7 Elimination Communication Tips you need for your nappy free baby!

1 May, 2012

Here’s a little story and seven elimination communication tips

I have had a couple of interesting emails this week. The first came from a close relative who was just expressing some gratitude for getting her started with Elimination Communication (EC or Nappy Free for something that sounds less Willy Wonkery.) I didn’t mean to get her started, it is just that one time a few months ago I heard her little 4 month old lad do huge trump. Knowing it was approaching the time he normally filled his pants, I whipped of his nappy and he proceeded to do two wees and an implausibly large dump.

Now, I am well aware this makes me seem AWFUL! Imposing my parenting way onto another. I swear, I have only done it a couple of times, once to my nephew and once to my neice, both times when their mothers weren’t around, and I would never do it to YOUR baby.

Yeah, it still makes me sound awful, eh. I’m sorry.

Anyway, while he was taking his dump, his mama came in. It was, er, a little awkward.

But she emailed this week, saying how since then he has done all of his poos in the potty – THREE A DAY!!- and it has changed their lives. He used to really struggle, poor chap, and turns out  The  Hold helps it all along.


Then on the other hand, the second email. It was a friend also doing EC. Her 13 month old has turned Anti-Potty. It is a common low in this rollercoaster of EC and I really felt some of her disappointment. Those two emails really encapsulate the good and bad of Nappy Free, I reckon.

We began when Ramona was 3 months old, primarily out of curiosity but partly because I felt there must be something in it. Within days we discovered there was and we quickly hit a rhythm, catching 80% of her shizzle.

With every month that passes it is becoming less unusual that Ramona is Nappy Free. Sitting a baby on the potty at three months is ridiculous by almost everyone’s standard, sitting a toddler on the potty is pretty normal. This is a nice feeling – it is hard feeling as if you have to constantly explain yourself, particularly when people can be really quite hostile about it (for example, people “explaining” that it is physiologically impossible for babies to hold their wees in – if this is the case, how comes Ramona has held her wees since she was about 6 months?)

But with her growing up there also comes a sense that perhaps we should be further along the “potty trained” journey by now- since we have been doing it for 15 months!! Of course, it isn’t training. It is communication. And in the communication stakes we are doing superbly- oh yes. She ALWAYS tells us as she is doing a wee, even if it IS on the new carpet.

There is something brilliant about Ramona saying “POO”, walking up to the potty, sitting down and doing her business. She has been doing that since she was about 15 months old, it blew our minds the first time, and even now gives us a huge smile to see the communication effort paying off. Other signs she needs to go include grabbing her bum, patting the potty, looking very serious indeed, and pausing. (Yeah, she really doesn’t pause for any other reason!) In fact, there is a particuarly style of Serious Pause which usually means she already has a turtlehead.

With this big leap in communication comes a tiny bit of disappointment too, when it doesn’t go to plan. Until now it has been quite easy to be breezy about the misses, but now, because we know she can communicate  effectively and even sit her self down on the potty, it is a challenge not to let manipulative language in, or show signs of frustration. The last thing we want is hang ups over taking a dump.

We have by no means nailed this but still I thought this would be a nice opportunity to share…

Elimination Communication Tips:

1- The Baby Bjorn Potty Chair – when Ramona was tiny we had a little Baby Bjorn Potty, it was gorgeous but fell out of my bag on to some train tracks when we were going camping last summer. To replace it I got the BB potty chair, for £1 from Ebay. It is MAHUSIVE and I was gutted at first. But, because it is so sturdy, it means she can climb on and off and has been brilliant in fostering some independence about it all

2- Keeping the potty in the same, visible place everyday, so Ramona knows exactly where to find it.

3- The Born Ready website– a totally honest, warm community of people doing Nappy Free with their little ones. It has been such an encouragement. Also the lively Facebook group found by searching EC UK.

4- Keeping on communicating. When she has a miss we routinely say “OH! It’s a wee, wee wee goes in the potty!” and then sitting her on the potty for a little bit. We hold back any negativity. It is lovely when she grabs a rag too, and helps clean up her pee.

5- Putting nappies on. This is controversial as some wonderful ECers suggest not to. But putting nappies on every so often when we REALLY don’t want a puddle has helped us to relax and being relaxed is probably one of the most important attributes in all of this.  Little ones pick up our cues so perfectly.

