Attachment parenting

Transitioning from Diapers to Elimination Communication: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jul 9, 2023

Welcome to our step-by-step guide on transitioning from diapers to Elimination Communication (EC)! If you’re a parent or caretaker who is looking for an alternative to traditional diapering methods, EC might be the perfect solution for you and your little one. In this comprehensive tutorial, we will walk you through the process of transitioning to EC, providing valuable insights, practical tips, and expert advice along the way.

What is Elimination Communication?

Elimination Communication, also known as infant potty training or diaper-free parenting, is a gentle and intuitive approach to meeting your baby’s elimination needs. It involves understanding your baby’s cues and signals for when they need to eliminate and responding by offering them an appropriate place to do so, such as a potty or toilet.

The EC method recognizes that babies are born with natural instincts to communicate their elimination needs. By observing their cues and patterns, caregivers can help their babies stay clean and dry without relying solely on diapers.

Why Transition from Diapers to Elimination Communication?

Transitioning from diapers to Elimination Communication offers several benefits for both caregivers and babies:

  • Promotes early communication: EC encourages a deeper level of communication between caregivers and babies. By recognizing their cues and responding appropriately, you are building trust and strengthening your bond with your little one.
  • Promotes early toilet training: With EC, babies become familiar with using the potty or toilet at an earlier age, which can lead to earlier independence in toileting.
  • Saves money: Transitioning to EC means reducing or eliminating the need for diapers altogether. This can result in significant cost savings in the long run.
  • Reduces environmental impact: By using fewer diapers, you are contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to childcare.

Step 1: Educate Yourself on Elimination Communication

Before diving into the transition process, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the principles and techniques of Elimination Communication. Here are a few resources to get you started:

  • Books: “Diaper-Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene” by Ingrid Bauer and “The Diaper-Free Baby” by Christine Gross-Loh are excellent resources for understanding the philosophy and practical aspects of EC.
  • Online Communities: Joining online communities or forums dedicated to EC can provide valuable support, guidance, and a sense of community during your transition journey.
  • Certified Consultants: Consider reaching out to certified EC consultants who can offer personalized advice and assistance tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

Step 2: Observe Your Baby’s Cues

The next step in transitioning to EC is observing your baby’s cues and signals. Every baby is unique, so it’s crucial to pay close attention to their individual patterns. Here are some common cues that may indicate your baby needs to eliminate:

  • Facial expressions: Look for signs like grimacing or concentration on your baby’s face.
  • Grunting or straining sounds: These sounds often indicate that your baby is trying to eliminate.
  • Squirming or restlessness: Babies may become fidgety or unsettled when they need to eliminate.
  • Pauses during feeding or play: Babies may take breaks from feeding or playing when they need to eliminate.

By becoming familiar with your baby’s unique cues, you’ll be able to anticipate their elimination needs more effectively.

Step 3: Choose Your Elimination Communication Tools

As you transition to EC, you’ll need a few essential tools to support the process:

  • Potty or toilet seat insert: Invest in a comfortable and age-appropriate potty or toilet seat insert for your baby. Choose one that is safe, easy to clean, and fits securely.
  • Diaper alternatives: Consider using cloth diapers or training pants that are easy to remove quickly when your baby needs to eliminate.
  • Clothing choices: Opt for clothing that allows quick and easy access to your baby’s bottom, such as pants with elastic waistbands or dresses/skirts without complicated fastenings.

Having these tools readily available will make it easier for both you and your baby during the transition process.

Step 4: Establish a Routine

An established routine can help create a sense of predictability for both you and your baby. Here are some tips for establishing an EC routine:

  • Create a schedule: Start by offering the potty or toilet at regular intervals throughout the day. This can be after waking up, before and after meals, and before naps or bedtime.
  • Maintain consistency: Consistency is key in establishing a routine. Try to offer the potty at the same times each day, even if your baby doesn’t eliminate every time.
  • Be patient: Remember that transitioning to EC is a learning process for both you and your baby. Be patient and understanding as you navigate through the journey together.

Step 5: Communicate with Your Baby

Communication plays a vital role in Elimination Communication. While your baby may not understand words yet, they can still pick up on non-verbal cues and gestures. Here are some techniques to enhance communication during EC:

  • Cue sounds: Create a specific sound or cue, such as “pss” or “shh,” while offering the potty. Over time, your baby will associate this sound with elimination.
  • Sign language: Introduce simple sign language signs for “potty” or “toilet.” This can help your baby communicate their elimination needs before they can verbalize them.
  • Verbal cues: Use consistent and gentle verbal cues when offering the potty, such as saying “time to go potty” or “let’s use the toilet.”

By establishing clear communication signals, you’ll be able to better understand and respond to your baby’s needs during the transition process.

Step 6: Overcoming Challenges

The transition from diapers to Elimination Communication may come with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common obstacles you may encounter and strategies to overcome them:

  • Resistance or refusal: If your baby resists using the potty or toilet, try making it more engaging by adding toys or books nearby. You can also try adjusting the timing of potty offers to better align with your baby’s cues.
  • Accidents: Accidents are a natural part of the learning process. Stay calm and reassure your baby when accidents happen. Offer praise and encouragement when they successfully use the potty or toilet.
  • Nighttime EC: Nighttime EC can be challenging, especially if your baby is used to wearing diapers at night. Consider using cloth diapers or waterproof mattress protectors until your baby is ready for nighttime potty training.

Remember that every child is different, and it’s normal to face setbacks along the way. Stay patient, flexible, and adaptable as you navigate through these challenges.


Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our step-by-step guide on transitioning from diapers to Elimination Communication. By following these practical tips and techniques, you are well on your way to embracing this gentle and intuitive approach to meeting your baby’s elimination needs.

Remember, transitioning from diapers to EC is a journey that requires patience, understanding, and open communication with your little one. Be prepared for ups and downs along the way but stay committed to building a stronger bond with your baby through this shared experience.

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration as you embark on this exciting new chapter of diaper-free parenting. Happy EC journey!