Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nightime Potty Training and Bedwetting - How to Stay Dry!

My family was on vacation, and the six of us were packed into a small studio apartment.  Some of us were sleeping on inflatable mattresses, and my two older sons were sleeping on a futon on the floor.   One night, my husband and I woke up when we heard our 4-year old start to move around.  Wondering what was wrong, we watched speechless as he proceeded to climb out of bed, stand up, take his pants down, and pee… on his older brother who was sleeping on the floor futon.

“Noooooo!” shouted my husband.  “Stop!”

My 4- year old, startled awake, looked up at him with big eyes.  Then he calmly pulled up his pants, turned around, and crawled back into his bed. 


And my oldest son, now a little damper than a few minutes ago, was still snoring away!

I guess it’s best that he not know what happened to him.  

We’ve been working on nighttime potty training with my youngest for the past several months.  He can make it through most nights dry now.   That was actually the first time he woke up on his own to go pee in the middle of the night.  So… we were kind of happy that he did that.  But not so happy that he chose to do it on his brother!

Every child learns how to keep dry at night at a different age.  My oldest son took forever it seemed.  He is a very deep sleeper which makes it harder for a child to recognize that he needs to go in the middle of the night.  My second son and my daughter did it nearly instantly.  And it looks like my youngest one is going to be somewhere in between.

In general, children achieve nighttime dryness by five to six years of age.  

How do you start nighttime training?

1.     1.) Limit fluids after dinner.  Any fluid that your child drinks will become urine in the next few hours.  If she drinks a lot before bedtime, she will have to pee in the middle of the night.  Give your child plenty of fluids during the day.  If your child says she is thirsty before bed, limit fluids to a small sip just enough to wet her mouth.
2.       2.) Have her go to the bathroom before going to bed.  This will empty the bladder and improve chances of success.
3.       3.) Wake your child to go to the bathroom before you go to bed.  Assuming that you go to bed at least 1-2 hours after your child, you can help your child empty her bladder of the urine produced from the liquids that she drank in the evening.  Don’t expect your child to be fully awake.  Just guide her to the bathroom and help her go.
4.       4.) Training pants – these are an easy way to prevent having to change the sheets in the middle of the night.  However, since they are absorbent, your child won’t notice the wetness.  This will not really help with nighttime potty training but will keep the bed clean.  If your child is mostly waking up with dry training pants in the morning, then you are ready to switch her to regular underwear at night.
5.       5.) Waterproof pads – These are great for making changing wet sheets at night a simpler process.  Just put one on top of your bedsheet.  If it gets soiled, just pull it off and instantly the bed is dry again!  I highly recommend buying an oversized one like the one shown to cover more area on the bed since children tend to move around on the bed in their sleep. Summer Infant Ultimate Training Pad Waterproof Training Pad

For children who are heavy sleepers, it can take longer to potty train at night.  Sometimes bedwetting alarms can help if your child is old enough (usually eight years or older).  Also if your child is taking medication that can make him drowsy, such as some cold or allergy medicines, he may sleep through the feeling.  

Fifteen percent of children are still wetting their beds after the age of 6 years.  So, don’t get too frustrated or angry because your older child is still bedwetting.  It can be very normal.  The age for being nighttime dryness can be genetic.  So, if either parent was a late bedwetter, then the child may also take longer to learn to stay dry at night.
If your child used to be dry every night and is starting to wet the bed regularly, then there may be a problem such as a urinary tract infection and you should take your child to the doctor.  Or if your child is wetting so often that he cannot participate in activities such as sleepovers or overnight camp, then your child’s doctor may have medication to temporarily help him stay dry.  The good news is that everyone manages to stay dry at night eventually!
Sleep well, and thanks for reading!