Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Night Time Potty-Training Dilemma

Alex and Olivia have been potty-trained for almost 2 years now, at least during the day. I wish I could say the same for night time.

They were both easily potty-trained during the day. Alex took to it quickly after a few false starts when he wasn't really ready yet, and Olivia may have been the quickest potty-trained child ever. She literally woke up one morning and told me she was done with diapers and we've never looked back.

But every night, they still wear pull-ups to bed and their pull-ups are still wet every morning. I know it will happen eventually. I guess I just figured it would happen before they turn 5 and 4 in a few months.

So that is where I could really use some help! Isabelle never wet at night, which was wonderful at the time. Although it certainly didn't train me for this situation now.

So far we have tried limiting drinks after a certain time and cutting off drinks all together for 30 minutes before bed. They both go potty before getting in bed and usually at least one other time before falling asleep.

What has worked for you with night time potty training? Please share with me!! I could desperately use some advice.

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Lee 2:02 AM  

If anyone has advice on this issue, pop over to my blog as well and let me know. We're in the same boat with mine being slightly younger, but just don't know what to do with him. And not sure how long I can keep buying pull-ups.

Omah's Helping Hands 2:44 AM  

This is one I definitely will be following. Some children I know have a medical problem. For some reason something is triggered to where they can't get up and go. Some sleep too sound. Cutting them off from drinking anything a couple of ours before bed time does now work.
I have a just turned 5 year old grand daughter that has tried and tried not to wet at night. She just has not been able to stop. My daughter refuses to get her checked out.
I had a nephew who at the age of 21 was still wetting the bed at night. He had been on a medication for his disability. Once he went off the medication he stopped having night time problems. There are so many things that can cause it. Good luck! If you find an answer, please let me know!
I feel sorry for my grand daughter, as it can be embarrassing for them.

Leanne 4:27 AM  

I had the same thing with my daughter,, but I just bit the bullet one night and told her no more pull ups. I think even asleep she knew when she had a pull up on and she was just lazy enough to use it. She's been out of them at night now for a year (she's almost 4), with only two accidents when she wasn't feeling well.

Its worth trying, honestly. And a mattress is your best friend when trying this. That and keeping a quick change of sheets and jammies at the end of the bed which means the kids won't end up in your bed after an accident.

The Real Me! 6:30 AM  

That's a tough one my friend. Aside from them having a medical condition as one suggested, I would limit the drinks a little earlier then 1/2 hour before bed and try to make sure they empty their bladder completely. I think kids get in a hurry and don't fully empty everything and that can cause wet nights. Also I would get something to put over your mattress and just take the pull ups off and tell them about their big kid underwear and how they can't pee in them and see what happens. Just don't give up. They may have a few accidents but give them a little while to get used to the fact that they are responsible to "hold it" until they can go on the toilet.
I hope this helps. Good luck with it!

The Happy Housewife 7:48 AM  

Okay, you know I am laid back, so my advice is don't worry about it. All but one of my kids has worn pull-ups to bed way past age 5. Sometimes they just aren't ready to go all night. When they are ready they just stop wetting. We tried everything short of a bed alarm (although I considered it) and nothing worked on the kids that really couldn't make it through the night.
Sorry I don't have any real advice for you!

Jackie 7:55 AM  

Well, I don't know if what I have been through will be helpful, but I will share it anyway.

My daughter was wet at night for years. I came to understand that it was because she slept so soundly. What I had to do was figure out when she was actually wetting. I always cut her off from drinks close to bedtime and made her potty before falling asleep. What I found she was doing was having accidents by 11:00 pm after only being asleep a few hours. Then she wouldn't wake up. So, I basically took her every night to the potty by 11:00 pm. I would sit her on it and tell her to go. She usually didn't remember in the morning, but was dry. Finally, after quite a while of this she went on her own one night. I was so glad and she has been accident free ever since.

My oldest son at 2 went from diapers to no accidents at night or day. I thought boys were easier. Then I had my second son who refused to potty consistently during the day until 3 1/2. Once he got the hang of it he has been mostly dry at night. I guess I say all of this to reiterate what I am sure you already know. All children are different. I just would say that they will get it in their own time.

One trick I learned from a friend is to double make your bed. Basically, it goes like this. Matress pad, fitted sheet, waterproof absorbant pad, fitted sheet, waterproof absorbant pad. Then you have the child sleep with no pull-up and if they have an accident you strip off one layer of bedding and change their clothes and try again.

