My take on Pull Ups: get out of them as soon as possible! Easier said than done, of course.
Bed wetting is a common challenge for children (and their families). If your child is wetting the bed you certainly know that may be the understatement of the week. You’re not alone in your struggle to help your child stay dry at night, even if it feels that way at times. Know this, I talk about bed wetting every single week in clinic.
Bed wetting is familial and fortunately, often improves simply with time. Watch the video for more information, but the cliff notes: although Pull Ups are convenient, at times they may hinder and prolong bed wetting. If your child is potty trained but wears a Pulls Up/diaper at night, never having tried a night without them, there may be less incentive to potty train. Achieving nighttime dryness demands connecting their brain with their bladder. If there is a diaper on, there may be less motivation to form this connection.
Of course, achieving full potty training success is a huge milestone in every child’s life. It’s a big one for most parents, too. Remember, bed wetting is seen in up to 40% of 3 year-olds, 20% of 5 year-olds and even 10% of 6 year-olds. Watch the above video for my take on Pull Ups and ways to support your child, when ready, to ditch them.
Potty Training and Pull Ups, DO:
- Try to get out of the Pull Up from time to time. Don’t force it, but if you child is interested in giving it a try without one, do it!
- Set your child up for success: limit fluids after bedtime, consider waking them to pee at 10 or 11pm, and light the path to the potty so they know how to get there in a hurry.
- Tell your child it’s not their fault for wetting the bed.
- Tell your child if one of their parents was a bed wetter. Chances are, they were! Provide them support.
- Celebrate success whenever it happens (any dry nap, dry night, less pee than usual, getting from the bed to the potty in the middle of the night).
Potty Training and Pull Ups: DON’T:
- Don’t punish a child for wetting the bed. Even when you’re uber frustrated cleaning the sheets for the one hundredth time, to do your best to hide disappointment when your child wets the bed. This will only increase your child’s anxiety and frustration.
- Don’t assume your child can’t make it through the night without a Pull Up. If they are dry during the day and dry during naps, I’d certainly give it a try without them.
- Don’t force your child out of diapers or Pull-Ups if they resist. If resistance arises, back off and try again in a few weeks or month’s time.
Thanks for the article… any suggestions for how to help a child who is in underwear 24/7, sleeps 9pm-7am, but wakes up once a night (on her own) to go potty—but only about 50% of the time is dry? Limiting fluids doesn’t seem to be enough, but I go to bed right after her, so there’s no taking her potty when I go to bed or something like that! I’ll admit, this very morning I felt tempted to bring back the pull-up…
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
I think you’re doing a great job! 50% of the time is great and something to celebrate. I don’t know how old your child is, which may be relevant..and may not be. I’d say this, ask your child what they would prefer. Do they really get bothered when wet or after a wetting episode at night? Is it okay for them to to help change the sheets and their jammies in the AM? If they are feeling proud and successful with the 50% rate, I’d say keep it positive and keep it up. Alternatively, if your child is frustrated or anxious or disappointed because of the wetting, then I’d say, ask them what they think about Pull-Ups. If they are really interested in being back in them because of frustration or anxiety you could do a week with them, etc. And then try again with underwear. But, like I said in the video, I think if you’re behind Pull Ups and doing well, I’d keep it up and hopefully with TIME, that 50% success rate will grow and grow! Pull Ups may be a step in the backwards direction, but it all depends on the attitude of your child. The best thing on your side is with time, this will likely improve without any intervention.
Treena Vickoren says
Hi~ I have a tube fed son, that will be 9 in a couple of weeks. He is tubefed all night. He’s potty trained during the day, but night time comes and when I get him up he will go, but he doesn’t feel himself wet. He will go potty right before bed, but sleeps while he is wet. any suggestions to help him notice he’s wet. He will sleep right through with wet shirts and sheets.
Hi Seattle Mama Doc,
I have a 3 1/2 year old who is recently peeing in her underwear after using the toilet for months with no prompting. I feel we are back to parts of basic training again. Is this normal? She doesn’t have a UTI because I had her checked for that. Suggestions?
She also is not pooping in the toilet. She will poop in her underwear and I do make her clean it up (at least start). Sometimes I do put a pull up on her and I know that does not help encourage her to use the toilet. We have tried rewards, books, making it fun, not paying attention to it (because we had too much focus on it for a while). Our son was a late bloomer in this area and I never thought he would get the hang of it and of course he did.
