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Why I bought a package of size 5 diapers 3 days ago

the diaper as a tool for EC

I have a confession to make.

A dirty, filthy, so-not-PC-for-EC, confession.

I bought a pack of size 5 Seventh Generation disposable diapers 3 days ago.

Let me explain...and in doing so, perhaps you can feel a little less ashamed yourself.

He was dry all night at 20 months.

Cooper, my 3rd baby, super duper chill, and longest in diapers in my household (17 months til daytime diapers were ditched - although he would never poop in them)...was completely dry at one wakeup per night, and in the morning, at 20 months old.

(Yes, I know it's not a race. Yes, I know babies are all unique. Yes, I know I'm not supposed to compare. Stay with me.)

To be honest: I was thrilled to be done with sleeptime diapers.

My first was in a cloth backup til 26 months, then spontaneously dry each night.

My second was in a disposable backup til 26 months, then spontaneously dry each night.

I was thrilled that Coop was done sooner. I don't like diapers, and I have a newborn. I hated buying diapers that would get crusty because we'd use them over and over again. Always coming up dry.

Cooper was dry at night at 20 months.

And then he wasn't.

Yep, I put him in trainers with covers and he did fine for about a week. Then the accidents started happening. Then he'd wake up twice instead of once or none.


Then he started peeing himself at nap, too.

He wouldn't say a word, would just lay there in it. I'd come in and say, "Aw, buddy, did you pee your pants again?" And he'd say "Yes" (with a cute lisp).

I'd say, "Doesn't that feel yucky?" And he'd say, "No."

(Typical 2 year old, right?)

Daytime EC was going better and better and better. EC at preschool was going amazingly well. But nighttime was an outright disaster.

After washing the entire set of sheets, blanket, and pillows, twice a day, for weeks on end...I was DONE.

So, 3 days ago, after his 2nd birthday party, I went to Ingles, our local grocery store, and I held my breath as I walked down the diaper aisle and checked packages for his weight.

He is 33 pounds. He now fits in a size 5. With my first and second, I never bought past size 3!

Oh, the shame.

I was flooded with it.

This kid has hardly ever pooped his pants. Is completely diaper-free in the day. And I was buying diapers again after thinking I was done?

Yes, again, you can tell me it's not a race. Any of you could get on any old high horse and look down your nose upon me and tell me not to pressure my dear little one, not to have absurd expectations of him. You could scold, reprimand, and judge me if you like.

But, I am an honest person, and I honestly felt shame putting that package into my cart. And I want to confess that to you. Because I know I'm not alone.

And then 3 days pass.

Three days of naps and nighttimes in a disposable diaper backup...and I no longer feel any shame at all. The shame has just slipped away.

Because guess what? 3 nights in to using the Seventh Generation size 5 diaper as a back-up at night and naps...and he has come up dry every single time.

Yes, ironically, 3 nights in disposables, and he's been dry every single time.

He's sleeping more deeply.

Waking up less often.

Feeling more self-confident.

We've re-used the same disposable over 3 days' time.

And I'm washing less sheets.

(Thank goodness for that silver lining.)

Now for the moral of this story...

I've gone through a Heroine's Journey with today's tale. I've been "there and back again."

Now I'm ready to report back to YOU.

Because if you're doing EC, you might have thought at one point or another:

"Andrea has it all figured out. She's perfect at EC. She never has misses and doesn't use disposables and is done so early."

But I'm a real mom, of 4 children, 3 of whom, statistically, should be in diapers, using them full-time as a wearable toilet.

This is how I came to the answer for our bed-wetting problem

I did what I would have told any other mother of a 2 year old, ECed from birth, with a super chill temperament, who was now wetting the bed nightly, to do:

Use whatever nighttime back-up that gives you and your child the best sleep, keeps the bed dry, and gives YOU, the parent, the least stress.

I took my own medicine.

And this is what I want to pass on to you:

1// Use the nighttime/naptime backup that works best for YOU - be it disposable, cloth, naked, or commando - for this stage in your baby's life.

2// Do not feel guilty about your decision - you are certainly not doing nothing! Feeling guilty just makes everything worse. No one cares except you, and you're hardest on you, so let go and breathe. It will all work out in the end.

