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Mothering › Baby Articles › Simple Tips for Easier Elimination Communication

Simple Tips for Easier Elimination Communication

Thank you to Marija Mikolajczak for this guest post.

It seems like more and more people are hearing about elimination communication.  Maybe this is part of an overall trend of eco-friendly living, or due to an increase in interest in attachment parenting.  Who wouldn’t want to wash (or buy) fewer diapers? And having a closer relationship with your baby sounds great!

Sometimes parents get stuck on how to get started with EC, since they may not personally know anyone else who has ever done this, in contrast to those countries where “holding baby out to pee” is the norm.

I think an easy way to get started is by prioritizing communication.  Rather than focusing on trying to get all the “pee into the potty,” it helps to shift your thoughts to opening up a dialogue with your baby or toddler.

At the next diaper change, you can start explaining what is happening to your baby.  I used to narrate to my son, “I see your diaper is wet.  You peed.  I’m going to take the wet diaper off.  You’ll be much more comfortable in this clean and dry one.”

Throughout the day, while you are playing and interacting with your baby, each time you observe her eliminating, just simply note, “You peed.”  It’s easier to know when, if your baby is naked or using a non-waterproof diaper or training pant.

The next time that you think maybe your baby needs to go, you can take your child to an appropriate potty place.   Remembering the “communication” focus, you can let your child know what you are doing, such as “I am thinking you may need to pee.  Lets go to the bathroom to see if you want to pee into the toilet.”

If your baby pees into the toilet, you will probably feel excited!  A comment stating what happened and reinforcing the benefits of using the toilet can be helpful, such as “You peed in the toilet.  Wasn’t that nice to stay clean and dry?”

Be mindful that praising can undermine efforts to normalize body functions and turn it into something your child should do to please you –rather than for herself.  Babies can also tell us if they don’t want to use the toilet, through vocal protesting, arching their back, or looking away. “Oh, I see you didn’t need to pee right now.”

Whatever happens, you can let your baby know you will try to take him or her to the toilet again next time you think s/he needs to go.

Anytime you feel uncertain, you can turn to the EC forum on Mothering.com for support and advice.


Marija Mikolajczak lives in New York City with her husband and son.  Marija’s family practiced elimination communication with their son from birth, as well as other forms of attachment parenting.  Marija is a co-leader of the Queens Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network and Organizer of a Meetup group for traditional foods cooking.   After ten years as a union organizer and anti-sweatshop activist, when Marija became a mother she was frustrated with the challenge of finding clothing that was not only practical for use with EC but also manufactured under fair labor and eco-friendly conditions.  So Marija started EC Wear which sells split pants, legwarmers, training pants, cloth diapers, and other clothing for babies and toddlers, in addition to manufacturing a number of specialty products for elimination communication.

Melanie Mayo-Laakso


Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.

Comments (5)

Great post - it's so good to see a post about EC that is accessible and real! I always get such strong reactions against even considering EC when I mention it ... some proclaim my daughter to be very "advanced" because she prefers to pee without her diaper on ... it's so hard explaining that we TRAIN babies to pee/poop in a diaper and then traditionally have to UNTRAIN them when they are older! We've been practising EC since BiP was 3months old ... 11 months on we aren't diaper free but getting close!
Thank you for this post! I initially learned of EC while researching potty training options for my first child. I was pregnant at the time and was very adamant to try EC with my second child. It has been an extremely positive experience doing this from birth, and at 21 months she takes herself to the potty most of the time. We still use diapers (mostly at night) but I have never had the goal of early potty "training." I just wanted to offer my child a reliable alternative to diapers. This method can be used as little or as much as the parent/child desires. My family members who were skeptical at first quickly became proud to take baby to the potty once they saw how low key it was...and how baby preferred the potty over a dirty diaper!
Great advice! I needed a reminder to shift the focus from 'performance' to communication and understanding between my daughter and I.
Thank you ladies! I am glad you enjoyed my post.
Great post, Marija! Simple and so practical. Prioritizing communication has definitely been the most helpful thing for me. I have a tendency to lose focus at times and get caught up in viewing catches as successes and misses as failures (on my part - not my daughter's!), and things never go well when my wind wanders there. There's a much more easy flow when I remember the real goal: communication!
Mothering › Baby Articles › Simple Tips for Easier Elimination Communication