Dry at night, wet in the corner: 18 month old adventures in Elimination Communication

Summer is a wonderful time to go diaper-free at any age. Protect baby’s skin with natural, gentle bug repellant and sun screen (test on less-sensitive areas first).

Inspired by a blogger at rebourneclothing, here’s an update on our process of Elimination Communication (EC).

EC is a process of learning cues and timing for when your baby has to go to the bathroom. It’s not potty training, but a traditional thousand-year old method of taking care of an infants hygienic needs. (Just a heads up this article is going to be way TMI for most people, but great and dirty details for those interested in EC.)

I love ECing though our family has had ups and downs. The other day I was considering how proud I was of us both for my son to be dry for more than 24 hours when my 18 month old surprised me with a pee on the floor, the bed, the pillow within 10 minutes. Lols. Lessons are learned quickly in the land of bare bums.

I never thought I would clean a dirty diaper again after 8 months of Bodhi going poo in the potty, then a vacation for a month and we are hit and miss. During this time of half-potty pooing, he has learned to stay dry at night–once in the last 4 months he had a wet diaper in the morning and lately I haven’t needed to take him potty during the night at all, which neither of us like.

The most confusing EC piece lately is that he will throw a fit if I try to take him to the potty when I know he has to eliminate, but then 90% of the time he will just sit when I place him on the potty and grab a book. The other 10% he refuses and we put on a diaper. So many mysteries.

Mostly, I like ECing because it has allowed me to get to know my baby so well. I hear moms talk all the time about their baby waking up 30 mins after they go down for a nap, waking at 4:30 in the morning, wailing in their car seat and I think of all the little mysteries I solved just by checking if needing to pee was part of an unexplained behaviour pattern. Not to say EC was a quick fix or always the reason, but many times it was. Looking back, though EC is time consuming, whether it was weeks or months I learned to work around his needs (i.e. going pee before bed and naps) and it saved a lot of stress.

2 Responses to “Dry at night, wet in the corner: 18 month old adventures in Elimination Communication”
  1. marniduffy says:

    Just last week, I was peed on not long after thinking to myself, “Wow, this EC thing is so great!”

    I’m very impressed on the night time EC. I’m too scared to do it, but actually might give it a go (at least taking him to pee when I go to sleep). I guess my biggest fear is waking him to the point that he won’t want to go back to sleep.

    I definitely notice a correlation between nap time ending and my boy needing to pee or poo.

    • Theresa says:

      At four months old, my son (completely asleep) was raising his legs up and letting them thump on the bed every morning at 4:30. I finally figured out he needed to go to the bathroom. That’s actually when I started to do EC with dedication (though we are part-time as I can’t seem to remember to take him potty out and about).

      I think it depends on the temperament of your child how easy night ECing will be. My girlfriend took her infant like clockwork before she went to bed and then again if she or he woke up during the night. I think he just went and didn’t protest. He was dry during the day at the usual 2 years or so, but she couldn’t remember having a miss at night from early on in the game. She is my inspiration and is the person who told me to start taking him to pee at night as a way to get him to sleep better.

      That said, my son isn’t as easy as hers to coax a pee out of after bedtime. It takes effort for my son to go to the bathroom, which is why he wakes up. It also more of an effort for him to go to the bathroom when he wants to stay asleep–lots of crying and protesting. I bargain with him and tell him if he goes I will nurse him–this now works well after two months of doing it. I also hold him over the sink instead of putting him on the potty so he is in my arms and run his penis under warm water to help him go if he is having trouble. It ain’t easy, but it is worth it to me because we co-sleep, and he tosses and turns and screams / cries every 37 mins or so until I take him. He has never woken up completely because of going to the bathroom unless I take him after 4:45 am or so–then I risk an early morning.

      Let me know if you decide to take him before you go to sleep and if that changes anything for him or you. I find with anything we try to give it 2 weeks (unless it is making me a crazy monster, then I try my best to stop as soon as I notice hair growing out of my ears *rawr*).

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