Skip to content

Night-time EC: Tips & tricks to help you and your baby sleep better

This is a guest post from our Go Diaper Free Certified Coach Trainee, Maja Kresotova, who hails from Croatia. Thank you, Maja, for a very insightful post and lovely pictures!
This post was originally posted on February 26, 2016, and has been fully updated on October 19, 2021 to include an audio (Podcast) version, a video (YouTube) version, and to include some basic updates. Enjoy! xx Andrea

Listen to the Podcast

Watch the Video Version

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version:

When my daughter was about 9 months old, I was a sleep-deprived wreck. For the past 5 months we were taking hours to fall asleep, waking every 45 minutes with a cry and, as the morning approached, sometimes every 10 minutes. I’ve tried all the advice I could find to improve my daughter’s sleep, short of CIO, but nothing worked.

In one of the articles I stumbled upon when my daughter was around 6 months old, the author claimed that children pee in between the sleep cycles and that some babies dislike soiling themselves so much it makes them cry and fuss. I immediately felt that this could be it for us, but the idea of getting up to offer the potty at night, on top of everything else, seemed like a nightmare - and like a sure way to spend even less time sleeping. Little did I know that this was exactly what we needed to improve our sleep!

I hit rock bottom at about 9 months old, recalled this article, and tried to give it a go - figuring out the how-to’s as we went, which I’ll lay out below.

(For those that might be wondering at this point, we did not start EC until our little one was 6 months old and we started accidentally - by taking of dd’s diaper and holding her in EC hold for her first “solid food” poop - and then she never looked back. Our sleep troubles started much earlier and were not the result of practicing EC.)

Looking back at our experience, I know exactly when and what went wrong. Our problems started when I stopped changing my daughter’s night diaper based on advice I got from other mummies. They said that at 4 months children can stay in the same diaper overnight, and since my daughter was dry overnight at that time (3 months old) and I changed her diaper after the night feed, I thought their advice made sense.

My daughter started (or continued) to wake when she needed to pee/ feed, but as I did not change her like I used to, she would fall asleep nursing and wake after every sleep cycle, feeling discomfort. I would respond by breastfeeding, worried she was hungry (I was battling supply issues), and that created a never-ending vicious cycle of exhaustion. Things would get even worse for us when my daughter was going through a developmental leap, growth spurt, or teething, as that’s when babies tend to pee more at night.

Meanwhile, I labeled it a never-ending sleep regression. And naturally, having labeled it wrongly, I did not address it properly.

If you recognize yourself in our story, read on – I hope you will find a solution to your sleep deprivation. If you are lucky enough not to experience the same problems, but intrigued to know how to manage night-time EC, you will find useful tips-and tricks in continuation!

How to start night-time EC?

In our case, I started by removing the diaper cover (we used cloth diapers) to verify that my daughter is really waking before or while she was peeing. Once I confirmed my suspicions I did what any sensible, sleep deprived parent would do – went out and bought a pack of disposables diapers, hoping that the super-duper stay-dry effect would make my daughter sleep through the sensation of peeing. :) So after about a week of hoping, I had to come to terms with the fact that wet cloth diapers had nothing to do with my daughter’s waking up. It was really, and only, the sensation of peeing that was waking her up and making her/us miserable.

The next couple of nights were a bit difficult as we were all getting used to new routine and trying to come up with an approach that wakes us all up the least. Any transition or changing a habit takes about a week, and so did this. However, within the next 3 days we were sleeping 1.5 – 3 hour stretches and night pottying made such a huge difference for us! (So, of course, I got greedy and tried the ‘sposies again, hoping she’d sleep even longer, to no avail!)

After that, I was committed to night-time EC. My daughter got used to our new routine quickly, and would fall asleep as soon as I would put her in the EC-hold above our night receptacle. The whole routine was very short and we were both able to drift back to sleep quickly.

Resource Recommendation

Nighttime EC: a minicourse that quickly dives deep into whether and how to potty baby at night (in case you're wondering)

nighttime EC pottying baby

If you are wondering how to pull it off, here are the tips-and-tricks to make your night-time EC easier.

