Child Led Potty Training or Elimination Baby Communication? Which is best for you?

The day your little one finally sleeps through the night without wetting the bed is a day most parents have been waiting for. And if they can do it 3 days in a row, we’re almost pinching ourselves to see if we’re dreaming. Potty training is a big step for both kids and their parents. The two most important ingredients for success are time and perseverance.

Avoiding diapers altogether is not the goal of early potty training. The goal is not to train your an infant to use the toilet only for urination. This refers to the practice of allowing your baby to go potty in environments other than her diaper.

Baby potty training, or elimination communication (EC) as it’s also known, may sound like a scientific tactic. Still, it’s actually the time-tested method of getting a newborn or young infant to use the toilet. Teaching a little infant to use the restroom is very different from leading a toddler. When you hear “potty training” or “toilet training,” you probably think of preschoolers or even younger children running to the potty in hopes of making it on time. This leads to the questions…


When is the best time to teach your child to use the bathroom? 


Is it between two and three years old? As soon as they’re ready? Before they can crawl or walk? Elimination communication is a form of communication recognizing when a newborn needs to go based on the infant’s natural timing and cues.

In short, the answer is when the family is ready to commit to the journey.


A lot will rely on how well you understand your child’s non-verbal communication cues and how committed you are to following your child’s natural rhythms. Ideally, we’d like to have a child potty trained by school age, yet wouldn’t it be awesome to have it done sooner?


The pros of EC is that infant muscles and nerves are not mature enough to truly be able to reliably hold movements, they relax as needed to go, allowing parents to take note of the rhythm and take them use a specially designed potty for infants. 


While this may be easier than trying to coerce a toddler to go to the bathroom and stay seated on the potty, it still requires consistency and a plan. A parent needs to be able to read the signs that their baby needs to go to the bathroom, just like they would if their child was tired or hungry. Face expressions, grunting, and bearing down can all be signs of a movement, letting parents know it is time for the potty.


Parent led elimination communication requires very little equipment. All you need is an infant potty or a mini potty and be diaper free. Some may prefer to have at least a cloth diaper on hand, while others want their baby to feel the air as an indicator that it’s time to potty. It’s a very gentle approach to potty training.

Many times, parents know their baby’s routine. Eat, Potty, Sleep, Wake, Eat, Potty Sleep. It’s just a matter of getting the timing down. The routine shifts a bit once solid foods are introduced into their diet.

Obviously the pros to EC is that it’s environmentally friendly. Less diaper waste or even cloth diaper washing. Reducing one of the biggest ongoing expenses of rearing a child – diapers. If you’re able to potty train your little one by 6 months, you’d save yourself (and the environment) potentially 2.5 years worth of diapers or cloth diaper waste.

That alone may peak your interest in EC.

It can also increase the bond and communication between parent and baby, because now you’re able to discern the potty cry or noises a bit differently. Another way of communication with your bundle of joy. 


Yet, if EC doesn’t seem like an option you’d like to try, consider child-led potty training. Starting based on your little one’s interest in the potty and potty indicatiors; their readiness factor. 


Examples of some of these signs include:


  • Interest in how toilets work
  • Being able to follow instructions easily
  • Using terminology related to the bathroom
  • Not wetting the diapers for a period of at least two hours.
  • Able to pull up or down pull ups or training pants
  • Able to grasp where big kids and adults use the bathroom
  • Giving signals when they are about to potty – Noises, pointing, holding the diaper or requesting a change of diaper or pull up.


Being child led, when it comes to potty training may make it easier for you too. Their willingness to try, makes it easier for the entire family. Here’s a few things to keep in mind. 

  • Try not to think that the success or difficulty of potty training is a sign of how smart or stubborn your child is. 
  • Mishaps are unavoidable, it’s a discovery and learning process. Since it’s new to your little one, discipline can be set aside as they learn a new skill
  • It’s ok to stop and try again another time if potty training isn’t going as well as anticipated.


Some people will require additional training or time to spark an interest. You can’t tell how well it will work for your kid unless you give it a shot. Look over these steps to promote potty training success.


  • Choose the potty of choice, a kid sized stand alone potty OR a potty seat, step stool etc. Put a potty chair in the bathroom or, wherever your child is spending the most time. 
  • Decide if you’re going to use pull ups during the day or night only or not at all. 
  • Pick the right words. Choose how you will talk about your child’s experience in positive, praise worthy terms.
  • Many parents use sounds like sssss or a moving water sounds to encourage their little one; others use a word or phrase like “go potty” to teach their infants to correlate the need to use the restroom with making a certain sound. Repeat this sound or phrase whenever you see that your baby needs to go,  and also when he’s going, so he associates his own urges with going to the bathroom.
  • Plan bathroom breaks on a timer. Give your child a few minutes to sit on the potty chair or toilet without a diaper every two hours, as well as when they wake up and right after naps.
  • Drink lots of fluids (not you, but your little one) to give them the urge to potty more frequently and get use to the need to go.
  • If your child wants to get up, let him or her. Try to keep their hands busy with toys, books, things to do to ensure they stay on the potty long enough to potty. Keep the energy exciting and happy.
  • If your little one prefers to use the idle time to sit on the potty as time to scratch their itchy skin, thumb-suck or hair pull, remember to use a ScratchMeNot; Flip Mittens for littles ones. They can still hold objects and play without using their hands for those habits or concerns. 
  • Go there quickly! When your child shows signs that he or she needs to go to the bathroom, RUN with them. This probably goes without saying, yet after they are trained, your little one may start to go to the bathroom alone.  
  • Applaud your kid whenever he or she tells you they need to use the restroom. Always dress your kid in comfortable, easy-to-take-off clothes. Give them the joy of flushing the toilet or helping you clean up.
  • And let’s not forget REWARDS. Who doesn’t want a reward when they’ve done a good job? Using non food rewards, like stickers, toys, new adventures or little treats to give them a taste of sweet success.
  • Rinse and Repeat! The challenge now is to maintain that consistency. If it helps, keep track of when you take your baby out to use the restroom during observation time, and use that information to create a schedule for potty breaks. Creating as much routine as possible can not only make your life easier, but will also assist your child get into a routine.
  • Try to maintain a degree of adaptability. To engage in the process of teaching an infant to use the potty, be open minded. There’s no wrong or right way. 
  • There are several methods to try that may work for your child and what works for one child may not work for another.


You can try newborn potty training or the conventional method if you want to have your child trained earlier than typical. The challenge of potty training may seem overwhelming at times but be assured that this is a milestone that they’ll reach with time.


If they lose interest or aren’t getting it, remember there’s no race or competition. Give them the time they need and encourage them along the way. Next thing you know, they’ll be day and night trained with more milestones to come!


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