The EC market has exploded thanks to bold spokespeople and naturally curious parents. So far, so fantastic. However, the growing market can be overwhelming for newbies and established ECers alike. This list is a good starting place for UK- and EU-based parents and carers.
*This post is a work in progress and will be updated over time. If you have a link or tip to add, that would be great – just leave me a comment!*
**Products may well be available on other sites, potentially at a lower price. Please do a price comparison before you buy, or consider searching eBay, Gumtree or your local parenting Facebook group or charity shop for gently used products.**
***If you’re new to EC, check out Amber Hatch’s Nappy Free Baby. If you’re ECing and something has changed with your baby, take a read of Wonder Weeks – developmental leaps often mean changes to toileting. And of course, head to the EC UK Facebook group for tips and support.***
Pottying at home … with a newborn
Between-the-knees or lap potties
Top hat potties (also known as a Chinese potty, EC potty, China Töpfchen or Windelfrei Töpfchen) fit neatly between the thighs or crossed legs. Buying from Mainland Europe appears to be the only option; try Mokoshop, AbhaLa or TopfFit. A biodegradable version is also being developed; you c
an follow the project on Indiegogo. Struggling to find one? Ask your local sling library, natural baby store or gentle parenting Facebook group.
You might want a cover to soften the seat and/or catch any misfires. Check out any of the EU suppliers above. Alternatively, hack a towel headband, the kind used for holding back your hair when you wash your face, or make your own out of an old towel and a little elastic.
These potties can be tricky to find. If you can’t get hold of one, don’t stress – the forums are full of EC parents who’ve never used one or got one only to find it didn’t work for them – there are plenty of alternatives.
Pottying with retro flair – or just taking a step back to how things used to be. Head over to eBay or Etsy for metal, enamel or ceramic chamberpots. A cover could also be used here to take away the chill factor. Interested in the history of pottying and potty accessories? Check out Amber Hatch’s brilliant four-part history series.
Mini plastic potties
Some potties just seem to come up small … IKEA’s LILLA potty is one of them. We outgrew ours quite early on (monster-sized baby boy – too many misfires by around six/seven months), but some people use them successfully for years. Also in the petite range is the John Lewis Basics potty, which has bad reviews for being TOO SMALL. Fab for ECing little babies.
Potette Plus silicone liner. Use the silicone liner alone as a flexible but sturdy between-the-knees potty option. This can be used out and about with or without the Potette Plus travel potty (see below), and doubles up as a comedy hat for your toddler. Hours of fun.
Removable potty inners. IKEA’s LOCKIG potty with removable green inner is relatively low-cost and comes with a removable inner that works great between the knees. More costly but also recommended are the BabyBjorn Smart Potty, the Prince Lionheart PottyPod Basix, the Hoppop Donut Potty and the Angelcare Growing Up Potty.
Ice cream tubs (curved ends work well – an excuse for Mövenpick, anyone?), Tupperware, Lock and Lock boxes, wide-rimmed pouring containers (Mokoshop sells one that’s not for EC but does the job), dog bowls … you name it – get creative! And if in doubt, use the sink!
…and with an older child
Cheap and many is the general rule. Try mixing colours and/or styles to cope with later-stage potty favouritism, and keep mixing it up with the traditional hold-out position to keep your options open.
£1 potties get the job done … good things are said about those found at Morrisons, Mothercare, Poundland, Asda and Aldi. If you’re not squeamish, you’ll often find a potty or two in a dusty corner at a charity shop or children’s secondhand store (I love our Zorella Kinderkaufhaus in Stuttgart) … or head online to Gumtree for local bargains. Double up to £2 for the IKEA LILLA potty, which is small enough to use from a young age. Or look for a potty with a removable insert that you can use between your knees for a smaller baby, such as IKEA’s LOCKIG potty, the BabyBjorn Smart Potty, the Prince Lionheart PottyPod Basix, the Hoppop Donut Potty or the Angelcare Growing Up Potty. For ease of disposal, some parents swear by the Pourty, which makes for easy pouring away into the toilet.
If you want to go all-singing, all-dancing, you’ll find potty seats with all the bells and whistles on Amazon, but expect to pay $$$.
Confused about which potty to use now your child can sit on a potty (supported or unsupported)? Check out Born Ready Jenn’s page here.
