Elimination Communication Positions
There are many safe, comfortable elimination communication positions. Read step-by-step instructions for some of the most common positions here. Pick and choose from them or decide to use one that works just for you and your baby!
The Cradling Hold
The most basic position for you to hold your baby in is the “cradling hold.” In this position you hold your baby with his back to your chest. Place one hand under each thigh and hold him securely with his legs spread slightly.
You're basically holding your little one in a supported squat. He feels cozy and secure because his back is firmly against your chest and your hands are holding him steady.
This squatting position makes it easy for your baby to eliminate without straining.
You can use a finger to “aim” your baby boy's penis into the potty or bowl you're using for him. You can also angle your baby a little forward to prevent splashing.
Variations of the Cradling Hold
You can vary this cradle hold in many ways:
- Use it standing and holding your baby over a sink or outside
- Sit with your baby on the toilet seat (scoot way back or straddle the seat backwards)
- Sit with a bowl in your lap
- Kneel in this position with your legs spread slightly (or squat yourself) – this is ideal for outside pottying
- Squat in front of a toilet while you hold your baby over it to potty
You can also modify this position with a tiny baby by holding her more along one arm, as if you were going to nurse her. This gives her even more security.
It's also a viable position to nurse your baby in if you expect her to have a bowel movement while nursing. You can position her over a little potty bowl or an open prefold diaper to catch the stool.
Small babies may enjoy the reclining hold. This is similar to the cradling hold except you let your baby lie down along your forearms. You're still supporting him firmly under the knees. His body is just lying along your forearms.
A variation of this position is used in many traditional cultures. The mother reclines the baby on her legs so that his bottom is resting near her feet. With her legs and feet slightly spread this makes a comfy, clean position for the baby. It works well outdoors.
Seated and Leaning Baby Forward
In this position you're seated in a chair or on some other raised surface (such as a bed). You lean forward and lower your baby down to eliminate. This works well if you're outside with her.
It's also ideal for nighttime use. You could have a wide, shallow bowl (we like to use an inexpensive dishpan) at the side of the bed. At night you simply sit up and lean baby down over the potty bowl, then lift him back up and nurse back to sleep.
Baby Under One Arm
Once your baby is bigger you can try out the “under the arm” hold. This is a great hold if you need to have another hand free to tend another child.
Simply tuck your baby under one arm, supporting her under her knees with your hand and forearm. You can angle your baby any way that you like and you have one hand free to clean baby when she is done.
A stable baby with good head and body control may like to squat to potty. Place your baby's feet on the edge of the toilet and hold him under his arms while he squats over the bowl to eliminate. My fourth baby loved this position starting around 14 months.
You can also help your baby to squat and go outdoors.
A good position for older baby boys. Stand your little one on the edge of the tub or large sink and pee. This works especially well if the baby can see himself in the mirror while he goes… such an interesting experience!
I already discussed letting the baby lie along your legs. But there are a couple of other leg positions. An older baby can sit on your legs when you're sitting in a chair. Just keep your legs open slightly and firmly on the ground. A bowl between your thighs catches pee.
Another traditional leg position uses the feet to position baby. You sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels on the floor. Spread your feet slightly apart and put baby facing you, with her back against your feet. This creates a perfect little seat for the baby and is a good position to use outdoors.
On the Potty
You can support your baby on the potty in a number of ways. If you want to use a little potty with a young baby, start with the potty on your lap (or between your knees). Hold your baby in the same cradling position you normally would, only also have him over/on the potty.
You can move to having the potty on the floor (or counter) and supporting your baby while he uses it there. It won't be long before your baby can sit unassisted on the potty, but he may still want your help for quite some time.
Find What Works for Your Baby
There are many different positions that you can choose from. And, of course, you can always make your own up! Be flexible and figure out which positions work the best for you and for your baby. They may change over time and as your baby grows. It's always an adventure!
(NOTE: Want proven, practical strategies to make elimination communication work for you? Use these 5 proven techniques to connect when your baby and have EC success! Get them here.)