by day, hour by hour, I am catching more and more.

Our pause has lasted a total of 2 weeks so far. We've caught 1-5 pees or poos a day, had a ton of misses (some in the diaper, some DISASTERS on the floor - remind me to share that story!!), and we have kept on keepin' on.

After 4 babies, we know that this is just part of the process.

And we stay the course.

What I plan to do next

In light of the pause, here is my current plan (what I'm doing to get thru this pause with flying colors):

  1. I am staying the course. I will not stop doing EC. I will do the 4 easy catches and anything extra is bonus. This is what we do. The diaper is not a toilet. It is a back-up (the perfect tool for a pause!).
  2. I am switching to cloth during the day. I've been lax, using disposables, and he is beginning to not mind peeing in them. Therefore, we will return to daytime cloth diapers next week in preparation for the upcoming transition to a fully-walking baby.
  3. Once he's walking, I will begin teaching him the potty process. I will teach movement to the potty, more sign language, how to push pants down, mount the potty, and get into a solid routine (transition times). Learn more of that here.
  4. I am also providing lots of privacy. When we go to the toilet, I busy myself with other things and I place him on the toilet seat reducer (this one) to ensure he doesn't escape. I am close by in case he jumps (!) - use caution! But usually, with my baby, turning my back for a moment gives him the privacy he needs to relax and pee/poo.

And I would suggest the same to

If you are going thru a potty pause...

Definitely check out my minicourse on potty pauses. It is uber-helpful and covers exactly what I recommend in much more detail (but not too much...we don't have time for that, now, do we?).

I would also do the above (the 4 things I'm currently doing).

And I would take heart, trust the process...know that this is part of it!

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you in a potty pause? If so, what are you going to do differently, based on what you've read in this post?

If you aren't in one now, have you been in the past? If so, how did you get through it?

Please comment below!

Do share! And hang in there. "Babies grow up so fast."

xx Andrea

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:

Resource Recommendation

Getting EC Back on Track: a minicourse that walks you through observation, logging, and getting back on the EC wagon

Potty Time Mastery: a minicourse that helps you get extremely good at detecting the 4 ways to know the baby has to pee

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 Ella on December 28, 2017 at 7:12 am

    We are going through the same thing! My baby’s 8.5 months. Crawling already, pulling himself up, and holding onto furniture as he “walks.” We’ve been waiting for a tooth or two soon or him walking. We’ll get the morning pee and poop, but otherwise throughout the day he’ll mostly arch his back when he hold him over the sink or toilet to pee or poop. He doesn’t signal (at least we haven’t figured out what it is if he does) so we give him the pee and poop opportunity throughout the day (after naps, before and after feeding/meals and after a while of play time). We thought about giving him and ourselves a break, but my husband is insistent we keep trying. Thanks for this post. It’s keeping my hopes up.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 28, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Hey Ella – so glad that sharing this has helped you. :) I agree with husband…stick with it. And what you are doing is perfect. Then when baby is done with the pause, you can totally dive right back in. Btw I fixed the links on the post just now (in case you also couldn’t click thru). Hang in there! Keep it up with consistency with those easy catches and also TRY the toilet seat reducer – this might be the one thing your baby is asking for! xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Neko on December 28, 2017 at 8:17 am

    We are also in a potty pause….. So I’m laying off quite a bit and like that you suggest this too. I’m trying to click the links for the potty reducer and your mini course and the links are not working. Can you copy paste them to me? Or in my email. I’ve been wanting to get access to your mini course and cannot seem to navigate your site very easily to find stuff that I’m looking for.

    • Avatar Paeter Labrie on December 28, 2017 at 9:20 am

      I couldn’t access those links either.

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 28, 2017 at 9:37 am

        Hi Paeter! So sorry – the new blog post builder I’m using has changed the way it links. Lesson learned. I’ve updated the links in the main post above, but here they are as well:
        Potty Reducer –
        Potty Pause MiniCourse –
        xx Andrea

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 28, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Hey Neko!!! So sorry – the new blog post builder I’m using has changed the way it links. Lesson learned. I’ve updated the links in the main post above, but here they are as well:
      Potty Reducer –
      Potty Pause MiniCourse –