If you’re in it for the long haul, consider a family toilet seat with built-in toddler seat reducer, such as this one on Amazon.
Ensuring the correct position for elimination – a natural squat – is something to keep in mind when considering a seat reducer, particularly with younger babies.
Pottying on the go
For many parents, the Potette Plus is the number one choice for pottying on the going or taking travelling. You may be able to find it on the high street in larger John Lewis and Mothercare stores. It folds almost flat, is lightweight and has the advantage of two positions – a conventional potty setup and a toilet seat reducer. While the toilet seat option works fine for travelling, one of the options above may be sturdier for at home. It comes with disposable liners, although many swear by nappy disposal bags, dog waste bags or old carrier bags with a sheet or two of loo roll inside. The liners may not be essential if you can potty for pees in a natural area, on a grass verge, over a drain etc., although if you’re going down this route, consider whether you can do away with the potty and just support your child in the hold-out position. If you’re looking for a more ‘permanent’ travel potty
solution, consider the silicone liner; it’s reusable and sturdy enough to wedge between the legs without the Potette seat as a newborn potty or easy, squashable catch receptacle if you’re using the hold-out position.
Alongside the Potette is the MyCarryPotty, which comes in fun designs but is altogether much more bulky, the Kezsu potty, which follows a similar model to the MyCarryPotty, and the Babyway potty, which is similar to the Potette, but lacks the folding option.
Alternatives for slightly older boys, or particularly skilful girls, include portable urinal devices designed for children, such as this or this, or more generic devices designed for medical reasons, camping, festivals, etc. such as this or this.
Nappies specifically for EC
UK-based Flaparaps are the creation of Jenn Philpott, and the materials and function will blow you away. They come with a rear drop flap, exchangeable multi-size belts and two super-absorbent pad options. They’re also available in a range of materials, including classic waterproof PUL and wool, and an XL nighttime version is now available. A secondhand market is also starting to emerge. You can buy them new from the Born Ready Shop or The Nappy Lady.
also available. For a comparison of these two brands, see this blog post. Keep an eye on UK sellers of non-EU Petit Lulu nappies, including Fill Your Pants, The Nappy Gurus and Bum Revolution, in case they expand to stock EC/Minimal Nappies too in the future.
available from AbhaLa), which offers a drop-flap all-in-one nappy as well as nappy covers and pads. Das Bewegte Kind sells adjustable, one-size PUL and woollen EC nappy covers that have elasticated sides and can also be used as a trainer for older babies and toddlers. They also sell inserts.
Feeling crafty? Consider sewing your own nappy cover using a commercial pattern, such as that developed by LittleBunnyBear (coming soon), pick up tips from this blog or hack a cover to meet your needs from the huge wealth of patterns on Prefold2Fitted. German DIYer Kaethe Maerz sells a quick and easy EC nappy sewing pattern for upcycling old jumpers and knits.
Alongside nappies and covers is the more traditional prefold/muslin and EC belt system. Prefolds can be bought new from The Nappy Lady, Funky Monkey Pants, The Washable Nappy, Plush Pants and Kingdom of Fluff, among others. They often available secondhand on eBay and Gumtree. Prefolds are affordable and multi-use – for example, the newborn size can be used as a full nappy backup system with a Snappi pin and a waterproof cover but will also double up as a folded pad under an EC nappy cover, not to mention their use as burp, milk and mess cloths. Prefolds can also be sewn at home, if you would prefer to upcycle old materials.
Prefolds and muslins can be pad folded and slipped under an EC belt. Wool is a good way to go but not essential. Popular models are made by Petit Lulu (sold by Helden Tragen and Blumen Kinder) and Mokoshop. This is also a simple item to sew yourself; try an up-cycled sized version or a simple adjustable version. LittleBunnyBear also sells a high-quality fully adjustable sewing pattern. For hacks, try large or worn out scrunchies or headbands.
A fantastic review of the different nappy systems that may be suited to EC can be found on the Little Bunny Bear site, and another on EC Peesy. Much of the decision-making comes down to ‘how quickly can I get into it?’ and ‘what can I justify buying when I have no idea how our EC journey will go?’. Save time and effort by visiting your local cloth nappy library or buying a couple of different systems second hand.