Thanks for your tips and you were great on Stories from the Heart Saturday night.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Certainly some children have pauses or set-backs with toilet training. Sometimes it’s from stress, sometime from unknown causes, and sometimes from medical problems (like UTIs that you mention, for example) but rarely this is the case. I’m glad you had her checked by your pediatrician.
Many things can increase wetting episodes–like constipation, anxiety, nerves, or just timing. There was a study last year that discussed the ideal timing for toilet training between 27 and 31 or 32 months of age. Sometimes, the authors suggested, even potty training early ended up with more challenges or what is called dysfunctional voiding later on….
But, what matters now is finding a plan for you and your 3 1/2 year old. I would back off with reminders and prompting. Discuss how your child has the option for underwear or diapers and it is up for her to decide. Let he/she be in charge with the plan of what she/he wants….you be the support system. Focus on successes, ignore and blow past set backs. Do your best to follow their lead at this point. And just like you mention, sometimes it feels like magic to parents!! I hear this all the time in clinic. All of the sudden, a child gets it and the problem is in the rear view mirror. Do your best to stop the pressure from mounting up around the issue and function as the support team; hopefully this will lead to both your child staying dry and also being more interested in pooping on the potty, too!
One more thing: I think it’s a great instructive thing to put the poop from the dirty underwear/diaper into the toilet with your child. Saying, “poop goes in the potty.” Consider adding that to your plan. Good luck and keep us posted!
Great article! We successfully potty-trained our now 5 year old typical son. We have a developmentally delayed daughter (due to an infant illness – she’s 4 but really 3). She exhibits all the “signs of readiness” we experienced with her brother. We attempted potty training a few months ago to her opposition. We backed completely off. I would like to revisit this again but wonder if there is any guidance available on potty training under special circumstances (i.e. dev delayed – though she is physically capable). Perhaps strategies that seem to work (scheduling, incentives, etc.). I understand every child is different, just would be helpful to see if there are any suggestions I may have over looked! Thanks Mama Doc!
Sabrina Stenson says
I have a 3 year old (Feb 1st) who has been day time trained since before her 2nd b-day, but doesn’t seem close to staying dry at night. She can’t even get through a nap dry.
But my biggest problem is she doesn’t want to poop in the potty. She will hold it until she gets a diaper on. But I don’t feel like I can take the diaper away if she’s still going potty at night. If she HAS to go poop during the day, she will do it in the potty. But if she can hold it, she will.
I’ve tried rewards and they don’t seem to work. We’ve talked about it. I asked her why she doesn’t want to poop in the potty and she says she doesn’t know.
Any suggestions would be helpful. Do I just have to try to take the pull up away? That feels like pushing her to do something she’s just not ready for.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Trust your mama-instinct! If you feel like taking the Pull Up away is pushing her, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d say, stop providing prompts and reminders as best you can. Keep a stack of pull ups in the same location as the underwear. Let her be in charge of whichever she would like. you don’t want her holding to set her up for constipation/discomfort. I suspect if you leave it all up to her, and she starts to feel like it is all in her control, and that advances and progress is all HER IDEA, you’ll do better. Provide her support, continue with small rewards (like a sticker chart…and every 10 stickers means a special play date or small toy–I suggest non-food rewards) and I bet with time, things will get better when SHE decides. And you’ll both feel proud!
I’m a parent educator and get questions regarding toilet-ing on a regular basis.
There’s nothing wrong with pull-ups, just consider what you want from them. if you want convenience right here and now, pull-ups are an answer. If you want your child to have bladder control as soon as possible that convenience tends to prolong the process as Seattle Mama Doc indicates above.
So here are a couple of radical ideas for parents who are challenged with toileting and whose children do not have any medical issues contributing to those challenges.
As an alternative to pull-ups, consider teaching your child to change their own diaper. I know this sounds crazy, but I’m speaking from personal experience. I waited until I knew my daughter had bladder control (demonstrated by her ability to wet her pants each and every time I left the room when first trying underwear, she was about 2 1/2 and peed her pants 6 times before noon). Who is training who? I got the message, she wasn’t ready to give up diapers so I let it go for several months. Just after her 3rd birthday, I realized I was’ done’ with diapers, so I decided to teach her how to change them herself. it took a lot of patience and she struggled getting that second velcro strap attached – imagine her turning around and around in circles chasing it to get it fastened – BUT when she did it we did a celebratory dance down the hall together! The next day, it took her less time, but still it took a while. The third day she looked at me and said ‘Mom, this is HARD!’ i replied calmly with caring: ‘I know I think underpants are much easier’. she went to her drawer pulled on some undies and never went back. (by the way, if you try this technique, don’t laugh as your child is trying their hardest to succeed! encourage them, give them hints, support him/her – but don’t laugh and don’t help by doing it for them)
As for night time, consider teaching them to take care of it. You can teach a three year old how to change their sheets and make a dry bed if they wet it. You must teach them how with love and support, but they can do it. In doing so they learn great skills and build confidence (and you might even get to sleep through it!).
