Are you preparing to start EC, and wondering which elimination communication supplies you will need? Or have you already embarked on your EC journey and are looking for some gear that will make the next stages smoother? To practice elimination communication, you really only need your baby and an appropriate receptacle (toilet, potty, or the great outdoors). If you were stuck with your baby on a deserted island with no baby gear, you would intuitively discover and start practicing elimination communication! But for those of us living in modern, product laden societies, there are many supplies that can make elimination communication easier.
I used most of these elimination communication supplies at some point along my son's potty learning journey, and I'm happy to share what worked well for us. A few of these items of EC gear I discovered after my son had transitioned to undies, but I plan to use them if I get the opportunity to practice EC with another baby. To receive discounts on some of these EC supplies, please visit our Elimination Communication Coupons page.
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Elimination Communication Books
In order to understand what elimination communication is all about, it is helpful to read a book explaining the philosophy of EC and also a book detailing how to practice EC. I also like to have some EC friendly board books on hand for my little one.
Diaper Free was one of my favorite books when I first started reading about elimination communication. It inspired me to try EC once I became a mother.
For those of you in the U.K., Nappy Free Baby is a practical guide to baby-led potty training. It will guide you through the process, from getting started to completion.
The Tiny Potty board book was specifically written for babies practicing EC. There is no mention of diapers. The main character is gender neutral and age neutral. This cute book teaches the basic steps of using the potty.
The Potty board book explains that while some babies use their diaper, the potty is also an option. The young gender neutral character decides to take off the diaper and use the potty.
Elimination Communication Potties
If you choose to get only one piece of elimination communication gear, I recommend getting a small potty.
If you want a potty that will work from the newborn phase through toddlerhood, I recommend getting one with a removable insert that can be used on your lap in the same manner as a top hat potty. A separate chamber pot or top hat potty is convenient for the newborn phase, but will be quickly outgrown. You may want to view our comparison of the Best Potties for Elimination Communication.
The BabyBjorn Smart Potty is a great option for use from the newborn stage, through the toddler years. For EC with a newborn baby, the insert can be removed and used on your lap like a top hat potty. This has been my son's favorite potty since we started EC, and still now that he is an EC graduate.
The Ikea Lilla Potty is another small sized potty, and an economical option, if you have an Ikea store nearby! The tall splash guard would work especially well for boys. We haven't tried this one ourselves, but it's highly recommended by other families practicing EC.
A top hat potty bowl is convenient to use with babies 0-12 months old. You can place the top hat potty securely between your legs and hold your baby in a cradle or EC position over the potty. Great for newborns, pottying while nursing, nighttime EC, and travel. You can now preorder The Baby Potty: a biodegradable top hat potty with potty cozy and non-slip band.
I love the look of this old fashioned chamber pot! It is made of steel coated with lead-free enamel. It works well on your lap, for EC with a newborn. Make sure to add a potty cozy, so it's not too cold against your baby's skin.
Toilet Seat Reducers for Elimination Communication
Once your baby has head control and is sitting up, it is nice to add a toilet seat reducer as an option. Babies go through many phases on their toilet learning journeys. Sometimes they prefer sitting on a small potty, and sometimes they will just crawl or walk away. A toilet seat reducer is a nice option to keep your baby focused and on the potty.
We started using the Prince Lionheart Weepod Basix when my son was about 6-months-old. It's nice and soft and positioned him in somewhat of a squatting position. The only draw back is that he would pull up on the front of it, and it eventually broke in half. Also, it does not attach to the toilet seat, and requires constant supervision.
For toddlers who are moving towards potty independence, I recommend installing a built-in child toilet seat that is securely attached to the adult toilet seat. Pairing it with a step stool can allow your toddler to climb up and use the toilet "all by myslef!". Since these do not have much of a splash guard, it helps to teach your child to lean forward while peeing.
Travel Potty for Elimination Communication Away from Home
For daily trips out and about or vacations away from home, it can be helpful to bring along a travel potty. My son often used public toilets, with me holding him over the toilet in the classic EC hold (one hand under each thigh, with his back resting securely against my stomach). For long car trips, I liked having a travel potty ready to go, lined with a plastic bag. When my son needed to potty, we could pull over and let him use the potty in a parking lot, instead of running into a store or restaurant trying to find a bathroom.
The Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus travel potty and toilet seat reducer is highly recommended in EC circles. It can be used either as a stand-alone potty with a disposable or reusable insert, or on top of a toilet seat. We first bought a Potette Plus when my son was a baby. The opening in the middle was too big, and he almost fell through it into a public toilet. Don't worry, I was holding onto him!
We put it away for a bit, and started using it again in his toddler years, mostly in the potty configuration with a disposable liner, or a plastic grocery bag lined with a paper towel. Remember to make sure the legs click into place, when using it in the potty configuration! Outer dimensions when folded: 9.125" L x 8.75" W x 2.75" D
The reusable liner can be purchased separately and used with the Potette Plus when it is in the potty configuration. The liner makes the potty more comfortable to sit on. It is flexible, so it can be removed and rolled up for storage. The potty can't fold up completely with the reusable liner in place.
I haven't personally tried the OXO travel potty, but I heard from another Go Diaper Free Coach that it's a better option than the Potette Plus for an EC'd baby. The outer dimensions of the OXO travel potty are larger, but the opening in the middle is smaller and more suitable for a young baby. There are disposable inserts for the OXO travel potty, but no reusable insert. Outer dimensions when folded: 11" L x 10" W x 2.9" D
Wet/Dry Bags and Wool Wet Bags
Wet/dry bags contain one non-waterproof pocket for storing dry items and one waterproof PUL lined pocket for storing damp items. They are wonderful for organizing your diaper bag for EC away from home. You can also use a large wet bag at home for storing dirty cloth diapers. If you want to go the all-natural route, you can opt for wool wet bags. Lanolized wool will help contain the wetness and neutralize odor.
A Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag is perfect for carrying around a travel potty. You can place the folded Potette Plus or OXO Tot Go Potty in the waterproof wet compartment and a smaller wet bag in the dry compartment. The smaller wet bag can hold either wipes and a spare diaper, training pants, or a clean baby outfit. You can either carry the potty bag alone, hook it onto your diaper bag, or place it inside your diaper bag.
Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag: 12.5" W x 15.5" H
Planet Wise Medium Wet Bag: 12.5" W x 16" H
A small wet/dry clutch like this is perfect for bringing one diaper or a couple pairs of training pants and an extra baby outfit. Keep the clean items in the outer dry compartment and any soiled items in the inner wet compartment. You'll only need to take this wet/dry clutch out if there has been a miss, otherwise you can keep it packed away.
Planet Wise Clutch Wet/Dry Bag: 11" W x 7.5" H
Organic Caboose offers wool wet bags with Aplix closures (similar to Velcro). The small wet bag has one handle and the large has two handles, so it can hang from a stroller. I think the small wool wet bag would work well for carrying along a top hat potty in your diaper bag.
Organic Caboose Small Wool Wet Bag: 9" W x 9" H
Organic Caboose Large Wool Wet Bag: 12" W x 15" H
Once your little one is standing and starting the transition to potty independence, it is helpful to have a couple step stools in the bathroom. Possibly a shorter step stool to help with climbing onto the toilet and a taller step stool for reaching the sink to wash hands.
Pair the child toilet seat with a step stool that allows your toddler to confidently climb onto the toilet. Make sure the arrangement allows your child to safely climb onto and off of the toilet without help.
Another important item is a tall step stool that allows your child to reach the sink to wash his or her hands. As soon as we got our son the Ikea Bekvam Step Stool, he was excited to climb up and wash his hands, brush his teeth, or brush his hair, repeatedly throughout the day.
Baby Wipes & Bidet
For cleaning my baby's bottom during diaper changes, I preferred cloth wipes moistened with warm water. I would store the wipes dry and wet them as needed. For nighttime, I kept a vacuum insulated stainless steel Thermos with warm water at the diaper changing station, for wetting the wipes. I experimented with DIY wipes recipes for pre-moistened cloth wipes to use while out of the house, but found that they molded if I didn't use them within a day. Instead, I carried dry cloth wipes and a small bottle of water or disposable wipes. We have a set of oval BabyKicks wipes that have held up well for the past three years.
There are times when it is convenient to also use disposable wipes, especially when traveling. They can be used not only for bathroom clean up, but also after a meal, when there isn't a sink nearby for washing hands. I was shocked at how many unnecessary, and even harmful, ingredients are found in many brands of baby wipes. I like that WaterWipes are moist, smooth, and only contain a couple ingredients (water and grapefruit seed extract).