Step 1: Prepare

To make the transition to a night-time EC routine easier for everyone, plan ahead and prepare:

  1. Extra waterproof and absorbent layers to protect the bed.
    • Put a waterproof cover over the bed, then an absorbent layer (like a towel), and then the bed sheet. And then repeat one more time. This way, if the upper layer gets wet, you can remove it and have your bed readymade.
  2. Fleece blanket.
    • Fleece is not a natural material, and I generally do not prefer to use it. However, it can be a life saver if you are having a bad night. If the bed is wet, you can throw a fleece blanket over the wet part and it will act as a stay-dry layer, keeping the moisture below the blanket - and your bed will seem dry. This is very practical for children who have small bladders, but might not work for older kids.
  3. Clean diapers.
    • If you are using diapers as a backup, prepare a stack of clean ones next to the bed.
    • My advice would be to be brave and try to go diaper free at night as soon as you have worked out your routine, to avoid night-time diaper changes.
  4. Potty or receptacle you are going to use.
    • We actually use a shallow washbowl, or the removable part of one of the potties we have as it is very easy to slip them below baby’s bum while nursing or holding in a cradle position.
    • Check out the top hat potty here.
  5. Potty cozy in case your baby does not like the feel of a cold plastic potty (who could blame him!).
  6. Extra pajamas for you, too (at least until you have perfected your routine).
    • It takes some time to learn how to aim, especially if you have a boy!

Step 2: Test what works and what doesn’t

In this stage you will need:

  1. Patience.
    • It will take some time to figure out what works best for you, and then another couple of days to a week to fall into the new routine.
  2. Confidence.
    • I know exactly how crazy and counter-intuitive waking and getting up to offer the potty can be, and the risk of having to spend even more time putting baby back to sleep is the last thing you want to face, but you may be surprised by how easily and quickly babies go back to sleep once their needs are met!
  3. A dose of healthy humor.
    • I am sure there will be some situations that will put a smile on your face years after you’re done with night-time EC. Like this one time, when I held dd above my flip-flop instead of our night-time receptacle and did not even realize it until I passed the flip-flop to my husband to go and empty it in the bathroom. :)
  4. Creativity.
    • Try different receptacles: potty, washbowl, bathtub, sink
    • Try different locations: bedroom, bathroom, bed
    • Try offering a pottytunity before, after, or during breastfeeding or night bottle to see what your baby responds best to.
      • Often it will be easiest to offer while breastfeeding/bottle-feeding at first, which is perfectly OK. If you are uncomfortable with that, disassociate it once you have your routine worked out (or use a pacifier while pottying).
nighttime EC nurse baby over bowl while pottying
  1. Observe. 
    • Like with day-time EC, you can rely on generic timing, natural timing, intuition, and/or baby’s signals to determine when she needs to eliminate.
    • If you are co-sleeping, you may notice that baby starts to move, kick legs, roll, or generally become restless after a period of sound, peaceful sleep – this is your cue to offer the potty.
    • If baby is in another room, unless he is very vocal about his need to eliminate, you will rely more on generic timing and can offer “dream pees” (you can also use a baby monitor to listen in).
  2. Cue.
    • Use the same verbal or onomatopoeic cue you are using during day-time EC and baby will respond, even in sleep.

Step 3: Stick to your new routine

When you find a system that works, stick to it. You will probably discover night-time patterns are more regular than day-time.

Sleep vs. Night-time EC: What to prioritize?

There is no right or wrong answer – choose whatever makes most sense for you and your family. For some families it is night-time EC, for others it is diapering overnight.

If your baby wakes at regular intervals, too frequently for it to be due to hunger, medical reasons, developmental leaps, or growth spurts, and if your baby becomes even more restless as the morning approaches...or if you recognize yourselves in our story...I encourage you to try night-time EC.

If you sleep well, but feel this is a logical next step for you EC – go for it! You can always change your mind if it doesn’t work for you.