Kids are capable, we need to take time to train them with love and caring and then give them responsibilities that they can handle. My experience is that this helps parents feel and do better too.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Thanks, Middleground. I like these ideas. As I always say, there are so many more ways to do this all than just one. There is no perfect “right” in toilet training outside of NO punishment, and no blame. I have seen children in clinic who have been punished (hot pepper sauce on their tongue) or tricked around toilet training and of course, that is the small category of “wrong” from my stance. Often how we go about this depends on trusting our instincts, following the lead of our child, and finding ways to calm down about our choices. The beautiful thing is that with time, most struggles with toilet training improve.
Aw, I feel all kinds of special! Thanks for the article.
Will is doing GREAT during the day. We just started potty training last Monday (well, we had tried a few months ago and he just wasn’t ready). He had an accident Monday afternoon and none since. He is still wet when he wakes up in the morning, but here’s the problem. . . Will is still in his crib. He is 2 3/4 and has never even attempted to climb out. He LOVES his crib and sleeps 12 hours straight at night PLUS takes a solid 1 – 2 hour nap during the day. He goes to bed willingly and is happy there, so I have just not been in a hurry to fix what isn’t broken.
However, obviously being dry at night would require him to get up on his own to use the bathroom, so I guess we are going to have to go there next. I don’t want to delay him in any way, but I am also a bit nervous about the transition to a big boy bed.
He also tends to hold his poop in and has seemed constipated since starting training. He has pooped a few times in the past week, but he used to be a daily sort of guy, and now it’s every other day or so. One of our friend’s pediatrician recommended using miralax with their little girl when she had the same problem while training. What are your thoughts on that?
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Great work! I often see children when they are actively potty training on a program or schedule from mom/dad have a bit of holding. Usually, it goes away over time. Just never force or insist on things. Offer choices for your son (pull up to poop or underwear) and continue to celebrate the successes. In regards to miralax, you can certainly use it safely in the safe run, but I’m not certain it’s necessary. It is a medication. And I like to think of only using medications for medical problems. If he stops stooling regularly and then when he does it starts to cause him pain or discomfort, you should talk with your pediatrician about that. I would say, offer him choices, follow his lead, and let him know it’s always okay to poop when necessary.
Another thing, there is a natural reflex called the gastro-colic reflex. It’s the tendency for your colon to want to empty (“colic” for pooping) after filling up your tummy (gastro). Remember in early infancy when your baby likely pooped after each feeding??? So, take advantage of this reflex! After meals, offer Will a chance to sit on the potty to see if he needs to poop and see if that reflex will be on your side!
I am wondering if middleground is a parent educator I heard at Bellevue College 2 yrs ago. If so your potty training and discipline advise has greatly benefitted my family and so many that I shared that same advice with. My daughter trained at 27 months so we didn’t push her at night but we made her responsible for that nighttime diaper. Putting it on, disposing, and cleaning up in the morning. She helps with laundry after accidents. We skipped pullups because we waited till she was ready and she trained faster that way.
Erica, my daughter sometimes has potty regressions. I had her tested for UTI and also asked a urologist. She has more accidents when she is constipated. Pooping might be an issue fit your daughter. Also an issue for bed wetting is nightime sleep. I had to get mine a much dimmer night light and put her to bed 30 mins sooner. Also had to limit reading after lights out. (We found she was sneaking up to read.) in all changing sleep rhythms can screw them up bc they may be in deep sleep at 6am when they get a sensation to go.
With my son I am waiting longer than with my daughter so he can get day/nap/night in closer succession. I also use old cloth diapers in the day or wait for him to ask for a diaper change. He is finding that being wet or poopy isn’t comfortable. He’s 27 months now so it will probably take a while longer for him to get motivated.
Topic request: it seems every boy mom I know has struggled with a boy who has phobia of pooping on the potty! What the heck is up with boys and pooping?
