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Overnight Potty Training for My 4 Year Old Daughter

Hi- My almost 4 year old daughter has been daytime potty trained since she was 2 with no problems. My problem is getting her through the night without an accident. She wore pull-ups for a while until she was ready to do the "big girl" underwear at night. My problem is she does not stay dry. I have cut all liquids after 6pm, I make sure she uses the bathroom before she goes to bed (8pm) but she still wets the bed. The biggest problem is she doesn't wake up even after going, so she ends up sleeping in it all night and is getting almost like a diaper rash from the wet underwear. For about 2 weeks, I even got her up at 11:30pm and put her on the toilet (half-sleeping) and made sure she peed thinking that would get her body used to getting up at that time and it would become automatic for her. That didn't work either. I am so frustrated. I do not believe this is a game for her. I honestly feel like she sleeps so soundly that she doesn't even realize it has happened. Is this normal? Is this something I need to talk to doc about? I am really unsure what to do and am at my wit's end. She stays dry an average of 1 night per week and I really make a big deal out of it when she does. I do not punish her, tho' if she does have an accident, I just remind her to try to wake up next time. I think I am doing everything right. Can anyone help me? Thanks in advance

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So What Happened?™

Thank you for all your great advice and encouragement. It is nice to know that other parents have had this same problem. Clair and I had a talk and I explained that she would wear pull-ups until she is ready to wear big girl panties at night. She is totally fine with that and in the last week has even got up in the night a couple of times to go. When she wakes up dry, we have a little celebration and a high five and we are both dealing with it much better. I am going to get her to a chiropractor as well and she if an adjustment might make a difference. Thanks again. I really appreciate all the input!

Featured Answers

I have talked to the doctor about this same issue, and he said that it is very common. I have a son who is 8 and still wears pull ups at night. There are 2 websites where you can buy alarm systems (or something like that)bedwettingstore.com and dri-sleeper.com. I have heard great things about their products. I am planning on buying an bed wetting alarm in the next couple of weeks, because I am also at my witts end with this. My brother was a bed wetter until he was 7 when my mom tried the alarm and it worked wonders. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter went through this and I tried everything, including all of what you have tried with you daughter so far. The pediatrician told me that sometimes the bladder just isn't developed enough to be able to make it through the night. My daughter was finally able to stop wearing pull up at age 8. It was hard and she was embarassed about it, but she couldn't help it. Pull-ups are expensive but they do have large sized plastic pants. My daughter slept in it as well. There are beeswax based ointments that would help with the rash. Time will help her grow out of it.

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I think every kid is different on this one, and it depends on something in their nervous systems? that's what i have heard anyway. My son just started not wearing diapers at night at 5 years old. I know a lot of kids, boys especially who are still in them at 7 and 8. My son expressed an interest in not wearing a diaper at night (he gets up every night and comes into bed with a parent), so we said he could take his diaper off after half the night at first (so when he gets up to come in), and then we told him his diaper had to be dry in the morning for three days in a row before he could go without, which he did right before his 5th bday and has only had 2 accidents since (over a 4 month period). he just seemed ready. i think i might try to get her back into diapers at night, maybe find out some older friend she thinks is cool who also wears them to help her not feel like it's a baby thing or a punishment, and just wait til she has a dry diaper more often. i might just say, you're body's telling us it needs a little more time/help from diapers, and then before we know it, you won't! we'll know when there are some mornings in a row with no wet diaper. good luck!

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S.~ I was seriously going to ask the very same question to the world of moms....and then I read yours. My daughter is older than yours and has had some medical issues as well. She, too, wets in the middle of the night. She tells me she's had a bad dream when she wakes up in the morning. I do not punish her for her accidents, I think she sleeps through them and is more upset about it than I am. We celebrate when she makes it through the night dry. But what to do in the meantime is what's got be baffled. I know I didn't offer any advice, but I did want you to know you're not alone! Good luck...to both of us.....

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Hi S.-
My daughter was the same way- she just sleeps so soundly, nothing would wake her up- even going pee in her sleep. We tried everything you have tried, no liquids before bedtime, waking her up to go before I went bed, treats if she stayed dry for a certain number of nights in a row, etc. I spoke to the pediatrician about this at her 5 year check up and he said they don't even begin to worry about bed wetting until the child is 8 or 9 years old. He said just to keep doing the pull-up thing at night and that her bladder would eventually catch up. I finally just accepted that she was probably going to wet the bed at night and just decided to let it go- and wait until her body was ready. I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but finally just after she turned 7, she was dry and night and has had no accidents since (she is now 8). She now gets up and goes during the middle of the night. I know it is frustrating to be doing all of the laundry, but it really is not their fault- it is just how their bodies were made. I hope this helps. I also have a friend whose son went through the same thing- he was finally dry through the night around age 6 and a half- and her pediatrician told her the same thing mine told me.