If you are lucky and your baby sleeps soundly through the night and you do not want to mess with that, you can continue to diaper at night and EC during the day, guilt-free, until your toddler naturally stays dry overnight, or until you are ready to night-time potty train.

I do hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to comment below and share your night-time EC experience! Tell us what night-time EC tricks you use that simplify your life?

Resource Recommendation

Go Diaper Free: Andrea Olson's popular EC book that simplifies EC, beginning to end.

Maja Kresotova

About Maja Kresotova

After months of making it very clear that she does not to intend to soil her diapers with poo, I finally got the message when my daughter was 6 months old. My initial shock and disbelief turned into curiosity and thirst for knowledge, which has since grown into a passion for teaching parents how to navigate Elimination Communication - this incredibly simple, yet to us Westerners, so foreign, alternative to full time diapering. Now, I am a Go Diaper Free Coach in training, helping parents and their children (regardless of their age) become diaper independent either by practicing EC or through gentle potty training (making the world a greener place in the process). Serving Croatia and surrounding areas. See my coach profile and Facebook Group here.


  1. Avatar Little Bunny Bear on February 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    This is an excellent article and should inspire anyone who hasn’t already started or tried night time EC to give it a go. I think it’s important to remember to tune into and work out your own babies individual messages and I think this is an excellent example of how to do that. It’s not often enough that we do this now, as modern mothers are not often encouraged to do this.
    I also thought the preparation section especially good, although I was surprised to see no mention of a wool mattress protector /puddle pad here. If you haven’t already tried one I’d highly recommend, as they not only soak up and hold a large amount of liquid if necessary, but they do not require washing after each wetting. And of course they are a totally natural material. Do get in touch if you want to sample one. Best wishes, Rebecca

    • Avatar Maja Krešotova on February 28, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Thank you for bringing wool puddle pad / mattress protector up – I’ve heard all great things about it, but never had one unfortunately, so I did not remember to include it in the list. I’m a big fan of wool, we used it a lot as a cover for cloth diapering and now we use it a lot during cold weather.. would love to test it as mattress protector, too!

  2. Avatar Jennifer on February 26, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I may have to try this. My son fusses off and on all night. I’ve always assumed it was gas or teething. I have tried nighttime EC before and he gets so upset. It has been quite a while though.

    • Avatar Brittany on February 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      We started EC at 2 weeks old with my LO. All went well (and we were dry, or almost entirely dry most nights) until he got older, and didn’t need to nurse every 2 hours. Then he was still waking every 2 hours, not always needing to nurse, but still needing to pee! He would get so upset from me trying to only potty him, though, that it would take a long time to get everyone back to sleep- unless I nursed him, and then that meant we were up every two hours nursing or peeing or both. It was getting super exhausting because we were only getting about an hour to an hour and a half of sleep at a stretch! I’ve heard that boys don’t always take as kindly to nighttime pottying as girls do. Anyone else seen that correlation?

      Not pottying him at night didn’t work so well either, because he would wake just as often, upset that he had to pee, and then that he was wet. Sometimes he would wake more often because he was doing mini pees each time.

      I had to laugh when I saw you tried disposables. That was one of our last ditch efforts, too! Unfortunately, just like you, our baby woke up needing to pee, not just from the wet diaper, and he wouldn’t go back to sleep until we changed even his disposable diaper.

      After we had discussed lots of different options and tried lots of things, my husband made the suggestion that we just gradually, gently space out his night feedings so he doesn’t drink as much at night, and doesn’t need to pee as often. Since our LO is plenty old for this, it seems to be helping so far.

      I’d love to be able to do nighttime EC- saves lots of diapers!- but we’re taking a break from it for now. I’ll probably try again when our little guy is a little older, just to see if he can handle it without getting wound up!