6- Commitment to noises like PSST. It is remarkable how doing the PSST cue encourages Ramona to take a whizz. If she is a bit distracted doing PSST just seems to help her release her bladder.

7- High entertainment. There are certain times of the day that sitting on the potty is obviously just the perfect activity – namely upon waking. However sometimes she is so into her playing it just seems mean to interrupt. Instead we incorporate potty time- putting the potty in front of the Superhero Base (otherwise known as the Dolls House) or getting out all the best books. (I am editing this a few years later and I am not sure about this tip! I actually think that a child’s autonomy should let them do what they want with their bodies and if they don’t want to sit on the potty we shouldn’t try and manipulate that.)

Elimination Communication Tips

Ramona finding a tree to wee by

I have earlier on this blog suggested that elimination communication isn’t necessarily for everyone. But I think I might backtrack now. Not because I think  parents need anymore pressure put on them – to add cleaning up rogue wees and chasing nakey crawlers around the lounge, or any more burdens of “Eek, I should be doing this” to shoulder.

But because I think a form of elimination communication is accessible to every parent and will often times even EASE the strain of parenting. It is simply a case of adding in a bit more talk when you observe them doing their business – expressing from a tiny age exactly what is going on with their bodily functions, or, if you see your baby pushing out a wee turd, whipping of the nappy, holding them over a loo. A tiny wipe and clean up is done, nappy saved. For some babies, like the little guy mentioned earlier, getting help with the elimination could eliminate a whole lot of angst.

It seems such a shame that Nappy Free is seen as going all out- when it is essentially just about communication, something every parent is already doing.

Are you doing normal potty training, or a form of elimination communication? Have you found anything particularly ace/ hard?

PS Read all my posts on elimination communication:

Beginning Elimination Communication
Ten signs your baby needs to go to the toilet
Elimination Communication with a newborn baby
Elimination communication at three months old
Elimination Communication at one – the highs and lows
Elimination communication at one –  (a poo in a shoe!)
Elimination Communication at 17 months old plus seven elimination communication tips
Elimination Communication is stress free potty training!

PIN FOR LATER:elimination communication tips

You Might Also Like

  • livingitlittle 1 May, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I think I’ve said before how I’m in awe of you and Ramona and the whole nappy free thing. It’s not something I’d ever given a second thought until I read your blog posts, but when I think about it, it makes good sense. We’ve just ‘potty trained’ our youngest who’s 25 months and she’s taken to it well, so that’s fine. The hardest bit for us has been the unpredictability in the early days which meant that she ended up piddling her pants whlle we were on the school run, but that only happened a couple of times and now it all goes in the potty. The best bit has to be the obvious thing – not having to buy or deal with nappies. Hallelujah!

    • lulastic 1 May, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Hehehe hallelujah indeed!Sounds like she has it totally nailed- WELL DONE!

  • Raych 1 May, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Always quite interested in EC, but not brave enough!Also how would it work with subsequent children because obviously you don’t have the same level of attention to give them, etc??I started potty training at 20 months and we had it within a a few weeks.To ease any stress we started with just being nappy free whilst we were in our house, so a few hours a day and then when we went out we wore nappies, but still took loo trips and had fun discovering were loos were at the places we went.I know this doesn’t work for everyone as some people like to start as they mean to go on and when they stop nappies they stop completely, but for us a gradual change was great.We still have the odd accident, mainly because we are so engrossed in playing/food, but I know we will get there!Keep going with the good work.Xx

    • lulastic 1 May, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      I think it is one of those things that once you start doing it you can’t imagine NOT doing it. So once offering the baby a chance to wee upon waking becomes the norm with number one, it will probably be that way with number two. I can imagine using nappies as back up a bit more with subsequent kids though!

      I think EC can be as dedicated or not as you want it to be, so lots and lots of people just offer potty after sleeps, meals, getting out of the sling/ buggy and naps. Then they just don’t worry about anything else- it’s a chance to keep baby in tune with their functions.

      Like everything though, we were gun ho! We found it utterly irresistable, once you start catching!

  • Jo Clayton 1 May, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Very interesting! I love reading your blogs! How did you manage at night? x

    • lulastic 1 May, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      Ah, yay, thanks and welcome!
      We have done different things at different stages. Since about 6 months old though she was 5/7 nights dry in the morning- just did a huge wee at the first potty opportunity.
      We have offered her the potty if she seems to be wiggling lots, often if we think we might be too tired to respond we but her in a back up nappy. We also have a absorption bed mat which we sleep on and shift if she has a surprise wee!

