EC’ing is Going Downhill…

by Lee

I started EC’ing my daughter our first day home, and we caught a pee the first try! EC’ing was going great, catching more and more pees and poops each month, until we hit an all-time high of 9 pees/poops a day at age 4 months.

Then she started having sleep issues, and she was waking up every single hour for 3 1/2 months. We continued to EC during this foggy time, but we were only catching about 4-5 pees a day, and half the poops.

About a month ago, she was 8 months at this point, she started to sleep better and EC’ing was starting to be more consistent. Now that she’s crawling (for about 2 weeks now), she seems to be “on strike” when it comes to the potty.

We now only catch 1-2 pees a day, if it’s a good day. She cries when we put her on, and straightens her body so she can’t sit down. Is this a phase that will pass?

Today I even had times when I didn’t even bother putting her on the potty, I thought “what’s the use, it’s a waste of time!” This is the first time I really felt like that, yet I know if I don’t at least give her the opportunity, she can’t go.


Hi Lee,

You are not at all alone in dealing with elimination communication challenges! In fact, it is really common to start having challenges like this come up when babies get older.

Once they’ve moved on from being “in-arms” babies most of the time to being really mobile (and full of their own opinions on what they should do!) many babies start to have what is called “potty strike” moments.

First, don’t get discouraged. EC’ing is a process that has its ups and downs – just like most of parenting. If you find yourself catching less pees and poops, don’t sweat it. In the end your baby is going to be pottying by herself one day 😉

I also don’t think you should give up. You’re right to keep offering. Sometimes it is frustrating – I’ve had time where I’ve used diapers more for my babies.

The best solution I’ve found to these situations is to incorporate pottying into your baby’s routine. Take any emotional component out completely. From now on, going potty is just a part of daily life.

This is the attitude to have – putting your baby into her car seat to go somewhere is “just how it is.” You put her in there in a matter-of-fact manner because, well, car seats and seat belts are just part of life.

Adopt this same attitude with EC’ing. Going potty is just part of life. Tell her it’s time to try and potty, and set her on there. You might want to do this right after you go potty, or while you go potty (if she has a separate potty). You sit in the toilet while she sits facing you on hers. Or you go and the hold her over the toilet or her potty. Do this regularly throughout the day.

You can watch her patterns and figure out about how often she’s going. Most of the time older babies go longer between pees and poops than newborns. You can get a general idea and just make a habit of going potty at about that interval throughout the day.

You can also try reading to her, singing with her, or having a special toy on the potty. After all, adults often read on the potty 😉 Some moms have had a lot of luck putting colorful pictures (cut from a magazine or something) on the wall near the potty for the baby to look at. A mirror can also interest baby.

One strategy I’ve found particularly effective with a baby that stiffens or arches on the potty is to try pottying them as soon as they wake up – when they’re really not fully awake yet. Morning wakeup and naptime wakes are great times. Babies often need to pee at this time an a lot of babies poop early in the morning.

Overall I think it’s just a matter of being consistent and incorporating potty time into the routine. Change her promptly if she wets. You can put her on the potty briefly anytime she wets. I’ve found this works best if you catch baby right after (or as they’re in the process of) wetting. It doesn’t seem effective if it’s more than a moment or two after the wet.

If you catch her mid-poop I would immediately stop what you’re doing and get her over a potty. Usually you can catch a poop miss quicker than a pee and you should put her on the potty right away or even mid way.

100% pees in the potty will just come naturally and probably very rapidly once she’s able to get herself to the potty. So don’t stress too much. I personally have always tried to be most alert for poop cues since sometimes the pee cues are not as easy to catch 😉

Do continue to watch her cues and respond, of course! And also respond to any intuition or feelings that you may have about her need to go.

About the author 


Kristen is a pregnancy coach, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! I've spent nearly two decades helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Does complete support for a sacred birth and beautiful beginning for your baby resonate with you? Contact me today to chat about how powerful guidance and coaching can transform your pregnancy, birth, and mothering journey <3

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