Frequently Asked Questions
The short answers to your questions. Welcome to submit new questions via the contact page.
Is doing this part-time confusing for the baby?
What if I’m having a day with lots of misses?
What if I feel overwhelmed or stressed?
Just take a break. There are plenty of times to practice in the entire infancy of your child. This is not something you have to do right now or all the time. Just remember it can be done very part time or even if you take breaks (for example, see Potty Plan). Don’t put undue pressure on yourself – there are situations where it might just be easier to put a nappy on and get on with life. Figure out which amount is right for you. You can always put your baby into nappies when you know life will be more busy, you can anticipate them and plan for it.
What if I have multiple kids?
Then there is even more of an opportunity to talk about it and for them be motivated by or learn off each other. Older siblings can help out by bringing the potty or wipes to you, or helping to cue. Siblings may enjoy being involved and helping by bringing the potty to you, helping to support the baby on the potty or helping by entertaining them while on it. They may feel proud to demonstrate for the baby.
Can you do it with twins?
To potty two babies isn’t too different than changing two nappies. Just take them one at a time to any degree that’s right for you. The key is to remember they are separate people and will go through it in their own way. Give each their own potty and take care so they don’t feel compared. By pottying at separate times they’re less likely to become confused if you are cueing one and not the other, but the in the long run they are also more likely to learn from each other which helps.
Isn’t it stressful?
If you get the sense that it is, just step back. You can’t force a baby to communicate or do anything really. Plus, most babies love the freedom of not wearing a diaper anyway. If you happen to have a baby that hates a wet bum or using a nappy in general, ignoring their signals and suggesting they tune out their natural instinct and endure unpleasant wetness would be stressful to them too.
Isn’t it just a drawn out way to learn toileting?
The initial learning period doesn’t last long and then you can practice as much or as little as you like, but with the choice to reduce nappy use on any given day if you want to.
Your child could wear nappies at all times and apply a more routine based approach to practice toileting in some of the time you are together (e.g. when waking in the morning, upon leaving and arriving home, or just during nappy changes in the evenings or weekends. Alternatively, you could encourage their other caregiver(s) to learn with them.
What if we are always out and about?
Just use nappies when out and about, or take a travel potty, or get practiced at using other people’s toilets (using an in arm hold can be useful to practice for this to avoid having to sit on the seat even later on). Babies can learn to swap between a nappy, a potty and a toilet very easily.
What if both parents are working?
How will they learn the bathroom is the best place to go if we potty in so many different places?
This is no different to eating/nursing in lots of places but eventually they learn that the kitchen is the best place to go, and by imitation of adults this comes quickly. Bedroom is where you sleep.
Can we learn while we are away on holiday?
A holiday may give you more bonding time to learn toileting, or it may throw you out of sync. Jetlag can be confusing to the body and it may just mean a few more misses or backing off for a few days.
How can I engage my partner in this?
For parents who are routinely separated from their babies it’s a great way to connect with them when they are together. Its gratifying for fathers. They cant breashfeed but they can help toilet. EC is another way for your child to gradually understand that other caring loving people in their life will be able to help to meet their needs. Its common for one parent to take more of a lead in this, and you don’t have to do it the same way. The baby knows you are different people and will be very forgiving if you do it in slightly different ways .. just see how you go. The child can also help lead the way.
If others are resistant, you can still practice it part-time when you’re with the baby.
What if my baby was born prematurely?
The rule of thumb would be not to start until the baby is home from the hospital or past their adjusted due date and you get the impression the time is right for your baby.
Does it work for an older child?
You can use the information provided in our 18+ to get started with an older child, but we advise you to look into all of your options including conventional toilet training techniques as these may work for you also. Andrea Olson from Diaper Free (US based) has a book dedicated to EC for older children you may like to look into.
What if my child has health issues or a disability?
Milestones may be different to the average child which can be confusing and could make any toilet training hard to contemplate. You have very likely spent a lot of time observing your child and become very attuned to their needs in general. They may communicate differently and a different approach is needed for many things anyway. Practicing EC at a young age could be very beneficial as it can help these babies learn what parts of their bodies they can control and retain their awareness to use body language or signals (throughout or later on) to say when they need to go.
Aren't potties an unneccesary intermediate step?
Potties are a tool. like a spoon. you can choose to use it or not. Toddlers like that it is theirs, that it is at their level and good for posture.
How do I get my daycare on board?
how to have that conversation.
Other caregivers can become as intuitive as parents, they just need to be given permission and approach it gently with love as you would too.
You can ask others to potty your baby if you teach them what you usually do. They can even just offer if they’re changing a nappy anyway. If they are reluctant, at least ask them to communicate with your child about what she is doing if they happen to notice she is peeing/pooing.
They may take a while to be receptive to another person cueing them. Every child is different. They may prefer one parent over the other. However, it always changes.
Some people choose to remain private about EC, others proudly whip out their portable potty in a public space. I suggest approaching the latter with some consideration for everyone involved including your baby. Another instinct humans have is to enjoy going to the bathroom in private. A quiet – non-distracting- place is often the best for your baby to be able to relax fully, and means that onlookers wont interrupt your process either. This isn’t for grandstanding, nor hiding. But if its easier for you, be a closet EC’er.