3// Weigh your sleeptime backup decision by these criteria:

  • does it get baby the best sleep?
  • does it help him stay dry?
  • does it help the bed stay dry?
  • does it keep you in the best mood as a parent?
  • are you still working on daytime EC (so that eventually nighttime will follow the day)?
  • are we having teething issues, illness, growth spurt, travel, or another milestone that may be interfering with sleep, with EC, or with baby? And will this backup help the situation any?

And that is it.

I just wanted to share that I am real.

To confess that I bought some disposables this week.

To encourage you. To tell you (and me) it's gonna be okay.

I am not Wonder Woman (although sometimes I wish I were Gal Gadot), and I, too, have to come off the high horse and do what REALLY works for any of my 4 children, in the moment.

I do not believe the diaper is a full-time toilet.

I do not believe in waiting for "toilet training readiness."

I do not believe in teaching my children to soil themselves without thought.

I am not perfect in my diaper usage, I'll be the first to admit it...but I am proud that I use 1/4 of the diapers as any non-ECing parent, all said. I am so proud of that. I finish in half the time, and I use half as many in the process (re-using and re-using, lots of diaper-free time, and paying attention to their expressed needs).

And I do this without harming my babies (EC is what humans across history have ALWAYS done).

In fact, I do this along with giving my babies their dignity and ownership of their own bodies, along with high self esteem and comfort in their own skin.

And I teach other parents how to do the same with their babies, to feel the same pride, to provide for their babies' expressed needs.

I am not perfect, but I am also not afraid to use the tools that work, even if someone might look down on me (especially me, looking down on me!).

I am proud - and please don't take my pride as arrogance or bragging. I feel blessed to have had this experience with my babies. (You might know what I mean.)

What I'll leave you with is this message, ECers:

The diaper, any diaper, is a TOOL. When doing Elimination Communication, you are welcome to use it as such, when needed, whatever that looks like.

Even if you're in a potty pause right now, using the diaper as a tool, you're still parenting with the Spirit of EC in the air. You are aware, and you are working thru this tough time with the aim of giving baby what she's asking for thru protesting: full independence. She deserves it, and the diaper is helping you at this very moment.

No shame.

I genuinely hope that sharing this story with you has helped YOU feel a little relief today, one tiny bit of pressure taken off your dear shoulders, and added a little more peace to your life.

You deserve it.

Please share in the comments below, if you feel moved. Have you been here before? Are you there now? Are you feeling good or bad about your decisions?

Let's be there for each other. Standing in our imperfection. Our beautiful, messy, imperfection!

(And on that note, please be kind in the comments. This is a safe space! Share from the heart, mindful that everyone is imperfect, including, and maybe especially, yours truly.)



Author of Go Diaper Free: A Simple Handbook for Elimination Communication


PS - Read my March 2018 update to Cooper's nighttime progress here - and learn how we finally ditched nighttime diapers with huge success.

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Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar Karina on August 1, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Your email (with this link) could not have come at a better time! I just spent an hour crying on my husbands shoulder about potty training especially now that tantrums are a very real part of the day (18 month old). This has definitely given me a new perspective and helped ease the guilt! Thank you :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 9:06 am

      I am SO happy that this helped you feel less guilt, Karina!!!! So happy. Hang in there :) xx Andrea

    • Avatar Andrea Coane on August 1, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Wow, this article came at just the right time! My little one had been daytime trained since about 22-23 months and now at 26 months, has woken up from naps dry for months. After she had been waking up in the morning dry for several weeks, I excitedly ditched the diapers and proclaimed her nighttime potty trained as well. But she wasn’t having any part of that! As soon as I started putting her to bed in regular panties, she would proudly stand up after each nap and in the morning and say, “I did peepee” with such a happy little voice and infuriating giggle! I didn’t last as long as you. After 5-6 days of washing sheets, blankets, little pillows and pillow cases I was done with that. I pulled out the diapers that I was so sure I would be able to donate and started putting those on again for naps and nighttime. That reduced the stress by a factor of 100. Thanks for taking away the guilt of thinking I was going backwards and confusing her and setting her up for a lifetime of needing nighttime diapers! I’ll look into changing to 7th Generation. Is there anything special about those for nighttime wear?

