Preparing to use Elimination Communication with a Newborn


It’s the final countdown to welcoming our newborn, and I’m gearing up to get started with elimination communication. I felt comfortable starting with both Galen and Honor when they were just a day or two old, so I think I’ll feel the same with this little one. Preparing for a “diaper free” newborn is a lot of fun (and at least for our family, involves some diapers).

Gathering Gear

Elimination communication gear can really be as minimalistic or as complex as you want it to be (much like any baby gear). I’m keeping things pretty minimal for this baby, but we do have things I have from Galen and Honor that I’ll be using again. Here’s a look of what I’ve gotten together:

Prefold Diapers – these are great for so many reasons. For infant potty training they make a soft, thick layer to put under baby while I watch cues or just let my newborn have diaper free time on the bed or on my chest. They’re also handy for burp cloths, to catch milk leaking from one side while you nurse on the other, to go under mom and baby at night to catch milk leaks, etc. I have 2 dozen small prefolds.

Pocket Diapers – we are going to be EC’ing pretty soon after birth, but we’ll also use diapers. Scott likes babies to be diapered, and diapering removes stress from EC’ing when out and about or busy around the house 🙂 I love EC’ing my babies but I’m not a “diaper free” purist 😉 I also have 2 dozen newborn pockets as well as an assortment of one-size pockets.

Little Potties – I started EC’ing with my first baby, Cassidy, when she was 6 months old. I wanted to EC my second, Asher, from his early days. But I’d been used to taking Cassidy to the bathroom. When I tried that with Asher he got really upset. It was enough to stop me from using infant potty training with him completely.

When I was expecting Brennan I read up a lot more on EC and decided to use a tiny container for his pottying so I didn’t have to rush him through the house. That worked much better, and I’ve used tiny potties or receptacles since then.

We have a small “chamber pot” style potty now, and I also got a “Top Hat” potty for this baby.  These are easy to nestle in my lap and hold baby over 🙂 I also have a small food storage container that I got for around $2 when Brennan was a baby and have used that with all babies since (only for a potty ;p). (You can use coupon code KB2397 to get 10% off at Continuum Family)

Waterproof Mat – This is really nice to spread across my lap when I want to have a diaper free baby in lap. I put the mat on my lap, then put a prefold down under baby. Then I drape a prefold over baby’s lap and keep my hand there, supporting baby. If it’s cold I put a blanket over that to keep baby (and myself) cozy. This worked really, really well with Galen in his early months and I felt very tuned into him. The mat was there for the occasional time I missed a cue or he didn’t give much of one.

Preparing to Learn Riceball’s Cues

I also have a few reference sheets already printed and ready-to-go by my bed. These are from Go Diaper Free (affiliate link), and they’re great for quick references. They’re discolored in the picture because my printer is running out of ink :p

One sheet, “The 4 Roads to Potty Time” covers possible cues baby can give, “Mommy/Daddy intuition cues”, etc. It’s a solid overview on possible potty signs. And it’s all in one place for a fuzzy mommy brain 🙂

The next sheet “The Basics, Part 1: When Does Baby Need To Potty?” gives a good walk-through on how to learn your baby’s cues and timing. It starts with observation and moves on to recognizing cues, “generic” times babies often need to potty, etc. This is the sheet I’ll use first, as I observe Riceball and get to know his/her potty cues.

The final sheet is a combined signal log to record timing of feeding, wakings, and pees or poops. There’s also a section for notes. I don’t know if I’ll actually use the physical log because I have a great app that lets me record all of that (Baby Connect), but it lets me know what to record and what patterns to look for as I observe baby.

Refreshing the Diaper Free Memory

I’m at 38 weeks as I type this, so baby could arrive at any time. I don’t expect baby to come until right around my due date, though, so this week is dedicated to refreshing my memory of signals, cues, etc. 🙂

I’ll be doing that by re-reading Go Diaper Free, Andrea Olson’s wonderful guide to elimination communication. It’s really packed with plenty of practical guidance and tons of pictures / illustrations so it’ll be a great refresher course. I recently did an interview with Andrea on the Birth, Baby, and Life Podcast. Click here to listen in to the EC insights Andrea gives 🙂

Excited but Relaxed

With both Galen and Honor I made the choice that I’d have my EC supplies ready, but would start when I felt up to it. With both that ended up being within the first few days after birth.

This approach was nice because there was no pressure and it just felt very natural to start elimination communication with them.

I’m planning to take that same approach with Riceball so that we’ll enjoy the postpartum time and I can do things at the pace that feels natural for us as a family. So I’m excited, but I’m relaxed and ready to enjoy these first (very fleeting) days… and the fun of getting to know a new little person and his/her cues 🙂

Click here to get more information on Go Diaper Free (affiliate link).

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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  1. Hey Kristen~ I have 2 little ones and now have all the signs of being pregnant again about 4-6 weeks and no positive test….so frustrated. Just wondering- do you hear of this often? ANy words for me on this? thanks! Hoping and praying your sixth birth goes really well!

  2. Hi Kate,

    I actually do hear about this pretty often! I would say that if you think you are pregnant, treat yourself as you are. Eat a good pregnancy diet, take it easy, etc. Have you gone to the doctor or midwife for a blood test? Sometimes they’re more sensitive. Or if you’re really concerned you could request an ultrasound. The other option is of course to wait and see 😉

    Best of luck to you and thank you for the well-wishes for our upcoming birthing day!

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