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
First of all, you’re right. Constipation certainly sets children (particularly girls) up for a risk of getting a UTI and also for more accidents. Your daughter may simply feel more urgency if her colon is more full of stool and pushing on her bladder. And as you likely suspect, in children with a history of UTI or kidney/urologic concerns we are often more aggressive of ensuring constipation doesn’t set in.
In regards to fear of pooping on the potty–I know of no data that suggests a big diff re: fear of pooping between girls and boys! And if it makes you rest any easier, I see many girls in clinic who have that fear at the time of toilet training….it is certainly my experience, and somewhat backed up in the data, that boys tend to toilet train much later than girls. Maybe you’re picking up on that?
My older son potty trained himself at 24 months – one day he decided he was done with diapers, and that was that (we weren’t prepared!). We had a little potty in the bathroom for months before so he knew where it was, and practiced sitting on it when we were in there. We moved him to a big-boy bed around the same time, after having it set up for a month or so.
Nighttime is an ongoing problem. We went without pull-ups for a year, and it was so traumatic all around that we resorted to pull-ups in order to focus on sleep. G. is now almost 4, finally sleeping through the night, and we’ve talked about giving up the pull-ups on his birthday (June). He has dressed himself since he was 3. Limiting liquids is a challenge because this kid wakes up and guzzles down a glass of water every night (and has since he could hold a cup). Here’s hoping the next phase goes smoothly!
I think you have to guide the kid, but let them lead.
p.s. We’ve never had problem with BM’s – he thinks poop is the coolest thing and loves to tell us in detail what’s happened. Its pretty funny.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
You bring up a couple important points. It’s GREAT to have a potty that is easy for your child to access, reach, and sit on without your help. I usually suggest getting these little potties sometime around about 18-22 months. As your son demonstrated, kids learn a lot from watching you on the toilet and then experimenting themselves with one just their size…
Not all kids benefit from restricting fluid at night time….so don’t get too hung up on that. You could certainly experiment with it, but there are plenty of bed wetters, who even with fluid restriction after dinner, still wet at night time….all because again, this is about the brain/bladder connection more than anything else.
I often hear that those kids who are the “dead to the world” sleepers (hard to wake up, super “deep” sleepers) are the ones with wetting at night issues. If your child is like this, it simply may need more time. But since you hare planning on the liberation from Pull Ups at the June birthday, stick to your plan! You never know—it might work!! If your son is resistant or scared, then don’t do it. Follow his lead. I love what you said, “I think you have to guide the kid, but let them lead.” You’re going to do great!
david cavaliere says
This may be a bit off topic however it affects many families. We have a 5 year old with autism we are trying to potty train and a 3 year old with ADHD who isn’t trained yet. They both disrobe and play in their diapers. We actually invented some special needs autism clothing that helps the situation. It is an escape proof pajama called The Wonder Jumper and it is a romper sleeper that zips in the back. Our company is called iKids Fashion http://www.ikidsfashion.com thanks!
My 10 1/2 year old son still has very wet pull ups every night. His older brother (who is now almost 18) finally grew out of it at age 12. I haven’t stressed about my 10 year old too much, thinking he will follow his brother’s pattern. Your video said it is familial and their dad has a pretty small bladder and gets up a few times a night. Am I just doomed to live with it for another year or two, or is there maybe something I should be doing differently. And is their something I should do earlier when I potty train my 18 month old baby boy (when the time comes.) FYI… Their two sisters trained easily at 2 1/2 and haven’t had any problems.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
You’re right, bed wetting is often familial. And, the most predictive indicator can be when a parent outgrew bed wetting. For example, if your husband outgrew bed wetting at age 12, then it’s likely that your (1st and likely your 2nd) son will outgrow it at about that age as well. I wouldn’t stress too much about what you’re doing. Your support and reassurance may be most important at this age….Does your 10 year old try not using the Pull Up from time to time? That might be a great idea, just for him to know where he is. Also, I really like the idea of bed wetting alarms at this age. Often, they can help a child who is really motivated to overcome bed wetting. The bed wetting alarms works by sensing moisture in the bed and awakening the child to feel the full bladder, so that they can get out of bed and make it to the toilet. It works directly in helping form that brain-bladder connection that is essential. In regards to your 18 month old, as I’ve said in so many of these comments, i would follow his lead!! Make him believe toilet training was all his idea!
good evening I have 4 and half years old and 6 month I was trying to teach her night weaning she is in training pants I tried for 6 month wearing underware it didn’t work I think my mistake was giving her liquids before bed time she falls asleep at 9 30 pm what can I do Dr should I take her training pants of and start again and if she falls asleep at 9 30 pm when should I wake her to go pee is it ones at night or twice because she is always wet when she wakes up never seen her dry
Karen Kamachi says
I recently found your blog. I am a pediatrician and a mom as well. Interesting comments on pull ups. When my younger son was just daytime using the potty we moved to night time. I knew he would wet so wanted to put on a pull up or diaper. He adamantly refused BUT he was willing to put his diaper on over his underwear. Worked nicely since the bed wasn’t wet, I could reuse the pull ups if not wet, and he was happy to be a “big boy” wearing underwear at night.
