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Why starting EC at birth is easiest…and dang hard

Pros and Cons of Starting EC with a Newborn Baby

Starting Elimination Communication at birth is a no-brainer!

I'm gonna share why The Golden Window is 0-4 months old, why starting EC at this age will help you stick with it...

and why most parents just don't start at birth (but should).

Whether it's colic or lovely chafed bits or plain exhaustion, the first few postpartum days are so hard for most new moms (and dads, for that matter) that it's difficult to imagine starting EC right away.

BUT (and this is a big but), it's also the easiest time to start EC with your baby. And in today's new video I share very specific reasons why.

It's just 5 min long, and it covers why starting in The Golden Window is, well, golden. Watch here:

You'll learn:

  • why this is the easiest time to start
  • why this can be the most challenging time to start
  • who is the determining factor of your success: you or the baby
  • about my new Baby Meets Potty minicourse, which will tell you exactly how to start EC with a newborn in less than an hour (with 2 methods not found in my book).

Please comment below with whether you started at birth, or not, and why!

No judgment here...just super-curious to hear what you all are doing. :)

Next time we'll discuss starting with a mobile baby, and then young toddlers. Stay tuned by subscribing to my channel at youtube.

xx Andrea

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Resource Recommendation

Potty Time Master:   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 Lyndsey on August 29, 2017 at 7:14 am

    We had a colicky baby on our hands so though we wanted to start as soon as possible, we didn’t get there until 3 months. Our kiddo is now 22 months and day-time potty trained (so done with EC) and I would definitely do it again! Such a great experience for all of us and I’m convinced that t made potty training leaps and bounds easier.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Lyndsey! That is wonderful! :) It’s unbelievable how much easier EC makes potty training. I’m so happy for you guys :) Andrea

  2. Avatar Michelle on August 29, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Started EC with my son at six days. He is now two months old and yesterday we had our most successful catch day yet. He almost always cries when pottying so that is hard but even though he cries I think he does anticipate pottying.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Hey Michelle! Yep, that is totally common. It goes away around 3-4 months of age (the crying during). Glad to hear you’re having such great success! :) Andrea

  3. Avatar Heidi on August 29, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I wanted to start EC with my son at birth, but I didn’t know how. Should I bring the mini potty to the hospital? How do you nurse and potty a baby at the same time? The first few weeks all I did was make the psss sound when I noticed him peeing. Once he was four weeks old I committed to officially doing EC and offering pottytunities. The first few catches were so exciting! And he definitely signalled more clearly as a newborn. He would let out a single high-pitched cry when he needed to pee or squirm to get out of the wrap/carrier.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Heidi! What adorable signals your boy had. :) Starting by just making the pssss noise each time, for everyone’s info, is totally fine and actually a wonderful way to begin. I’m so glad you both found your rhythm. xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Heather A. on August 29, 2017 at 10:20 am

    We started with EC at 6mo with our daughter. I didn’t learn about it until she was 4 or 5 months old and it took us time to commit. I’m glad we started at 6 months, those first few months can be trying, and it takes time to sit with them on the potty. We are a very active family so logistically it was easier to wait until she could hold it a little longer and we weren’t trying to find bathrooms every hour while we were out. She is now 11 months old and we are relying more and more on her cues over timing. She is getting better at letting us know when she has to go. I know potty training will be so much easier because of this! Thank for your help, Andrea!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      That is wonderful, Heather! You’re right in noting that waiting til 6 months would definitely result in less pottytunities during the day. My 4th is now 6 months old and it’s finally becoming a lot more expansive in between pees. :) And, also, I want to add that it really doesn’t matter when you begin so long as you *commit* at that time, whenever it is. You’re on a good track, and may find that you don’t even need to potty train at all (if you need tips, my Wrapping Up EC minicourse can definitely help in a few months – wrapping up with pure EC or a hybrid plan – ). :) xx Andrea

  5. Avatar Simona Fino on August 29, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I started at birth (about 2 weeks old) after being inspired by a picture of a one week old baby peeing in a container in one of my EC books. She peed the first time I tried, which was first thing in the morning after she woke up. That really inspired me to keep going! I was super committed to not using a single disposable diaper, in spite of the fact most everyone around me told me that would be impossible. I believe that inspired me even more and I decided I’d stay committed to my goal. I only used cloth diapers and was super committed to EC those first few months. The result? I didn’t change a single poopy dipaer after she was 6 months old and I never used a disposable diaper! We were done with diapers by about 20 months.

