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X Post Night time potty training

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I also posted this in Toddlers b/c I don't know which area is appropriate for a 3.5 year old. 



DD is 3.5 and has been day time (aside from naps early on) potty trained since 2. She will have an accident now and then during naps now but mostly stays dry. Especially if you ask her to use the potty or ask her to remember to stay dry. At night she wears a pull up and is it soaked in the morning. I'm wondering if we have control over nighttime dryness or is this a developmental thing? I have heard that children will get to an age where they just stay dry at night. I have also heard that liquids at night have no influence (I can see the link though - less fluids in less out). I'd like some advice on how to move her toward being dry at night. Thanks!

post #2 of 12

It's developmental.  Yes, you can limit her liquids, take her in the middle of the night, etc., but you're only training yourself.  Her body will hold it all night when she's ready.


My son was exactly the same way.  We just kept putting pullups on him and then one day a few months ago (he's 4.5 now) he started staying dry and has been ever since.  There's nothing you can do to speed up that process.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing your insight. My intuition tells me that it is developmental but I like to get input as well since I haven't seen much about this on the boards.

post #4 of 12
Nighttime dryness is a developmental issue. There are two mechanisms at work here-- one is the transition to an older-child sleep pattern, which allows the child to wake when the bladder is full. The other is the production of the hormone that suppresses urine production during sleep. Some kids reach this transition very early-- in some cases, even before 2. Other kids take much, much longer-- age 10 or more. In fact, the rate of adult bedwetting (in normal, healthy adults) is around .5%, depending on the study.

The age when it's possible for a child to remain dry tends to run in families. It is possible to begin to condition the child to wake to a full bladder, using devices like alarms, but responsible physicians will not recommend using these devices until around age 6 or 7.

My kids are 4, 4, and 6, and none are consistently dry at night. It's no fun, but I've learned through extensive reading, and discussion with several professionals, that it's a problem that resolves itself with time and patience. We plan on trying an alarm with my six year old, but we're waiting until the summer, because I don't want her sleep interrupted during the school year. It's more important to me that she sleep soundly than that she become dry right this minute. DD1 does get up at night to pee sometimes, but some nights she just doesn't wake-- it's about twice a week that she's wetting. But a wet bed is no fun, so she wears protection every night just in case.

We make use of both Good Nites (disposable bedwetting pants) and washable cloth bedwetting pants (we use Mother-Ease). We don't use Pull-Ups anymore because my kids have outgrown them.

In my experience limiting fluids helps in terms of there's less in the diaper, so less chance of over-soaking it and leaking. But it doesn't help with the basic issue of not peeing during sleep. And waking the child at night to pee can also help less pee get in the diaper, but you have to decide if interrupting sleep is worth it. When I tried it, my kids screamed like banshees at being awoken, and were cranky the next morning, and still didn't have dry pants. So there didn't seem much point.
post #5 of 12

Everyone already gave the same answer, but just wanted to add...We were very lucky and realized DS was dry through the night at 24months.  It actually prompted us to daytime potty learn because we knew he could do it.  It did really make me realize that neither my DH or I or DS had anything to do with nighttime dryness.  No one was waking him up to pee and he was nursing all night long sometimes, he just happens to not have to go at night.

Edited by nelson - 2/3/11 at 4:00pm
post #6 of 12

well....ds was out of pullups at night around 2ish. not long before his siter was born (about 3 months after his birthday)  we rn out of pullups and  we just decided we were done. I didn't want 2 in diapers and he hated the pullups and found them humiliating. you wouldn;t think  2 yr old would care, but he did.


for a while he peed the bed every night and it was a huge pita. then after a few weeks he would have random dry spells (which he had been having with the pullups too). WE started waking him up at midnight to go pee and that worked well. he would stumble to the bathroom, pee and go back to bed, and wake up dry. after a while he started getting up on his own to do it. He still sometimes doesn't wake up on his own and so if we are up late (say 2 AM) and he hasnt woken up himself then one of us will go try to wake him up andget him to go pee.


We have 100% dry nights like this...the only time he wets the bed is if he doesn't get up to go pee OR if he is extremely overtired (like, no nap and then falling into the bed at 11 PM, extremely rare for us) or over stressed. He peed the bed 4 times a night at my parents' house which was a clear indication that something was wrong over there. we have no issues with it all here.