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 3, 2017 at 12:07 am

        Hey Andrea Coane! I’m so glad to have helped by sharing my story. :) Nope, nothing special. 7th Gen happens to feel wet to my kids but holds in leaks. So they signal well and hold it in them, in particular. Honest Co. didn’t fit right. I have heard (just tonight) that someone is using Bambo Nature pull-up-type diapers for nights and has had good experience with them, but I haven’t tried them. She said “So, after a little research on other eco-friendly diapers/training pants, I decided to try Bambo Nature, especially since they now have a US-based website where you can purchase them directly and not pay $1000 for one pack on Amazon. Oh my goodness, what a difference!!! These are the best training pants! First of all, they fit great. Second of all, they are almost leak-proof! I was actually resorting to putting a cloth diaper cover over disposable Honest training pants, because I EXPECTED a leak. Another bonus is that when my son wakes up dry, the Bambos are sturdy and can be reused multiple times without getting stretched and torn.

        I don’t have any reason to endorse Bambo Nature other than the fact that I am a satisfied customer!”

        Hope that helps and YAY for guilt-free! xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Sowmya Sundar on August 1, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Hi Andrea, You are a real motivation!! With your help, I’ve started ECing my youngest girl! She is 4 months 23days. Almost 80pc pees we catch it over the sink! Poops I miss as I attend my other two kids! As you say ,taking it slowly makes it less stressful! We even managed to a catch a pee while traveling in a train! That’s a great motivation for me. This story of yours has come at a time where I’ve been pondering about disposables as I will be moving my house to a colder city. Thanks a lot!!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 9:07 am

      You are so welcome, Sowmya! I am glad to have been supporting you so far…and to be able to continue support you as you approach the upcoming changes. xx Andrea

  3. Montse Montse on August 1, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Hi Andrea,
    I really love the way American mum’s talk about issues talking from the heart, without any victimism and full conscious about what have done and not problem to explained it.

    In my family and with relatives I always feel such a pression about our EC practice. They said like I’m a kind of crazy hippie-ecologist that do strange things like let my daughter playing in the park with a sumo style diaper. The thing is that we had switch into undies, and then we experienced lots of misses, and pees everywhere, so we move to the sumo style, and they look at me kind of: oh…so you put a diaper again, hum…it sounds like she wasn’t ready…still.

    And you know what I have learnt with your story? EC is communication, is not about when we left (our children) diapers, but about this connection that with just a look you know what he think or need (not always obviously), is about not letting them per ours with the same overpeed diaper.
    I have to confess that when my first daughter was two, our cloth nappies wheren’t enought to retain her urine, because I just let her per 3,4 ours (how many pee it were!!!) With same diaper. And we switch to disposable. I have to say I feel really shame about that knowing everything I know now, but… these happens during motherhood, you learn, and learn.
    Thank you for sharing such a great article ;-)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 9:10 am

      And you learn and learn again! Yes, you nailed it. It is just a learning process, learning each other, communicating with each other, and you don’t know what you know until you know it! Thank you for sharing all of that. It is crazy that our family members can be so judgmental, like they’re watching us waiting for us to fail. But changing backups doesn’t mean failure. In some cases, if you stick with the process and communication learning, it means success! Thank you, Montse. xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Frances on August 1, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for this, Andrea. The world needs more articles like this.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 9:10 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed my article, Frances. Sending my best to you and yours!

  5. Avatar Jennie Shepherd on August 1, 2017 at 8:12 am

    I have days where I think, I do not have time to do this today…I do not have time to sit him on the potty and wait for him to either go or not, and so I put the nappy on and tell him that it’s ok to pee in it right now. Because that’s the best I can do in the moment. It feels good to know that you use nappies when necessary too, and I’m not failing at this.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 9:12 am

