Elimination Communication – EC – Infant Potty Training, Diaper Free Babies

What is it about spending $.25-.40 cents per poop or pee that Americans just love? I mean we might as well just throw it in the trash, unless of course you’re using cloth diapers.Cloth diapers can save a family thousands of dollars. While not all of us cloth diaper for the economic reasons, others do it for the environment, allergies, or to avoid the chemicals in paper diapers.

However, some of us hate laundry.

If that’s the case, consider a diaper free baby. What’s that? Just that – a baby free of diapers. At some point in your parenting career, whether you choose to use cloth or paper, you’ll get to a point where you’re sick of diapers. And, unless you’re willing to wait for your kiddo to really be ready for potty learning, pressuring a child to “go” just doesn’t work well, and there are indications that pressure tactics aren’t effective (not does it help with the bond you have with your child). But, elimination communication really is different. Babies aren’t born wanting to pee on themselves. They don’t WANT to be in their own excrement. Really. Ask most parents… the moment you put the new diaper on, out comes the wee-wee. Open the diaper, and pee in the eye. It happens.

With our daughter we started around 7 months with potty time – we were on vacation in Cancun, I brought along just around 10 cloth diapers and figured we’d spend time at the ocean sans-diaper and the rest I’d rinse/wash by hand and hang to dry in the sun. Well at around that time we noticed that she always woke from her nap DRY. So we used that opportunity to just start putting her on the potty when she awoke. We had good success with this and she was signaling to us from an early age when she had to go and would often wait until we put her on.

Shown with the BABYBJÖRN Potty Chair, Blue

With our son we’ve been less consistent, but we did start putting him on the potty when he started sitting. However, he’s a different personality and honestly, for some reason, prefers his cloth diapers (especially his apple diapers!), but will sit on the potty if someone’s in there with him and if he’s not just waking up! I know if we’d been more consistent (and likely with one kiddo it was easier), we’d be catching more, if not all of his eliminations. One option is the Waterproof Bassinet Pad but for a larger baby or toddler consider Fitted Crib Pad.

Shown with the Itty Bitty Potty

Elimination communication versus potty training/learning is basically any time before they’re really able to verbalize their need, etc. Start with that dry time and keep it low stress. When he goes, even if it isn’t on the potty, show him the signal and say “potty” or “sss” (if he’s not yet verbal). The signal is generally the pinky finger.

We haven’t ventured much into night time EC, but if you do, use a wool or cotton piddle pad, on their sleeping area, and on top of that put a towel. They sleep there. If you co-sleep, and they start moving around, put them on the potty. Often this does mean there’s a potty in the bedroom.

Of course, if you do sleep share, keep it safe and only do it if you are comfortable and otherwise CAN share sleep safely.

Happy potty time!

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  1. I think I'm one of those who hate laundry. :) No, seriously, if you're a new mom, laundry is the last thing you want to think about.
    I think your EC story is wonderful. It sounds like with your daughter, it was something that evolved out of you just really noticing your baby's rhythms (and sometimes, that's really all it takes!)
    Night-time EC is almost always a special challenge so I made sure to address that in it's own section in my book EC Simplified.
    I think your recommendations are great (don't you just love the Baby Bjorn potty? I do!). I've compiled my recommendations and reviews for EC gear too! – Andrea, EC Simplified

  2. I had no issue paying for disposable diapers. The thought of putting something on my boys over and over again that they pooped on completely grossed me out, so I never considered using cloth diapers. I was happy to pay for something that I could easily dispose of.

  3. This is very interesting. I am glad I am not in the potty training stage anymore. My kids were so different, my daughter took forever and my son just kind of did it on his own.

  4. I recently started hearing about this here in the U.S., even though the technique has been used in other countries. When my boys were babies I always used cloth diapers. It saved so much money and the environment too!

  5. WE have this potty and it works great. Nice and comfy.. I love the size of it also.. we take it on road trips! Fits perfect behind the passenger seat for those potty emergencies! Not kidding.

  6. I’ve often thought about doing EC but I don’t feel like its widely accepted here in the States. I am all for it though, I just couldn’t do it myself because I’m not great at educating everyone around me in what it is I’m doing. I’m breastfeeding a toddler and they stare at me weird but in any other country, its fine you know? Things are just different. I had to draw the line and use cloth diapers for ours, EC would have been more than some could handle. lol

  7. I used cloth diapers with all three of my girls. The little one turns one in two days and she has been diaper free for 3 months. I love it. She uses the potty and is aware of her needs, so she lets me know she has to go. I don’t think that’s possible with disposables at all. I’m 100% with you!

  8. I tried clothe diapers but they didn’t last long they kept falling apart in the wash so we switched to disposable. We found the right one that worked for us and never looked back.

  9. This is the second or third time I have read something about this. I am glad it works well for many people. It’s astonishing sometimes how much babies are capable of.


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