  • notsoyoungmummy 1 May, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Hi, I started following your blog a few weeks ago (I love it) and find the topic of EC really intresting and have done abit of research and am contemplating strating use the method with my son who is 13 months. I feel very intue with him an definatly know when he is doing a poo and some of the times when he does a wee but i am concerned how the transistion form nappy to EC will effect him due to his age? Im also worried about how my other half anf family memebers will feel about using EC, were your family and partner supportive? Any advice would be great, thank you. Xx

    • lulastic 1 May, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Hello, thanks for reading and enjoying it! 🙂

      Awesome that you have looked in to it already and that you are so in tune.

      I am not sure how it will impact him- perhaps just see! A good technique to get him used to it is to hold him over your sink in front of the mirror – he will occupy himself with his face while he squeezes his poo out. It also means he is basically get a hug so won’t feel too weird, I guess!
      I read a book called Nappy Free and there are loads of chapters in their about starting with a toddler – it will probably be really helpful. I downloaded it on my Kindle App and still browse it now! Just take it slow and gauge how he feels about it all.

      My husband was hooked within a few days- after catching the first wee- seeing it “work” is pretty persuasive. My mum has seen her “wee face” and has taken her for a few wees. I think the general feeling is ambivalance although there are some relatives who have let us know that they think it is stupid, which did genuinely hurt. We have found that where it has been most accepted is where we have taken the time to really try and explain why we want to do this.

      However, as your LO is a bit older it could well be taken much better- many other generations began potty training at 18 months.

      I hope it goes well, perhaps see you on the Facebook group too 🙂

  • Sarah Cooksley 5 May, 2012 at 3:19 am

    I started EC with my fourth when she was around 10 months or so. It was essentially just a few hours every day (or a couple times a week, or once a week, or less than that for a while) without a nappy, and making ZERO fuss about accidents.

    I could never discern any signals at that age, so we had a lot of “misses”, but it was worth it. About 2 weeks ago, at the age of 22 months, she was running around nappy free and pooped in the potty all on her own. At that point, I figured that we should try potty training! A few days into it and she had pretty much completely cracked it.

    She’s now using the potty or toilet regularly, often completely on her own. She still has accidents here and there (she struggles with the idea of knickers) but she hasn’t been in a proper nappy for a while.

    This has been my easiest transition from nappies to potty with all of my kids. I am certain EC has had something to do with it. I’m also relieved, because she is a fiercely independent little thing and is rather stubborn about using the potty and toilet on her own; I can’t imagine the struggles we’d have if her stubbornness leaned in the opposite direction.

    • lulastic 5 May, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks for your comment, so interesting.
      Do you think it was just about keeping her awareness of her eliminating up? It does seem as if for some kids, being in nappies the whole time gives them a shock when they actually see a wee coming out. Like, whaaaat is thaaaaaat!!!

  • Kate Buckley 13 May, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Very interesting post. Spud is fully potty trained at 2 and a half and Pooh Bear is in real nappies and I have already considered popping him on the potty to save a nappy from the poop if nothing else. After reading your post, I think we’ll give it a try 🙂

    • lulastic 13 May, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Ah yeah! Would LOVE to hear how you get on 🙂

  • Becky 25 May, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Love this 🙂
    I have 3 ch and like you started with the first at 3 months out of curiosity and was hooked after our first catch!

    I will be sharing a link to your words to all those I am quietly trying to convert 😉

    • lulastic 26 May, 2012 at 8:12 am

      HI Beck,y
      awesome, thanks for stopping by! It is TOTALLY addictive eh!

  • New Year’s Guide to Modern Cloth Nappies « sacraparental 4 January, 2013 at 9:52 am

    […] Going nappy-free would be best by far, if you’ve got real commitment to ‘elimination communication‘, but I can’t claim to have sorted that out. […]

  • Anabella 9 May, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Hi! Thanks for this post. Really helpful. We’ve been trying to help my daugther leave nappies for the last 6 months but she has been refusing the idea of it all the time. Now she is 2 years and a half and I wonder if it’s because of what you explained in point 5 (Putting nappies on). I have to say it really stress me out whenever I try potty training with her, and of course, she picks it up 🙂