Lanolising wool pants and covers
Going down the wool route? Consider lanolising your items to increase their waterproofing properties. Find out how to lanolise wool items here, here or here. You can use Lansinoh samples or tubes for small quantities, but invest in a large quantity for cost savings if you’ll be doing this often. You can buy lanolin in sachets and in liquid form from Little Pants. Sheepish Grins (from Kingdom of Fluff, Funky Monkey Pants and others) offers scented versions. Solid lanolin tends to go further than liquid versions. Consider buying raw anhydrous lanolin from a company that sells products for DIY cosmetics making, such as Avena or Mystic Moments on Amazon (RosaRome, DragonSpice, and many more in Europe).
Widely known as split-crotch trousers, chaps, split pants, open-crotch pants, Chinese trousers, drop-flap trousers and shushu pants (Schlitzhosen, Splitpants, Windelfreihosen, GenaPants), among others. These ensure your child is fully dressed but still give you quick access for pottying. Designs range from completely open crotch-free trousers and tights to much more discrete options.
Rebecca Mottram sells handmade split-crotch trousers in stretch jersey and wool and tights for EC on her LittlyBunnyBear Etsy page. UK-based Gaia Mora sells handmade shushu pants through her Facebook page. If you’re looking for more options, consider EU-based suppliers. The German version of Etsy, DaWanda is a great place to look; check out designs by Neles Lädchen, Das Bewegte Kind, Margaretas Stoff-Werkstatt and tina-ma.de. Head to Ganz Schön Windelfrei for cute, customisable designs in various fabrics, or one of the larger online stores such as Blumen Kinder, AbhaLa or Mokoshop for wool, fleece and jersey options in various designs.
New to the market and currently available for pre-order are the hybrid PuraBebo baby jeans, which have a detachable PUL nappy cover built in. You can find further information on the PuraBebo website or the PuraBebo Kickstarter page, or pre-order the trousers from Mokoshop.
Crafty? Consider sewing or hacking your own. You can find an easy sewing tutorial for adapting existing trousers on LittleBunnyBear, or head to Do-it-Yourself EC for a free sewing tutorial. If you’re looking for a full sewing pattern, check out LittleBunnyBear’s One-size 6 months–4 years Split Crotch Trousers, which has a cleverly designed discrete crotch, or take a look at this pattern by Mokoshop. For a longer list of EC trouser patterns, see EC Peesy’s post on Elimination Communication DIY Clothing Patterns. You can even knit your own EC Split Pants.
Great for tiny babies and around the house. BabyLegs are perhaps the most widely known; the original BabyLegs, which include a UV-protection model, are sold by BabyKind and Wee Notions in the UK and Babyleg.de in Germany; BumGenius collaboration BabyLegs are sold by Lizzie’s Real Nappies. Other options include Huggalugs and Leg Huggers, which are sold by a wide range of UK stores, including Easy Nappies, Slings and Things, The Natural Store, Babipur and Kingdom of Fluff. Your local sling library or Kanga Training course leader could also be able to help you source these. For the EU market, legwarmers (Stulpen) are widely available from sellers such as Ganz Schön Windelfrei, Blumen Kinder and AbhaLa.
If you’re using long socks or EC tights with your baby, consider Sock Ons to keep them in place.
Legwarmers are also incredibly easy to make yourself. Take a look at Hobo Mama’s tutorial or this ruffled version by Skip to my Lou; The Blind Wives has a great no-sew leg warmer tutorial made from old socks. For visual learners, there are some great YouTube videos, including this video for converting knee-high socks by The DIY Mummy. Legwarmers are an easy knit: Legwarmies is a very popular design, and there are over 100 legwarmer patterns for babies and toddlers on Ravelry.
Other clothing for EC
Starting EC with a newborn is made easier with the right clothing. Once you’ve got your legwarmers or split pants covered and ditched the onesies, dungarees and poppered vests, you may find you need to get a little creative when it comes to keeping your baby warm. Look for t-shirts that are cut long in the torso. German site AbhaLa sells extra-long jumpers/pullovers for this purpose. Consider cutting off the poppered section on vests and hemming the edge with an overlocker or zigzag stitch. Bothered by tops riding up and exposing midriffs? One mama got creative with an old suspender belt. Still want or need to put your child in a one-piece suit? Consider overalls with a zippered crotch, such as these by Hug and Grow. Full dungarees with a drop-flap, such as these by Das Bewegte Kind, are also an option. Das Bewegte Kind also sells a dungaree-skirt with build in drop-flap underwear.