I personally feel like waking him up is worth it. I can't afford pullups for a 3 yr old anyway, and its no trouble to take him potty...takes less than a minute most nights.

post #7 of 12

I think that you should try ditching the pull-ups for a week or so and see how it goes.  I found that accidents were very important for my dd's potty training process during the day and at night.  My dd potty trained during the day at two and a half and a month later decided she was ready to try night time without pull-ups again (she did the day she potty trained a for a few days after but she was too frustrated by the wet at night).  She had accidents a few times the first week then once in a while after that, but after that her body knew what to do at night.  You can get a plastic mattress sheets from many stores and they work very nicely for keeping the mattress protected.  I don't know if some kids just get it or not and I really have to doubt it because even the pull-ups that let kids feel some moisture aren't really that effective. 

post #8 of 12

Just to add to the point that maybe it's a developmental thing, my 4.5 year old, that is also in pull ups at night, will wake up after she has peed because she feels the soaked pull up, but not because she feels the urge to pee.  One morning I awoke to find 3 dirty pull ups in her trash can!  I told her we can't have that!  Too expensive.  She is definitely more tired during the day after nights like that.  I can't imagine waking her on purpose.  I honestly feel it will take care of itself.


post #9 of 12

I'm there too. Pullups at night (well, walgreens brand, very affordable when they are buy 1 get 1 free) and i'm looking into cloth.  Almost 4.5 year old dd.


We get her up (carry her to the toilet), she doesn't mind too much but I don't think she wakes up all the way half the time.  Goes right back to sleep.  I have to get her up twice - about an hour to two into sleep and at dawn.  My DH gets up at 5 and he takes her then.  If we don't get her up, she wakes up and fusses when her pants are wet so, I figure, may as well get her up. 


Also, the rash issue.  She started to get diaper rash which cleared up once she was (mostly) dry at night.


We still have a few nights a week that we don't get to her in time.  I figure it will come.  I'm ok with what we have going on now.


One thing a friend suggested was to put the pullup over panties.  I can see how this might work but it hasn't worked on my DD and I stopped it because the wet panties were wicking.


This summer I am going to try letting her sleep in just panties in her bed, no blanket and see how she does.  It is just soo hard to do that when there are comforters and blankets and other people!

post #10 of 12

I'd say it is both. Peeing in the middle of the night is different than hanging out in bed in the morning/snuggling and having a big pee. Any idea which it is? DS held his urine all night at around 2 but would have a huge flood in the morning, soaking everything. And then have a poop soon after, soaking everything =S It was the reason we started pl. We found that we had to hustle him the potty the minute he woke up for awhile to establish the routine. He has very, very few accidents at 3.5 and has been in underpants full time since at least 3. Now we hustle to the potty first thing and hang out there with books as part of his morning wake up.


So, if she is peeing in the night it is probably developmental and if she has the flood (especially if there are leaks because they are very hard to contain) you can probably change her routine and help her a bit.


ETA: I don't think pull ups are really helpful. Underpants of some sort and maybe a cover or another cloth option are going to reinforce dryness.

Edited by JudiAU - 2/4/11 at 4:00pm
post #11 of 12

Try cutting dairy from the child's diet for a month and see if that makes a difference. There's a protein in dairy that can irritate the bladder lining, making it swell (less holding capacity), and making it harder to avoid 'urgency.' If DS avoids ALL dairy for a whole month and then continues to stay away from it, he is often dry in the a.m., but that's hard to accomplish in our house because DH doesn't think it's truly an issue.

post #12 of 12

ETA: I don't think pull ups are really helpful

I agree that if you've established that the child is capable of not peeing at night, or in the case of the child who's peeing after awakening, pull-ups don't do a thing to help the child make the connection about dryness. I would definitely agree that in a child who's wetting after awakening, or while still awake early in the night, something that lets them feel wet is exactly what's needed to start to make the connection and provide motivation.

However, in the case of a child who's a developmental bedwetter, making the child spend every night wet and uncomfortable seems unkind to me. Take my DD1, for instance-- she's 6. She fully understands that peeing in your pants makes them wet, and she hates to be wet. If she wakes up wet, she changes herself and her own pjs and sheets all by herself. However, she has no awareness of peeing-- she doesn't wake up until she's all cold and shivering-- sometimes twice in a night. She's not lacking in motivation-- she truly cannot help it. And when she wore cloth at night, she was constantly battling rashes. Twice she wound up with nasty vaginal yeast infections, from the wetness. And she deals with the interrupted sleep from having to strip her bed and change her pjs multiple times a night.

In those cases, I think that stay-dry disposable pants are a godsend. (And I'm the hugest advocate of cloth you'll ever met-- had three under three years old, all in cloth at the same time.) They contain leaks effectively, so a child's bedding and clothing stay dry. Even the biggest cloth bedwetting pants available will not hold a grade-school child's multiple pees. They help counteract embarrassment, especially in a child who really WANTS to be dry and just is not physically able. They allow older kids to handle their own wetting in overnight social situations. And they help guard against the effects on the skin from continual nighttime wetness.
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