Sorry for the book. Goodluck with this.

Jackie 7:57 AM  

I also wanted to say that my daughter was even older than your children which is why I worked so hard to help her get over her bed wetting issue with no medication or without making her feel bad about it.

LoveMy2Dogs 10:33 AM  

I am not quite sure that a half hour before bed is early enough. I do agree with Leanne about the kids knowing that they have a pullup on and still going. We always had our daughter go to the bathroom before we put jammies on and before she went to bed. If they go twice before going to bed the are way more likly to get their bladders completely empty. Good luck!

Brenda 10:58 AM  

Here's what worked for me. Just short of my son's 4th birthday I finally told him no more pull-ups. He was like okay and put on underwear. Even though when he wore pullups and they would be soaked in the morning when he put on underwear he woke up dry. I too think he knew that he could just go in his pullup. Every once and awhile he would wake up wet but it was rare. We did limit his drinks before bed by an hour and then only water. After 4 months of this is starting to wake up on his own when he has to go to the bathroom. He has no idea why he is up but we just take him to the bathroom.

Now a friend of ours got advice from the doctor and he said to wake their daughter up after 2 hours of sleep and take them to the bathroom and then 2 hours later and take them to the bathroom again. Yes they had to set their alarms to get up at midnight but it worked for them. Then their daughter would be set until morning. This worked for them.

I don't know if there is a difference between girls and boys and night training.

I also notice that when my son drinks juice or milk before bed he wakes up and needs to go but if he just has a half a glass of water he is fine all night long.

Megret 11:21 AM  

For a while, we woke up our son at 11 or 12 before we went to bed just to let him go one more time.

Have you tried that?

Jenny 11:47 AM  

Great question. My almost 5 year old daughter also wears a diaper at night. I buy the cheapest I can find, which is usually Target or Walgreens diapers. Pull-Ups are way too expensive.

I have heard the advice before about waking them, but I would rather have a child in diapers than wake my daughter up in the middle of the night! LOL! She wouldn't go back to sleep quickly and then I'd be stuck in there.

I think I am just going to try just not having her wear a diaper to bed. I've come close to trying this before, but always chicken out.

Anonymous,  12:03 PM  

I agree with Leanne. Get rid of the pull-ups. Subconsciously, they know they are there. You might have an accident or two at first, but then it'll stop. I think pull-ups are the worst thing to ever happen as far as potty-training.

Monica 1:35 PM  

What I did with my girls was I would get them up out of bed to go potty right before I went to bed myself. This was usually after they had been asleep for a few hours. I called it "sleep pottying" because they basically went potty in their sleep. They iterally barely woke up. I walked them to the potty, put them on it, they pottied, and I walked them back to bed and tucked them in. After a few weeks of doing this, I stopped it and they were fine through the night.

Katrina,  6:49 PM  

Okay I found with my daughter it was because she was not drinking enough during the day (I thought she was but when we started tracking it she must have been pouring a cup taking a sip and tipping the rest out) We got a drink bottle and marked it to track how much she drank then started to increase that during the day. The reason for this is that the bladder has to get used to expanding to a larger size and be able to hold it to be able to hang on during the night. Another comment is get rid of the pull ups - the kids can't feel that they are wet in them so why should they get up to go to the toilet - ditch them get several layers of waterproof sheeting (so you can just pull one lot off and there is made up bed underneath) and that will help because all of a sudden they are getting wet and uncomfortable when they wet the bed not staying clean and dry like pull ups make the feel.

Jennifer 7:04 PM  

There is a lot of great advice already here - here's my cents worth...

Night time potty training largely happens when their body is ready. Limiting drinks, getting them up a few hours after going to bed, stopping the trainers can help, but some kids are such hard sleepers that it may not work.

There are different techniques you can use if they are still struggling when they are 8 or 9 - but otherwise it is a wait and reassure the child that their body is still learning. Talk to your Pediatrician - each one will have a different opinion on this but if he/she knows your family, you have a valuable resource.

Best of luck.

Denise 9:56 PM  

When my son was still wetting the bed after be fully potty trained during the day, I had the idea to figure out WHEN he was actually wetting. It turned out that he was wetting just before he woke up in the morning. I started getting him up & taking him straight to the potty 30 minutes earlier than his usual wake up time & we had no more problems.