      • Avatar Corinne Burr on March 17, 2017 at 2:19 pm

        I am definitely in the same boat as a lot of you here. I have a daughter, now 15 months old, and I don’t feel like we ever get more than an hour of sleep at a time. I am constantly nursing her all night (cosleeping), and as some of you have mentioned, she gets so upset when I try to EC her at night that I have stopped. She is super strong and I am no match for her if she starts resisting. But the idea that was mentioned about a baby responding to the cue even when asleep has got me thinking. I always know when she starts wiggling because it wakes me up immediately, so I am going to try to EC when she is still asleep and see if that works. I have been trying to use pull-up cloth diapers during the day, but when she lies down they tend to leak. But if I can just have them on her as a back-up at night, I could still easily EC her and catch most of the liquid if I do miss. Thanks so much! This is the first time I’ve been optimistic that I might actually get some sleep!

      • Avatar Maria on May 27, 2020 at 1:10 pm

        I’ve got the same issue with my 4-month-old. He wakes up crying, then refuses to pee, arching his back and howling, then pees when he can’t hold it anymore, refuses to fall asleep again until I nurse him to sleep, and the same thing repeats 1.5 hour later. I’m trying to gradually sparse his feedings too, without great success though for now.

        • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 27, 2020 at 4:44 pm

          Hi Maria! It may help to try feeding him over the potty, that way he will relax and go. Sometimes they are just too hungry to potty first. xx Andrea

    • Avatar Maja Krešotova on February 29, 2016 at 7:08 am

      I remember how tired I was then.. and it’s not easy at all. You have my simpathies. There is no universal solution for sleep (as we both probably know all too well), but if you do decide to give it a go, I hope it will make a difference for you too! xx

  3. Avatar Kadi on February 26, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience :)we are just starting back our nightime ec after taking a break. I really enjoyed the organized steps. I’m going to share this with my mom group on FB:)

    • Avatar Maja Krešotova on February 29, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Thank you! Really glad to read you liked the article! Hope it will help make your night-time EC a pleasant experience! :)

  4. Avatar Heidi on February 27, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips for nighttime EC! I started nighttime EC with my son when he was 1-month-old. I would hold him over the insert from his potty. We always used cloth diapers as back-up, but I like your advice of going diaper-free as soon as you establish a routine. Removing and replacing the diaper was the most difficult part. I’m glad we did EC both day and night. By the time my son was 16-18M old, he was able to hold it through the night without needing to use the potty, and I was able to get more sleep!

    • Avatar Maja Krešotova on February 29, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Amazing results! Good for you! :))
      (and I simply must say: I wish I knew about EC back when my LO was an infant! I am convinced it would have made a huge difference for us)

      • Avatar Chanel on March 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        I just started nighttime EC again and did my first night of diaper less. It is so much easier to not have to change the cloth and put a new diaper back on each time. However, she had several misses though we caught a ton in her potty. Much more than any other night we ECed with a backup on. Was your little dry more than not before you made the plunge to go diaper free at night?

  5. Avatar Lilli on February 27, 2016 at 7:55 am

    For us we did night time ec only when my daughter insisted we did- at about 9months- and only started because she had to poo and didn’t want to poo on herself. I have often wondered if I had done it earlier if our sleep journey/ lack there of would have been different! I hope to do it with our next from newborn. ?

  6. Avatar Wiebke on April 22, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Hi Maja,

    Thanks for sharing your view on nighttime EC. I absolutely recognize ourselves in your story! My son (11 months) wakes between 4 and 8 times a night — often with a little cry and always after 20 to 90 minutes into the night. And he gets restless from around 5 AM on. I know for sure that he needs to pee then, for the rest I don’t know yet. We are only ECing in the morning and have done so succesfully for the past 4 months or so. I am working during the day and never found enough time for the observing stage, but I have read Andrea’s book and would like to EC my next child from birth.
    So far so good, he comes my concern: I understand that offering my son a potty when I know or suspect that he needs to pee might be nice and rewarding. But he would still wake up everytime no matter whether it goed into the diaper or the potty — right? We co-sleep and all he needs to go back to sleep is nursing (baby makes noises, I roll over, he starts suckling, we both fall asleep). So I do not spend any time out of bed. If I would offer him the potty then I would need to do that. Thus, although I would like to see a solution in ECing for the frequent wakings, I cannot. Did your daugther stop waking after every sleep cycle because she did not need to pee anymore?
    You described your preperation and implementation so well, but I would appreciate it so much to learn more about the effects EC had on your nights/sleep problems. =)

    • Avatar Sarah on June 30, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      we*ve got exactly the same situation than yours here, Wiebke – so i’m very very interested, whateffects of ECing during the night Maja observed with her child, too.

