Ply-block size and stress level effect on accumulation of transverse cracks and delamination are investigated during early fatigue life of CFRP laminates. Tension-tension fatigue tests under different stress levels were performed for two cross-ply configurations. Edge observation with digital cameras, digital image correlation and acoustic emission were employed for in-situ damage monitoring. Transverse cracks were dominant for [0/902]s laminates with almost non-existent delamination, while different interactive levels between both damage mechanisms occurred for [02/904]s laminates. Poisson’s ratio identifies whether early fatigue damage is dominant by transverse cracks or involves delamination. Cumulative AE energy is a helpful indicator of crack density.