With another of my children, I found that if he had caffeine or sugary drinks at dinner or later he would wet the bed. Only water from dinner on solved his ocassional bed wetting.

Cloth trainers are a lot easier on the wallet than buying pull-ups for years. http://www.kellyscloset.com/Training-Pants_c_651.html

Cynthia,  10:17 PM  

My son just turned 5 and he sleeps so soundly - he always has!! So I am willing to try again - but our house is for sale and I worry that his room will constantly smell like urine, even if I change the sheets as needed. Ideas?

Nae and Clara 10:22 PM  

Great question and an issue we've been dealing with too. My son who is 5 1/2 has just been staying dry and wearing underwear to bed for the last 4 months. My pediatrician was very firm that sometimes kids just aren't ready and it is a non issue until they are 8-10. She said it is very common and when they are ready they'll stay dry. One morning my son just woke up dry and that was it. It was like it just clicked all of a sudden. I was never brave enough to do the no pull-ups thing. For one thing it was annoying enough to have to change wet sheets (he always peed on the top sheet so mattress pads did no good and that was with a pull up on) when the pull-ups leaked and he hated waking up wet so I felt like purposely letting him get wet was more of a punishment. Hope this helps.

Sharilyn 5:56 PM  

I have 5 children. All were totally potty trained before 2. 2 boys, 3 girls. I limit all drinks after 4 pm. No glass at the table with dinner, but I do let them have a small drink if they need it after dinner. Try to allow at least 1 1/2 hours before bed with no drinks.

Jessica 10:30 PM  

I did some "research" on this- my 2.5 year old has been potty trained for only a few months, but she is a champ- just woke up one day as well and never looked back.

She naps in undies but I still did pull ups for bedtime. But I was curious because they were really really really wet in the morning and before potty training her diapers were never that wet.

So I started checking her before I went to bed- dry. Before she wakes up- dry. It is the morning peepee that is filling that thing up. She plays in the bed for a while before coming to wake me up and that is when she is wetting the pull ups. Last night she said they were "bothering" her and she took them off before falling asleep and hopped up and went to the potty this morning.

So tonight I have offered her panties OR a pull-up.. we'll see.

Jessica 10:33 PM  

Oh and I did catch her waking up in the middle of the night the other night and wandering to the potty... she barely woke up and I just happened to still be up. So I know that the physiological connection is there.

3ForTea 6:38 PM  

When I was working in daycare, I learned this trick that has helped with my own children and those of my friends.

Put your child's underwear on first and then put on the diaper or pullup, making sure that it covers the underwear completely. Your child can still feel the wetness against their skin, but the bedding stays dry. This way, the nighttime change is a bit quicker!

Chrissy,  1:51 PM  

My son is 3 1/2 and has been potty trained through the day since 2 1/2. We have recently started trying to night time train him since we're expecting baby #2 next month. He was waking up with dry pull-ups, but it seems as though as soon as I took them away he was wetting through the night. I've tried waking him before me and my husband went to bed, it has worked (he would wake up dry, or wet just before he woke up which was an improvement) however he was SO hysterical that I would even dare wake him that it was almost too stressful. Sometimes I would be in the bathroom with him for 20 minutes trying to convince him that all he had to do was have a pee and then he could go back to bed.

I refuse to buy pull-ups again, but I know my husband is starting to get frustrated and mentioned putting him back in the pull-ups. I told him that if it's not under control (or at least a big improvement) by the end of this week then we'd go back to pull-ups. I think if I keep waking him before bed it will get easier each time.. I hope.

k-jo,  2:20 PM  

My daughter is 61/2 and still wetting at night. Here is what we tried: no liquids after dinner. star charts, treats for dry morning pull-ups & waking her up in the middle of the night. These things were not consistant for us at all. Most often then not she was wetting more than once. We recently took her to a chiropractor. I read that the nerve that sends the signal to the brain can get piched and not send a strong enough signal. We have been to the chiro. 3 times now and I noticed she now only wets once in the night. If I time her wake-up bathroom run right (different all the time) we have a wet free night. I will either continue the chiro. or I am thinking of trying the underware alarm divice.? I have been told that putting a child on the toilet in the night w/o them waking enough themselves to know where they are going can only encourage them to wet in there sleep.?? Maybe a combo of the chiro and alarm will help her get up on her own then eventually sleep through the night. Has anyone had success with the underware alarm/divices?

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