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Stumbling in the Dark Without My Glasses On: Elimination Communication at Night

Elimination Communication

I can see you… can you see me without your glasses on, mom?

Squirm, squirm, wiggle, wiggle… My eyes just crack open… oh… maybe it’s not for real? Haha, there she is, eyes wide open, and those eyes are saying, ‘Mom, I have to peeeeeeee!’.  Sometimes, I’m too tired and I think, ‘Oh, I’ll just stick my boob in her mouth and she’ll fall back asleep.’  Well, that might work for a few minutes, and sometimes I do that if I’m really tired because it gives me a second to wake up before I take her to relieve herself. Occasionally, she’ll fall back asleep for half an hour or so, but very shortly after, she’s back to the wiggling, ‘Mom,,, get your arse out of bed and take me to the bucket!’. Or, sometimes, she flat out refuses the boob, and that’s because she really has to go, or rarely, has already wet her diaper and WILL NOT PROCEED ANY FURTHER until I’ve gotten her out of that wet diaper!  The bottom line is that, Goldie wakes up to wee, NOT to eat!

Can I let you in on a secret?  It was the same with Margo, my older daughter. I love seeing that little face in the middle of the night! She doesn’t cry, although she is fairly awake, with wide blinky eyes, looking at me and smiling the whole time. When I’ve got her hanging over the bucket she has this big grin that says, ‘Thanks a million, mom, I was busting!’. Then, I set her down to dry her off and put a diaper back on her (not so hard core at ECing that we don’t put a little protection on at night), and that is my favorite part, maybe it’s a little mean to think it’s cute, but it is a bit funny, and they only do it when they are very young newborns and infants.She does this frantic roll back and forth thing with her eyes wide open and flings her arms out wide like a crab and starts breathing heavy. Like, ‘OMG, OMG, OMG, where did you go mom, we were eye gazing so nicely, then what happened, you put me down, I need to grab you!!!’. As soon as I have her dressed, and bend over to pick her up, she clings onto me like a little monkey: ‘Phew,,, I nearly lost you!’.

All dressed, I walk her back into the bedroom, but always stop to get a drink of water. This is when the smiles turn into loud complaints, ‘Where is that boob now?!  I didn’t want it before, but now that I’ve gone pee, if you don’t get that boob out in .2 seconds, I’m gonna crack it!!!!’. So, back to bed, we have a nice snuggly lying down feed and she’s back to sleep in a few minutes.

The only problem with this whole process is that I don’t always have time to grab my glasses… My eyes are good enough to see that cute little punim smiling at me, but they’re not good enough to see if there’s any puke, wee or poo that’s gone astray. Sometimes, I’m pretty tired and I just stand there, holding her over the bucket with my own eyes closed and when I finally open them and look down, sometimes Goldie is also fast asleep while I’m holding her over the bucket.  It’s probably a very comical sight to see us half asleep going to the bucket in the middle of the night. After she’s asleep, I usually have to go to the loo myself, so I just jump up and empty the bucket, use the loo and go back to sleep. I can try to take her with me, sometimes, but she’s usually too impatient for the boobs for that to happen, so I make two trips.

Elimination Communication photo

Margo around 3 or 4 months old on the potty

I did the same with Margo, EC with her through the night from the start. When Margo got a bit older and could sit, it’s was really funny to put her on the potty in the middle of the night (at that point, the potty was in the room on the floor next to the bed). She would almost always have her eyes closed and was half asleep while she would go. It used to crack me up. It’s very sweet to see those babies half asleep on the potty. I love it. What is crazy is that even though it may seem like a bit of a hassle to take a baby to the potty every night, by 14 months, if took her at least once at night, Margo was sleeping dry through the night and that’s when I took her out of diapers for good, day and night. Two month old Goldie is usually dry through the night as well! It’s not like I am frantically taking her to potty every five minutes either. It’s once or twice a night, and I really don’t mind, I know it will all pass in the blink of the eye before she’s not waking me up at night to pee. Margo was sleeping through the night dry, without having to use the toilet at about 18 or 19 months.

