Night Time Potty Training

Updated on September 13, 2006
A.O. asks from Kansas City, MO
11 answers

I need advice on how to night time potty train my almost 4 1/2 year old son. He wears pull-ups at night and even though we limit or don't allow liquids in the evening he still usually has a pretty wet or sometimes soaked pull-up in the morning. Is this normal to still be so wet, or having to go so much during the night, at over 4 years old? By some standards he was a late bloomer when he began consistently using the bathroom, almost 3 1/2, but even now still has occassional accidents, usually BM's that he says he "didn't feel it coming." These are usually caused from a change to his routine (started new preschool), or he's sick, or just busy playing and doesn't pay attention to his system. I'm not as concerned with the accidents as I am the night time wet. What advice can you give as to how to night time train? Is it too early, too late? Do I wait until he's "ready" like with regular potty training? What are the signs of night time readiness? He is a very heavy sleeper and I'm not so sure that he would wake up when he has to go if I try cold turkey; he usually sleeps right through if he has an accident at nap (no pull-up) or soaks through the pull-up at night.
I'm an educator and would like to think I know a bit about child development -but the potty training thing has always confused and frustrated me. Any advice is appreciated!

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M.G.

answers from Kansas City on

Some children don't stay dry through the night until they are 6 or 7. This is completely normal. It is a developmental thing and no amount of talking to them or promising them things if they stay dry can rush this.

M. G

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D.P.

answers from Topeka on

A.,

I also have a 4 1/2 year old son who wears a pull up at night. Sometimes he will go 2 or 3 weeks without being wet and then all of a sudden he will wake up wet 2 or 3 times in one week. Pay attention not only to what he is drinking before bedtime but also what he is eating. For example, watermelon (which my son loves) is a natural diuretic(sp). Be patient, it will come.

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D.K.

answers from Oklahoma City on

My son 4 years old and he still wears a pull-up at night and it is usually pretty wet in the morning. We just went for a well check-up and the doctor said it is normal. She stated that their bladders are not mature enough yet. She also stated that around 6 yrs old is when they should be able to make it through the night. She told me if after he is 6 yrs old and he is still wetting through the night then she would become conerned and look at other causes. I wouldn't worry about it. I also have friends that went through this with their little ones and around 6 yrs is when it suddenly stopped. My son also sometimes has "accidents" during they day and usually it is because he is playing and not wanting to get up to go...I usually can tell because he starts to dance. He has also starting school and he hasn't used the potty at school yet. He goes at home before we leave for school and waits until after he come home. I think this is all very normal. Kids love their routines and it takes a while to get use to something different. Don't worry if he doesn't grow out of this by 6 yrs old I would start to worry, but for now just buy stock in pull-ups. LOL
D.

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S.P.

answers from Kansas City on

Our five year old occasionally wakes up wet! We take the EXACT same approach as Jennifer H. The only things I can suggest are waking him up just before YOU go to bed, to give him one last opportunity to empty his bladder (When this was a more frequent occurrence I sometimes used to sit our daughter on the potty in her sleep!) and - as lots of people have suggested - consult with your doctor. If it's as frequent and as much quantity as you say, you may want to get professional help. I know this is worrisome and just an extra chore you'd really rather not have. Good luck.

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F.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi A.,

My oldest son was about 5 1/2 when he started staying dry every night for several weeks and we then switched to regular underwear at night. He was potty trained at 2 1/2 during the day. My youngest son has stayed dry almost every night since he was potty trained at 2 1/2. It really is the maturity of the bladder. Your son is not ready. I would not worry about it until kindergarten, it was my pediatrician always said. Boys are more likely to stay wet longer. When he starts staying dry at least most of the week for several weeks, you could try him in underwear. Otherwise you will be washing lots of sheets. I always praised my oldest when he stayed dry and just threw the pull up away when he was wet without saying a word to him. It really was something he could not help because he was a very heavy sleeper. Don't worry your son will eventually stay dry. You may want to try the goodnites, they do not leak at all on the bed.

F.

