How does toilet training without diapers affect a child’s temperament and health?

Raised of $2,995 Goal
Ended on 11/09/15
Campaign Ended
  • $479
  • 16%
  • Finished
    on 11/09/15

About This Project

Elimination Communication (EC) is a form of potty training in which potties and other elimination receptacles other than diapers are introduced very early, sometimes right from birth. Employing an online survey methodology, our research team is trying to determine if raising infants diaper-free in a Western context leads to differences in their pottying success, general health outcomes, and temperament development later in life.

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What is the context of this research?

Although it is largely believed in Western countries that diapers or pull-ups are a necessity for children under 2 years, a growing number of Western caregivers have begun to use EC. Our research team have completed one online survey that examined 181 caregivers' experiences with raising diaper-free babies in the US, Canada, and the UK. Until recently it would have been almost impossible to reach participants for the study we are proposing, because parents who use EC are small in number and widely scattered. With our previous study, however, we have demonstrated that it is not only feasible, but cost-effective to use online search to find EC users who are willing to tell us about their experiences. Our findings suggest that EC can lead to pottying success well before the age of 2.

What is the significance of this project?

This project aims to provide information regarding the impact of EC on health and temperament outcomes. Although EC is widely used in some non-Western cultures (i.e. China, India, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Arctic, and part of Latin America and Africa), social views about appropriate treatment of elimination, concerns around hygiene, and social stigma make the implementation of EC in a Western context very different from cultures in which this approach is the norm. The current study will provide scientifically grounded-information on pottying success, general health outcomes, and temperament development. This study will be a first step in examining the long-term outcomes of EC use, which the previous study did not examine.

What are the goals of the project?

Our research team is trying to recruit EC users’ self-report data on their children’s later development after being potty trained with EC methods, and use a yoked control procedure to obtain the comparison group. Each participant will be asked to fill out a short online survey and we hope to reach the total sample number of 100. In the short term, we plan on disseminating the study results to a growing EC community through social media sources, and to the scientific community by presenting our findings at a scientific meeting and by publishing a research paper. All publications will be open-access so the EC community can access and read the original findings. In the long term, we hope to use this first step to continue to further investigate various aspects of Western EC movement.


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Our budget consists of one primary item. We need funds to recruit participants through the use of Facebook ads. We used this technique successfully to recruit participants in our first study, and we plan to apply the same method for the current research.

Endorsed by

This is a highly innovative idea and a worthy research project for crowdfunding. The team has extensive experience in recruiting participants online to studies related to child development. They have an excellent track record of success. The budget is highly reasonable and the results are going to be of significant importance for parents and pediatricians.
The researchers seek to investigate the impact of Elimination Control (EC) in infancy on later childhood outcomes. With EC a growing but understudied phenomenon, their question is both novel and important. Moreover, their background in parenting studies, child development, and online survey methods make them the ideal research team to undertake this project.

Meet the Team

Janelle Boram Lee
Janelle Boram Lee
Undergraduate Honors Student


Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba
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Warren O. Eaton
Warren O. Eaton
PhD., Senior Scholar


Department of Psychology University of Manitoba
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Melanie Soderstrom
Melanie Soderstrom

Team Bio

Janelle Boram Lee is a in her final year of BA psychology honours program at the University of Manitoba, Canada, and is currently working on her honours thesis under the guidance of Drs. Melanie Soderstrom and Warren Eaton. She has experience as a research assistant in a number of psychology labs at the University of Manitoba and hopes to pursue graduate studies in psychology after completing her undergraduate degree.

Warren Eaton, PhD., is an expert in using online methods for research in child development. He has 4 children for whom he changed a lot of diapers. He now wonders if that was necessary so he's collaborating on this project. He was educated at Stanford and Illinois and taught child development for 38 years at the University of Manitoba, where he is now a Senior Scholar. CV.

Melanie Soderstrom, Ph.D. is a researcher in child development who is familiar with the EC community. She has been frustrated at the lack of any real peer-reviewed research addressing the pros and cons of using EC.

Warren O. Eaton

Warren O. Eaton is an educator and researcher with expertise in infant and child development. For many years his parents, wife, four children, and one grandchild have attempted to home school him. Wyoming public schools, Stanford University, and the University of Illinois can be blamed for his formal education. Their educational efforts enabled him to spend most of his adult life as a university professor at the University of Manitoba, where he is now a Senior Scholar. He has published dozens of scientific papers on infant and child development and has made countless presentations at scientific meetings in North America and Europe. More recently he founded Kidtogeny, Inc., which has the goal of producing practical, scientifically grounded products that will help parents raise healthy children. A more detailed résumé is available at

Additional Information

Below is the summary of the previous EC study we presented at Development 2014: A Canadian Conference on Developmental Psychology in Ottawa, Ontario:

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Project Backers

  • 15Backers
  • 16%Funded
  • $479Total Donations
  • $31.93Average Donation
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