Q: Is it possible to practice EC at night? What if my baby sleeps in a separate room? How do I protect the bed or crib? Can we use diapers at night?
A: Yes. Whether you sleep in the same room or in a separate room from your baby, you can EC at night. How you deal with nighttime eliminations is your choice and depends largely on how you and your baby sleep. If you and your baby co-sleep you will likely be woken by your baby when she needs to pee or poop (although many parents report their EC'd babies do NOT poop during the night) by restless movements or wriggling. Once a baby becomes mobile, she may try to wriggle out of bed, even half-asleep, in response to her instinct to keep her bedding clean.
If your baby sleeps a distance from you, she may not cry until after she has woken enough to wet. You can still do nighttime EC even if you do not sleep in the same room as your child, but you may need to learn her schedule and anticipate wakings before they happen.
If you are breastfeeding your baby during the night she will often either need to pee before or after nursing, and many newborns like to nurse in order to relax to pee at night. You can either pee your baby lying down onto a prefold diaper or use a larger receptacle, such as a bucket or basin, kept by the bed. You can also use a small potty or bowl that can be held between your legs when sitting up and cradle your baby in your arms while you gently cue her to pee.
If you do not want to get out of bed to empty the potty, you can put a prefold diaper in the potty to absorb the pee or place the potty in a larger container so that it will not spill on the floor.
In order to protect your bed, many parents find it is helpful to put a woolen "puddle pad" beneath the baby's bedding. This protects the mattress and makes it easier to change bedding in the middle of the night if necessary. You can also keep your baby in a diaper or training pants during the night and potty her when she has to go. Cloth diapers or training pants that snap at the side are often easier to change without disturbing the baby. Also, two-piece pajamas or a sleep gown make it easier to change or potty your baby at night.
Many babies, even as young as a few months old, do not need to pee at night. This is normal. Also, most babies do not pee while sleeping so if you can pick up on cues that your baby is rousing you should have a good chance at catching the nighttime elimination.