      Hang in there and I’m sure you can navigate your way out better than you could navigate this post today (sorry!!) :) xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Melissa on December 28, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I am also unable to use the link for the potty reducer. Thanks for the info on potty pauses. My baby hasn’t had a major potty pause yet but we’ve had a few frustrating weekends and I was wondering how to handle things when she starts to develop more.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 28, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Hi Melissa! Just fixed the links – here is the potty reducer that we’ve been using for the past year and a half (my new favorite for sure) –
      As for the frustrating weekends – it is always because something is or is about to happen with baby, which is great! She’s developing! Don’t expect a pause (many babies don’t go thru one at all) but if it should happen the link to the course is
      Enjoy the journey! xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Sara on December 28, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    It’s definitely all about seeing the big picture! We are going through a similar phase and I try and remind myself how far we’ve come with EC and that at the end of the day it’s pee in a diaper and he at least understands that’s not where it goes. Not to mention you’re still lessening the diaper load even if it is only one measly pee. Thank you for normalizing this! I do sometimes picture no misses at the Olson house haha. I had to chuckle a little at Branson holding the toilet paper roll. My little guy always has some random object in his hand while pottying and it tends to be whatever is within arms reach ;)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Yes it is, Sara! “One measly pee” – love it. There are definitely not “no misses” at the Olson house!! With my first son, yes, I did catch 99.99% of all poops his whole life. With the others, not-so-much, but still a positive outcome and experience. The TP roll – he likes to bite it and chew the paper which is driving me nuts. We have since switched to my bath massage thingie! :) Enjoy this experience!! xx Andrea

  5. Avatar Rachel on December 28, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    In the same boat! My girl is 11 months and on the verge of walking by herself. We started EC 3 weeks ago and it took off really well and now the last few days I have been only catching the poops and only a few pees. My guess is due to the holidays and running around. I still offer after waking, before and after eating, and when I feel the whole intuition thing. She prefers standing peeing in the tub and arches her back and fusses over the toilet so… I am remaining my positive self and not forcing her to go on the toilet. When I change a wet cloth diaper I verbally acknowledged that she peed and then she helps me put the wet diaper in the bag.

    I am currently focusing on making the bathroom experience a bit more fun and connecting more with her. I found EC to enhance our connection and I completely plan on continuing!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2018 at 9:45 am

      Awesome Rachel! You have he perfect attitude and understanding to do this and follow thru to completion – with a fulfilling, connective experience I’m sure!! <3 Andrea

  6. Avatar Lisa on December 29, 2017 at 9:46 am

    My little boy is 22 months and I want to potty train but I get so stressed constantly watching and then all the mess. I keep missing pees, and just don’t have time to be on the ball with it I would need someone to look after my daughter so I can focus just on him but my husband and I don’t really get time off together to do this for a few days,no family around and friends have their own kids, work etc. Should I do elimination communication and then just hope as he gets older it all just happens naturally? I’m moving in a few weeks into a rented house that’s all carpet downstairs, my current house is hard floors so I feel rushed to do this either quickly before we move or in the least messiest way possible but don’t want to leave it too late and him be resistant to it all. I had a nightmare with my daughter, 3 failed attempts she would scream and thrash around in her own pee it was awful and I’d read the book too was trying to follow that but she was having none of it. I never seem to have 3 days off where I won’t need to leave the house to even get started properly. I tried yesterday but today and the next 2 days I need to go out then I’m back at work. I’ve gotten myself all stressed about it.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Hey Lisa! Don’t stress! (I know, easy for me to say.) Do you have my PT book? – read it and do the plan exactly as stated. If someone in your family had an emergency, you and hubs would rally and make it work. I would not do EC as it’s too gradual, but hey!, if it’s all you can do, do it. But at this age it’s confusing. I would potty train, use my book, and use the private support group that comes with my book for expert advice from my certified coaches :) <3 Andrea

      • Avatar Lisa on January 4, 2018 at 3:38 pm

        I have the book Yeh, need to have a re read. Will try to schedule a few days together, can’t see it being anytime soon but will see, thanks :-)

  7. Avatar Bree on January 3, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Potty pause here too! My 8.5 month is learning to crawl and pull herself up to standing. I was wondering why all of a sudden she would NOT cooperate! Thanks for the timely advice!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2018 at 9:48 am

      You are so welcome, Bree! You’re def not alone. Hang in there. We’ve been catching more and more since I wrote this post. I think sometimes if we tell *someone* we are struggling (even 10,000 people like me, or just one close friend, or posting a blog comment!), it relieves the stress and disappointment enough to see the big picture and get relaxed into what’s happening, and how to continue without giving up. Hang in there and enjoy the whole process! xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Stefania Tamasan on January 10, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Hello Andrea. Potty pause here, too, from about 13 months. We are doing EC with my daughter since she was about 5,5 months old – she is 14 months old today. At 13 months old she started saying pipi and going in the potty afterwards. I was soooo happy! but the miracle lasted about 3 days. Ever since she finds it funny to say pipi all the time, especially during the night (you imagine the gymnastics both me and my husband are doing to get her on the potty and then nothing happens). We used to keep her occupied with toys while on the potty – not sure if this was a mistake, and now when she wants to play instead of sleeping or other, she finds her way to do this by saying pipi. She is going through a major developmental milestone now (not walking yet, but working on it, plus a lot of talking she’s doing suddenly, plus the first jaw tooth). A week ago I decided to put her in undies only, and she is doing fine while outside (not a single miss so far, but she keeps it a lot, she doesn’t want to go outside even if I offer, and then she goes in the potty when we get home). On the contrary, inside, during the day, she refuses the potty sometimes (after the sleep for example) and pees on the floor later, lately without saying pipi…not sure if this way I will teach her that peeing on the floor is ok….

