This is a re-post of an article originally published by Andrea Olson on March 14, 2018
Hi. It’s time to take a peek into my household today and see what Andrea’s doing to potty her 2.5 yr old and 1 yr old at night.
As you know, with elimination communication, things change. Daily.
We have ups and downs, ins and outs, ebbs and flows, and in the end...we have a happy baby and mama/daddy who’ve done what’s right for them regarding using diapers as back-ups and not teaching that they’re a permanent toilet. Got it.
This can throw people majorly off, and in today’s post I’d like to normalize things a bit for ya and share what’s been happening in our house, routine-wise.
How we got our 2.5 yr old out of diapers at night
1. We changed his backup.
For Cooper, my first order of TinyUps cloth pull-up covers came in about 6 weeks ago and we immediately ditched the nighttime disposable backup diaper we’d previously been using (see this post for my July 2017 public admission that I'd bought a package of size 5 diapers).
So we ditched the disposables.
We did not just fly blindly.
In addition to changing the nighttime backup to something that more aligned with our environmental and hygiene beliefs, we, the parents, also made some distinctive changes to our support routine.
2. We added in a before-bedtime story reminder.
We’ve been reading my new board book, Night Potty, to him right before lights out. It has given him a wonderful and fun reminder, right before he drifts off to sleep, to wake to pee and ask for help from Daddy. It’s been a huge hit! (And it happens to be on pre-order right now - here.)
3. We've been giving him a nightly "dream pee."
Next, we began inserting a “dream pee” sometime between 10pm and 12 midnight every night, like clockwork.
When whomever - mommy or daddy - has stayed up the latest gets ready for bed, that person will go upstairs and potty Cooper without waking him up.
How we do this: we whisper to him “let’s go peepee” and rouse him only enough to get his bottoms off and pick him up out of bed. We don’t turn on any lights (there is a dim LED nightlight in the room already) and we set him on the mini potty next to his bed (it has a little circular rug underneath it for warmth, and any splashes).
He lays his head onto our knees and we cue “psssss” or “go peepee” and we listen for the sound of pee hitting the potty. We will gently ask “all done?” or he will sit up and say “done” and we will lay him back in bed and pull his TinyUps and his PJ bottoms back up.
Covers on. Kiss on cheek, and immediately out of the room. We use white noise so it’s on all the time in the background.
The results are in!
The result of all this work? We’ve had two accidents at night over the past 6 weeks of our new routine. Those two accidents happened when we forgot to do the Dream Pee.
The plan? To continue forward as we have.
(If it ain't broke, don't fix it...?) :)
We will also adjust if/when needed. My best guess? Probably by 3 yrs old we'll stop the Dream Pee. And the TinyUps.
I also want to share that this was the icing on the cake we'd already figuratively baked.
We didn't only do these few things out of nowhere. Nope, we added all the above to what we’d already done in the past, which will be mentioned in my overall tips for nighttime dryness post, up next.
- a final pee,
- limiting fluids before bedtime,
- ensuring the bed is adequately protected, and
- a morning pee right when he wakes up.
Now let's look at our 1 year old's nighttime progress:
How ditching daytime diapers has affected our 1 year old's nighttime dryness
We took Branson out of daytime diapers when he turned 12 months old, 6 weeks ago. We currently use TinyUps solo during the day, disposable diaper (Seventh Generation) during naps, long outings, and at night.
Just a few days after we changed his daytime backup and began teaching self-dressing with every pottytunity, Branson began to wake up dry at night.
He had been refusing nighttime pottytunities for the past 4 months so I just haven’t been offering. He’d wake up wet, I’d change him and nurse back to sleep, about 2 times a night.
However, when he began to wake up dry I found that I now had two choices:
- I can try to potty him, or,
- I can let him be and put him back to sleep dry.
I’ve found that, these days - NEWS FLASH! - he *will* pee in the top hat potty while nursing and I can get him back to sleep at the first wake-up around 1am every night. So that’s progress!
I’ve also found that he will allow me to put him back to sleep dry without issue, so I’ve also done that on occasion.
So, I guess for us it doesn’t matter if I potty or put him back to sleep...so long as he’s dry, it's good for both of us. If he's wet, I change him.
The second thing to note is that, since we ditched daytime diapers at 12 months old, he is now waking up dry in the morning and staying dry for several minutes.
This is around 6am, when he wakes up to start his day.
On the way down the stairs from his room he signals to me the whole walk - psssss! - and blows raspberries - which is a prompt the babysitter has organically been doing with him - and then when I set him on the toilet (with the weepod reducer on it), I busy myself with his clothes and the mirror and turn my back to give him privacy, and he pees a nice long one.
Sometimes he’s dry, sometimes wet. But I always offer.
Then he sits on his stool and I help him “self-dress,” putting on his TinyUps and pants together for his daytime backup.
So, looks like daytime progress DOES influence nighttime patterns, in my 1 yr old’s case.
And that is it for today’s update.
2 children under 3 years old (of my 4 under 7 years old)...both with dramatic changes in night dryness behavior...both because of parental support (ie: elimination communication).
I hope you've enjoyed it.
Please comment below with how nighttime pottying is currently working (or not) for you!
I look forward to hearing your comments! xx Andrea
Watch the Video Version (new!)
If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here: