In Training

We’ve been working on getting Little Miss Sunshine to stay dry through the night. This is one area of parenting where I have no idea what is normal. Both of our older kids spontaneously started staying dry overnight on their own, one at a freakishly early age, the other at an age well past that of most kids. In both cases we were pretty laid back about it, figuring they’d sort it out eventually, and so they did.

We’re being more active with the Little Miss, though, because she noticed that her older brother and sister don’t have to wear hot, uncomfortable pullups to bed, and she didn’t want to either. It was really important to her, so we agreed to give it a try. Plus, with Ottawa going to every-other-week garbage pickup, it’s nice not to have a bag of smelly pullups sitting around in the summer heat. Oy.

Our strategy has been basically to wake her up for a pee break when we are going to bed. At first we were waking her around 10 p.m., and then if either of us happened to be up in the wee hours for any reason, we’d take her a second time, too. This worked about half the time, but over the past couple of weeks she’s really started to get the hang of things and it’s been going well.

So now, we’ve started trying to wake her later and later each night, to try to teach her to eventually, ONE HOPES, stay dry all night. We’re now up to waking her around 11:30 p.m., and man, I am getting too old for that shit. Sir Monkeypants and I have been rotating Pee Duty on about a two-to-one ratio – he’ll stay up two nights in a row, then I’ll take a shift, then he heroically goes back on. This has resulted in a pretty predictable pattern of Nice Mommy – Nice Mommy – Cranky Mommy, which is unfortunate, especially at this festive time of year, but we are muddling through. It’s worth it for the dream of being totally, completely diaper free.

Anyway, my real point here is that when you go to wake up the Little Miss in the middle of the night, you have to carry her to the bathroom and put her on the potty yourself, where she is guaranteed to pee immediately 100% of the time (she’s a machine!), then you have to carry her back to bed, and in the morning she’ll have no awareness of even having been up. That’s adorable, but really freaks me out is that when carrying her to the bathroom, SHE. IS. HUGE. I mean, legs dangling everywhere and she weighs a metric ton and she can wrap her arms around my neck about 10 times they’re so long. When I’m carrying her, her head is now higher than mine and she has to contort into some circus performer pose to rest her head on my shoulder (which she does, all the while not even waking up fully), and it’s like I’m carrying some sort of mutant monster baby.

She’s only five…and yet, so very grown up.

Despite the Cranky Mommy status, I think I’ll hang on to Pee Duty for a few more weeks, yet.

13 thoughts on “In Training

  1. Honestly, you are making it really hard on yourselves! Her body is simply not ready to make it through the night without wetting. Once her body syncs up with a growing bladder and messages to the brain she’ll do it. Save yourself the backache, nightly jaunts with an octopus and stinky pull ups. Buy some nice, comfy, natural, breathable, cloth bed wetter pants. You will all be much happier!

    • I feel the same way, frankly, and I was more than happy to let the older two sort it out on their own. With the youngest here, we only agreed to try intervention because she was the one who wanted it – and I have to say, I’m surprised, but it does seem to be working. I guess maybe her pressure to sleep without was maybe her signal that she was ready? Who knows, toilet training is a mysterious thing.

      In any case, thanks for the tip about cloth bed wetter pants – hadn’t heard of those before. We will be travelling over the holidays so I am going to try to pick some up!

  2. we are doing the same with the jellybean. though he has a potty in his room that we make him sit on (there is no toilet upstairs and there is no way i would carry him down!) then again, i rarely do pee duty because the hubby goes to bed around midnight every night, so it works out well. we are using the bed pads rather than the pull ups. i figure his body will figure it out eventualy but i worry about him wanting to go on sleep overs. it just can’t happen unless he wears a pull up and there is no way he will go back into them. the hubby said he was a late bloomer on the over night dryness so i am figuring it will happen eventually. though i do worry that us waking him up every night isn’t helping his body figure it out. and he won’t be able to fit on his tiny diego potty much longer!

    *le sigh*

    • It was the same for us and our middle child – she was a late bloomer and we worried about it. But she did sort it out eventually, and quite suddenly too – it was like she just one day decided to be dry, and that was that. So it’ll happen!

  3. K, so I don’t have kids as you know. But don’t they have a type of product for kids in training so that they feel wet? Would that help wake her up when she needs to go?

    Just a thought. All the best!

    • Yeah, that’s the pullups we had, and no, didn’t wake her up. Or any of the others, for that matter. I think we have a set of heavy sleepers on our hands, which actually, I cannot complain about at all. But in happy news, the training is actually going very well and we’ve had a lot of success this week, so yay! Only – no more carrying the baby around at night, so – Boo! You can’t have it all, I guess :).

  4. Every child is different. Our first son somehow spontaneously, miraculously night-trained himself (or I was too sleep-deprived to remember it happening). With number two we did the “carrying to the bathroom at 11:00 p.m.” thing.

    While, yes, it’s nice to think their bodies will magically tell them when it’s biologically time to night train, if you have a child who’s socially aware they want to do it sooner, you can’t deny that.

    No simple answer except I have it on good authority that bribery does work as an incentive (i.e. pick something you really want and after five dry nights you can have it – maybe it’s something as simple as a sleepover with her big sister).

    Also, we had both our kids’ mattresses made for us at Hardy Mattress in Westboro and they will cover one side in hospital vinyl if you ask them. Brilliant! It takes away worry about nighttime pee accidents as well as all the other “fluid-related” accidents that can happen as kids grow up. I love being able to shrug my shoulders, say “oh well” and literally wipe the mattress clean.

      • We also have a couple of rubber-backed Kushies pads (flannel on top / rubber on back). I used to make the bed with these placed in the “strategic zone” most likely to get wet. I’d put them between the mattress pad and the fitted sheet. They aren’t crinkly like disposable pads and you just wash them if they get wet. Several times this limited an accident to just requiring a new set of sheets as opposed to removing and washing the mattress pad too. These can also be used if the “strategic area” changes – i.e. if they’ve thrown up once and you’re just not sure they’re done… Also good for travel if you don’t want to have to face your mother-in-law about a wet bed – just put them in a plastic bag and take them home to wash!

  5. We have a great waterproof mattress pad from Amazon which goes under the fitted sheet and it hasn’t failed us yet. For extra safety we also put a towel down under the fitted sheet. T is 3 and is just recently day-trained, and is working on staying dry during her nap. She’s good about 75% of the time. We’re not brave enough to attempt night just yet, mostly because she wakes up SOAKED still and we hate changing sheets in the middle of the night. I’m also down with the “wait and see” approach.

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