Mum-of-five reveals she's scrapped nappies and holds kids over the sink when they need to go

3 January 2020, 13:12

Andrea Olson's five children were nappy-free during the day by the time they could walk.
Andrea Olson's five children were nappy-free during the day by the time they could walk. Picture: Instagram / godiaperfree

Stay-at-home mother Andrea Olson says the elimination communication method was the 'best thing I ever did'.

A mother-of-five has revealed why she ditched nappies in favour of holding her children over a sink or a potty when they needed the toilet.

US parent Andrea Olson, who runs Instagram page godiaperfree, explained 'elimination communication' transformed her life when all of her kids were little by helping her avoid having to deal with tons of poop-filled diapers.

By simply hovering her babies over places she could flush away whatever came out, the American stay-at-home mum described the method as "the best thing I ever did".

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Apparently running some water on her foot💦 (and watching her sphincters for done-ness in the mirror on the back of the sink) helps when she’s constipated. I do potty her on the sink when she’s constipated - deep squat makes the canal shorten and things run more efficiently! Then I flush the poop in the toilet and sanitize with a bleach wipe. We are currently transitioning her to the big toilet with a seat reducer and she finally pooped on it last week! Progress. 💁‍♀️But when she’s constipated? #gottadowhatyougottado ▫️ ▫️ 📕 Start EC easily with my popular book, Go Diaper Free - + link in Insty bio. ▫️ ▫️ xx Andrea at ▫️ ▫️ #eliminationcommunication #babypotty #pottytricks #pottytrained without #pottytraining #happybaby

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"A friend of a friend posted on Facebook that they didn’t use nappies– they simply held their baby over the toilet or the ground, from birth, and avoided poopy nappies," Andrea wrote on blog Love What Matters.

"'I am in! Where do I sign up? I don’t even have a baby yet! Or a steady boyfriend!’ I exclaimed."

Just four years later, she and her husband began having children and decided to try out the technique for real.

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Y'all!! 🤗 I wrote a new article over on @lovewhatmatters that is catching fire! 🔥 It's basically an overview of our whole process of ECing 5 kiddos, the challenges, the successes, lessons learned...with photos! Please check it out and leave some positive comments there about how EC has affected your lives! 👉 Check it out at - the link is in our Insty bio, too! 😘 Thanks so much for your amazing stories and support that keep me creating and sharing EC with the world #seriouslyyoureawesome ▫️ ▫️ xx Andrea at ▫️ ▫️ #godiaperfree #eliminationcommunication #lovewhatmatters #diaperfreebaby #earlypottytraining #pottytrainingsuccess #momof5

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Elimination communication, also known as EC, involves listening to a baby's signals and cues – such as bearing down and wiggling – that hint they need to urinate or defecate.

Once the parent has recognised these signs, they hold the child over a potty or toilet (or in Andrea's case, a sink) to enable them to wee or poo in an appropriate place.

"I can assure you that I never looked back from that day forward," she continued.

"This was the best thing ever! I dedicated myself to learning my baby in this way, and I am certain I became a better mum because of it.

"I was engaged, connected, and felt like I at least knew how to do two things with my new baby: nurse and potty! For me, that built lots of confidence."

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Hey everyone! This is Twyla, our 5th and final baby. (Yes, for sure. #vasectomy) 🙉 I snapped this photo of T when she was 7 months old (she's 9 months this week!). We can count on two hands how many times Twyla has pooped her biodegradable diaper backup (@getdyper) - this girl is ON IT! However. Lately she will NOT pee when we take her. #teethingbaby Gee thanks kid! 😋 We had Twyla in a beautiful 75 minute #unassistedbirth #freebirth back in November. My midwife quit...BY TEXT...3 days before my due date because she didn't want to drive out for an appt. So I got mad. Then I got smart. I studied my draft manuscript of The Unassisted Birth Manual (I swear it is almost done y'all!) for 5 days and then shipped all the kids off to grandma's house. Next morning 4am, easeful #waterbirth with hubs. 🙏 We started #eliminationcommunication with her the very first day. We potty her when she wakes up, when she screams out (her fave poop signal lately!) while playing contentedly on the floor, at transition times, and when she gets wriggly in our arms or baby carrier. She is SUCH a chill baby (did you read my story about Cooper a few days ago? HAD to be the unassisted birth!). 😍 Twyla is so loving. So vocal. She is already starting to sign "toilet" and "hungry" and "tired" - and she DANCES when her siblings ask Alexa to play ANY music, esp funky 80's stuff. 📆 Our plans? To take her out of daytime diapers right after she masters walking, to continue to teach her the words associated with needing to go, moving to the bathroom, and going in the toilet, and to wrap things up between 12-18 months by teaching her...and SAVORING every moment of it! 📷 Twyla is adored by her siblings and now that she's crawling, a real go-getter! If only she could catch that cat.... • • 📕 Start EC easily with my popular book, Go Diaper Free - + link in Insty bio. • xx Andrea at • #diaperfreebaby #diaperfree #pottytrained without #pottytraining #7monthsold

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Supporters of EC have raved about the pros, claiming it's better for their baby's skin, reduces waste, forms a stronger relationship between parent and child, and is really cost efficient.

Andrea explained: "It kept our babies way more comfortable, less fussy, way less ‘colicky,’ and more healthy.

"We completely avoid nappy rash, medical constipation, endless accidents, unnecessary tantrums, erratic behaviour and bedwetting.

"We’ve also saved an estimated $10,000 (£7,600) in nappy costs, and have raised our babies without the disgusting task (and smell) of endless poopy nappies."

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The US mum, whose five kids were all nappy-free in the daytime by the time they could walk, went on to explain how she, her husband and their five little ones made it work – crediting her success to two easy tricks.

"First, we do not do EC 24/7 for all pees – we do it part-time, with a full-time awareness," she says.

"But we always regard the nappy as a back-up, not a toilet.

"Second, we use a diaper when doing EC – until the babies start to walk.

"We are less stressed. We just stuck with some sort of consistency and supported our babies’ hygiene in a predictable manner, and they all followed suit."