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Just tell her every single time, “No, pipi goes in the potty.” And have her help you clean up. It will wear off. And go on LOTS of outings! They seem to work for you both! Instilling transition times at home is really hard…it’s like you pull them out of thin air, make them up, and the child knows it is not actually a “real” transition time, so she resists. Makes sense. So, getting out of the house to make “real” transition times will probably help a lot! xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Ariane B-L on January 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    It feels so good to read that! We had a potty pause during the holidays, while visiting our families. I forgot our undies home, so the disposable diapers didn’t help. Add to that a new teeth, the crazy schedules with partys and everything. Now that we are back home, back to CLOTH it goes much better. In fact, my husband started the process, so proud of him! And even when we have a limited number of catches, I try to be grateful for that. Thanks for your suggestions about the next steps to take. Can’t wait for my baby to walk and start to show him how to sit on the potty! :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Yes, that will be so much fun, indeed! This is totally normal and yes it always gets better at home, with cloth, and with a parental TEAM effort! Good for you guys. :)

  10. Avatar Rain on February 1, 2018 at 6:56 am

    We are having a major potty pause at 17 months, the vast majority of my daughter’s poos from birth have been caught, but now she is pooing in her nappy. She is not walking very much yet, she started but then she unluckily caught a series of viruses, plus teething. On Boxing Day we went out to family (with lovely tidy house) for the day using no nappies!! And now, she outright protests at the suggestion of potty and will minutes later poo her nappy….feeling so discouraged :/

  11. Avatar Britanie on April 22, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Just had our first catch in about a week this morning. I feel like we were so busy and I was just so distracted that I wasn’t fully in tune with her cues like I had been. This morning she looked at me and said Poooo just once then stared off so I grabbed the potty and she went. She was so proud. Hopefully we can catch more.

  12. Avatar Kelsey Paolucci on July 26, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks so much for this post Andrea! I love your optimism that pauses happen because our LO’s have lots of other things they are currently working on. We had been catching every poo and many pees, and dry at night, until about 6 weeks ago. Now we barely catch anything and my 15 mo refuses to be held over the big potty. I’m learning he is trying to mount the little potty himself, and can now do that, but still no catches. He’s also been cutting all his first molars and canine teeth, so that may explain something. I’ve been doing my best to have him in trainers when we’re at home. I’ll try to say ‘wait’ when I see him starting to go. Thanks for all you do!

  13. Avatar Kristen on December 31, 2018 at 10:42 am

    My son just turned 1, we have been on a potty pause for almost 4 weeks now. When I say it’s time to go to the potty, he turns limp and arches his back. If I (gently) get him on and try reading and say “peepee”, he starts to fake cry. Sometimes I think I just miss him, and others, I’m not sure. We had been doing so well since 4 months. I continue to gently offer and read, or do whatever I can to have him stay on for a minute or two, but our potty has been dry more often than not. I figure I can help him with teething, learning to walk, and backing up to sit on the potty on his own… Then switch to pull up cloth diapers when he walks independently.

  14. Avatar Marie on January 14, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    My baby is eight and a half months old, and I’ve been putting her on the potty every so often just to keep the idea fresh in her mind. Right now I’m in whatever the opposite of a potty pause is…
    Two days ago, I realized that she could sit on the potty all by herself, and then yesterday, she just spontaneously decided to potty train herself, or so it seems. Yesterday, she started coming over and fussing when she wants to go, and going on the potty when i put her on it. (she is crawling and standing, but not walking yet.) She’s continuing today, doesn’t like having her diaper changed in the normal way anymore, and is even pooping on the potty if I distract her while she’s doing it. (otherwise she wants to cling to me while she does it, as it seems to distress her a bit.) Anyway, I have a regular volunteering schedule at a nearby school where I used to teach. I’m wondering what to do if she keeps trying to potty train herself all week. At home, I can break off whatever I’m doing when she comes to fuss, and hang out with her in the bathroom till she’s done, but at school, this could be very awkward, not to mention the difficulty of bringing a potty with me…. Any ideas?

