De-lurking...20-month old waking at 4am to pee...Help! - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > De-lurking...20-month old waking at 4am to pee...Help!
citizenfong's Avatar citizenfong 01:53 PM 01-05-2003
Hello. I've never posted, but have been lurking for several months. I hope you all can help me with some ideas, advice, and maybe mostly support.

My ds is 20 months old and has been working on potty training himself for months. Thank goodness I can follow his lead, cause I had no idea how I wanted to approach it other than acting like it was part of the normal progression of growing up.

He started taking off wet diapers by himself at 12 months old. For about a month at 16 months he was indicating to me when he needed to go about 25% of the time for peeing and 50% of the time for pooping. He then lost interest for about two months.

About 1 month ago I casually mentioned that when he started putting all pees and poops in the potty he would not wear diapers anymore but would wear boxers like Daddy and I would make him some with trucks on them. Well, he started practicing going all the time and has been making a steady effort to tell me when he needs to go. He is most consistant in the morning and evenings when he is less distracted than during the day. the past week and a half he has started (not every day, thank goodness) waking up at 4 and 5 in the morning telling me he has to pee. I take him to the potty and he goes! Fantastic, right? Sure. Except he wants me to turn on the light and read him a book or two while he works on going. We go back to bed and he nurses back to sleep. I, on the other hand take about an hour to fall back to sleep once I've fully wakened in the middle of the night.

First, isn't this kind of backwards, LOL? Don't most kids wake up with a dry diaper at some point? I've never heard of a child (especially his age) actually getting up to go in the middle of the night. BTW, when he does this his night diaper appears to have been lightly wet once earlier in the night.

Second, how can I encourage this super effort and still get enough sleep? I've been lucky in that, except for 4-5 nights every two months or so when he's hitting an increase in cognitive development, I pretty much stay asleep when he nurses every 2-4 hours at night. It's been rare that I've had to actually fully wake up at night.

I'm thinking that, if this continues, we may start thinking about some night weaning. I think it would be unreasonable to expect him to wake with a dry diaper and not have to get up to pee in the night when he's nursing several times a night!

There is also the possibility that this is just a phase. Who knows?

Any help would be appreciated!

oceanmommy's Avatar oceanmommy 02:20 PM 01-05-2003
First of all... Welcome to the boards !! I am glad you decided to post. As you know there is a ton of info to be had here.

Wow I 'd say your son's potty learning is ahead of most kids' schedules, but hey go with it. That's great that he wants to learn and seems to have the ability (can take clothes off, notices when he's gotta go, tells you, excited to wear the special boxers, etc).

You're right; he does seem to have it "backward" by waking at night to pee, that's supposed to be the last thing they learn. But apparently your son doesn't know that and is doing it his own way. I don't have much practical advice except to say you are doing great. And if you usaully get to sleep through the night and can't right now... well.. you are in good company.... I bet there's not a lot of moms in this forum who get to sleep all night I would guess this is a phase, and this too shall pass. I hope.

Here is a great link toToilet Learning by Dr Sears

That link is from

it is full of good info. His site might have even more info/links.

Good luck ! And again, welcome to the boards !
YiddisheMama's Avatar YiddisheMama 12:19 AM 01-08-2003

i had a similar problem with dd. she'd wake up, but it was too late, and then she'd be up all night cuz she wasn't tired anymore.

since my mom has experience from toilet training us, i asked her, and did what she said, and it works.

here's what she said:

little kids have very small bladders and they can't hold it in as much. but because they're toilet training, they're getting used to holding it, and they do it subconsciously...until they can't anymore, at which point they wake up.

she suggested that before i go to sleep, or before dh goes to sleep, whichever is later, we should take her to the toilet in her sleep. so i lifted her onto my shoulder, took off the pj's and diaper while she was still sleeping, sat her down on the potty. she did what she had to do, sometimes with her eyes still closed, i put her stuff back on and put her back into the crib.

it worked!

until they get used to it (dd hasn't reached this point yet) and they get out of bed by themselves to go.

good luck!
citizenfong's Avatar citizenfong 01:42 AM 01-08-2003
Thanks for the replies.

I got some good tips from Dr. Sears. It's been awhile since I've been to his site and I hadn't thought to look there.

Chani--what a CRAZY idea! I never would have thought of it. I'd love to try it tonight, but I've got him in a pinned diaper for overnight and it might be kind of awkward. I have some nighttime diapers that are velcro. I will definately be trying that tomorrow night. Even if it doesn't end up working for us, I love trying a creative solution. I usually ending up learning something I wouldn't have otherwise known! Plus I feel better knowing we're not the first to encounter this situation.

sea island mama's Avatar sea island mama 06:24 AM 01-08-2003
There are some great ideas here that I hadn't thought of. Sounds like your ds is doing really well. My dd is 2 1/2 & usually wakes up dry, but if she has to go she usually does, without waking up to tell us. I would suggest that you try a no-stories-at night rule & try to keep the lights low too. Let him know the day before & remind him before he goes to sleep. Also, try to keep all conversation to a minimum. He is old enough to understand that things can be different at night. I don't even talk to dd when she wakes up at night (I do hold her or rub her back) unless she is really crying for me & I'll say "mama's here" or something.
Good luck!
momsgotmilk4two's Avatar momsgotmilk4two 05:09 PM 01-08-2003
It also might just be the way his body is. I know that I could never make it through the night without getting up to go to the bathroom and I don't drink anything in the middle of the night. I've just always up in the middle of the night to pee. I also wet the bed when I was a kid until I was pretty old .
Sahara's Avatar Sahara 07:21 PM 01-08-2003
I don't think it's a phase, I think your DS is just ready to start using the potty. We did EC (elimination communication) with DS, and he wakes several times a night to pee. I have one of those little portable potties next to the bed, and I just slip of his pj bottoms and hold him over that and then nurse him back to sleep while putting his pants back on him. He never even opens his eyes. Once he's back asleep I get up and empty the potty, but it's not a huge disruption. We ues all-in-ones at night with velcro closures. Since he hardly every wets one, we just own 2 and that's plenty.
Good luck!