Toddler Potty Training

Elimination Communication

When it comes to potty training, it can be difficult for first time training parents to get into the swing of things. When it is time to start thinking about potty training, there are a variety of methods. One term that parents may not be familiar with is Elimination Communication. Read on to find out more about this method and how you can use it to potty train your infant or toddler successfully.

What is Elimination Communication (E.C. or infant potty training)?

If you’re looking to learn more about what Elimination Communication is, you’re in the right spot. This approach to infant potty training is novel because it involves communicating to the baby or toddler. It’s a soft way to find out what the baby needs and communicate with them in order to have them use the potty or toilet instead of using a diaper.

This is not only a progressive way to teach your child to use the potty but also an opportunity to cut back on your expensive diaper budget as parents. The baby gets the opportunity to choose whether to eliminate their waste in the toilet over the diaper, and gradually gets used to going on the toilet instead of in diapers alone.

When to Start Elimination Communication

Parents can choose to start elimination communication whenever they think their baby is ready. It’s been practiced as early as a couple of weeks old to a year and a half or even older. Maybe you think your baby is too young to communicate when they want to go and want to wait until they’re older. Perhaps you’re open to teaching your baby sign language so that they can signal to you when they want to go. You may also want to observe your baby and find out when they are ready to use to the toilet.

This can be done by paying attention to the signals of the baby. If they are squirming or making a face like they have to go, you may want to inform them that they’re going to the toilet and bring them over there. You can rely on your parenting common sense and natural observations of your own baby to get them to the toilet and give your child the opportunity to train there instead of in a diaper.

Mothers may be used to observing the signals that their baby needs to go to the toilet or may just have a feeling. Either way, if you want to give it a try, you should. Asking the baby if they have to go to the bathroom is great if your child is speaking or even if you want to get them used to potty training. The next step is to take them to their own special potty and see if they have to go. Some parents choose to go with elimination communication every time, while others stick to a certain time and then rely on the diapers for the rest.

How to Potty Using Elimination Communication

Elimination communication is a new concept for many, but that doesn’t make it ineffective. A parent may be able to tell whether their child needs to eliminate based on certain sounds or body language that the baby uses when it needs to go to the bathroom. Every infant is different, and what the baby does when they have to go to the bathroom may change as they grow.

Fortunately, all that it takes to pick up on these signals is paying attention to your baby and what he or she does. Just a few hours of observing them may be enough for you to figure out their cycle. You may even want to observe them while they are diaper free. This adds an extra necessity of being observant, but it will also give parents the chance to study their child’s signals that they have to go and guide them to the toilet. Some recommend that the baby goes without a diaper entirely to make sure that they’re getting the signaling properly, but you can also go another way and allow them to wear a cloth or commercial diaper. Still others may want to use special training pants of cloth for their baby, which can be useful in chillier weather.

Protection can also be used in the form of placing a pad under the baby to protect from any accidents. Pay close attention to your child as they may be giving strong signs that they have to go. These may include fussing quite a bit, crying, straining, making grunt sounds, staring out at nothing while being very still, turning red, failing to latch while they are nursing, being agitated, tossing while sleeping, becoming very mobile, or even getting your attention by looking at their parent intently.

If you pay attention, you will start to pick up on whether your baby wants to use the bathroom or not. As they feel the need to eliminate, they may use many of the signs above. If they are speaking, try to teach them the word for potty so they can use it when they have to go to the bathroom. A baby may signal that they have to go to the bathroom if they are pre-verbal by grunting, being very still, crying, or squirming around. This is completely natural and a way that parents can tell when their child has to go.

Does Elimination Communication Work? Pros and Cons

When it comes right down to it, does Elimination Communication work? For many parents, it works perfectly. Others find that it isn’t necessarily the right choice for them. It takes attentiveness to signals that the baby has to eliminate and a bunch of intuition. Each baby knows when they are going to eliminate as it happens, and you too can find out from paying careful attention to the natural elimination timing your baby has. Keeping a log of your baby and when it goes in a journal or on your phone may also be helpful.


  • It’s a great way to train kids to use the toilet without having to rely on diapers as much
  • Provides a smooth transition from being an infant to a more independent toddler
  • Less accidents and messy diapers to change
  • Saves parents money on buying standard diapers
  • Provides better hygiene as the baby’s bum is cleaner and skin is kept dry
  • Makes it easy to transition using the toilet as part of their regular routine
  • Less diaper rash for your child
  • Better environmental impact as less soiled diapers in landfills


  • Requires paying close attention to your baby to pick up on signals they have to eliminate
  • May be a better method for babies transitioning to toddlers as opposed to young infants
  • More labor intensive than simply using diapers

Tips and Tools to Help with Elimination Communication

Parents may find it helpful to offer their child the chance to go to the toilet at given times. This may be when they wake up from a nap or a night’s sleep, when they are having their diaper changed, before they’re put into a seat or chair, before a bath or after it, prior to nursing or directly after, or before you plan on leaving the house to bring your child somewhere.

You can also research online and find out from other parents what their experience was using elimination communication with their child. Chances are, you’ll pick up some tips and tricks on the way.

Today may have been the first time that you were introduced to elimination communication potty training, and that’s okay! Try it out with your toddler while also keeping a potty log to keep track of how you’re doing. Keeping a log of your child’s elimination schedule will be immensely helpful, allowing you to jot down signals or signs your baby made that they have to go to the bathroom, helping you get more familiar with their individual process and guiding them successfully to the toilet.

Thank you for reading and good luck on your own elimination communication potty journey with your child!

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