    I will also say I had AMAZING postpartum support. My baby daddy was home taking care of us for a full 12 weeks after birth. He was also committed to EC and that made a huge difference.

    I always tell all my friends, just go for it! It’s worth it in so many ways.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      Simona! So nice to see you chime in here! What an inspiring story. You are amazing. I am currently traveling and using disposables (but catching more because I always catch more on outings!)…and I wish I had the resolve to do cloth on the road this time around. Kudos, mama. And yay for baby daddy staying home with you guys for so long. That is super! I’m sure your story will motivate others who may be reluctant to go completely cloth and completely EC. Nice work :) xx Andrea

  6. Avatar meeralevine on August 29, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I didn’t start at birth since she didn’t latch so our focus was pumping and feeding for several weeks. Now she has latched and is about to be 3 months old and I would love to start but don’t quite know how! I just received your book in the mail, however still wish someone would jist tell me how to begin.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      Hey Meera! Congrats on your birth, and, yes, feeding is definitely more important on the spectrum of care. Glad you’ve got that established now! As for starting, I just released a minicourse on the topic of starting with a newborn baby. Please get it! It is specifically for folks like you who would like to just be told how to begin. Even at 3 months old, I would get it (that is the upper limit of this course, but should be relevant in all ways). When you get that down, listen to the audiobook version of my book (that came with it) while you do laundry or dishes or walks with baby, and get all caught up on the big picture that way :) xx Andrea
      PS – here is the minicourse:

  7. Avatar Rebecca on August 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    My second baby is really chill. We started EC with her at 2 weeks (a few days after my nipples healed). Her cues were super clear in the beginning. Now, at 11 months, we go back and forth with periods of high success and low success rates (based on mobility milestones and teething). Still loving EC. :)

    I can’t remember when I started EC with my first baby. I know it was before 7 months, but I think it was after 4. She was completely out of diapers at 18 months (with the help of an intense 3 days of underwear-only ECing).

    Despite how “successful” we are, my dedication is from a place of principle. The promise of being done with diapers at 18 months or sooner helps though. :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Rebecca! Yes to principle! The whole point of not teaching our babies that the diaper is the toilet, and honoring their bodies while we teach, is a very good foundation for EC. Finishing earlier I would agree is wonderful! :) thanks for sharing your experience – it is very inspiring! I do have a Potty Time minicourse if you need a little more help with “when” to potty – – but otherwise enjoy the process!! xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Anna Bloome on August 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    My baby is 3 months, I started ec at birth and we have only had a small handfuls of catches, her cues are relatively consistent but *the time between cue and pee/poo* is not, often i sit with her over a potty or pad for ages and nothing happens, only to finally put her down and she goes. Haven’t figured out any ways to deal with this. how long to people usually hold baby over potty? I get the feeling she is uncomfortable that way and waits to be put down to go. In short, not a lot of success with golden window EC.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 11:18 pm

      Hey Anna! At 3 months, laying her on a pad after offering for 3-5 minutes (max) is good, and then when she goes, just cue along with her (“pssss”) to reinforce sound association. I actually did that with my 6 month old at that exact age! It’s pretty normal. :) Hang in there! xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Robin Kinney on August 29, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Hi! My baby boy is 4 months old and I would say that practicing EC when he was a newborn was easier than it is now! First, he would pee all the time, so I was almost certain to catch a pee at every diaper change, although I was still missing a bunch in the diaper, but at least I felt some accomplishment. Second, it seemed that he pooped all the time also. Now, at 4 months old, he has consolidated his poops to about once a week and I’m not catching the signal since the frequency has decreased so much. Now that family has gone home and I’m alone with the newborn and my 3.5 year old son, I’m finding it challenging to do everything (house management and baby care). I’m still catching the pee upon waking, but missing the pees during nursing and while out of the house. Hopefully with the start of the school year, I can establish more routines and catch more pees! So in summary, start EC with the newborn!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Yes Robin! Precisely! :) I hope that you find some good rhythms in your day once school is in session. I know it helps me, too. And, if you should add more babies to your family after this one…know that it is never as hard as adjusted from having 1 to having 2. Hang in there! xx Andrea