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J.H.

answers from Kansas City on

My almost 5 year old daughter still wears Good Nights. She soaks them every night. We had a hard time with potty training her in the day and everyone got frustrated (which she has pretty much figured out now). We have decided to let her figure the night time out for herself. She knows that when she makes it 3 nights in a row dry she doesn't have to wear diapers at night. She goes to the bathroom right before bed and as soon as she wakes up but I do not believe in waking them up at night. Kids need their sleep. She's smart and will figure it out on her own soon enough. Good luck.

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J.L.

answers from Wichita on

Try getting him up at night. At first several times then gradually down to once a night. We quit giving my oldest anything after 7 until she learned then we allowed her to go back to having a drink right before bed. My friend had to stop giving their youngest anything to drink after 6. The little one will still have an accident occasionaly however nothing like it was. Course the mother smokes and wakes up several times a night to smoke a cigarette. please keep me posted. if you need you can e-mail me at [email protected]____.com Luck!

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S.G.

answers from Kansas City on

Hello,
My son is also 4 1/2 and still wears a pull-up at night, since he still pees at night. He has been potty trained during the day since he was 2, but he also is a very heavy sleeper. I honestly believe a good nights sleep without any interuptions is more important than him not going to the bathroom at night. I have tried to wake him up at night, cutting out drinks at 6,etc. We tried no pull up, but he would wake up and the bed was soaked, his pajamas were soaked and he was very upset. My daughter who is 6 had no problems and no longer wet the bed at age 3. My husband was worried about our son not waking up dry even after everything we had tried. So I made him ask our pediatrician at his last check up, he said it is completely normal for kids to wet the bed up to the age of 7-10. We decided that it is not worth him beating himself up emotionally for him to stay dry through the night. When he is ready physically he will stay dry, it is not life or death to wear pull ups for his own sense of self worth.

Hope this helps,
Michelle

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S.G.

answers from Springfield on

How funny! I'm dealing with similiar problem w/ our 4 1/2 yo son........he does wear pull-up type pants at night. But, has recently had more dry mornings. I have him go to the bathroom right away in the a.m. so he gets in the habit.(rather than go in the p.u's!) I think it's a more of physical thing with his bladder, and he'll grow out of it.

I was a nanny to a young boy who had nocturnal wetting issues at a much older age than our sons'. His pediatrician said it was a physical development thing...it eventually stopped as his body grew (a bladder thing with boys).

I am not too concerned..I think it will pass.
I was concerned (and posted it on the boards...& rec'd great feedback from the ladies here) that he had wetting accidents during the day. They've stopped almost all together, the second I gave it any negative attention.

Give your little guy some time, and I'm sure it will fade away.
Good Luck!
P.S. I've tried the Dollar General Store's brand and was pleasantly surprised on how well they worked and the comfort/size....plus they are $7.00 for a pkg. of 17...beats spending more money! You might try them.

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A.B.

answers from Lawrence on

My son is 8 and still wears "goodnights" to bed. He is a very heavy sleeper and I know this is the reason that this happens. About a year and a half ago, he broke his arm and was in pain and wasnt sleeping well and woke up a few times during the night to use the bathroom. (He needed help because of his arm is how I know.) If it hadn't been for him braking his arm I would believe there was a problem with him still peeing the bed, but having seen when he isn't fully asleep he does use the restroom, then I conclude it is because he is a heavy sleeper. I have tried the whole limiting liquids and what not, tried waking him up...but none of that has worked. I agree with the others who have said some just develop differently and it's not worth the struggles of making them feel bad for doing it. I know for me personally I would wet the bed from time to time up until I was about 11 or so. It was embarrassing for me! I often times make hints to my son that he needs to go to the bathroom during the night, but I just sort of grin and bare it. Price wise, it's just as cheap to buy the goodnights as it is do wash the laundry every few nights from accidents.

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M.H.

answers from Tulsa on

I would consult w/ your doctor. Heavy sleeper or not, 4 1/2 yrs is old enough that you should start seeing some progress. If he says "he doesn't feel it coming (bm)" I would get it checked out. He might just be to busy and doesn't want to stop. He is getting some pay out in some way for his accidents. I might be the negative attention??

It also sounds like he is still getting to much liquids to late. If he is waking up soaked he has had to much or had it to late. Try nothing after dinner. Give him a SIP if he really needs it and maybe ONE SIP before bed. Explain that when he stops going at night he can start have liquids again after dinner.

Good Luck

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