Skip Nav
How 1 Mom Suddenly Knew She Was Done Having Kids
Before I Could Teach My Daughter to Love Her Body, I Had to Come to Terms With Mine
Parenting Videos
You're Going to Weep at This Dad's Reaction to Seeing His Son For the First Time

What Is Elimination Communication

Elimination Communication: How to Go Diaper-Free by 3 Months!

Wondering what the growing diaper-free trend is all about? Keep reading to find out!

Andrea Page wanted the birth of her first child to be as natural and stress-free as possible. During the first four and a half months of her son Taio's life, the Edmonton, Alberta, new mom has tried to stay the course by creating an environment for her firstborn that is calm, loving, and sensitive to his needs.

That is why she says she wants her infant to be diaper-free. She's one of a growing number of new parents who are practicing "elimination communication," or natural infant hygiene, a potty-training method that starts babies on the toilet in the first six months of life.

"Taio is now 4 and a half months and hasn't really pooped in his diaper since the end of December," says Page. "We've had a few near misses or partial starts (mostly when Mommy has stepped away and Daddy isn't as intuitive with the signs) but for the most part all poops on the potty."


The idea behind elimination communication, says Page, is that "instead of letting the child get used to going in his shorts, you show him the eco-friendly, diaper-rash-preventing, more natural alternative." Elimination communication is also more hygienic and "makes the training more natural than waiting until a child is 2," she adds.

"Elimination communication is simply about being sensitive to your child's cues that she needs to relieve herself, and helping her to become aware of her body's needs," Circle of Moms community member Lisa M. writes. "There's no coercion, no shame, no rewards, or punishment. No expectations as well. It's just you and your daughter learning together."

Indeed, elimination communication has become quite the buzz in the Circle of Moms Babies community, where moms like Melissa B. are reaching out to other moms for inspiration. "I'm getting ready to give it a go and wanted to find support from other moms like me," says Melissa, whose daughter is almost 5 months old.

Key Elimination Communication Tips

1. Practice makes perfect. Find some afternoon time to give your baby a diaper-free hour on a washable surface (towel, tiles, quilt) so you can watch for and begin learning the physical or verbal signs she uses when they need to relieve themselves.

2. Patience matters. Start gradually, going diaper-free just part-time.

3. Create a consistent toilet time. For example, put the baby on the potty right before bed, as part of the bedtime routine.

4. Look for signals. A baby's main signals that it's time to head for the toilet include lots of fussing and squirming, grunting, and vocalizations. Some babies make strong eye contact, flare their nostrils, or make the classic face of extreme concentration.

5. Create a holding pattern. To position your baby over the potty, hold your baby in the "classic" position: back safely against your belly, hands gripping and supporting baby's thighs from below, holding them slightly apart.

It's also important to remember that every baby is different and sends his or her own signals and cues. "From birth, Taio hated having dirty nappies and would scream bloody murder (he's not as bad now)," says Page. "So I should not have been so surprised that he learned EC so fast."

And keep your eyes on the prize. As Jessica S.'s experience demonstrates, with persistence and consistency, EC works. "I have been doing 'elimination communication' since my son was 3 months old, but we have really started to buckle down recently, and he goes on the potty the majority of the time."

Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
EC-Simplified EC-Simplified 4 years
This is a great article about Elimination Communication. If any mommas are interested in learning more about the benefits, check out EC Simplified Blessings to all the Mommas out there!
Allyheiger Allyheiger 4 years
We have been doing this since my daughter was four months old ...she is now ten months and the vast majority of her poops and pees are in the potty. She absolutely knows what is going on with her body has many cues and even waits till the morning until we sit her on the potty to pee. We didnt start with our other daughter until she was 15 months andshe never pooped in her pants again ever after 18 anyone who says little ones arent aware of their bodies simply are not paying attention to what their kids are trying to tell them. And my older one was fully potty trained through the night and accident free by her second birthday so to the commenter who said it cant be done before age 3 , you are seriously are sponges work with them consistently and you will get amazing results. It is just that simple.
KatelynBrown75659 KatelynBrown75659 5 years
from a non bias perspective i can see this early training scenario as a positive, My daughter (2yrs 2mo.) is afraid of pooping on the potty, My son, which wasn't potty trained fully until just before last summer (4yrs 3mo.) was afraid of the potty for the longest time. EC in a broad perspective simply eliminates the fear of the potty making the transition MUCH MUCH easier for the long haul.. also.. not to mention making those horrid expensive poo-catchers stretch a little further each month :) I do not think however this would have been an option for me.. my son was only 2 when I had my daughter, he was a handful all on his own. Now.. after entering this comment I'm off to change yet another poo! Good Idea, But not for me
BeCkyNelson16889 BeCkyNelson16889 5 years
Not possible!
CatrionaOCarroll CatrionaOCarroll 5 years
I guess non of these moms are working full time???! Impossible if you are trying to hold down a job plus having another child in the house. It wouldn't work in our house, thats for sure!
MaryEllenHoppenjans MaryEllenHoppenjans 5 years
I would like to see her do this with multiple children. Sure, when you have one child, its easy to keep an unmoving eye on them but when you have others who also need your care, its just not possible!
CatherineWatson13331 CatherineWatson13331 5 years
As a few others have said, EC is about parental convenience, just the same as using nappies is. No baby under 12 months - and very few under 24 months - can be potty trained as they don't have the physiological awareness and control to be able to 'hold on' and get to a toilet before doing a poo or wee. I don't think any of these methods of managing baby wee and poo is wrong or harmful, it's just a matter of parents deciding whether it's better for them to use nappies or watch for signs before holding the baby over a toilet.
JohnnaMurphy JohnnaMurphy 5 years
This is simply not potty training your child. It is training yourself to know the cues.
crystalconde crystalconde 5 years
WOW! thats really amazing! im having so much trouble training my 2 1/2 year old son while his younger 2 yr old brother is already going on his own, no coaching needed!
JenniMarie49980 JenniMarie49980 5 years
Well said, Angie R.!
JenMcCollom JenMcCollom 5 years
Oh, one other thing- it is so awesome that they use the potty when they have diarrhea. My daughter had major abdominal surgery at 18 mos and then had wicked diarrhea for a couple of months and she usually went on the potty. (a couple of misses in the car seat were disastrous!) Anyway, I just feel like I am doing my best to respect my children (I sure get LAZY when she is wearing a disposable b/c they hold a lot of pee!)
JenMcCollom JenMcCollom 5 years
I am amazed at how many people are so angry about this! My children are quite happy and I am very lax about using EC. I love it, but am not hard core. We use cloth and disposables and go diaper free as well. RELAX. Having them on the potty is such a great time to read books and sing songs. Put them on the potty when you are sitting on the potty. It blows my mind that there are many children who seem to have a fear of going poo on the potty. It is a way to teach what it means to be human- this is where we go. So what if it is parent training. I feel so great when I am able to help her have an easy clean up! It is fun, and you put as much effort into it that you care to.
KristenRice KristenRice 5 years
I don't understand. What is the point of all the E.C. busy work? Not like a baby can walk over to the toilet, pull their pants down, wipe themselves and flush... Diaper rash problem? It's called A&D ointment for prevention, and Desitin for existing rash. Takes less time to change a diaper than it does hovering over a toilet every 5 minutes to make sure no accidents happen. Ever seen a 1st grader in diapers???? Hello - they will eventually learn in THEIR own time, not yours. But hey, if some mom's don't have enough to do caring for their baby(s) in other more constructive ways, more power to them. It's a more economical alternative than diapers and creams. But I would laugh if I ever saw someone do this with their baby. Stupid...
AngelLamprecht AngelLamprecht 5 years
Seriously, this might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard of or read. A 3 month old using the potty?! If that is what you want for your child then so be it but I think it's rediculous. At 3 months, a baby can't even sit up yet, most poop 10 times a day if they are breast fed and what about over night??? Oh I think it's time for my baby to poop at 3 am. Let me get my 3 month old baby to the potty. SOOO DUMB!
elizabethannsmith elizabethannsmith 5 years
ridiculous. my children have no 'classic' signs. they have uneventful bowel movements. and since they cant even sit up on their own, there's no way im hovering a babe (or 2) over the toilet in the hopes of having an accidental timing of elimination. whats next, having them do sand/art therapy by 12 months instead of crying? oh wait, ya'll probably have them mastered sign language by then. puhleeze