      Greets and Love, from Germany


  7. Avatar Nidhi on November 4, 2016 at 1:27 am

    I find myself in the same situation as you. Lucky to have found this article. I am inspired to try out nighttime EC now!

  8. Avatar Jill on August 23, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    We sort of fell into EC by accident, and nighttime is how it started. Our daughter went from a once-a-day pooper to pooing All The Time after we started to introduce solid foods at 6 months, and got her first real diaper rash as a result. She had been sleeping without diaper changes but with frequent nursing (we bedshare) for several months, but when she had that rash I just couldn’t leave her sleeping in her pee all night when she woke up fussing.

    So I went to change her and she fell back asleep as soon as the diaper was off! I barely even wiped her, as she tensed up when I tried. So we put some more towels under and over her, and all went back to sleep… until morning! It was the longest night stretch I’d had without nursing in a while, and her rash looked so much better, and — the part that piqued my interest — she hadn’t peed in her sleep, either!

    I started looking into EC, and had a perfect opportunity to do bare-bottom observation while we let that rash heal, including a night where I just switched out a towel each time she peed. After that we got a potty and although the first time I turned on a light and got her up to offer it she was a little WTF about it, she did pee (we had had a couple of good EC daytimes by then, too) and sure enough, slept better afterward.

    Just like that, our nighttime nursing sessions were cut in half! Although I now have to sit up to offer the potty instead of just rolling over and shoving a boob in her mouth, she had been nursing every two hours and sometimes more, especially toward morning. Waking up twice instead of four or five times is wonderful. So to those wondering about making more work for themselves with their all-night nurslings — give it a shot! My baby was definitely using boob to soothe herself back to sleep when her bladder made her uncomfortable, and of course that was just making it worse.

    Our EC journey is still really just starting and our days tend to be hit-or-miss — but we are acing nighttimes and it is super satisfying.

    • Avatar Emily on June 18, 2023 at 8:51 am

      This inspired me to give it a try! We are doing daytime really well but I’ve been too nervous to try at night.

  9. Avatar Diana on November 22, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    My daughter is 13 months old and when she wakes up at night I’m 100% certain it’s to pee. However, when I try to put her on the potty or just hold her over the toilet she screams and screams. Usually she does pee (even while crying)! But the screaming is what makes me want to not disturb her nighttime peace! Any advice?

    • Avatar Mei on November 19, 2018 at 1:55 am

      Diana, did you find a resolution ? I have the same problem. Our LO wakes several times a night, every time I will take him to EC in the tub and he fusses the entire time until I nurse him back to sleep. He pees pretty much 90% of the time. The ones I miss are when I don’t take him because I feel bad and he comfort nurses back to bed.

      • Avatar Jessie on August 16, 2020 at 2:14 am

        In case anyone comes on this thread and is interested I used to just slip a cloth diaper under my son and let him wet there, that way I didn’t have to move him too much.

  10. Avatar Michele on April 15, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Hi, I have read this article many times since my baby was born almost 7 months ago. He has been doing ec since 3 weeks old and it’s been successful with a few ups and downs as he grows. But nighttime has become a series of misses completely. I use a prefold, and by the time he stirs or wakes he has alway peed. I sometimes can catch every other pee, but I’m not sure what to do anymore. I’ve tried a disposable and it doesn’t make a difference. Even though he is wet each time he wakes, I always offer the potty, which he doesn’t mind, but he never needs to go at that point because he has already gone in the diaper. Any suggestions for this type of issue?

  11. Avatar Sarah on February 24, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    To the comments about fussing while night ec’ing, I used to have that problem with my now 6 month old. Now when he wakes up I nurse him for about 5 minutes, then put him over the potty and then nurse back to sleep after. He used to pee in his diaper when I nursed him but then I’d unlatch him less and less and found 5 mins is best for him. If its less than that he will cry and often not pee.