      You are not a failure. Not at all. You are aware of what is happening, communicating, and when enough is enough, you’ll get yourself all ready to wrap it up and jump ship, so to speak. But in the meanwhile, we all have bad days and we all have to be resourceful moms. :) Hang in there! Mothering is hard! xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Marie on August 1, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Thank you so much for making your “brand” so awesome and supportive and forgiving. I love EC because I love to give my son some power over his body. I never worried about a miss and I still wash about 10 diapers a day (most of them with just a small pee or practically clean – i just think I wouldn’t want to wear the same underwear for too long) and I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind our real accidents either (when I move him too fast and he still had pee – oops) because it’s all worth it to be able to respond better to my child’s needs. And if he feels like pooping in his diaper (maybe it was a hard one to pass or he needed the succion to pass it?) so be it. Thanks for sharing it all!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Thanks for sharing all that, Marie! I love your way of interacting with your son through the EC part…no shame, no blame, and truly embracing it all as learning and responding to needs. Wonderful! xo Andrea

  7. Avatar Ashley on August 1, 2017 at 9:15 am

    My 3 1/2-year-old still sleeps in a disposable at night. I followed your training method shortly after she turned 2, and it was very successful. After a week, she was daytime trained. However, I waited on sleeptime training because we were having a baby soon. Six months ago I took away her naptime diapers, and she has wet her bed every afternoon (with rare exceptions) ever since then. I think she is a heavy sleeper. I am keeping her in diapers at night until I get naptime figured out. Am I doing the right thing? Our pediatrician says we just have to wait for her brain to mature so she will start waking up when it’s time to go. My husband suggested using pull-ups at naptime, but I think she needs to feel wet. When she wakes up it usually doesn’t bother her, though.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Hey Ashley! If she is a heavy sleeper you’ll either have to be super-vigilant (with a video monitor, maybe!) or just put her in a backup that works best for her. Going to pullups may delay her natural process – they are just too absorbent – that is why we use 7th Gen. But some kids are just heavy sleepers! At night we woke our 3.5 yr old up when we went to bed so she wouldn’t wet her bed…she also slept right thru it…when she was about 26 months. It worked for us. Your doctor is incorrect about brain development (from what I’ve read)…but doc is correct in that she will start waking up when it’s time to go when she gets thru whatever growth cycles she’s processing during sleep. So, protect the bed and her from wetness (even tho she doesn’t care!) in the meanwhile and trust that it will pass. My books do cover this, so you can try some of that, but it sounds like you need a break from it for a while. IF she is still wetting the bed at 5 or 6 years old, it may be medical bed-wetting, which has been found to be biological at times. Hang in there! xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Janna LaRose on August 1, 2017 at 9:46 am

    You’re cool, Andrea. No judgement or shaming from us! I enjoy reading your posts and am encouraged by the information you give. We have been trying EC for about a month and appreciate all the tips!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      That’s wonderful, Janna! I’m glad I’m helpin’ you out. :) Be encouraged. It is totally worth the effort. xx Andrea

  9. Laura Laura on August 1, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Andrea, I love you. :) And you ARE Wonder Woman, you know (and this is not flattery…you are a MOM…which is no . small. feat!!) I needed this. Remember I emailed you 5 days ago freaking out because PT wasn’t clicking with my 14mo? I had to make a call. We put him back in cloth diapers and returned to EC. Dang it, I’m a coach! But the relief of making a decision was a small comfort, my stress level went WAY down (I could enjoy both my children again), and, lo and behold, he is communicating his needs even clearer now. The only wet diaper we had yesterday was at nap! Carry on, warrior. :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      What!?! Awesome, Laura. Looks like we’re both taking our own medicine. :) Thank you for asking for help a few days ago…again, no shame if it’s working to meet your goals of dryness and communication! Keep it up WW! xx Andrea

  10. Avatar Angie on August 1, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Thank you!! I needed this as an overall boost. We have a crazy life, we live in a 5th wheel trailer to meet financial goals, my Husband is gone weeks at a time or on nights for work, and my daughter and I travel with him or to family frequently. EC has been a wonderful struggle for me. I love helping my little girl stay clean but at times I get so discouraged with myself for missing or forgetting. I think the exact thing that you wrote! “Andrea wouldn’t have…” I’m so relieved to read your confession of imperfection. You rock and I am so grateful for you!!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Haha. I’m so happy that revealing my imperfections helps you feel encouraged, Angie! Seriously! That is why I felt so strongly about sharing this story with you all. I don’t want anyone to be misled that I’m perfect or that EC can be done perfectly. But we all do what we can, while upholding our overall values. Hang in there – you might just be stronger than most moms I know. ;o) xx andrea

