Any Suggesting for Training a 6 Year Old Still in Pull-ups at Night?

Updated on May 05, 2010
R.G. asks from Sherman Oaks, CA
12 answers

My six, just turned six, year old daughter is verbal, bright, and precocious. She was potty trained at 2.5 but has always worn pull-ups at night which was fine with me as I was told by doctors and friends that it's perfectly normal to have a young child have urine in the night instead of waking them up. But last night, she POOPED in her pull-ups and I was upset with her since I know she was awake for it and could have gotten out of bed to use the bathroom. But she said she was tired. Other times she says she is scared even when we put nightlights. Anyway, how do I train my now 6 year old to sleep without pull-ups at night, Going number two makes me crazy since I feel like that's conscious choice she makes to sleep with a poopy diaper. Any suggestions? PLEASE help!

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So What Happened?

Thank you SO much to all of your support, and encouragement, What great feedback! Yes, I agree with J.T, and Tina G that my daughter is a VERY heavy sleeper and I think it's more laziness than being scared that she won't get out of bed at night. She's a good sleeper and my almost one year old sleeps beautifully in the same room. I'm not going to wake her up during the night, disrupt her much-needed sleep and physically drag her to the bathroom. But I will start limiting her liquids after a certain hour and being better about having her go to the bathroom before bed. She did clean up her poop in her pull-up- I didn't touch or see it. She handled it herself and was embarrassed, asking me not to tell anyone. So, she clearly has a sense of it being wrong. I like the suggestions about starting a pull-up free summer- my husband and I were on the same wavelength since it's a good time, turning six, finishing Kindergarten, approaching first grade and is a good time for a change. She does sometimes have dry pull-ups in the morning. The reward systems are a good idea too, but if she drinks before bed, then I'm setting her up to fail. It's hard to regulate since my older child, 8 year old boy drinks a lot up of water from his water bottle up until sleeping and my daugjhter likes to do the same, but my son is a lighter sleep, often waking to go to the bathroom during the night while my dauther never wakes during the night. So, that's my plan- limit liquids after 7, have her go to the bathroom before bed, start a pull-up free summer and talk about the transition to first grade, being a "big girl" and all that. Thank you again for all your support. Laura S, and J.T- you were especially helpful! You were all great! Thanks!

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answers from Honolulu on

Yup. Sounds like she CAN, but is just choosing to stay in bed. I would set some goals and lose the pull ups. If she pees, it probably won't be every night. Make it a "team thing" and ask her for suggestions as to how to stay dry and clean, and when you should get rid of them. Is she interested in having sleepovers? This is one of those things that not everyone is comfortable with, but lots of kids do at her age. If she wants to have sleepovers, she has to prove that she can make it through the night without a pull-up.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I can completely relate what you're going through! We decided to be Pull-Up free this past month for my 6 y.o. boy. The road is still tough as he goes through sheets, underwear, and pj's like crazy (usually 1-2 changes/ night). However, we do have some dry nights. Don't stress about the urine potty training at night.(easier said than done, right?) It sounds like your daughter (like my son) is a heavy heavy sleeper. Eventually, they'll get it. My husband is a walking example; he had the same issues when he was younger and 30 years later he no longer wets the bed.
Regarding the pooping in the Pull your daughter's mind it was a valid reason to a 6 year old. She was scared and she thought she was doing the right thing for a 6 year old. It's not like she took her poop and smeared it all over her bed- she didn't do it to make you mad. It was the only thing she could do at the time given her current resources. We sometimes have to remember to think like 6 year olds when trying to understand them. After seeing your reaction or talking to you, now she knows not to poop in her pull up at night. Maybe if she didn't have Pull ups to poop in she would have called out for you to come in her room so that she could go to the bathroom. I'm 37 years old and once in a while if I've had a doozy of a night mare, I ask my husband to wake up while I run to the bathroom.- o.k. I'm a chicken, but do you get where I'm going?
Might I suggest that as she ends the school year, you can transition her to a Pull Up free summer? Tell her that since she's getting to be a big girl, the next step is to do away with the Pull Ups. If you want to find something 'middle of the road,' there are some places that sell nighttime underwear (a little thicker/more padding) to soak up urine.
If she still continues to sleep through and bed wet, try talking to your pediatrician about the night alarms or other alternative ways for night time potty training. This is what I'm planning on doing when my son is 7 and is still bedwetting.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

First don't get upset, RELAX, your child gets emotionally affected when you react & over react over the minutia, seriously why are you upset. It happens! Your child is stressed! Also, is your child asthmatic?