I heard about the FridaBaby Fridet from another Go Diaper Free Certified Coach. It's a mini bidet bottle that can be filled with warm water and used to spray the baby's bottom clean after a poop. This is a neat alternative to wipes, and can be easier to use while Baby is sitting on the toilet or potty.
Diaper rash is much less common with babies who do EC, but it's still nice to have a bottom ointment in your stash. Although I tried to always dry my baby's bottom after cleaning it with a wet wipe, it still sometimes got chapped. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm was the perfect thing to sooth his chapped skin. It is cloth diaper safe, so you don't have to worry about it affecting the absorbency of your cloth diapers. And best of all, it's all natural!
Wool Puddle Pad and Diaper Changing Pad
A wool puddle pad is a versatile tool that I highly recommend for families practicing elimination communication. For diaper-free observation time with a young baby, you can lay a wool puddle pad on the bed, add a receiving blanket on top for absorbency, and place a prefold diaper right under Baby's bottom. If you co-sleep, a wool mattress protector under your fitted sheet is a great way to protect your bed from misses. Wool is breathable, so it won't cause your baby to overheat or get sweaty.
Wool should be lanolized periodically (every month or so), to maintain is ability to repel liquid. Wool is the perfect fabric for EC, due to it's natural ability to neutralize urine. It just needs to be aired out after being peed on, but doesn't need to be washed every single time.
Despite practicing elimination communication full time, there were still plenty of diaper changes during my son's first year. When he was a young baby, a diaper changing pad with contoured sides kept him from rolling away during a diaper change. I originally tried to get by with just a flat fabric changing pad, but I quickly discovered that it didn't keep him in place long enough to change his diaper. As soon as he started crawling, we switched to sitting diaper changes, which allowed him to crawl away as soon as the diaper was secured. Soon after he started walking, we switched to changing his training pants with him standing up. So I would view a changing pad a something useful during the first year.
Elimination Communication Backup
The term elimination communication is often used hand in hand with the phrase diaper-free. However, most Westerners practicing elimination communication do so with some sort of backup, rather than letting their babies be bare bottomed 24/7.
I recommend using cloth diapers and later cloth training pants as backup, since they allow the child to feel wet and retain awareness of peeing. Rather than looking for the most absorbent backup, it's best to look for an option that will be the easiest to remove and replace multiple times a day. If I recall correctly, my son used to pee about 20 times a day.
Cloth Diapers as Elimination Communication Backup
A diaper belt can be worn around the baby's waist, to hold a cloth prefold in place. You can easily slip out the prefold and offer a pottytunity. When there is a miss, you can see the wetness right away, and quickly change the prefold. The diaper belt and prefold combo works for both young babies and toddlers. I mostly used this style of backup during observation time, when I was learning my son's signals.
Cloth prefold diapers are a wonderfully versatile tool! They can be worn with just a diaper belt, or inside a waterproof diaper cover. A prefold also works great under a bare bottom, as an absorbent layer, or as a towel to clean up a miss.
Flaparaps are a drop-flap diapering system, invented specifically for elimination communication. The front of the diaper is attached to the elastic waistband, while the back of the diaper tucks under the elastic waistband. You can simply drop down the waterproof flap to offer the potty, or quickly change the absorbent pad inside. There is even a wool option for the outer wrap. Flaparaps now ship worldwide from the Born Ready website. These would definitely be worth trying!
The Petit Lulu Minimal Nappy is a drop-flap diaper that is conveniently designed for EC. Christine wrote a wonderful comparison of the Petit Lulu Minimal and Flaparaps on The Loose End. If you are located in Germany or the EU, you can order through Helden-Tragen, or Mokoshop also carries the Petit Lulu Minimal nappy and ships to Germany and the UK.
gDiapers gPants are a convenient waterproof cloth diaper cover to use as backup while practicing EC. I really liked using gDiapers on my son, especially once we were catching most of the poops in the potty. The Velcro tabs made them easy to remove. They are comfortable cotton on the outside, and the inside has a waterproof nylon pouch. The pouch can be stuffed with a cloth prefold; cloth insert; or flushable/compostable disposable insert. We mostly used prefolds, but sometimes I used the disposable inserts while out and about. I liked that the pouch held the prefold in place, so I didn't need to worry about it falling on the floor when I removed the diaper in a public bathroom stall.