  12. Avatar Adrey Paul on April 18, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Must Say, Great Tips for making baby sleep comfortably at night. You are doing great work sharing such amazing content. I will surely share this blog!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on April 20, 2019 at 2:09 am

      I am so glad you are enjoying the information. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing EC with your community! xx Andrea

  13. Avatar Jessie on August 16, 2020 at 2:11 am

    What was the article that you read about the night time peeing? I read one a few years back, but I can’t find it anywhere! I would appreciate any help you can offer :) Thank you :D

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 16, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      I’m not sure what the article was Jessie, but it is definitely true! Babies rouse to pee then go back to sleep. xx Andrea

  14. Avatar Chelsea on February 15, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    I’m having the same experience at night with my daughter (2 months old). She pees in her sleep without waking up beforehand (or at least without waking me up!). Often by time she stirs or fusses and I wake, the pee on her cloth diaper is cold! I see your comment is quite old but am curious how this evolved for you or if you have any advice. I am grateful to be sleeping more but concerned about her being left in a wet diaper.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on February 18, 2021 at 7:28 am

      Hi Chelsea,

      I love how you don’t want your little one to sit in a wet diaper. I recommend noting the time after her last feeding and the time you notice the wet diaper, then set a timer, then see if you can catch the pee. For example, say your little one feed at 12am and then you notice the wet cold diaper at 2:10. I would try setting a 2 hour timer and offer the potty when the timer goes off. Adjust accordingly to see if you can find that sweet spot and get the catch. 💕

  15. Avatar Chelsea on February 18, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Hi Andrea,
    This is such a smart idea. I will give it a try.
    Thank you so much for the reply and guidance!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on February 22, 2021 at 3:38 am

      My pleasure 💕

      • Avatar Jocelyn on October 22, 2021 at 3:15 am

        Perfect timing with this post, baby waking and fussing so much at night and diaper always so full! Time to try the night EC.- Mama needs more sleep.

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 5:54 pm

          Love when the timing is good :)

  16. Avatar Meghan on October 20, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Hello! Our 2.5 yo has been night potty trained for almost a year now but lately we’ve been experiencing him waking up earlier and earlier in the morning and we feel like we can’t let him lay there or use one of those glow night lights bc he has to pee and isn’t able to leave his room without our help. Any suggestions for how to keep his sleep schedule consistent (not getting up for the day at 5:30) while also honoring when he has to pee in the morning?
    We’ve put a mini potty in his room and tried to encourage him to use it independently first thing in the morning but he gets upset and ends up peeing his pants

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 5:37 pm

      So he is waking up because he needs to go, best bet is for you to wake up with him, and take him to the potty in his room. Keeping the lights low. Not saying anything and then putting him back to bed like you would with a night pee.

      Once this is established you can slowly start pushing the time back by 1-5 minutes every 3-7 days.

  17. Avatar Rebecca on October 20, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you for this article! My little one (16 mos) clearly shows that she needs to potty in the night but when I take her she just cries and cries (sometimes peeing while she cries, sometimes not). If I nurse her first, she pees while nursing. She’s a little too big for me to hold her over the mini potty and nurse at the same time so I’m stuck! I’m hoping to find a routine that will work to allow me to help with her nighttime potty needs. I would love to hear any ideas you might have on this.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      I would try taking her to the potty first, and reminding her that as soon as she pees she can have more to eat.

      You can also try offering the breast while she is sitting on the potty. Does take a little bit of practice to get the right position, but using a floor potty and sitting close can work.

      • Avatar Rebecca on November 9, 2021 at 9:01 am

        Thank you for the ideas! I’ll give them a try.

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 19, 2021 at 12:27 pm

          My pleasure!

  18. Avatar Seva Water on October 20, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    My one good hack for nighttime EC was using a flat bottom metal bowl as a potty receptacle while nursing – so much easier to tell when they have peed from the sound and the heat in the bowl ;)

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      Thanks for sharing that idea!

