Are you hesitant to try Elimination Communication (EC) / Natural Infant Hygiene at night? These tips can help you ease into the realm of nighttime EC. You may just find that practicing EC is easier at night than during the day! There are far fewer distractions competing for your little one’s attention during the dark of night than during the wakeful daytime hours.
One key piece of information that made nighttime and nap time EC easier for me was knowing that people, including babies, tend not to pee while in a deep sleep. If you respond to your baby as soon as s/he starts to toss and turn, wiggle, whimper, or otherwise rouse from sleep, chances are that s/he will still be dry.
Here are some tips for squeezing Natural Infant Hygiene into a nighttime routine without taking too much time away from precious sleep.
Tips for Nighttime EC
Potty & Changing Station Near the Bed
When practicing Elimination Communication at night it is even more important to make it as easy upon yourself as possible. One way to make pottytunities quick and convenient is to set up a potty and diaper changing station right near your baby’s bed. This could be as simple as a chamber pot next to the bed, or it could be a more elaborate set up with diaper changing necessities within easy reach.
How to set up a Nighttime EC Station:
- Designate a potty area on the floor or a raised table near where your baby sleeps. If you co-sleep, the potty area can be next to your bed.
- Cover the area with either a waterproof pad or a large towel.
- Set a little potty on an absorbent towel or cloth diaper. If it is cold where you live, top the potty with a potty cozy, to keep it warm.
- Include a diaper changing pad, if you use diapers as back-up at night.
- Stock your EC station with baby wipes, butt cream, clean diapers or training pants, a diaper pail, and a small towel for clean up. If you use cloth wipes, you can keep some warm water in a Thermos, for wetting the wipes at night.
Items Shown in the Nighttime EC Station Above:
BABYBJORN Smart Potty, Naturepedic Organic Cotton Contoured Changing Pad, Bummis Organic Cotton Prefolds , Planet Wise Wet Bag, Thermos Foogo Leak Proof Stainless Steel Food Jar, Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Bottom Balm, BabyKicks Hemparoo Washies Baby Wipes, Ecapants Velcro Training Pants , gDiapers gPants, LED Headlamp
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Maintain Circadian Rhythms
The key to successful nighttime Elimination Communication is to disturb you and your baby’s sleep cycles as little as possible. Try to keep the room as dim and quiet as possible. By responding quickly and quietly, your baby may stay partially asleep throughout feeding, pottying, and returning to bed.
Dim Orange Lighting
Rather than turning on a bright light, see if you can manage with just an amber colored nightlight or a red colored head lamp. Blue lights disturb the natural sleep cycle, while using a warm colored light can help keep you in a sleepier state.1
If you are using cloth diapers as back-up, select a type that can be removed and replaced quietly. I like to use either gDiapers with cloth pre-folds or EcaPants drop-flap training pants.
Remove any clothing that is in the way, place Baby over the potty, and quietly make the cue sound. Your baby may respond to the cue without opening his eyes or appearing to wake.
Stay in Tune with Your Baby
To make it easier to stay in tune with your baby at night, try going to bed at the same time as your baby. I know as busy parents we do not always have this luxury, but on nights when you can, give it a try, and it may make nighttime parenting a little easier.
Sleeping in the same room as your baby will also help you stay in sync with your baby’s elimination needs. Bed-sharing is not necessary, but being in close proximity to your baby’s crib/bassinet/mattress will make it easier to notice when your baby begins to wake up at night. Unless you have a toddler who can call out to you or come to your room for assistance, it would be very difficult to respond quickly enough to your baby while sleeping in separate rooms.
Feeding Wins Over Pottying
One of the most helpful tips I learned for nighttime EC from Go Diaper Free: A Simplified Handbook for Elimination Communication was to remember that feeding trumps pottying. Make feeding your baby your top concern, with pottying secondary.
When my son was only a couple months old, this meant getting him latched-on first, and then sliding a potty under him and removing his diaper. If I tried to get him situated over the potty first, he would protest and cry.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, you can hold your baby in a cradle position over a top hat potty or the insert from a BABYBJORN Smart Potty while nursing. Another option is to offer one side, then a pottytunity, and then the other side.
Dress Baby for Nighttime EC
Dress your baby for nighttime EC by choosing clothing that can easily be moved out of the way for pottytunities.
If you live a warm climate, a cloth diaper or training pants and a blanket may be all your baby needs. In a cooler climate you could add a night shirt and leg warmers.
Another great option are baby sleep gowns, which come in colors for either girls or boys. Sleep gowns have elastic at the bottom to keep them in place, but can be easily pulled up for pottytunities. They are much less hassle than rows of tiny buttons.
Offer Pottytunities Before Bed & First Thing in the Morning
It is less likely that Baby will have a miss during the night if you offer pottytunities right before Baby goes to bed and as soon as Baby starts to rouse in the morning.
With toddlers, who may only wake once or twice at night, it can help to offer a pottytunity before they go to bed and again right before you go to bed. Also, respond quickly in the morning, to catch the big morning pee.
Natural Infant Hygiene / EC Series
If you would like to learn more about Natural Infant Hygiene a.k.a. Elimination Communication (EC), please read and share the rest of the articles in the series:
- What is Elimination Communication? | Natural Infant Hygiene
- How to Practice Elimination Communication | Natural Infant Hygiene 101
- How to Dress Your Baby for EC | Natural Infant Hygiene
- Tips for Nighttime Elimination Communication | Natural Infant Hygiene
- 10 Useful Items for EC | Natural Infant Hygiene
- Elimination Communication Infographic | Natural Infant Hygiene
Have you tried nighttime EC? Did it turn out to be easier than expected? If you have not tried Natural Infant Hygiene at night, what is holding you back?
- Why I Wear Orange Sunglasses at Night, Wellness Mama, http://wellnessmama.com/15730/wear-orange-sunglasses-night/ ↩