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Offering Baby a Potty Break Can Reduce Your Overall Use of Diapers

The Ancient Art of Elimination Communication (EC).

Elimination Communication is a perfect companion to using cloth diapers, as you can reduce your washing load while helping ease the ecological footprint of your family even more, which is no doubt among the many reasons you made the switch to cloth in the first place!

You use cloth diapers. They are a better choice environmentally, using 40% less resources than their disposable counterparts. Even part time use of cloth is a wonderful gesture towards reducing waste.

Baby Pottying, also called “Potty Whispering” or Elimination Communication, is an ancient world wide practice that was so common it had no name, even until a couple of generations ago. We all know how disposable diapers exploded onto the market, and throwaway’s soon became the largest contributor of trash thrown out of car windows and found along highways! (Ewww)

Our Grannies (My Grandma included) would offer their baby a potty break after a feed and when they woke up. It reduced their washing load and had the innate benefit of helping the babies stay more aware of their elimination rhythms, helping potty training occur earlier than today.

Using cloth as you do, whether full or part time, you know of the benefit of cloth in helping your baby stay aware of their body. Toilet training generally is easier and earlier than for the child in full-time throwaway diapers, of course individual temperament and personality always have a say!

With practicing EC or Baby Pottying, you might be quite casual about it, striving to use one less diaper each day in cooperation with your baby.

Imagine if you used one less diaper each day?
Over a year that would be at least 365 less diapers you’d have to wash. If you think about it, just one less diaper a day is a small effort. Yet, the small efforts are the ones that add up. All those ‘potty breaks’ are valuable experience for your baby in merely becoming aware of how their body works. All those experiences mean the potty is an everyday object, a familiar piece of furniture! Perhaps even a toy for their soft toy to sit on! You might consider the ‘catches’ are a bonus when caught amongst a fun time connecting daily with your baby.

When you take your baby’s diaper off to give them a fresh, soft cloth diaper to wear, what if you automatically gave them a potty break as you sang a potty song together? They might just do a pee or poo, and then the diaper you then put on them will stay dry longer – and you’ve saved a diaper from the wash!

That’s practicing elimination communication. Simple, easy to fit into these natural activities or transitions in your baby’s day. Their diaper is off as they are being changed, offering them a potty break is really a no-brainer! I hope to inspire you to give Baby Pottying a go – to become a bit more part time diaper free – you’ll discover how to reduce your washing load by singing with, playing with and connecting with your baby.

— By Charndra J.
Author of 7 Secrets to Developing your Diaper Free Confidence


  1. Attila & Tamara said...

    I have friends who are doing this and it is working really well for them!

  2. littlecumulus said...

    Awesome idea – truthfully, I have always thought of EC as a little bit "out there," but the potty break idea makes sense and sounds easy. Now, if I can just *remember* to do it…

  3. Lil Mouse said...

    I have been interested in this concept, but not enough to try it, but may consider doing this as my baby is approaching 1!

  4. Kimberly said...

    My 13 month old has been going on the potty just about every day for the past 3 weeks! I wish we had started sooner!!

  5. Elizabeth James said...

    So, do you just hold your baby on the potty as if they were going to go to the bathroom? So they get used to the idea? I am not sure if I get it…maybe I do! haha

  6. AScott said...

    I've never really understood what this is all about and am curious. Do you just sit the baby on the potty once a day?

  7. Mommy said...

    I did this with our first and part time with our second! Planning to go back to it with our next baby due May…. Oldest (22 months old) is telling us when he has to go after taking a "potty strike" for a while. Potty training himself yet?? Not sure… guess we will see if he decides it is time to wear big boy pants here soon.

  8. Amber Liddle said...

    We started around 11 months doing this with our daughter. Usually if her diaper wasn't that wet after a nap I knew she needed to go, so we'd sit her on a small potty we got from Ikea and she'd go after both her naps and once in the morning. Now that she's mobile it's tougher to get her to stay still but we still let her go diaper free most of the time she's home. 365 diapers a year is a lot to not have to wash!!

  9. Megan said...

    I don't see how this would save me anything. I wash every other day the same way no matter how many diapers I have used. When my daughter started waking up dry in the morning or after naps, I did put her on the potty. She started going at those time when she was just a little over a year. Now, she's potty trained at 2.5. I don't know if that made any difference or not.

  10. Hannah said...

    I just sat my 3-month old on the edge of the sink when we got up in the morning, and he peed! I need to get a potty chair, though, because I know pee is sterile but I still don't really want him peeing in the sink.

  11. once my daughter could walk (at 9 months) we started doing this every few days or so. She is now two (as of the 9th) and practically potty trained (naps and overnight are still in need of diapers for my peace of mind, and she has the occasional poopy accident on the floor) If I had been more faithful to it, I think she would have been trained maybe 3 months sooner. I use maybe 3 cloth diapers a day on a bad day. 1-2 is average though.

  12. Arizona Girl said...

    The title really caught my attention. I hate changing diapers. I doesn't matter what type-its all still gross. I can't wait for when its time to potty train. I hadn't considered trying a little at a time. I have a neighbor who has already started. She's only a part-time cloth diaperer but her 8 month old is already telling her when he needs to go. It is something to consider.

  13. Delanea said...

    Excellent blog. We've been using the potty for a few months now (my daughter is 15 months old). She finally *gets* it and it's pretty exciting for her. At about 12 months she was bringing me a diaper when she needed to be changed, so I took that as a hint she might be interested in her potty chair. So far, so good….we are still in diapers of course, but at least she grasps the concept and it saves us a couple diapers every day.

  14. Upstatemomof3 said...

    We do a little of this but we are not so great at it. And now that Big Sister is almost 14 months. I will be potty training her soon enough so we are keeping this on a slow and easy practice.

  15. We started this at birth with my fourth child. If I had known how little I would have to touch poop I would have done EC long ago. My dd is 9 months and we use one diaper at night and maybe have to wash 1 or 2 extra undies a day just depending on the day. I have so little diaper laundry that I just throw it in with my regular wash. EC has been totally awesome for us and has kept dd's yeasty rash under control. Very well written article. I hope it encourages sceptics to give it a try.

  16. Anonymous said...

    To be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.


  17. We ECed full time with our first and part time with our 2nd and 3rd. Our oldest was out of diapers at home by 5 months and wearing cloth training pants until regular undies fit at about 18 months. She stopped wearing a diaper when out and about at 1 year.

    Our second was born 3 weeks early and has always been very small (he's 2 1/2 and barely weighs 25 pounds). Even with only practicing ECing part-time he has been mostly potty trained (in cloth, non-moister proof training pants) since he was 2. We do still place him in diapers at night since he is a heavy sleeper and still wakes up wet. However, he has been waking up dry from naps.

    Our third turns a year old next week (wow time flies) and has only been ECed very part time for the part 3 or 4 months. However, whn we place he on the potty she almost always goes, especially if she needs to poop.

    Our 4th is due in August and I hope to EC more consistently now that our oldest two are a little more independent and able to help.

    After hearing horror stories about children screaming when placed on the toilet I definitely think it is worth the effort 🙂

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