  10. Avatar KRISTA on August 29, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I didn’t start EC at birth because I didn’t know about it. I was actually at my first out of home midwife appt when I was perusing the bookshelf and saw this book title “Go diaper free”. I was instantly intrigued and signed it out and began reading. By the time I had finished the book amidst having a newborn, baby was just four months old and that’s when I started.
    In the book it had a plethora of resources but it made light of finding support online and that’s how I found Andrea ☺
    Baby is just under a year and we just survived our first potty pause and I’m so happy to be feeling successful again! Not only for myself but most importantly for empowering my daughter.
    Yay for EC!!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 30, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      Yay Krista!!!! You did it! :) I’m so glad that you were able to begin, and to be successful, and to weather the difficult periods that are inherent in most everyone’s experience. So glad your midwife had a complete library ;) xx Andrea

  11. Avatar Elaine Mandeville on August 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I discovered EC sometime between my 1st and 2nd child and thought it would be too much to start with a new born and toddler, but by 4 months, I was waking at about the same time every day to change his poopy (cloth) diaper, so we began with that as an easy catch. We added more as time passed and have transitioned and regressed many times, but have stuck with it over all and if I were to have another, I would definitely consider beginning at birth. I’m so incredibly blessed to have found not only EC, but Andrea Olsen’s particular format which has connected with me in a way I’m not sure anyone else could have done!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on September 1, 2017 at 12:37 am

      Hi Elaine! Yes, I remember when you began. :) I’m so glad you found me and that you felt a good connection there. So glad EC has been an overall success for you both! xx Andrea

  12. Avatar Georgia on August 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    We started at about 4 days old. I’d told myself not to put pressure on myself to start as we adjustedy to this big life change. Started at nappy changes and progressed from there. Getting a top hat potty helped so much. I found it do rewarding to be communicating with my newborn in this way and it gave me such a greater respect for their innate intelligence. Now we’re are 12 wks on and have the occasional dry night and often go several hours in the day without a miss. Loving EC and will try from birth with the next one.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on September 1, 2017 at 2:04 am

      That is so wonderful, Georgia! Thanks so much for sharing this with us! xx Andrea

  13. Avatar Lindsay on August 30, 2017 at 12:06 am

    My plan was to start at birth, or when we got home from the hospital. But my plan did not go as planned.
    Pregnancy and labor took a toll on my body I was not expecting and I was not physically or mentally ready to try something so unfamiliar. Breastfeeding, which was something I really, really wanted for my baby, was an unforeseen nightmare that never really ended until we stopped trying at 8 months. I had next-to-no postpartum support–and that’s probably a really important piece to EC success at birth.
    I also didn’t feel like I had all the right tools. I had a small potty, but no top-hat potty and I wasn’t so enthusiastic about using the sink or shower when I knew I wouldn’t be able to clean them for awhile (and there was no one else doing it).
    We started at 5 months when life had evened out into a rhythm and I was physically stronger. I know that is still early in the world of potty training, but I feel saddened that all the limitations meant THIS was the thing to get pushed aside. I think I just wanted it to all be “perfect”. My smarty baby caught up quickly and we hope to wrap up EC in the next couple of months. With the next one, I hope we can be better prepared to ease into it no matter our circumstances.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on September 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Oh, Lindsay, my heart goes out to you! That must have been very disappointing, but I have to say, you’ve definitely made lemonade out of lemons! ;) Difficult starts definitely hinder EC, but at the same time, survival of baby and mama definitely take precedent! With your next one, you will be 100% equipped. I wish you the best with wrapping up this one, and then starting anew next time! xx Andrea

  14. Avatar Destiney on August 30, 2017 at 12:20 am

    I knew about it before I was pregnant. I brought it up a few times to other people and I got bad looks. I first set him on the potty at 2 weeks old and he did it. But I couldn’t get the signals down. He growled at lot them just to make noises. He started to cry when I tried to set him on the potty so I stoped till he was about 3 months old. And he just took to it and pss pss noise the day I tried back at it. Got a catch every time I took him. I feel so happy. I want to get a small potty to really commit instead of walking across the house every 30 mins and taking a chance on missing it. I still don’t know his signals but I seem to get the timing right.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on September 6, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Destiney! I am so happy you’re happy, mama. Isn’t it amazing how quickly they catch back on. It’s definitely a challenge in the first few weeks when they do make so many noises….I’m glad you came back and you ARE committing now – the potty is only a symbol of that – the true commitment is already there, I can see it! Enjoy! xx Andrea

