Oy vey...am I a Lousy Mother? Still in Diapers at Night at 5 Year Old?

Updated on June 25, 2018
J.D. asks from Burbank, CA
17 answers

Hello ladies,

I just got yelled at for 15 minutes by a family member over this, and have been feeling rotten now that we're back home...

But is it completely terrible that one of my 5.5 yr old twins is still wearing a diaper for bedtime? (and is still wetting it *multiple* times per night). His twin brother was staying dry more or less 100% of the time less than a month after both the boys daytime potty trained, but DS2 has never once had a dry night in his entire life.

Frankly, we still use a nighttime diaper--not a pull up-- with him, because he's complained about the pull ups being itchy in the past, and hasn't yet been bothered by wearing a 'regular' diaper. But, after what went down earlier with my cousin, I'm second guessing myself. She was VERY insistent that he needs to be out of diapers, and wearing pull-ups instead--and that we aren't doing enough to push him to be dry.

Is this okay...? I'm close with this family member, and she's been a good mother to her own kids over the years, but this really got to me.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?


Hey everyone!! :) Just wanted to say, thank you SO much to all you wonderful ladies. I was feeling really not great, as this family member has been someone I really leaned on for help and advice in the past when I was still navigating being a single mom with twins. Her going off on me like this and telling me what a crummy mother I was being by allowing this really had me down. CANNOT thank you all enough for reassuring me with this! You're angels!

Neither of the boys have ever made a big deal of it that twin #2 is still wearing diapers to bed, and their both VERY bright, happy kids and are inseparable. Your kind words have made me realize that ultimately, as long as the boys are happy, then I'm happy to be as patient as needed with him being dry at night. As many of you have said--he won't be going to college in diapers!

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answers from San Francisco on

I think the bigger problem is that you let someone (family member or not) yell at you for fifteen minutes over something that's none of their business! Next time you need to say, Mary I hear you but I'm not going to discuss it anymore. If she continues, walk away.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Springfield on

This isn't something either one of you can control. Your son will stay dry through the night when his body is ready to do so. He has no control over this. It isn't something that can be taught.

If you have any concerns about it, mention it to his doctor. But is actually very common for kids that age to not be able to stay dry at night.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If you talk to your pediatrician or even a urologist they will tell you that it is extremely common for kids to have bed wetting issues sometimes till even 12 or 13 YEARS old.
Our son wasn't done with pullups at night till he woke up dry 2 weeks in a row - and that happened when he was 7 1/2 yrs old.

It's none of your cousins business - and next time she opens her yap I'd tell her to shut it pretty darn quick.
I'm mad at her on your behalf for spewing her nonsense in your direction.
On the bright side - eventually someday your child WILL be finished with pullups - but your cousins ignorance will go on for much longer if not forever.
Never care what an idiot thinks.

Apparently Sperrysweet is a 19 year old nanny who has worked with 36 children in her career as per her other answer to another question.
"As the 19 your nanny, Who has worked with over 36 children in my career"

Guess she thinks this makes her some sort of expert - it doesn't.
Disregard her nonsense.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Please keep your children away from this family member. This person does not know what he or she is talking about, and the absolute worst thing would be for this adult to ridicule your child.

This is a developmental issue. You cannot 'train' a child to walk, talk, bring in their own teeth, or wake up from a sleep when their bladder is full. You cannot shame them into it.

My child was still doing this at 7, and he wasn't sleeping at night because he was so wet. We didn't have the options for large size diapers then. We talked to the pedi, who said it's normal but eventually sent us to a pediatric urologist because our son's sleep was insufficient and he was also unable to go to sleepovers. Look up "nocturnal enuresis" which is nighttime bedwetting. It's a thing. It's not a character flaw in the child or a fault in parenting.

In our son's case, by 7, medication was in order. I'm not a "grab every pill they throw at you" person at all, but it was time. He took DDAVP at night until he was 10, then decided to take himself off it. The problem came back, so he went back on it until he was 12, and that was enough. He went to sleepovers and summer camp; camp nurses knew what the med was but for friends' houses, we just said "he needs this allergy pill before bed." Simple, unmarked bottle with one pill in it, no one questioned it. The urologist told us he has kids as old as 18 who aren't dry at night without help. I hope this won't be your child's situation, but honestly, this simple medication changed our lives for the better.

In any case, unless you can make your child's hair grow faster or determine when he is going to go through puberty, you cannot control nighttime bladder control. To be a good mom, all you have to do is recognize the differences in human bodies and let normal development take over. Just reassure your child because people like your relative are going to be horrible to him.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sperrysweet - congrats on writing what is possibly the most misinformed post EVER on this website. Just because you are an experienced “nanny”, you clearly have no medical knowledge regarding this situation. Night dryness occurs when a child’s body begins producing the appropriate hormones for that to occur. For most children, this occurs before the age of 4. But there are a great number that do not produce this hormone until much later, even the teen years. Which is why a synthetic version of that particular hormone is often prescribed, and works quite effectively until the body begins to produce the hormone itself. Trying to train a child to achieve night dryness is as useless as training a young girl to grow breasts, and just as impossible. Please educate yourself before you continue to spread such misinformation.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I can't comment on the bedwetting issue, as we didn't experience that, however it's on here enough for me to know it's a common enough issue, and certainly not due to your parenting. We have had our own issues over the years - and hearing other parents/family members comment on it is not helpful.