  11. Avatar Rebecca chou on August 1, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Irony: reading EC inspiration which took enough of my attention away from my baby to not notice that she was pooping in her diaper. Oops! Silver lining: this article was about self forgiveness, vulnerability, and being human… Exactly what I needed. xoxo

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Haha! That ALWAYS happens to me. I’m over here giving advice and my baby pees on the carpet. Every time!
      Yes. You are right. This is all about those 3 things. I’m glad that this resonates with you, Rebecca. :) xx Andrea

  12. Avatar Em Huns on August 1, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Andrea! My 25 month old has been in underwear all day and disposable training pants during sleep since 18 months. He does great, even when at daycare. After naps he often wakes up dry and every so often he wakes up dry in the morning. Sometimes I wonder if I should be doing sleep/nighttime potty training to get rid of diapers altogether, but he still sleeps in a crib and isn’t quite tall or coordinated enough to pee in the toilet on his own, even when standing on a stool. I don’t think anyone in our family is ready for a big kid bed and nighttime wake-ups to go pee. I think that one thing we EC-ers and early potty trainers should remember is that, even if our little ones have mastered knowing when and where is appropriate to pee and poo, due to the very fact that they are are in fact little, they may still need some extra support from us (and back-ups) before they are completely independent, day and night.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks for sharing this, Em! Totally true. I think that we parents like to compete, unconsciously, on all levels. It’s that little rabble-rouser inside of us that just can’t settle for happiness…has to get us all down on ourselves. But back-ups are TOOLS and there is really no shame about it. Clothing manipulation can vary across so many months of calendar age. And so does crib use or bed setup/agility getting in and out of bed. You are spot on. Keep doin what you’re doin! xx Andrea

  13. Avatar Oksana on August 1, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I have gone from doing EC full time to doing it very part time and having her in disposables due to some mental health struggles ive been having. I have been feeling immensely guilty that I am not doing EC with her full time, even though I still potty her upon waking and before bed consistently, and sometimes after eating too. I know that I am doing the best I can, so thank you for sharing some of your struggles with us. It helps me feel better about mine.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 1, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Aw, Oksana – I also want to encourage you. Doing the best that you can, with what you’re dealing with right now. I had PPD with my first 2 and didn’t know it, and it was really hard to not just go autopilot thru my day and get really exhausted. I definitely got back on track with Itsy, my 2nd, when she was 8 months old…after my PPD treatment was stabilized…and things went great. (I even joke that she completed EC so smoothly *because* I was in a super-chill treatment phase, myself!) So, yes! Do what you gotta do and by the way: YOU ARE DOING EC! Keep up those regular potty times and you’ll be surprised at how well it goes. Ditch the guilt. And know that you’re not alone. xx Andrea

    • Avatar Kristina on August 2, 2017 at 12:44 am

      Oksana, you are a rockstar just for being consistent. I.have mental health struggles too and it has been worse both times after having babies, and I find consistency to be nearly impossible. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and in a family the goal is to use your strengths to do the best you can, not to be like anyone else (even your past self). With baby #1, I was intimidated and didn’t start EC till 8. months old, and was so inconsistent, I decided to only do poops and wake up pees because i. could stick with it. Potty training was sooooo hard, i think because i.did. so little EC, but it would have been far worse without EC! So, yay me!
      Haha. I started baby #2 at 3 weeks old, and it’s fun and baby likes it, so I would like to do it full time. But I can’t while still meeting the rest of the family’s needs. So I appreciate the fact that the communication part of it is going well (baby’s cues went away but came back) even if the pottying some days isn’t (I change her but don’t try to make the potty, ugh) . If we do some EC, it is way better than none!