  15. Avatar Melissa on August 30, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    With my first, I started winging it with EC when she was about 8 weeks old (after learning about it from another mom at my breastfeeding support group). One day I went to change her diaper and it was dry, so I held her over the toilet and she peed. We did it part time fairly consistently and relying on natural timing (I didn’t know anything about signaling at the time) – transitions were our most successful (wake-ups and transfer out of the Ergo or wrap). While at home we caught about 50% of pee and most poop and she was dry most nights starting around 12-18 months. When we transitioned to undies at home around 22 months, but were having a lot of misses until her teacher suggested that we start with undies at school, too. She was fully potty trained within 3 days (26 months, I think). With my son (now 10 weeks) we started as soon as we got home from the hospital (again, part-time). He was very fussy because he was uncomfortable/gassy (I recognized the symptoms of hindmilk/foremilk imbalance due to oversupply from my first) and I decided to see if EC would help him. He immediately pooped (on day 3 of life) and continues to signal really clearly for poop and fairly consistently (by fussing and squirming) for pee. We only change about one poopy diaper per week (usually because we are away from home and distracted) and catch about 50% of pee. We haven’t started nighttime EC and don’t know if it will work for our family. This time I have many more resources and it is both easier and more stressful because I know so much more. For us, part time EC is easier than changing diapers and reduces the laundry a lot. I’m really happy to be using this method. I know my baby is less fussy and colicky than he would be without it – he really hates using a diaper!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on September 6, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Melissa, thanks so much for sharing both of your stories with us. It’s awesome that her teacher was on board – obviously it helps tremendously to have support on that side, but 3 days! That is proof in the pudding, for sure. As for your son, how wonderful that EC reduces colicky symptoms. I would have to completely agree (with 3 out of my 4 being fussy, myself, and EC helping about 1/3 of each of their fusses completely disappear!). I’m so glad you’re doing this with your babies. :) xx Andrea

  16. Avatar Leila on September 6, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Hi Andrea,
    my baby is almost four months old. She didn’t signal at all during the first months! Sometimes she cried when she just HAD wet her pants :-D though very rarely. She also didn’t accept the position of holding her as a peeing position, she preferred to pee in her diaper. :-D Just recently she makes a certain noise when she feels she has to pee. (poop was never an issue because she reliably did it after feeding). I have also clearly observed that she now actually prefers to pee in the toilet, so she’ll hold it a while and immediately release when I take her to the potty, which is a wonderful development – but contradictory to what is usually said about the newborn stage, right?

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on September 6, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Hey Leila! I would have to agree completely with that desire to use the actual toilet at that age – my newest son, Branson, definitely started preferring the big toilet at 4 months old, and at 6.5 months old now, he absolutely prefers it. They clearly want to mimic us at extremely early ages! I’m glad that things are getting more clear for you both!!! xx Andrea

  17. Avatar Victoria Padilla on September 7, 2017 at 1:35 am

    I started EC with my son the day before he turned 4 weeks old. I had read about EC during my pregnancy and knew it was totally something I wanted to do! But my little guy came at 37 weeks to the day, so I was caught a bit off guard, having just moved into our apartment 6 days prior! I felt that new-baby (and new-home) overwhelm and didn’t commit to EC right away…thinking I didn’t have the right supplies or support from hubbs! Well, one day, I was nursing him and felt him let out a little gas, so I waddled to the bathroom, stripped him of his diaper, held him over the sink in the Classic position, and he pooped!!! It was magical and I was hooked! It took a couple of months (and lots of catches and praise) for my hubby to see the light…but now he tells everyone about EC! He just told me today that he is SO thankful for it, and that it is so much easier now than it was when we started (and didn’t have a rhythm with our son.) I think, especially for new dads, it is important that they bond on that deeper level with their babies – EC totally facilitates that bonding!

    • Avatar Victoria Padilla on September 7, 2017 at 1:45 am

      Just a note on my son’s progress: He hit a potty pause around 9 months, so for about a week we backed off on offering so much and also incorporated a predictable potty song that he could look forward to and clap along with…that seemed to help us over that hurdle! Now he is 12.5 months, standing and scooting along furniture, but not yet walking. He is mostly Diaper Free in the daytime but we have him in either cloth or disposables (depending on if we have done diaper laundry) at night. Poops have become a little unpredictable…we catch about 1/3 of them. Pees are a little more predictable but he doesn’t really signal (unless he is already wet – then he crawls to us to change him.) He will crawl away, or out of our laps, quickly if he has to pee, so that’s his “signal!”

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