Life has to be about a tall clear glass, it is either empty, or full then its either half empty ior half full! It is your choice!

Go to the local library, get some books on potty training. What has changed at home? Check her diet! Make sure it is healthy! Normally children eat an early healthy breakfast, then go to the restroom. If she goes to school, does she use the restroom there?

Explain and create a reward systerm and say you would like a slumber party, yet imagine you really dont wnat the other girls to see that you stilll wear pull-ups?

The plan is to feed her healthy foods, then withing 2 hours, say lets go o the restroom. Make it fun, relaxing, let her read a book while "taking care of business"

Bottom Line relax, anyone can and will have accidents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Hi R. - my doc said to take them away cold-turkey. I was skeptical but they were wet every morning because he knew he could. Once we took them away, he stopped. We still had some accidents and at first took him to the bthroom once a night but only for a while.

I say take them away tonight and let her wear underwear. Be sure that she doesnt drink anything an hour before bedtime, it will help her be successful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Reno on

I have a six year old stepdaughter that was still wearing pull-ups at night when I first met her at 3. I always thought that she would outgrow it within a year or so, but she wet every night until literally a month ago. We discovered that she would intentionally wet her pull-up while she was still awake instead of getting up to pee. It made me really mad because I felt like she was being lazy. So, we took away the pull-ups. She still wet her bed every night, so every morning she would strip her sheets off her bed and put them in the washer. I would set up a stool in front of the washer the night before and make sure it was empty. Then I washed the sheets while she was at school and then she would put them back on her bed after school or at bedtime. I showed her how to do all this and helped her at first, but once she got the idea, it was all her. We did this for about 3 months; it was awful, and we all hated it, especially my daughter. I forgot to mention that she showered off every morning. We also put a soaker pad and clean underwear in the bathroom, so that if she happened to wake up uncomfortably wet at night, then she could change her clothes, put the soaker pad over the wet spot on her bed, and go back to bed by herself.

My pediatrician recommended that we get a SleepDry alarm by StarChild labs. We got it and she started to stay dry within about 4 nights. I will say that the alarm is REALLY loud and also a nightmare to deal with, but totally works. You do have to get up with her when it goes off and help her disable it, change underwear, etc. My daughter HATES the alarm, and we did have to force her to put the alarm back on in the middle of the night, but it was totally worth it. She is also really happy to bed dry. She now wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom if she needs to.

I really think that with our daughter taking away the pull-ups made a big difference in preparing her to stick with the alarm. If we had gone straight from pull-ups to the alarm it wouldn't have worked as well. Dealing with wet sheets everyday gave her a desire to be dry at night. Pull-ups were a crutch, and she never cared about trying to be dry while she was wearing them.

I hope this helps!

Carly C.



answers from Naples on

My 6 yo son is also still in pull-ups at night. (There are more of us than you know!) But it is rather frustrating. He only seems to wet them perhaps 1 or 2 days/week, but that's a lot if you don't have the pull-up to contain it. He once pooped at night when he was about 4, and I honestly think it happened in a deep sleep and he finally relaxed enough to go. At that time, he had started preschool and was afraid to go there. He is almost 7 and we are on the verge of using the "underwear alarm" pants. My sister used them with her daughter and it took two nights, and that was it. Never peed again at night. They are expensive, but I have heard a lot of success stories. Probably cheaper than all the pull-ups I've purchased :/ Good luck to you. You are not alone.



