A Comprehensive Guide to Elimination Communication

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Elimination communication

Elimination Communication (EC) is a strategy in which parents/caregivers use communication, timing, and intuition to respond to their infants’ natural signs for elimination (pee/poop) rather than diapers.

According to the EC theory, infants can learn to use the toilet at a young age because they are born with the innate ability to signal their desire to urinate. This practice requires much monitoring and communication between the parent/caregiver and the infant to anticipate their requirements and provide an appropriate location for elimination.

According to the needs and desires of the family, EC can be performed either part- or full-time. It’s a great alternative to disposable diapers that save money and helps the environment for many families. But it can also take a lot of work, patience, and commitment from the parents or carers, as well as the ability to change with the baby’s needs and schedule.

How does elimination communication work?

Elimination Communication (EC) works by listening to your baby’s pee/poop signals and responding promptly and suitably. Here are the most important steps in EC:

Pay attention to your baby

Watch for signals your baby needs to go potty, such as crying, wriggling, grunting, or making a certain sound or expression. You can also watch how and when they eat and sleep, which can give you hints about when they might need to go.

Offer the opportunity to eliminate wasteful material

When you see your baby’s signal, give them a word or sound they can identify with going to the bathroom. A hissing noise, a whistle, or even the words “pss” or “pee” can serve this purpose. To establish a connection between the cue and the process of elimination.

Hold your baby in a position

Hold your baby in a position that enables elimination, such as over a toilet or sink. You may need to support a younger baby’s neck and back. Babies that are a bit older may be ready to use the bathroom independently

Reinforce success

When your baby goes to the bathroom, use your cue word and praise them for their success. This can help them learn to connect the cue with the action of going to the bathroom.

Be consistent

Keep giving your baby the cue and opportunities to go to the bathroom, even if they don’t always go. Your infant will eventually learn the routine and may even begin it independently.

When to start Elimination Communication?

Elimination Communication potty training can begin at any age, from infancy to toddlerhood. But if you start early, it may be easier for your child to get into a routine and learn to tell you when they need to go to the bathroom.

The Pros and Cons of communication elimination

Elimination Communication potty has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some:


Environmentally friendly

A baby uses about 6,000 diapers before they learn to use the toilet independently, which can take years. EC can cut the number of diapers used by a lot, which is good for the environment because disposable diapers are bad for the environment.


By using fewer diapers, families can save money on diaper costs. Also, EC can help reduce the need for diaper creams and other products used to treat diaper rash and other skin irritations.

Promotes bonding

EC involves a lot of talking and touching between the parent/caregiver and the baby, which can help the parent/caregiver and baby get closer and form a stronger bond. It also helps the parent or caretaker better understand their baby’s needs and cues.

Improves baby’s health

Extended contact with wet or soiled diapers can cause diaper rash, skin irritation, and even urinary tract infections. By using EC, babies will have less contact with damp or dirty diapers, which can help with these problems.

Can lead to potty training earlier

Elimination Communication trained newborn babies use the toilet earlier than diapered babies. This can save time and money on diapers and give the child a sense of accomplishment.

Elimination communication criticism

It requires significant effort

EC takes a lot of time and attention from the parent or carer because they need to be aware of their baby’s signs and give them the right places to go to the bathroom. This can be hard for busy families or those with more than one child.

Can be stressful

If it’s not done right, EC can make both the parent or carer and the baby feel stressed and frustrated. It takes a lot of patience and hard work, and there may be setbacks and accidents along the way.

Only sometimes practical

EC may not be suitable or possible for families who don’t have easy access to clean, private places to use the bathroom or who are always on the go. It may also be harder for families who use cloth diapers because they need to be changed more often.

May only work for some babies

Every baby is different, and some babies may not be open to EC or may take longer to learn the routine. It may also be harder for babies with health problems or lagging in their development.

The possibility of accidents

Even with diligent surveillance and communication, mishaps with EC can occur, which can be messy and inconvenient. This can also make the parent or carer feel stressed and angry.

What happens if you start toilet training too early?

When a child learns to use the toilet too soon, it can cause problems for both the child and the person teaching them. Here are some things that can happen if you train your child too quickly:

More frustration

If a child is not developmentally ready for potty training, they may get angry or frustrated when they can’t use the toilet as expected. This can make them dislike the process.


Children potty-trained too early may have more accidents or return to using diapers because their bodies and minds may not be ready for the process.

Increased risk of accidents

Potty training too early can also increase the risk of accidents and messes because the child may not have the bladder and bowel control to use the toilet consistently.

Negative associations

If a child learns to use the toilet too early, they may feel pressured or uncomfortable during the process, leading to shame or anxiety.

Before starting potty training, it’s important to wait until the child shows clear signs that they are ready. Even though every child is different, most are only prepared to learn how to use the toilet once they are 18 to 24 months old or older. By waiting until a child is ready, you can help ensure that potty training is easier and more fun for both of you.

Can elimination communication begin at 6 months?

Yes, you can start EC at 6 months. Some parents think this is a good time to begin because babies at this age are becoming more aware of their bodies and may be able to tell their parents what they need clearly.

At 6 months, you can start to notice your baby’s signals and patterns for going to the bathroom, like grunting, wriggling, or making a certain face. When you see these signs, you can also start giving your baby a chance to go to the bathroom in a proper place, like a potty or toilet. 6 months is a good time to start EC, but you can always start later. Elimination communication can begin at any age, and it’s always early enough to start paying attention to your baby’s cues and needs.

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