  19. Avatar Petra Evelien on October 20, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Hello! I notice that the question Wiebke and Sarah asked, hasnt been answered yet…and i was wondering exactly the same..did the peeimg get less? What was the effect besides a dry bum for the baby. My 13 month old wakes up fussy every two hours, i nurse, he slowly falls asleep…I dont…and i am exhausted…taking him potty would wake me too…but is there improvement for all? Haha

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 5:50 pm

      Usually babies start consolidating pees, but when that happens really depends. Night training is not a requirement, so if you need sleep then you should get it.

      From our studies, on average ECed babies usually start holding it over night around 2 years old.

  20. Avatar Maryja on October 21, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    My 6 month old is the same, and just howls if we put her on the potty first. I try feeding her on the potty but sometimes she feeds for 40 minutes (which is quite a while for me to be holding her over the potty, out of bed) and still doesn’t pee. During the day she pretty much always pees during a feed though. Then having to put her back into her pajamas tends to wake her up.. So then I offer the breast again to get her back to sleep.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      I wouldn’t sit her on the potty for 40 minutes. If she doesn’t go after a few minutes take her off. You can always try putting her back on a few minutes later.

      Just remember, we learn more from the misses than we do the catches.

  21. Avatar Kelsey on October 25, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for this post! We were struggling with frequent wake ups in our 11 mo old. After I read this article, I tried pottying her every time she woke while nursing her. She almost always goes and then goes back to sleep sooner than she was. So frequency of wake ups is still the same but they’re much shorter duration.

    I’m wondering the same question as Wiebke, Sarah, and Petra. Can we expect or hope for the frequency of wakings to decrease by using nighttime EC? Does offering them the potty regularly somehow help them learn to sleep longer stretches?

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 5:59 pm

      In general babies start consolidating their pees as they get older, so it is hard to say if they consolidate because of EC or just because of age.

      What we found in an EC study is that most kiddos are able night trained, on average at 2 years old.

      Just remember hormones play a role in our ability to hold it through the night. Again, it really just depends on each child.

      • Avatar Kelsey on November 9, 2021 at 4:10 pm

        Thanks for your response, Andrea!

        I wanted to share that we’ve been trying nighttime EC for about 3 weeks now and–in our case–it has really helped with decreasing the number of nighttime wakings! My daughter was waking up about every 1. 1/2 to 2 hours. So I offered the potty every time while nursing (and she went). Now, a few weeks in, she is sleeping some longer stretches (anywhere from 2.5 to 5 hours).. I know with little ones there are so many factors that are at play and each kiddo is different, so it’s hard to know for sure, but it seems like nighttime EC has helped our little one sleep better.

        I’m so grateful we found EC! Thanks for your work!

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 19, 2021 at 12:35 pm

          SO happy to hear this, and it is my absolute pleasure!

          Thank you for sharing… it is stories like these that keep me motivated on tougher days.

  22. Avatar Maya C. on October 29, 2021 at 4:04 am

    omg so crazy… my 16 month old toddler has been going through a sleep regression… my husband wasn’t getting good sleep and would move to the couch it was so bothersome for him. he’d wake every 3 hours and milk hasn’t been working as quickly as it used to to get him back to sleep. I tried keeping some cow’s milk upstairs because breastfeeding was starting to get uncomfortable and I couldn’t fall back asleep during like before.

    so tonight I decided to introduce nighttime EC for a try… fucking magic. He fusses for 3 seconds (and I breastfeed as you suggest) and then…. he pees, he relaxes, and he falls back asleep shortly after. 🙌

    Now it’s 4am but I’m so excited it worked!! I’ll keep it up all week and then wean him from the breastfeeding. I hope I’ll be able to get him to quietly get out of bed to get me when he needs to use the toilet like the first time he slept in his toddler bed and he climbed into bed to breastfeed without a peep. My husband didn’t even know he woke up at all.

