Sorry it's taken so long to get back to this topic--it's been a crazy couple of weeks (a wedding, DD2 getting teeth pulled and starting karate lessons)! I want to explain some changes I implemented and share my experience thus far.
Changes to nighttime setup:
1. Ditched the bedrail but left the pillow that was against it there (I find it most comfortable to have a pillow on each side of us, forming a "nest." I rest my arm on the pillow while he nurses so that I stay on my back and just roll him to the other side as needed and this elevates him just enough that we are both comfortable and stable). It's easy to move the pillow to get to the side of the bed now to potty.
2. Ditched the little potty in favor of a bucket and put it on the side of the bed rather than the foot.
3. Bought 4 Bumkins AIO because the applix makes them easy to put on at night, and since they are waterproof I don't need a separate cover or willingness to get wet in case of a miss (I had no other AIO's up til this point). Plus they were on clearance for $9.99/each. I originally envisioned this as an aide to stay dry til we got more in sync and had more catches than misses at night, at which point I'd re-evaluate if we wanted to take the plunge to coverless or diaperless at night, but we're still nowhere near that point yet...
What I've experienced so far:
1. New bedttime routine involves potty then using a prefold plus doubler in a wool cover, pinless and snappi-less. This is the new go-to because I have found that I almost always miss the first pee which tends to be a big one. This is absorbant and easy to remove for the next attempt/diaper change, at which point I switch to the Bumkins AIO.
2. The Bumkins are great! Easy to get on and off for pottying and changes while sleepy and rarely leak during misses.
3. Aiming into the bucket was much easier than I thought--haven't had too many overshoots and I have a fleece blanket on the floor that has caught anything that didn't make it into the bucket.
4. Pottying on the side is much less disruptive to everyone's sleep than pottying at the foot of the bed.
5. DS's desire to potty at night is still unpredictable. At first it seemed we always missed the first pee but then subsequent needs to go would be more obviously bothersome to him and so we were typically catching his 3AM pee and sometimes his 6AM pee (the last one before he wakes up for the day). A couple times it seemed more disruptive to potty at 6AM than to just let it go because he would have difficulty getting back to sleep but clearly be too grumpy to wake up either. So sometimes I'd just let him go in his diaper if it didn't seem to bug him that much. Now the past 2 nights he's seemed to have the same sentiments about *any* nighttime potty--he'll get really disturbed and arch his back when I try pottying him. So the past couple nights I have taken the attitude that I'll only potty him if he seems really like he doesn't want to go in his diaper, which has resulted in zero catches the past two nights as he has seemed quite content to just go in his diaper. So part of me feels like we are back where we started, but actually I think we are in a better place, in that I feel I am following his lead now. If he's in a growth spurt or other phase where he has no interest in nighttime pottying, that's ok; we have a system to deal with that so the bed isn't soaked. And when he gets to a place where he's again more disturbed by going in his diaper than in the potty, I feel I can now more easily handle the logistics of nighttime pottying with our new setup.
I'm open to any further suggestions for tweaking things from here, but in general I feel more able to go with the flow now. Here's hoping for more catches as time goes on!