It wasn't until my son was ready to transition to cloth training pants that I started researching wool covers. I thought that wool diaper covers were only made in a pull-on soaker style, but I was wrong! You can get wool covers with Velcro tabs. Loveybums offers a wonderful variety of wool diaper covers in both wrap and soaker styles.
A pull-on wool soaker is a great waterproof option once your little one is wearing cloth training pants. I liked letting my son toddle around in non-waterproof training pants at home, but added a wool soaker or shorts for leaving the house. The benefit of pairing a soaker with training pants, is that you can pull them both down together in one movement. Another option would be to use a fitted diaper with elastic in the waistband underneath the wool soaker.
I haven't used fitted diapers, but I think they would be an excellent option for the newborn phase, before you are catching all the watery poop in the potty. A fitted diaper could be worn without a cover at home, similar to training pants. You would be able to see right away when the fitted diaper gets wet. For leaving the house, you could add a wrap cover or wool soaker over the fitted diaper.
Many swimming pools require babies to wear a swim diaper, but it doesn't always make sense to put an EC'd baby in a disposable swim diaper or absorbent cloth swim diaper. Imse Vimse swim diapers are made of an outer layer of swim suit material and an inner waterproof layer. They don't have any padding for absorbency, but they will hold in a poop, which is the purpose of swim diapers.
Elimination Communication Training Pants
A good time to transition from cloth diapers to cloth training pants is once you are catching the poops in the potty or toilet and your toddler is standing. Your little one can be more involved in the process by standing up and helping push down the training pants. Some parents forge ahead and go straight to small underwear at this point. It might be worth a try! But if you are worried about protecting carpets, couches, or car seats, cloth training pants can provide some peace of mind.
Under the Nile Organic Cotton Training Pants are made in Egypt. They are available in sizes starting from 12-24M. They are more absorbent than many other brands of non-waterproof training pants, but wetness will still leak through to clothing. When leaving the house, you may want to pair them with a wool soaker or shorts.
Tiny Undies recently released Tiny Trainers, which start from size 6M. They are made from 100% cotton, including the absorbent layer. We haven't tried these trainers, since they were released once my son had already transitioned to underwear. They are the smallest sized non-waterproof training pants of which I know.
For those of you in the UK, I highly recommend Mothercare Trainer Pants, which start from size Small (18-24M). We purchased some for my son at Mothercare in Thailand when he was one-year-old. The waterproof layer was perfect for keeping a wee from making a puddle on the floor. But it was also obvious right away when the trainers were wet and needed to be changed.
Small Underwear for Elimination Communication Graduates
Once your EC grad is ready to switch to underwear, there are a few brands of small toddler underwear starting from size 18M, 12M, and even 6M!
City Threads offers high quality underwear that is made in the USA, starting from size 18-24M. Their sizing runs smaller than some brands. Size 18-24M is intended to fit children with a 19.5" waist who are 30-33" tall. City Threads underwear come in either organic cotton or 100% cotton. They also make super cute ruffle diaper cover bloomers, which could be worn as baby underwear.
Burt's Bees offers organic cotton boxers starting from size 12M. This is a great option when first transitioning away from diapers. The loose fit of boxers won't feel like a diaper. Burt's Bees briefs style underwear start from size 2T/3T. For an option smaller than 2T for girls, you could use their diaper covers as underwear.
Elimination Communication Clothing
When dressing your baby for elimination communication, look for options that will make it easy to offer frequent pottytunities and quickly change the backup when misses occur. Here are some of my favorite types of elimination communication clothing.
Long thigh-high socks work well for keeping Baby's feet and legs warm during pottytunities. Unlike pants that need to be removed, socks can be worn during a quick diaper change or pottytunity.
Baby leg warmers are a quintessential piece of elimination communication clothing. They are much more convenient than pants, since you can leave on the leg warmers while removing a diaper for a quick change or pottytunity. In colder weather, you can add leg warmers over a pair of socks.
Baby tee shirts are a convenient alternative to one piece bodysuits (Onesies™). There are no snaps to mess with when it's time for a pottytunity or diaper change. My son's typical outfit as a baby was a tee shirt, gDiaper, and if it was cold, a pair of long socks or leg warmers.
I love wool clothing for elimination communication! If it gets peed on, you simply hang it up to air out. It only needs to be washed and lanolized every month or so. Wool shorts or a wool skirtie with built in soaker are great options over non-waterproof training pants.
Elimination Communication Pants
These modest split crotch pants are designed to be worn without a diaper. They allow a child who is able to get to the potty on their own to sit down and use the potty without removing their pants. This is helpful during the transition to potty independence, when the child is not yet able to push down and pull up their pants.
L'il Baby Chaps™ are designed to allow a baby to use the potty without removing their pants. They can be worn bare bottom for diaper-free time, with a prefold diaper tucked into the waistband, or with side snapping training pants. If there is a miss, the diaper or training pants will get wet, but the chaps hopefully will not.
A waterproof rECtangle Diaper Cover can be paired with L'il Baby Chaps™ to cover the prefold diaper and create a more modest look for wearing outside of the house. Made with cotton on the outside and a waterproof PUL lining on the inside.
Little Bunny Bear offers PDF sewing patterns for elimination communication clothing, including this pattern for discrete split crotch pants. The discreet design provides modesty and warmth while your baby uses the potty. The crotch section will open as you hold your baby over the toilet or as your toddler squats on the potty.
Pura Bebo crotchless baby jeans can be used with a snap-in cloth diaper, which allows for easy pottytunities. A great option for practicing elimination communication in cold weather.
Sleepwear & Gear for Nighttime Elimination Communication
Sleep gowns are a wonderful nighttime alternative to footie pajamas with rows of tiny snaps. Sleep gowns have a soft elastic opening at the bottom, which can be lifted up to offer a pottytunity or change a diaper.
For those of you practicing elimination communication during cold winters, you can add a baby sleeping bag (aka sleep sack) over a sleep gown or long sleeve shirt. Look for a sleep sack that unzips from the bottom. Merino wool is a good choice, since it is breathable.
When practicing elimination communication, misses are inevitable. You may want to have an enzyme based cleaner on hand for cleaning pee out of carpets or couches.
If you venture into the realm of wool (wool puddle pad, diaper covers, or clothing), you will need to use the correct type of laundry soap for washing. I recommend Eucalan Fine Fabric Wash. And remember, you won't have to wash the item every time it gets peed on. Just allow it to air dry and use again. You can wash every month or so, or when the wool stops repelling water and needs to be lanolized again.
Applying lanolin to your wool may sound a bit daunting, but it's not too bad once you get used to the routine, and it doesn't need to be done very often. If your wool diaper covers start to leak, that's a sign that they need to be lanolized again. Otherwise, once a month may be fine. You can either lanolize the wool while it is wet or wash the wool; allow it to dry; spread a thin coat of lanolin on your hands; gently pat the lanolin onto the wool; and then massage it into the fibers. I started out using the first method, but later had better results with the second option.
Baby Wraps and Carriers
Babywearing is a wonderful attachment parenting technique to pair with elimination communication. Whenever my baby needed to eliminate, he would squirm to get out of the carrier. It was easy to establish a routine of offering the potty before putting him in the carrier and as soon as I took him out.
When I was making my baby registry, I didn't put much thought into the types of carriers I wanted. After I gave birth, I attended a Babywearing International meeting, and realized that there were different types of carriers that would have better suited my needs. I recommend that before you decide on a baby wrap or carrier, look for a local chapter of Babywearing International. You can attend a free meeting, where volunteer babywearing instructors can show you how to correctly use a variety of baby carriers. And if you become a paid member, you can rent wraps and carriers from their lending library, to try out with your baby.
I used a Baby K'tan carrier with my son during the newborn phase. Rather than being a true wrap, it is made of two loops that are attached together. I chose this option, since it seemed easier than learning to wrap. Next time around, I would have a babywearing instructor teach me how to wrap correctly, and invest in a beautiful wrap from Oscha Slings. I didn't use a stroller for my baby, but I did wear him everyday, so it would have been worth the investment. A ring sling, which is worn over one shoulder, is also a convenient option.
Once my son had grown a bit, we switched to using the Ergobaby soft structured carrier. It worked well and was comfortable. But I learned at the Babywearing International meeting that a Lillebaby carrier would have fit my frame better. And I hear that Tula baby carriers are awesome. Everyone is different, so it's a good idea to try on many types and see which one works best for you. I do like the convenience of a carrier with buckles.
Register for Elimination Communication Supplies
That wraps up my list of elimination communication supplies that can make your EC journey smoother. You may also want to read my tips on choosing Elimination Communication Clothing for Each Season or my list of Potty Training Supplies.
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Which elimination communication supplies are you currently using, or do you plan to use, while practicing EC?