    Anyway thank you Andrea!! 🎉🎉

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on November 8, 2021 at 6:19 pm

      My pleasure! ❤️

  23. Avatar Rebekah on December 24, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    I currently nighttime EC my 6 week old, but it almost always results in screaming because we do it before a feed (so that baby is sleepy, as a diaper change wakes her up). Any advice how to reduce the disruption of a diaper change and pee break? I’m sure it is also is one contributor to her struggling to fall asleep for naps, but again, if I take her pee it wakes her up.

    • Avatar Kelsey on December 28, 2021 at 10:19 pm

      Hey Rebekah,

      Congrats on your little one! We had similar struggles and avoided nighttime EC for a while because we thought it’d wake our baby and we’d get less sleep. We’ve been doing nighttime EC now for 3 months and it has been a game changer. Here’s what we do and tricks I’ve found. Note that my daughter is 13 months and we didn’t start EC until 4 months so I don’t know how much applies to 6 weeks but it’s worth a shot!

      I’ve found that nursing while pottying really helps. My daughter always fought pottying before nursing and still does, but as soon as she’s on the breast she’ll calm down and pee. So first thing when she wakes up, I start nursing. Then while she’s nursing I take off the diaper and head to the bathroom. I potty her standing up over a sink, I hold her in the classic nursing position with her butt just over the sink. To prevent her waking, I often do it with just a low nightlight on in the bathroom or I turn it off when I get there. Then to see if she’s peed, I hold my lower hand (the one supporting her bum) so that it will feel if she pees. (May seem icky, but a quick rinse off is easy and it’s worth keeping her asleep).Turning on the water and dipping her toe in the stream often helps her per. It’s a bit of maneuvering but it gets easier. Then we go back to bed, I rediaper her or ask my husband to help and nurse her a little more back to sleep. Basically she’s nursing almost the whole time between wake up and back to sleep. We found that with our little one, she’s waking because she needs to pee and wakes up more frequently if we don’t potty her. She doesn’t always go, but when she does, she sleeps longer and better for awhile afterward. I hope this helps!

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on January 31, 2022 at 3:18 am

      You mentioned that you offer the potty before a feed, try offering between feeds and see if that helps.

  24. Avatar Tired on June 2, 2022 at 1:45 am

    My little guy used to night time EC with no problem. But nowadays I’m finding he just cries and refuses to ec. Even during the day time. I thought I might just be a potty pause but now it’s much worse. He’s holding it in and sometimes he’ll be 5-6 hours without having a pee at night which would be fine except he gets upset and cries. Then I try to EC and he cries. If I don’t try to EC he tosses and turns and wakes me up once we cosleep. I’m so tired. I don’t know what to do at this point

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 2, 2022 at 7:10 pm

      You are doing great! I know it can be tough especially when we aren’t sleeping well. He could be going through some big developmental milestones which can be affecting everything. I launched a new subscription service Potty Tribe where some of my coaches as well as myself help troubleshoot weekly issues that arise over zoom every Friday. We would be happy to offer more personalized help there for you!

  25. Avatar Emily on June 23, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    I’m glad I read this. I never did EC at night but my 16 month old has been out of diapers during the day for a while. Lately he is soo fussy for the 2nd half of the night and constantly wanting to nurse. I saw this article almost a week ago and tried taking him potty if he’s not going back to sleep. He was a bit confused but peed a ton and then slept like an angel. He has been dry every night since, some nights all night and some nights I take him once.
    I’m really surprised he holds it all night and not sure if it’s a good thing. He is REALLY grumpy when he wakes up if he held it all night, but he doesn’t pee in his diaper anymore it seems. So maybe I’ll just take him always around 4 which seems like when he kinda needs to go. I just didn’t think I should wake him if he wasn’t waking up.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on July 27, 2023 at 3:49 am

      Hi Emily! I’m so glad you read this too, and then tried it! It sounds like you’ve got a great handle on understanding your baby’s needs and cues. Better sleep is definitely the goal here. Not all kiddos will be able to hold it all night at 16 months, but it’s not at all harmful if he does. Twyla was dry at night at 16 months and we took the nighttime diaper away at 17 months, so it’s totally doable if that’s what works for you. If you’re worried about waking him, you can always try a dream pee!

Leave a Comment

Scroll To Top