Hello, I have a 3 1/2 year old boy, he doesn’t have any health problems, but he is not potty trained, He refuses all the time, he still wears diapers. I was told by other people to put him in the potty chair and keep him there until he will pee, but I think it is so brutal and I cannot do it to my kid. How can I train him? I talk to him all the time, but it doesn’t help. 🙁
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
I don’t think forcing will ever be the answer. I’d say, at this age, I would recommend completely backing off. Let your 3 1/2year old be in charge entirely at this point. Provide options (diapers/pull ups/underwear) and you provide the support and encouragement. Let your son decide when and how he wants to pee on the potty. Talk about when you and others adults use the potty. Don’t prompt/ask/urge him to do this on your schedule but provide all options (potty he can reach on his own, for example) so he can do this on his. Hope that helps!
Wow, I don’t recall ever seeing a post with so much back-and-forth, WSS! Great topic. I cannot believe there are parents who would punish kids for potty accidents, how sad.
I too have a son who has been a day time “potty-master” for years (since 3 yrs of age) but he still has accidents a couple times a week at night. It usually works to take him to the potty around midnight (we are night owls, so that’s not a big issue for me and husband), but despite that, he still wets sometimes in the wee hours of the morning.
Our daughter has been potty-trained since about 2 1/2, but she too can’t go overnight. She almost always still has accidents, but she’s about to be 3, so I’m not too concerned. She currently just wears a regular diaper at night (mostly b/c of lower cost than pull-ups and leak-proof-ness).
One thing that we did for our son, mostly b/c I personally dislike disposables for environmental reasons (even though we’ve used them for years 🙁
We bought some reusable “night-time pants”. We bought ours through One Step Ahead:
They are NOT leak-proof — they will leak with a big enough accident. We use standard pull-ups when we travel, so we don’t have to worry about bedding at gramma’s house, for example. They work better if we just put them over his underwear — meaning, they don’t leak as bad, probably b/c the underwear is there for extra absorption.
But these reusable night-time pants have seemed to have helped our son know when he’s having an accident b/c he feels the wetness. We also have a potty-pad under his sheet, so it’s no big deal to do laundry and he has no guilty feelings. We plan to start using the reusable night-time pants with our daughter too, once we get back from a family trip in July.
oops, forgot to mention our son is 6 1/2 now.
Robyn Brand says
Hi there, another pediatrician here-
Was reading a lot of the comments regarding fear of pooping on the potty. I have a strategy that has worked well with a lot of my patients. Taking the “poop goes in the potty” idea a little further….First, associate the bathroom as the place to go potty. Many kids go off into a corner to poop in their diaper or pull-up. I have their parents start moving them into the bathroom to do this. Once they’ve mastered that, have them try pooping (in the pull-up or diaper) on the toilet or potty chair with the lid down, then with the lid up. Finally, have them put on a “magic pull-up or diaper” (one with a hole in it), so the poop ends up where it should. Taking a step-wise approach seems to decrease the fear a bit…
My oldest was potty trained during the day at 18 months – completely, 100% dry before age 2 (I have not been so lucky with my other kids ha!) – but was still in a diaper at night. I kept waiting for her diaper to be dry in the morning before I was willing to get rid of it. It was MONTHS later when I had an “ah ha!” moment… if I put a diaper on her at night, she woke up with a wet diaper. If I put panties on her at night, she woke up dry! We tossed the diapers and never looked back. Although with my second daughter she was 2.5 before she was potty trained during the day, we just put her in panties at night at the same time that we started putting panties on her full time during the day (and skipped pull ups totally). It worked just fine, and I think we only had one accident.
I know I’m probably in for a different game with my now 15 month old son 😉
I think a lot of the pull up addiction is that potty accidents stress us parents out! When we were housebreaking our puppy, I remember being so totally obsessed with watching his every move to make sure I caught him before he needed to pee, and taking him outside at ridiculously short intervals. It was hard for me not to be the same way with my kids – I would feel so bad if they had an accident, that I didn’t remind them to go potty, and the sight of a puddle of pee somewhere drove me nuts! But my daughter cured me of it, because she was so laid back about the whole thing… I would find her in her room playing, with wet pants on, and she’d look up at me and casually say “there’s some water on the floor over there.” Ha ha!