I was once told that there are many things that are stuck in our consciousness from our previous lives or from when we are children and the biggest impression is of GOING TO THE TOILET!  Yes, it makes sense.  I’ve known many people who were constantly running to the loo, including myself, especially before getting in the car. I feel like Margo always knows the correct amount of liquid to drink whenever we’re out, to make sure that just enough goes in so that she doesn’t have to do a wee too soon. I’m totally unaware usually and just drink a whole heap of water and then I’m busting at the shops. I always wonder if our elimination experiences as a baby and toddler affect the rest of our lives? I don’t know, it sure seems possible… After all, Margo is the one who can hold her pee for 10 hours at night, not me!

I was also told once that these sadhus (holy men) in India would do their morning prayers for HOURS in the morning and never once have to use the loo. They have very good awareness of ‘what goes in and what will come out’. Consequently, their mothers would have ECed them from birth. I noticed that when I was in India, where EC used to be widely practiced by almost everyone, the people hardly ever seemed to have to go the bathroom. Unlike us westerners who are always running to the loo! I just wonder if kids who have practiced EC have that extra bit of awareness. What do you think? Have you been to a country where EC is practiced? Do the people seem to run to the toilet less? If you have done EC with your kid, do they seem to have extra awareness of ‘what goes in, must come out’?

12 Responses »

  1. This whole process is amazing to me, its so funny to read about a 2 month old being able to know when they have to potty! Kudos to you! I should also mention that my two young cousins rarely go to the bathroom, they are 7 and 8 now, but its been like that since they’ve been potty trained. They have never wet the bed and can go up to 12 hours without peeing. I do make them go when we are going out, but as far as playing around the house, they very rarely go. I don’t either so maybe they take after me.

  2. transatlanticbelle

    Evolet is now 11 months and has held her pee all night for 12 hours since she was about 7-8 months. Ummmmm…..even I cannot do that!! Prob about 5-6 times a week. When she wakes up she always holds it until i get her undressed and on the toilet and then does a big ahhhhh! So funny. And it’s a thunder pee too! And she pauses and then does another one or two big pees. EC rocks! Xx

    • Thanks for sharing! Solidifies my belief that EC babies have less physiological baggage when it comes to the toilet! How so they hold it for so long!? Margo could easily go 12 hours too, if I didn’t make her go straight away when she woke up! If she’s up with her dad and I get to sleep in, when I come out, I often find she hasn’t gone yet from waking and then it’s been about that.. 12 hours!

  3. Question: Do all babies just know to hold their pee if practicing EC from beginning or is it trial and error?

    • From what I have seen with my two little girls, they do hold it (within reason) right from birth. Once they get used to the idea that you’re going to take them, they start being able to hold it longer and longer. It might only be about 10 or 20 seconds in the beginning, but sometimes, that’s enough time to get them to go, and then they start getting the hang of it.

  4. I think I read everything there is on your blog about EC and have been converted. This is the first time that I have ever heard of EC but it does not sound foreign to me at all. I think my parents tried something of this with me. I was born in the former USSR and my parents wrapped me in cloth dippers because their was no such thing as disposables. Anyways, I just tried holding my 12 day newborn after he woke up and befor feeding him over the bathroom sink. He was not freezing like he usually is during a diaper change and totally relaxed and had a #2. I am sooo excited and can’t wait for my husband to come home and show him the new trick. I still have a lot to learn and know that it will take a lot of practice but I’m excited nontheless! Thank you! Oh and in the beginning do you just hold them when you think they have to go and make a sound? Or search for a sign or pattern that you recognize and then hold them when that becomes obvious? Thank you

    • Horay! Catching that first poo is so exciting! I’ll never forget the same feeling, when I took my first when she was 11 days. You will get used to when he has to go, when he wakes up from a sleep, after he has had a big feed. Also, even though it’s colder there now, if you give him a little diaper free time during the day, you will get to see just how often (and with newborn, it is almost constant when they’re awake), they go. EC is done in most of the world still! Just not too much in our ‘first world countries’. We like our babies to sit in their own mess.. ewww… Oh, best of luck and feel free to ask any questions at all! EC has been such a special part of parenting for us!

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  7. What kind of diaper did/do you use at night? My daughter is 10 months old and hates holding still for me to put her diaper back on after pottying. I’d like to take her potty at night, but I’m currently using flat diapers with snappies, and there’s no way I could put one back on successfully in the dark. I need something easier…

    • One option would be to put some sort of waterproof pad down under her and skip the diaper! You could even make one, like line a towel on top of a waterproof table cloth or something?


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