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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some serious advice here.

We have been having a problem in the middle of the night with my 3.5 yo dd. She has been potty trained (including all night) since age 2, so for far over 1 year. She has only had one nighttime accident and that was while on vacation. We co-sleep. Up until 1-2 weeks ago she seldom woke at night to use the bathroom. And if she did, it was never more than once. About two weeks ago she started getting out of bed several times before going to sleep to use the potty. That is fine with us. she goes to bed when she chooses (although we do suggest bed when she looks tired and it is typically the same time each night), is free to be awake if she wants. We are still awake at that point so if she wants to sit on the potty one million times, that is fine with us. About a week ago she started doing the same thing in the middle of night. She will go, come back, then go again 3 minutes later. Repeat 1-10 times. It has gotten progressively worse over the last week. Last night she was up and down for about 4 hours from midnight until 4am. This keeps us all up. The entire house. During the day she is not going more often than usual nor does she complain about having to go.

She has a doc appointment this afternoon to rule out UTI or any other medical problem. I would be very surprised if it came back as something like that. I just do not see the symptoms during the day. And when asked about it, dd will say herself that she is getting up because she does not want to be in bed. We can hear her on the potty and she is not peeing. A couple of times I have gotten up myself only to find her playing with her bath toys on the floor. However, I am still taking her to the doc because I want to be sure.

I have severe insomnia and dd has displayed symptoms of having the same since pretty much birth. She has been an awful sleeper from day one. I highly suspect she is waking at night and cannot fall back asleep. But dh needs to work and I also need to sleep. We have explained that she is free to go into her room and read or play but that she cannot be keeping us up.

I am at a loss as to what to do. We do not use punishment or rewards in our family. Frankly, stuff like this never comes up where we cannot come to an agreement. I really do not know how to handle this. It is sort of a special case in that dh and I have a lot less flexibility with this particular issue since dh has to be at work in the morning and I have sleep troubles myself. I cannot nap during the day to make up sleep as dd gave up her naps at age 2. She is usually not willing to take one even when sick or very tired. I obviously cannot leave a 3.5 yo unattended while I nap. And because of my insonmia, it is strongly recommended that I do not nap during the day anyway. And that is all moot as, like dd, no matter how tired I am I cannot sleep during the day.

I have talk and talk and talked to dd. Trying to find out if she is scared, needs some special arrangement, REALLY has to pee, etc..... I do not feel like I am getting through to her at all. I am worried because she is starting to get anxious about bedtime because we are getting quite short with her in the middle of the night. She is not used to that. And the LAST thing I want to do is create stress around sleeping.

Has anyone else been through this? Any ideas on things we could discuss that would help her understand? Or maybe we are missing some obvious compromise I could suggest? I am looking for non-punative (and reward) suggestions. Just knowing it was a "normal" phase would go a long way for dh and I.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update for the whole 8 people that might have read this thread. We went to the doc. We will not know for sure until Wednesday when the culture is complete but the doc did not think she had a UTI. No blood or bacteria in her pee. Even at this particular antibiotic-happy office, she did not think we should put her on precautionary antibiotics....whcih is good as I would probably not be willing to consider it until the culture cam eback anyway. Dd has never been on them before.

Anyway, still looking for ideas. Dh and I are alreday getting nervous about tonight......
 

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Sorry, i don't have any advice, but i just wanted to say that i hope you can figure it out and come up with something that will get you all the sleep you need
 

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What about moving her to her own bed? Would that be helpful? Maybe she is waking from noise or movements by you or dh and she thinks 'I woke up, I must need to pee'.
 