I would suggest you not share stuff like that with others if all they are going to do is criticize. You must realize this family member will be judgmental. If you are close in other ways, that's fine, but sharing parenting stuff - maybe not. I have some family members I just don't talk about some stuff with - lesson learned.

Good advice below about the bedwetting.

I had a very close friend who had a number of family members who wet the bed - ran in their family. They tried everything. Back then, there was a little alarm you could purchase. Even that didn't help. Knowing that multiple siblings had the same problem made the kids feel better. All I can tell you is they did eventually outgrow it.

One of my children didn't like sleepovers anyhow because he had trouble falling asleep - and so if your child doesn't do them, it's ok. Has not scarred my child.

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answers from Washington DC on

ETA: It's a shame that someone can come here as a "nanny" and claim a background in ECE and NOT know that this happens - MORE than one would think - and there does NOT have to be underlying medical issues. Maybe she should get her degree in Urology.

Welcome to mamapedia J.!

You really need to stop listening to family members who don't know about night time "training". The body will be dry at night when it's ready and not before.

My not-bio son (I've known him since he was 1, helped raise him - he's now 17 and going to the USAF Academy) wasn't "dry" until 13. Yes, 13. His mom and I tried the alarms, waking him up every 4 hours, medicine, no fluids after 6PM - the whole lot! Finally - we sat back and said enough. When he's sleeping - he's sleeping. Finally at 13 - his body "clicked" and BAM! he was done!

We kept plastic sheets on the bed. We gave him pull-ups (the adult smalls since he was a teenager already) and didn't say squat if he wet the bed. It was NOT HIS FAULT. His body wasn't ready.

My biological children? My oldest son was potty trained in one week. Was night dry that time too. No kidding. My youngest? oh my God. FOUR MONTHS and he was 6 when he stopped wearing pull ups.

It will happen when it happens. There is a HUGE difference between day and night potty training. Talk with your pediatrician.

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answers from Dallas on

This is not uncommon. You might ask your mom and mother in law if any of the kids in your family's had issues. My brothers had problems into teen years, my nephew into late teen and my son. My son's Dr would not even consider meds for him till 10 i believe. We had to change up meds a few times and helped do much. Not always 100%. Her stopped taking them asst 13. Hree 16 now and no problems. The urologist said he was not producing the hormone that told him not to pee while asleep. If your family can not support you then distance yourself. This is nothing you or your son have control over. This is something many don't talk about because they think they are the only ones. But it's much more common than you think.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Google this...your son is fine. Sperrysweet is so off base it’s laughable.

What is enuresis?
Enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting during sleep. Bedwetting is fairly common among children. It is often just a stage in their development. Bedwetting is more common among boys than girls.

Symptoms of enuresis
Enuresis is when an older child (age 7 or older) wets the bed at night while sleeping. This could happen a few times a week or every night. Many kids who wet the bed are very deep sleepers. For most, urinating while sleeping is the only symptom.

What causes enuresis?
Bedwetting is not a mental or behavior problem. It doesn’t happen because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. A number of things can cause bedwetting. Some of the more common causes include:

Genetic factors (it tends to run in families).
Difficulties waking up from sleep.
Slower than normal development of the central nervous system. This reduces the child’s ability to stop the bladder from emptying at night.
Hormonal factors. Not enough antidiuretic hormone is produced. This is the hormone that slows urine production at night.
Urinary tract infections.
Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys.
Abnormalities in the spinal cord.
A small bladder.
When do most children achieve bladder control?
Children achieve bladder control at different ages. If a child is younger than 5 years of age, treatment for bedwetting is not necessary. Many children don’t stay dry at night regularly before age 7. Bedwetting up to that time is not unusual, even though it may be frustrating to parents. Call your family doctor if:

Your child is 7 or older and wets the bed 2 to 3 times a week.
Your child is 5 or older and experiences daytime and nighttime wetting.
How is enuresis diagnosed?
Most children who wet the bed are healthy. Your doctor can help you determine whether your child’s bedwetting is caused by a medical problem. First, your doctor will ask questions about your child’s daytime and nighttime bathroom habits. He or she will do a physical exam and probably a urine test to check for infection or diabetes.

Your doctor may also ask about how things are going at home and at school for your child. You may be worried about your child’s bedwetting. But studies have shown that children who wet the bed are not more emotionally upset than other children. Your doctor might also ask about your family life, because treatment may depend on changes at home.