JaniceColeman55042 JaniceColeman55042 5 years
While I'm not sure if EC is right for my family, I do know that it is not mean or cruel. EC is not potty training. They are 2 different things. I agree that there is nothing wrong with responding to your child's needs and signal which is what EC is all about. My daughter who was breastfed pooped quite often often on no particular schedule and so I think it would have been hard to do EC. But know she is 23months and can definitely hold her pee and poop, understands what a toilet is for and yet still wont use one. She spent too much time in a diaper and now she has learned to pee and poo standing up. If she is diaperless she will often hold it till a diaper goes on. I wish I had started earlier because now it is a battle of wills! And in the US the average age of potty training completion is age 3 yet in most other countries it is 18 months. I dont think the sphincter muscle only develops later in the US I think we just wait way too long to start and then once it is a battle of wills (isn't everything at age 2)- a child will only be potty trained when they want. Of course EC is not an option for working families. When EC was the norm, mothers didn't work outside the home or carried their child with them while they worked. So no this is not for working moms and/or dads. However, it is not a ridiculous or harmful practice for those who choose it.
HarukoFroeb HarukoFroeb 6 years
Interestingly I truly believe this considering I'm still trying to potty train my 3 yr old... I started putting my now 9 month old on the potty with the big bro and now he'll poop and pee in the potty. I think the younger one may be potty trained before the older one... I just can't quite get the cue for the pee yet but potty, it's a sure grunt.
CoMMember13613658556927 CoMMember13613658556927 6 years
ohhh GOD people...i feel so ashamed....i have a 21 months old baby boy who iam trying to potty train but i simply dont know i tooo late???
SophieKendall SophieKendall 6 years
Why rush into something that can actually be quite tricky? Especially when you're out and about, and at night time. My daughter didn't potty train until she was 3, though she knew what it was she just doesn't care if she's dirty or not. She's now 4 and she's dry at night and we rarely have any accidents even when we're out. My son is 2 years old, and I have tried sitting him on the potty but he is not interested at all. Changing a nappy really is less bother in my opinion than constantly washing clothes and sheets, and having to clean sloppy poop up off a potty! Just enjoy them while they're babies, the nappy stage will end soon enough!
IndiaHollins IndiaHollins 6 years
maybe if I were a stay at home Parent I would give it a shot. But I'm a single mom who work 40 hrs a week. That's make this unrealistic. But are these the same people who don't clean up their dogs poop until u can smell it three blocks away? If you r that type I do t suggest u letting ya kid go commando. Lol, I say if you can at least try it, if it works great if not I'll see u in the diaper aisle...
PriscillaFarnsworth PriscillaFarnsworth 6 years
I think it's interesting that so many people are getting so upset over what they consider "early potty training". EC is NOT based on parents attempting to "train" a baby to do anything they are not developmentally capable of doing. It is about recognizing the signs that a baby needs to go to the bathroom and taking them there instead of letting them go in a diaper. This concept of diapering and just letting babies pee and poop in them is actually a relatively new one, honestly. All animals attempt to avoid urinating or defecating on themselves and will not do it in their immediate environment (where they eat, sleep, etc..) unless they are forced to. Humans are no different. We diaper for convenience, though, folks. But, if a parent has the capability to do this, i.e., they are at home with their children, have the patience and intuitiveness to do it, etc. then who is to judge them?? I can't see anything wrong with being able to allow baby to "potty" where they're eventually going to learn to anyway, from the start.. This does NOT mean forcing a baby to "train", which is what I think most of the people opposing this are up in arms about. Do some research. It's actually really amazing. I don't practice EC with my daughter but I wish we would have.
BrandyDeLauter BrandyDeLauter 6 years
I run a home daycare and if one of my parents asked me to do I would seriously tell them that if they wanted to do this they would need to find another provider cause to me this seems quite ridiculous.
KathrynPosey KathrynPosey 6 years
I think its interesting how defensive working mom's get about EC, its just a lifestyle choice. You do it if you can and want to. I myself have cloth diapered my 2nd child and she has decided to potty train herself at 13months, most of what we're practicing right now is EC. I have to say those of you that think a child has to be 2 before they understand are sadly mistaken. Boys may be harder as I know from experience with my first, but girls have interests in being dry and not least many do. I'd say if your interested in doing EC but don't think you can do it full time, try cloth diapering full time and EC may accompany it without an extra work. My daughter has been pooping on the potty for 2 months not peeing unless its on accident when she's already on the potty. Cloth diapers don't pull away the wet like disposables I've heard of boys otty training as early as 2 due to cloth diapers.
StaceyStine66316 StaceyStine66316 6 years
Suze Hales is fiery and sounds very bitter about something. :(
TatiaBridges TatiaBridges 6 years
My first three daughters are grown and my son is ten. They were all potty trained before the age of one. I didnt start at three months. I waited until they were around five and sixth months when i knew they could sit up good.
New Mom Bedside Essentials
First Child vs. Second as Told by GIFs
Halloween Party Ideas For Kids
Parenthood Rules You Won't Find in the Parenting Books
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds