Posted by: Charndra at Tribal Baby | August 25, 2009

Baby Sign Language and Elimination Communication – How Do I Introduce a Sign About Pottying? 3 Tips!

Baby sign language is an excellent tool for communicating with your pre-verbal infant or toddler.

Even babies under one can enthusiastically recognise simple signs. This enables communication!

A sign for potty time offers your baby a way to tell you they need your help to go to the potty or toilet. Initially it will be recognition of the needs of their body, perhaps as they go, moments before or after.

Sign language is a ‘bridge’ between our pre-verbal babies and our verbal culture. You are giving them a ‘tool’ they may use to communicate with you. Our visual memories are older, so babies readily recognise signs as soon as they are able. Around 12 months is common for signing to really pick up, though earlier and later are just as possible. Keep practicing, look for recognition of signs before your baby will use them to ‘talk’ to you.

Choose an appropriate sign or natural gesture. It should be simple, so your baby can crudely imitate it, and always be used with the spoken word and loving eye contact.

These 3 tips will make it easy for you to sign regularly in your day so that baby sign language and infant pottying are simply integrated and normal parts of your lifestyle.

3 Strategies to Remember When Combining Infant Pottying With Baby Sign Language:

1. Make your chosen sign each time you approach the potty

2. Make your sign whenever your babe is on the potty

3. Use the sign to ‘ask’ if your babe wants to use their potty- respond to their excitement, respect their reservations.

With these 3 simple strategies you’ll be adding baby sign language to your elimination communication (EC) moments with ease. Sometimes your infant will display great awareness and control. They’ll sign clearly and in a timely way. Other times they won’t – being a little person is busy work!

Expect your practicing of baby sign language and of EC to ebb and flow. Like any natural process there will be flashes of amazing communication, the reason families get hooked on elimination communication.

See this as a wonderful and fleeting sign of the future, not an expectation they’ll be toilet independent at a very early age. EC is something you *practice* regularly, part of your lifestyle, rather than a ‘method’ or results based activity like conventional potty or toilet training.

Give it a go – Baby Sign Language and EC are great partners in helping your child to communicate with you as soon as they are able. You’ll gradually reduce your use of diapers or nappies, helping the environment, saving you money and best of all, enjoying a new dimension in the bond you share with your baby.

Pop over to Charndra’s website on part time Baby Pottying. Discover more insights into Baby Sign Language and EC. There are 2 versions: either or – you can join to receive a free e-course introducing you to the Secrets of Confidence in Elimination Communication. Over 40 Potty Songs, plenty of tips, resources and helpful ideas to make your journey easing into EC very smooth indeed.



  1. Thanks for your voice of experience and wisdom. ,

  2. I started introducing sign at 2 months old. I wasn’t expecting my daughter to start using sign until after 6 months old but to my surprise she picked it up immediately. Since my daughter was 8 weeks old, we have been using sign to help do elimination communication. I never planned on practicing EC but it came naturally. My blog is mostly about the past year in EC. Now at almost 14 months old, my daughter is diaper free all night long and diaper free when we are at home. I am still diapering her when we travel outside the home, but plan to move to panties outside the home by the time she’s 15 months old. I couldn’t be more happy that we both (my daughter and I) wanted to communicate at such a young age.

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