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Yooper, we actually had a similar problem with our dd right around the time she turned 4. She'd lay down to go to sleep, then get up several times saying she had to pee, had some trouble falling asleep. She was up in the middle of the night sometimes too. Took her to the ped. to rule out UTI. The ped. asked if she was constipated, as this can cause kids to feel like they need to pee frequently especially when they lay down (stool putting pressure on the bladder). But dd wasn't constipated. So I did some searching of ye olde internet and found that it's rather common (or at least not all that uncommon) for young children to just go through phases of urinary frequency like this (I don't still have the references to back this up). So we chilled out, and it went away in a couple of weeks (of course, this was no problem for us because we were up at night with a nursing baby anyway so it caused no more sleep deprivation than usual).
 

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It really sounds as though the problem is that she is waking up and unable to fall back asleep, and she just doesn't want to lie there..so she gets up. She doesn't know what to do with herself, so she gets up to go to the bathroom, since she knows that is a typical middle of the night activity.

Instead of focusing on the peeing (which probably has nothing to do with anything, since you said that she doesn't always pee, and sometimes just plays), I would focus on the insomnia. Did anything change in her diet, which could cause her to wake up...hidden food allergies? Any other stressors in life? Could she be reacting to something else, going to bed too early, too late? Could there be too much light in the room? I sleep much better in TOTAL darkness, then if there is even light coming from under the crack under the door.

I woudl talk to her about sleep and bed. Teach her the importance of sleep and ALLOWING her body to fall back asleep (you can't fall asleep, if you are in the bathroom playing). Personally, I think getting up in the middle of the night, is not a great idea if one can't sleep. Maybe give her some ideas, to help her fall asleep. Suggest the old "counting sheep" trick...or thinking about something happy "remember good times" or planning for a future party. I don't know if you are religious or not, but I was always taught that middle of the night insominia is the perfect time to pray. Of course all this implies that she can think "quietly" in her head, and won't just be talking out loud...I am sure you don't want that.


Also, hylands makes some good homeopathic remedies for insomnia. There is one for insomnia and one called Calm, or something like that. I take them myself, if I wake up in the middle of the night, and can't sleep..and they really DO help. Would she be willing to try that?

Really, I would focus on the "can't fall back asleep thing" and not the bathroom thing. Sounds like the bathroom is just a diversion for her..and her urinary tract is just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone! I think there is a good possibility that she is indeed waking and not able to fall back asleep. I know that feeling well. We have been talking a lot about happy thoughts. It has been sort of cold and nasty here and I have been without a car most days so I also suspect she is not getting enough energy out during the day. We are going to work on that. It is a beautiful day today so i am going to get some playtime into the day.

Anyone think it would be a REALLY bad idea to get some bedtime stories on CD for her to listen to when she wakes?
 

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We have a similar scenario at our house... DS is a crappy sleeper, I'm a crappy sleeper, and DH has to work early in the AM. DS does go through phases where he will wake up and not be able to go back to sleep, whereupon he starts a crying fit that lasts for hours until I drag myself out of bed and let him play for a while, then we go back to sleep. When it happens, nobody sleeps.

What I've started doing when he does this is quietly explaining to him that he will not be allowed to get out of bed until the sun is up. If he starts to cry I ask him to please be quiet, mama and baba need their sleep so we can work the next day. I rinse and repeat these statments until he goes back to sleep (and he does eventually fall back to sleep). We cosleep, so I'm always right there with him during these episodes.

I think that 3.5 is old enough to take other people's needs into consideration. It is important for us (DH and me) to sleep so that we can work the next day. I don't feel comfortable letting him get up while I'm sleeping, so I enforce this rule. We don't have a lot of rules in our house, but that's one of them.

It has worked for us the last few times he's done this. I'm sorry you're going through this I know how hard and exhausting it can be.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Anyone think it would be a REALLY bad idea to get some bedtime stories on CD for her to listen to when she wakes?
My initial remedy to our situation was letting him watch an hour of TV when he woke up. It worked, in that he would go to sleep after he watched TV, but set a bad precedent, IMO, in that he thought every time he woke up he could watch TV. But if you're desperate and don't want to enforce the "night is for sleeping" rule, go for it.
 
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