answers from Los Angeles on

Not to worry! My daughter was doing the same thing up until around 6 yrs and wee decided to sit down with her and have a talk about. We explained that because she's a big girl now, the pull ups would no longer be part of her life. Then literally for almost a year we put her to bed at 8pm and pulled her out of bed at 10:30 each night to go potty. She was always half asleep, but we put her there and she went. That would get her through the rest of the night. We would put bed pads down with a towel or light blanket over the bed pad (you can find them online or at target by the Depends. There were a few accidents, but after a while they stopped. I think every child has a psychological and physical readiness at different ages. She just recently got to a point where we'v started to have her go potty right before bed and she gets through the entire night without wetting. We started with giving her stickers every time she had a dry bed in the morning, and it seems that was a big motivator for her. Then if she could collect 5 stickers we would gve her a dollar, or a special "treat". It worked. She was motivated to earn those rewards. Now we don't have to give her anything, just a "good job" is enough for her. Good luck. I know there are also devices that attach to their underwear and sound an alarm when they wet, but I've heard they're cumbersome, and a lot of kids don't like having "equipment" attached to them while they sleep...ours is no exception. She's sensitive, and that just wouldn't work for her.
Good luck!!



answers from Reno on

First what is she afraid of ? Monsters? Bad people? Does she have reason to be afaid at nite? 2nd..who cleans her up? You? If so, make her do it herself and do a good job(time consuming) I think a coouple of times of this and she will not be so indifferent to poopbutt. stop putting them on her
keep her "big girl" panties on her.

Good luck



answers from Los Angeles on

Also, to help during the no-pull-up practice period, there's a website called that sells soft (but waterproof) matress toppers that you can just overlay on top of the bed. That way, she will feel that the bed is a bit wet, but you won't have to constantly change sheets.



answers from Sioux Falls on

Perfectly normal for her to still have wet nights. She was just being lazy and didn't want to get up to poop. If she does it again, make her clean HERSELF up. She will see how gross it is. I would give her a consequence too.



answers from Honolulu on

Yep! tell him/her "no more pull-ups" that the pull-ups are for little babies. I did the cold turkey thing and it worked very well. Just make sure you purchase the vinyl covers.



answers from Fort Wayne on

Does her doctor know that at 6, she still is wearing the pullups at night? I know some kids have bladder issues, but it just makes me wonder because neither of my kids wore pullups at night after being trained for a couple of weeks. I limited their liquid, no drinks after a certain time, and they would wake up dry. My kids are 6 and 7, and in my opinion, not knowing any medical background about your daughter, I would just throw them out. I would tell her that she is held accountable from now on. Sure, you may have a few nights where she wets the bed, but after she has to get up, get cleaned up, change clothes, and HELP you make the bed, I guarantee you she WILL stop. You have to hold kids accountable, otherwise, why would they change? It's easier for her to just wear the pullups you are giving her because it keeps her from having to get up at night. See what I mean? You're enabling her. Both of my kids usually make it all night without having to pee, but if they DO have to pee, I hear them get up from time to time, go pee, and go back to bed. Your daughter is the same age, and she's peeing in a pullup. I'm not being mean, just trying to shed some light on it for you. Take all the pullups, get rid of them, and tell her that she's old enough to know when she has to pee, and to get up and go when she feels she needs to. If she wets her bed tonight, give her a laundry basket, tell her to strip her bed, have her go into the bathroom herself and rinse herself off in the bathtub, give her clothes to change into, and have her help you get the sheets into the washer. I make my kids accountable for things, like when they spill a drink, they clean it themselves.

I know you said she ws scared to get up and go to the bathroom, but this may just be an excuse. You could always leave the bathroom light on, that way not only will the light be on, but it will also flood into hallway. Don't give up after having a couple of wet nights, that will only teach her that she really doesn't "have" to not wear pullups. If she pees, mommy will give them back. Keep with it so she realizes that if she doesn't stop peeing in her bed at night, she's going to keep on having to get up and go through all the hassles that come along wtih it.

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