  15. Avatar Caitlin on January 17, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    I think my 8 month old is having a potty pause. We have been giving her pottytunities since she was 3 months old, but never went diaper free for a while. A couple weeks ago I decided to do some diaper free time everyday, and a few days after that she started refusing the potty! She just stiffens up like a board when I try to sit her on her little potty or hold her over the big potty. I think when I first did diaper free time, I was paranoid that I would have a miss, and not very comfortable with understanding cues, so I would just hold her over the potty frequently. Is it possible that the frequent pottying has gotten her frustrated with the potty all together? She is also getting her first teeth, and maybe moving towards crawling.
    Thanks for any advise!

  16. Avatar Katie on August 23, 2022 at 10:02 am

    I’m glad I read this this morning. We were doing good and catching the majority of my sons pees and poos through the day. Then this week suddenly I was having more soiled diapers than usual. I immediately started blaming myself and felt like I was doing something wrong. (I mean, let’s face it; sometimes we are!) But this is a great reminder to keep on keeping on. To be patient and gentle and remember this is part of the process and normal!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on August 24, 2022 at 5:04 pm

      Yes!!! I’m so happy this helped you, and yes, you have got this, ups and downs are normal and to be expected, EC is not a linear journey and we are all doing the best we can. You are doing great momma!

  17. Avatar Asti on August 23, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    Hi, my baby is almost 5 months old. We had a couple of hectic weeks where we didn’t use the potty much and now she won’t poo on the potty at all, She seems to wait until we are in the car and poo whilst in the car seat (almost every time!). Even when we put her on the potty before we go in the car, any thoughts on this? We are still offering the potty when we usually would but not sure what else to do.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on August 24, 2022 at 5:13 pm

      First off, you are doing great and especially when life gets a little hectic it’s totally normal for there to be some potty misses. Baby is still very young and may also be going through some developmental milestones that can cause some changes in how she responds to EC. I would definitely continue offering at the usual times. Perhaps she needs a little bit of privacy in the sense that having a book or toy that she can play with when you sit her on the potty could help her to relax enough to let loose before your trip. Sometimes babies take a little while to get comfy and relax enough. If your interested I also have a new subscription service called Potty Tribe where weekly coaches and I help parents troubleshoot EC and Potty training issues that may have come up recently.

  18. Avatar Mathilde on August 25, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Hi andrea,

    Thanks for your Advice ; I’ve done reset and read your book ;)
    Changing the potty has been helpful, she still refuses the mini potty (she doesn’t want to be held) but she would sit on the potty and / or toilet. Thing is, not long ;)
    She’s always been in cloth diaper (sumo style) and I’m quite aware of her natural timing (even is sometimes it is changing a bit) but she won’t do anything on the potty. Sometimes I offer and 5 minutes later it’s on the floor or in the back up. Actually for the pee pee she never seemed to understand, although I’ve been cueing from her birth. Is that possible that she doesn’t get it ?!
    Now I do what you recommend ; I say wait and then use the sign and pee in the potty.
    She will start day care next week with disposables :-(
    Also, one time out of 2 she now wakes up with a wet diaper, can she be doing while sleeping ? (It wasn’t the case before – she’s in cloth diapers too)
    Thanks !

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on August 26, 2022 at 6:42 pm

      You are doing great! EC is a non linear journey and there will be ups and downs. If she is willing to sit on the toilet but isn’t there long enough; perhaps, incorporating a book or toy that she can have during potty time may help her stay on long enough to relax and eliminate, she may also want a bit of privacy. I have a new subscription service Potty Tribe where coaches and I get together weekly with other EC and potty training parents to help troubleshoot any issues that have come up recently, hope to see you there!

  19. Avatar Lauren on September 1, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    I started EC about a month ago and now my 4 month old seems to be going through a potty pause 😩 we used to catch 8-10 pees a day but now he actively resists peeing and I can only catch 1 or 2 and only when running warm water on his feet. I’m impressed at you guys who catch all the poos because my son only poops once every other day and it seems to come so quickly- caught the first one in a while this week when holding him in the EC position after a nap. Do you think he will remember how to pee in the potty after the 4 month sleep regression is over? I feel sometimes he actively is trying to hold it during pottytunities… so frustrating

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on September 1, 2022 at 9:58 pm

      He is still so young, he should pick back up on it easily. There are so many developmental milestones happening at that time, it’s totally normal to have ups and downs with EC. Always remember: You are doing great momma! It’s not a linear journey, nor is it a race. We are communicating with our little ones and helping meet one of their most basic needs.

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