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 3, 2017 at 12:08 am

        You are so sweet to encourage Oksana, Kristina, and to share your story with us as well! So true. Some EC is way better than none. Way to see the silver lining, dear! xx Andrea

  14. Avatar Terri on August 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Wow! Your email was an answer to a prayer. My son is turning three years old this week, and he was fully daytime and night time potty trained since February (and has been EC poo’d since birth) until my daughter was born in May. About a week after she was born he started wetting in the night and having lots of bizarre daytime pee accidents. After lots of patience, and reminding him to tell us when he needs to go, he is now back to being totally dry in the daytime. But he wets almost every nap, and many times a night. Yesterday he even wet the bed before he fell asleep – fully aware of it! That feels like the straw that broke the camels back, and my husband and I both lost our patience with him – telling him it’s yucky to pee in his underpants and bed…and I just haven’t know what to do to solve this. I’ve read that this type of regression after a new sibling comes is common… but it has been 2+ months now!! And he doesn’t seem like he is jealous of her at all, he is super loving to his baby sister, and seems like he’s getting lots of attention himself too. We make a lot of effort – his father just started sleeping in his room to think that he can be super attentive in the night if our son indicates a need to go pee. Now I wonder if buying some seventh generation diapers could be an answer. I just don’t want him to think he is being punished.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 3, 2017 at 12:10 am

      Sounds like he is getting your goat! (So don’t tie it out where he can see it? I think an elderly woman told me that.) :)

      Sorry you’re going thru this. It IS infuriating! Especially when tired. But, yes, do what you need to do if dad sleeping in there doesn’t help!!!!! Hang in there and congrats on your new baby!

      xx Andrea

  15. Avatar Rose on August 1, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Haha! Perfect timing Andrea. We were traveling for a family reunion at a campground across the country last week and bought a package of size 4 diapers for our 14 month old. We only went through about 15 though over the course of a week with for plane flights included. Everyone kept laughing at us for taking her potty and telling us oh just wait till she’s ready. But we had days where she was dry while traveling! This is only the third pack of diapers that I have bought in her life as I could not do cloth diapers for a camping trip on the other side of the country and find time to hang with family. Ironically though, she stayed dryer in the disposables than she does in the cloth diapers. Do you think I should switch to disposables for home? I’d stick with cloth for daycare.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 3, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Well, Rose, glad it’s perfect timing, and to answer your question…you should use whatever works best for the most signals, lowest stress, and most catches. :) However, I would add that IF baby starts to get super comfortable peeing in disposables, switch to cloth immediately. Do what works for you WHILE keeping tabs on when to ditch them for something else…or completely. ;)

  16. Nechama Nechama on August 1, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    THANK YOU for showing us your human, imperfect, diaper-using (gasp) side of you, Andrea. Makes me feel SOOOOOOO much better….
    Love Nechama

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 3, 2017 at 12:12 am

      Aw…of course, Nechama! My pleasure. :) xox

  17. Avatar Carolyn on August 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Andrea, (You *may* remember me from some of your Asheville meetings before your latest baby was born) I have been ECing since my daughter was born 2.5 years ago. It has been mostly awesome and sometimes frustrating. I love that I’ve only cleaned a poop-covered butt a handful of times, compared to potentially hundreds of times if I hadn’t done EC! She still pees at night 99% of the time, so I still buy disposable diapers. We live in an RV right now and I have to take our laundry to a laudromat, so using cloth is too much for me. I’ve gotten over the shame of using disposables, although sometimes I wish I could do better. But, as you said, I’m doing what works best for the family right now.

    I talk to my daughter about nighttime… “If you wake up at night and have to pee, you can say “mama, I have to pee!” and I will help you use the potty”, but I think she pees while she is asleep or just waking up. She can get pretty upset about peeing when she’s sleeping. I have been assuming I can’t do anything to shift it so she wakes up before she pees and asks me, but if you have other thoughts about it, let me know!

    Four kids! Congratulations on your growing family and for inspiring so many people to do EC! It feels great to not put a mobile toilet on my child, and I think other EC mamas feel that way too!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 6, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Hey Carolyn! Of course I remember you both. :) So glad to hear from you. She *will* eventually wake up to pee before it happens, as has been my and others’ experience. Esp if she gets upset about it happening (a great sign!). Hang in there. I’m so glad you’re glad you did EC! :) Andrea

