I have a 4 week old and got started a couple of weeks ago. We had a few changing table accidents and I tried to keep cool and cue DS at those times and tell him good job, you just did a wee/poo (opposite reaction to what comes natural! ) I also cued him when I heard him doing a poo in his diaper.
After only a handful of "accidents" I could cue DS on the changing table and he would go. It was amazing how quickly he learned the cue sound. It was a bit more difficult finding a comfortable position to hold him because he was so floppy but now we either sit together on the toilet facing the tank, or I squat on the floor and hold him over a big basin. ( You can find lots of pictures by going to google pictures and typing elimination communicaion.) I suggest practicing holding him when he has clothes on till you find something that feels comfortable to you both.
DS never goes diaper free except for on the changing table or in the bath. I use CDs without a cover for an hour or 2 in the daytime if I am feeling ambitious. He would never lay on a play mat for more than 5 minutes, I think that is for older kids. I also put him in the sling (you could get a little pee on your clothes but it wouldn't be much if he had the CD on--in fact DS hardly ever pees in the sling anyway.) We also use regular baby clothes but during our "cover-free" time I leave the bottom snaps undone and pull on some home made leg warmers (toddler socks with the toes cut out)
I do think it would be useful for him to do some totally diaper free time where I could just watch and observe him. We'll do that later in warmer weather and when he is older and comfortable playing on the floor so I can observe him better. Right now I put the CD and leg warmers on then bundle him up in a fleece blanket. I do watch him carefully and check the CD when I think he might be going. Just do what works for you.
So far there has actually been more washing not less because of doing EC--I change him more frequently, as I would not put a wet diaper back on after offering a potty-tunity--and it also took some practice to learn to aim him in the right direction! Plus he does this annoying thing where I cue him, then put him down too soon--and he pees all over the changing table and his clothes. I do get most of the poos in the toilet though, a nice bonus with cloth diapers!
I also can't figure out DSs cues with pees, and for poos I just take him after he eats, he poos several times a day so I don't wait for him to cue. If he is already grunting and pushing it is too late!
Anyway that's just where we are after 2 weeks of EC. I always think if I can learn 1 thing per day then the day went well. (of course we have our off days too) IMO if you are new to this don't stress yourself out trying to catch everything--there will be misses until they are fully PT! My advice is to start with a couple of potty trips per day and increase them as you learn his timing and signals and feel comfortable with it. Ec should make your life easier not harder.