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Hi S., I am a 60 yr old Gramma now but when I had my young boys, my oldest wet the bed at night till he was 6. I to would get him up a couple times in the night and he had his eyes open so assumed he was awake. I had him standing in front of the toliet one night eyes open and told him to go potty and he just stood there. I spanked him thinking he was just being stubborn. He of course cried and went potty. The next night was the same as many befor. I finally came to the conclusion when I got him up to go although his eyes were open, he was sleep walking as he did at times and didn't even know I had got him up or that he had wet the bed.
My suggestion is to keep a pad under her and save the bed. I think she will outgrow the bed wetting.

1 mom found this helpful

I would definitely talk to your Doctor about this just to make sure there is not a medical "problem", but I will tell you that my daughter has had the same issue. My Doctor informed me that this can be normal for many kids and can last for several years (not trying to depress you here). I have three children and she is the only one who had had this issue. My daughter is now 8 and has outgrown most of her nighttime bed wetting--although she still has occasional accidents.

I was so sure something was "wrong" with her, and the doctor really put my mind at ease. Also, I found out that both my mother and my husband's father had this "problem" when they were younger, and they were afraid to tell their parents because they got in trouble. As frustrating as it can be, I've had to be careful not to get upset at my daughter and realize that this is not her fault.

This is so hard for the child as well because they feel like they are doing something wrong, even though they have no control over it. Plus, we couldn't let her go to sleep-overs for a long time because she had to wear pull-ups at night and was afraid she would be made fun of.

If you see the doctor and he tells you that this is normal (no medical issues causing it), do everything you can to support your daughter and to encourage her that she is normal and that she will, eventually, grow out of this. I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

My 6 1/2 year old daughter still wets every night too. But my other daughter started waking up a age 3 to go. So I know it is just a genetic thing she got from me. I remember wearing diapers at night till 7 or 8 year old, then I just started waking up. My mom used to set her alarm clock for the middle of the night when she was a child. They now have wet "alarms" out there, but my bet is that your daughter would sleep through an alarm too at this age.
My advice is to just put her in a pull-up at night till she starts waking up to go or waking up dry. (Takes the stress off of everyone!) I've also seen washable overnight underwear made for bed wetters in magazines/web sites like One Step Ahead. That might save you some money in the long run. If you're really concerned, talk to your doctor, but it isn't uncommon for 4 year olds to wet the bed every night. I'm sure your doctor and other web sites would have statistics so you can see how common it is.

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It can't hurt to ask the doctor about it. I can offer some experience though (not with my own kids, but with relatives). My brother was daytime potty trained around 2, but didn't get fully night time trained until after he was 9 years old. He just always would wear pull ups at night. My mother didn't talk to a doctor about him (at least not that I'm aware of) but he eventually grew out of it. My cousin (girl) was daytime potty trained early, and still had bed wetting problems until she was at least 10. I remember her being on some kind of medication for it, though. She also eventually grew out of it. Neither of them made it to junior high or high school with bed wetting problems. Some kids just have a tougher time controlling or realizing the urge to go at night. It would save you (and your washer) a lot of grief to keep her in pull ups at night, though. You can let her know that it's not a punishment, but you just don't want her to have to wake up wet and with wet sheets. Make it seem like it's something to help keep HER more comfortable. Anyway. I don't think it's abnormal, but I also don't think it could hurt to talk to her doctor about it. If she's almost 4, she probably has a routine visit coming up soon anyway, right? Good luck.

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I have helped to potty train a few children. There are a few things you can do.

1st - try waking your daughter up every hour after she goes to bed and take her to the bathroom and then after a few days take it down to 2 hours. It will be hard at first but it trains the brain to wake up.

If she is sleeping to deeply she might need extra help. She might need to see a doctor to make sure everything is ok. I had one child I worked with that his bladder was underdeveloped up to the age of 14. I took him to several doctors but all they would do is tell me to wait until his bladder stretched and developed more. Finally I found a doctor that gave him a nasal spray. He used it for about 4 months until his bladder was able to stretch enough to hold the urine all night. He was able to stay dry within about 3 or 4 days.

At least it would put your mind at ease if you took her to the doctor and it would let you know she is ok. Don't be surprised if the doctor asks a lot of personal questions so he can eliminate emotional problems.

Also, you might want to find the peri pads (but larger) like the ones at the hospital to have her sleep on so that the urine will seep into the pad and help so she does not lay in it all night. You might try "Bag Balm" for her rashing. It can be found in the first aide area or in the baby area; usually in a small square green can.

Don't forget to continue to reassure her and let her know she is ok and you are there to help in any way you can.

1 mom found this helpful

It is a fact that some childrens bladders don't mature enough to stay dry through the night. You have done EVERYTHING you possibly can and should pat yourself on the back for being such a great mother. I believe the best solution is pull ups until they stay dry most of the time. I would expain the fact that her bladder isn't big enough to make it through the night and ask her if she would wear big girl pull ups at night until she stays dry most of the time. I would explain that she is doing a wonderful job being a big girl, but her bladder needs to get a bit bigger to catch up with how great she is doing.....GOOD LUCK!!!

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