  18. Avatar Amy on August 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for writing this Andrea. I appreciate your humility because I gave up on my almost four-year-old’s nighttime pees when he was two and I was pregnant with my second, and have felt embarrassed about that. I was too exhausted to wake him up to go and change wet sheets, so I gave up and he has been wearing disposable pull-ups ever since. He still wets his pull-ups every night and refuses to use the toilet in the morning when he wakes up! It is easy to sigh and beat myself up for making so much trash and not night-time potty training him when I had been so proud of how EC had gone for him when he was younger. Anyway, I’ll stop that and just accept where we are right now and be grateful for it!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 6, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Good, Amy! I am so happy that my open sharing has helped you feel more forgiving of yourself. You do what you can, you know? We are all pretty under-resourced as new parents. You can still be proud of your ECing, btw. :) Thank you for sharing your struggle, Amy! xx Andrea

  19. Avatar Patricia on August 7, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Thank you! I really needed to read this encouragement tonight!
    I have 6 month old twins and an 18 month old (yes, they are just 1 year apart!)- these are my babies #4,5&6.
    With the first three EC was ‘easy’ and I was very dedicated and they were fully out of diapers by 18 months.
    As a result, I have been feeling discouraged because I am still putting my 18 mo in diapers at night because feeding twins takes up all my energy. My twins have only been EC’d for the last two months and 2 weeks ago, I started using disposables because I had 5 out of 8 family members sick and the laundry pile was winning! I have spent the last few weeks feeling guilty.
    After reading your article, I realised that I turned EC into a race against myself, to prove that I could still do it. I needed to be reminded that there is no need to rush here (although it would be nice to save on washing ☺).
    Thank you for being a reminder to slow down and try to enjoy the chaos that is my life right now!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 7, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      Hey Patricia! Don’t you love it when people say “boy, you have your hands full.” It makes me think “duh!” What a joy to have so many children! I’m so happy my article reminded you to slow down and enjoy what “is.” No guilt, mama. None. It doesn’t help! Take good care and you’ll get things going at your proper pace. xx Andrea

  20. Avatar Jephthae on August 7, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you for your encouragement! I’ve had to go back to pull ups since we are moving and don’t have laundry facilities and ability to keep things clean. Not what I wanted. My 14 month old was doing well with cloth pull ups on, but it is what we needed.

    A day ago I just found my 3 almost 4 year old messed herself while swimming at a pool. My husband didn’t catch it so it wasn’t till I was bathing her afterwards that it was discovered. And I was just thinking how crazy it would be to put my almost 4 year old in swim diapers (especially if I am not with her since she is less likely to tell someone else if she needs to go), but I can’t have her soiling the pool either, so swim diapers it’ll need to be if I am not there…. crazy yes, but what is needed under the stress of the current situation and all the changes the kids are dealing with in the move.

    Thank you for sharing your story and making it easier for me to make the right decisions based on what my kids need at this juncture in life.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 7, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      You are so welcome, Jephthae!! Glad to be encouraging for you. As for swim diapers – I would probably do an iPlay one that is re-usable, as they truly do hold poop accidents in the pool (per my experience, anyway). Hang in there and hope you’re settled soon. xx Andrea

  21. Avatar Mattie on August 9, 2017 at 10:51 am

    With my son for months we were able to catch all poops and most pees and he was essentially out of diapers (except for nighttime back up that came up dry most of the time). Now he insists on pooping standing up, in whatever he is wearing, and then screaming bloody murder when I have tho wipe the poop off. He had a cold this week and has been refusing to use the potty at all. Sometimes I feel like it has all been for nothing but I know we will get past all of this eventually. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 18, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      Hey Mattie – hang in there! I’m not sure what’s going on with your LO but I hope it gets cleared up soon! Sounds like a terrible experience for you both. I do have a course on potty pauses coming out in the next week. Stay tuned. xx Andrea

  22. Avatar Claire Dawn on August 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you!
    I have found the same to work for my 2yo. Cloth diaper at night, dry in the morning. Bare bottom at night, pee in the bed come morning.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing that it’s the same for you, Claire!! He’s still coming up dry after a few weeks of this diaper back-up. Go figure. :)

  23. Avatar Rob on February 28, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Hey Andrea good article. I’m 17 and I used to wet the bed. I was potty trained about 2 I think, then at 11 I started wetting the bed. After a week of washing sheets my mom bought me pull-ups. I protested wearing them but I clearly remember her saying “if you’re gonna wet your bed like a baby, then you can wear diapers like one” and after about 6 months I stopped. It wonder if it was the embarrassment that worked???

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