Easy access remains key – consider traditional sleeping gowns that close at the feet, such as this wool model by Lana Bambini, this organic cotton version sold by Babipur, this cotton bundler two-pack from Marks and Spencer or a more economical cotton model sold by Amazon. Merino Kids sells a Victorian-style long nightdress in wool that could work for an older baby in cool weather. Zippered sleep gowns and bags are also a good option; look at those sold by Reiff (Reiff Pouch Sleeping Bag, Reiff Fleece Sleeping Bag, Reiff Sleeveless Sleeping Bag), Merino Kids and Lana Bambini.
A stretchy sleep sack that pulls on up to the armpits, paired with a t-shirt or open onesie, is also an idea. Examples include this model by Lana Bambini, although a model that also opens at the bottom would be best. This would be a simple knit for a beginner, and there are plenty of free patterns for sleep sacks, baby cocoons and kicking bags on Ravelry, such as the Kicking Bag for Babies or the Little Fire Sleep Sack. For more advanced knitters, there are plenty of full nightgown patterns for babies on Ravelry too, such as Goodnight, Sweet Dreams, Comfy Angel’s Nest and Mrs Brak’s Drawstring Bottom Baby Kimono with Raglan Shaping.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one sleep suit with legs for an older baby, consider Born Ready Jenn’s pyjama split suits. Of course, you can always just use regular split pants or drop-flap trousers as pyjama bottoms for colder weather, perhaps in a cosy wool or fleece.
Tiny underwear and training pants
Tiny Undies is a popular choice for tiny pants from around six months and up; however, this company is based in the US. For small underwear in the UK, head to Sainsbury’s, Tesco, John Lewis, Asda or Primark, which offer underwear from 12 or 18 months up but tend to fit smaller. Mothercare is also reported to stock very small pants.
If you’re looking for an easy insert for tiny pants, consider a disposable option such as a fragrance-free panty liner or Tena pad, or a purpose-made liner such as Dry Like Me pads, which are available at Asda and Boots as well as online on Amazon and eBay.
Bright Bots are a popular choice for training pants in small sizes. You can find them at The Nappy Lady and Fill Your Pants, among others. Mothercare training pants also come up quite small. You can find tiny trainer slips in Nicole’s Nähkram’s DaWanda shop. Ganz Schön Windelfrei makes tiny training pants from as small as newborn size (birth to 68/74), right up to pre-schooler size; the patterns and materials are fully customisable. They also sell PUL-backed contoured inserts for normal pants.
If you’re looking for a 100% wool trainer, you could consider a purpose made pair by Das Bewegte Kind. However, many traditional wool covers for non-EC nappies double up well as training pants. Sellers include Lana Bambini, The Nappy Lady, Little Pants Nappies and Disana, among others. Kaethe Maerz sells customisable woollen nappy covers for EC from her DaWanda page.
You can also repurpose many traditional nappy cover sewing patterns, such as those on Prefold2fitted, for wool fabric, and an all-in-two design is a great option for a backup or trainer – take a look at Do-it-yourself EC’s DIY post for inspiration. There are also many knitting patterns for wool nappy covers (soakers or longies) on Revelry. If you’re still unsure about using wool, check out Born Ready Jenn’s post on the benefits of wool.
Training pants, and trainer inserts in particular, are relatively easy sewing projects. More links coming soon!
Other useful EC gear
Pads, mats and protectors
Little Bunny Bear sells organic wool and recycled wool puddle pads and mattress protectors in her Etsy shop. Hippychick mattress protectors, which are also available from Amazon, are also recommended. Lana Bambini sells Organic Cotton Waterproof Mattress Protectors.
If you’re after a disposable option, consider buying puppy training pads in multipacks, such as these from Amazon, as they often work out much cheaper than equivalent products for babies.
If you’re looking for a DIY project, cut up a boiled wool blanket to make puddle pads, mattress protectors, car seat protectors and more; as they are already felted, wool blanket pieces don’t need to be hemmed. These are usually readily available in charity shops and are great value for money.
Please comment if you have something to add!