In many cases, doctors can’t find the cause of bedwetting.

Can enuresis be prevented or avoided?
Enuresis cannot be prevented or avoided. It tends to run in families. It is not something the child can control, so they can’t avoid it.

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answers from Boston on

Your family member might be a good mother but she's a lousy support system for you. Your son is wetting at night which has nothing to do with parenting skills. His bladder hasn't matured yet. Nothing fixes that but time. You can see if it helps to cut our liquids after dinner and wake him up before you go to bed so he can pee but honestly I think he just needs time for his system to mature.

The next time this family member starts to let you know how you are falling short cut her off and say 'I appreciate your concern but its something we are working on and I'm not going to talk about it with you.' If she starts again cut her off again 'End of this discussion.'

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answers from Miami on

NO MORE talking to this family member about your kids' toileting habits. No more. She is being a real jerk to you and you do NOT have to take this from her.

The next time she brings it up, tell her that you don't want to have a conversation about it. If she persists, tell her that you have to go. And GO.

This issue is between you and your child's pediatrician. You go by his or her advice. You do not listen to this family member.

Your child cannot be pushed to be dry during the night. There are kids who wet themselves for years before they stop. Nobody likes peeing themselves all night. Neither does your son. He won't be able to go to sleepovers because of it. He will be made fun of by people if they know about it. I promise you that he isn't doing this because he's lazy or because he wants to.

If you allow this family member to continue to chide you, you are not doing your child a favor. Just because SHE is a mom doesn't mean that she gets to bawl you out over this. She doesn't have this problem. She doesn't have a clue and her opinion is not worth you listening to.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Hi: Please don't feel like a failure. Feel sorry for your child b/c it is terrible for him. My niece took her son to every pediatrician in town and the child was checked with nothing wrong. He continued to wet the bed and when he went thru puberty it stopped on it's own. Poor kid missed every sleep over and felt awful about it. He feels bad enough so don't listen to anyone except a pediatrician. He will stop when his body tells him to. It's tough but don't make it worse for the kid.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Don't listen to Sperrysweet. She doesn't know what she's talking about.
Wait until she's 50, sneezes & accidentally pees HER underwear. What will she say then?
Not every child will develop alike or at exactly the same time, even twins.
Hang in there. The only thing we did to try & help our kids was have them drink more earlier in the day and less towards the last 1 1/2 hours before bedtime. But really we just dealt with the accidents & as they aged they became less frequent. I always had a 2nd set of pajamas & sheets ready just in case. Also, I put a plastic bed sheet over the mattress to protect it then I put one fitted sheet than another one over that in the hopes that if they wet the bed, I could just take one set off. Hopefully the one underneath was dry so there was little being done to awaken the poor child. It often worked. Don't worry it's just a stage that will soon be over.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My son is now 20. He wore pull-ups until he was about 10. Our pediatrician constantly told me it was nothing to worry about and that he promised he wouldn't be going to college in pull-ups. He was right. One day, it just got better. If pull-ups are itchy for your son, then he shouldn't use them. Best of luck to you!

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answers from Portland on

I am thinking your relative was wanting to be helpful and was judgemental instead. Perhaps she is often judgemental? You have a relationship issue. Not a bedwetting issue.

Sperrysweet is cruel and judgemental. You don't have a relationship with her. I hope it's easier to ignore her comments.

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answers from Chicago on

As a mom of 7 year old twins, I can relate and have just this for you momma

a)hugs and lots of hugs to you, raising multiples is not for everyone and only those that can handle it are given this lovely challenge :-). Pat yourself on your back and walk tall.
b)my twins had the same issue and only recently have they stopped wearing diapers at night, their brother tried to tease them once and they gave it back like no tomorrow. Love their sibling bonding
c) I was also told to try many alternative therapies and refocus my energies to training my children. My responses were I) did you pay for the diapers? 2) I will do as I see fit, my twins were doing headstands at 12 months, why don't you train yours to do the same.
d) do what suits you best, the advice on here is very solid, their bodies will tell them when they are ready and you will know, you can suggest, you can hold fluids and a lot more, believe me I tried, but they still wet their beds. The kids feel bad too, they would apologize for increasing my work load, often bring their bedding for wash themselves. I could not have asked for more. I always told them, don't be ashamed, everyone is different and we all have strengths and weaknesses.
Momma you have built them up, you have raised them, only your opinion counts. Its one thing to suggest, but to insist is wrong.
You can either ignore the person or let her know that her words and judgment hurt you.

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answers from Washington DC on

Transition to something more age appropriate like “Good Nights” He’s becoming school age and it may be embarrassing for him to be in diapers. Plus family members are starting to notice, which will make him self-conscious too. Of course you don’t want to rush something that his body isn’t physically ready for, but you don’t really want it to be comfortable for him. Try to create a new normal for him. Cut back on liquids 2 hours before bed and make him use the restroom before laying down. Wishing you the best on night training.

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