Learn to understand your baby's toileting needs and how they can be taught to communicate them

In cultures around the world some parents start to assist their babies with toileting in the first weeks or months of life. Many children taught from this age develop continence and the ability to communicate their toileting needs before their first birthday.

Stepping Stones will show you how you can help your child to do the same.

Sign up gives you access to the online resources, app and a tipper.

Resources include; instructions and videos to guide you through preparation and the four-step method.

Babies learn at different rates; the app delivers an easy way to record progress and lets you know when it’s time for the next step.

The tipper is a simple device that your child will learn to use as a signal that they require toileting assistance. 

All you need to know

Get Involved!

We are currently recruiting participants for a pilot program. If you are interested in trying Stepping Stones for free and helping us evaluate the service, we would love to hear from you. Email to find out more.

Service Features


Get started and keep going with personal coaching, group workshops or online learning.


Hints, tips and expert advice to help stepping stones work for you.


Find help and help others through the stepping stones forum and your local socials.


Trust your instinct or use the simple app to keep track of progress and know when to move to the next step.

Tipper Features


Clear graphics make tippers easy for an infant to identify and use; at home, at nursery and the other the places they visit.

Clear Signals

Tippers provide a signal anyone can get, grandparents, nursery nurses, even older siblings!

Sight & Sound

Tippers  can be seen and heard offering two ways for infants to let their carers know they need to go.


Robust construction and durable finishes make the tipper easy to keep clean.

Additional Benefits


Achieving continence early reduces nappy dependence, which in turn, cuts greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation.


In a recent survey, the number one reason parents gave for using EC was that they felt it was more respectful for their baby.

Save Money

Using nappies for one year instead of two or three has the potential to save money or reduce the laundry load.


EC practices have been linked to improved bladder emptying, which can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.


It is estimated that a new tipper would cost £25 to purchase. This price would include an online account and full access to training, support and resources including the app. If you manage to get your hands on a used tipper, the online account would cost just £10. The potential savings to be made through reduced nappy usage are far bigger than the cost of the service. 

Babies learn in very different ways to toddlers, their competences develop through experiences that compliment existing understanding, repetition and the desirability of outcomes. By four months they can reproduce behaviour that initially occurred by chance, and between 8 and 12 months they become capable of intentional goal setting. Really, they are learning machines, capable of far more than credit is given.

When toilet training starts later, and particularly where high absorbency products have been used, toileting into the nappy is entirely normalised. Through explanations and instructions, toddlers must learn to reconnect with their bodily function and create new habits around desirable practices: a challenge those who learn earlier do not have to go through. 

EC is not inherently risky. However, it is sometimes wrongly associated with ‘early toilet training’, a term still used to describe coercive, authoritarian toilet training methods from the first half of the 20th century. Those methods are - quite rightly - no longer recommended.

No, it is quite possible to learn a baby's signs whilst they are still wearing a nappy, it is purely a question of practicality and choice. They will also learn to hold a pee or poo long enough to be undressed. That said, easily removable clothes, without too many buttons or poppers, are recommended.

Health visitors follow the NHS’s Healthy Child Programme which was established to improve the health and wellbeing of children. It incorporates established good practice and new practices that are supported by clinical studies. As an approach, EC is quite hard to include in a study because it is so open to interpretation and recommendation can vary from one advocate to the next. Stepping stones offers a structured method more suited to study. So the answer is not yet, but hopefully soon.

For the same reasons as above; not yet, but It would make sense for them to. The waste currently generated from disposable nappies in the UK each year accounts for approximately 1,000,000 tonnes or 8% of collected non-recyclable household waste, it costs councils in the region of £140,000,000 in waste management fees. Wider use of EC based methods could significantly reduce these figures.

Nurseries follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework. They support and promote the things that are included, and will often work with parents' preferences to accommodate things such as EC that are not. However because EC is still not widely understood, the extent to which it is supported in nurseries can be limited. The stepping stone is intended to be a safe and hygienic tool that a child can communicate a toileting need clearly to any carer in a wide range of settings.

Reusable nappies are a good match with EC based toilet training. They are less absorbent than disposable nappies which give infants a better awareness of their bodily functions.

Trees from hundreds of thousands of acres of timber plantations are required to produce the absorbent fluff pulp that goes into the 33 billion disposable nappies used in Europe each year. Land that could support more diverse ecosystems if allowed to return to wilderness.

Energy recovery through incineration is poor due to their damp nature once used and they take 300-500 years to break down in landfill.

Life cycle analysis suggests that nappies used in Europe each year contribute 3.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

According to a 2009 DEFRA report; per child greenhouse gas emissions from reusable nappies are very similar to those of disposables. This said, because domestic energy supply has become a lot greener since 2009 the DEFRA report is currently under review. However, a reduced need for nappies would still also cut washing and therefore energy requirements.

Contribute to the development of this service proposition.

Thank you for taking the time to look at the The proposition has been researched and developed by Peter Williams as part of the masters degree in service design that he is currently studying for at the Royal College of Art.

To help evaluate the proposition your feedback would be very much appreciated:

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