Debra Jarvis says
I SO wish you had been my pediatrician when I was a child. I was shamed, punished and belittled and I wet the bed until I was THIRTEEN.
I don’t know how it stopped, it just stopped. Even watching the video made my heart beat faster as I was flooded (pardon the pun) with memories.
Good job on this.
Hello- what a great topic!
My 2 3/4 yrs daughter uses underwear during the day and wears a pullup
at nap and at bedtime. She will not poop until she is in her pullup at naptime
or at bedtime.
She did poop on the potty last week and we celebrated it, but she did not do it again.
I think she used the potty to have a bm that one day b/c she had to go before her nap and she was wearing underwear.
I liked the idea of giving her the option of wearing a pullup or underwear at bedtime
or naptime. I also liked the idea of using stars as an incentive – getting a star everytime
She currently is still in a crib and will be transitioning soon to a bed b/c her 2 1/2 month
little sister needs the crib. She is very excited about the bed. My question is if I should give
her the option to wear underwear at nap or at bedtime when we transition her to the bed
or should we wait a few weeks till she is comfortable sleeping in her bed.
Please help me. I have a grandson who lives with me who is autistic and was born with part of brain under-developed—it is called pachygyria. Anyways he is now 13 years old and although he has done very well with things over past couple of years—we cannot get him potty trained—we live on a very fixed income and pullups are so expensive. We are in the largest size when it comes to pullups of any brand—125 lbs. I need suggestions — what can I do to get him potty trained—he acts as if he is scared of the toilet. He hides when he has bowel movement—-or at least till he is done. I have sat in bathroom with him for 30-45 minutes at a time to see if he will go—but unsuccessful. Now I have caught him in time trying to go and will march him into bathroom and make him sit there and sometimes he will go but sometimes he won’t and when he doesn’t and we are done and a fresh pullup on — within just afew minutes he goes in the pullup. I have done everything from just sitting with him, or leaving him in bathroom alone, reading to him or just giving him a magazine to look at—–to no avail. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
First of all, I suggest you talk with your grandson’s pediatrician about the challenges you face. He/She can provide suggestions and then ongoing feedback as time unfolds.
I’d say consistency is likely the most important. Do you have a plan for the day re: toilet training, etc? Can you attempt to create a schedule and then incentivize him for good work done? For example can he start out in underwear on a daily basis and wear them until he no longer would like it? Rather than randomly running to the bathroom and trying to have him pee or poop, use natural reflexes and cues. If he usually poops at a certain time of day, then try to have that be in your schedule (sit on the toilet fro 15 minutes after dinner, for example).
Once you develop a map for a day, do your best to set him up for success by getting him on board for the plan as best you can, talking about it and providing rewards for successful trips to the toilet, accident free mornings, etc.
Like any child, work on avoiding punishment for any mistakes around toilet training and focus on successes.
My daughter is 26 months, I started working on her potty training just before she turned 2. She likes using the potty but she has lots of accidents. I came on here looking for advice on the whole limiting fluids. She has been doing better and usually will have 1 to 2 accidents a day some days she goes with no accidents. I agree limiting her fluids after dinner for bed time is a great idea. She goes to her dads house every other weekend. He told me that he is only allowing her to have fluids during meals and snacks, I don’t know how many snacks she has a day. I don’t know that limiting fluids through out the whole day is the best thing for a child I think that if she is thirsty through out the day she should be able to drink. It worries me that she could become dehidrated as she doesn’t really drink much when she eats atleast at my house for the 2 weeks before she goes to his house. Is it safe and ok to limit her fluids through out the whole day?
My son was pretty difficult to potty train. Around 3 he finally begin to pee on the toilet but would want to poop in a pull up. He didn’t hardly ever poop his pants, he knew he had to go & wanted a pull up. I would try to put him on the toilet & he would kick & scream & have a fit. I didn’t want him to be afraid of going on the toilet so I continued with the pull ups for poop. During this time he was still needing a pull up at night. I started to make him sit on the toilet with the pull up on & so he would be comfortable. One day I cut out the back side of the pull up & he pooped in the toilet & has ever since. He was very excited about it (this was around the age of 5). He is now 7 & I am really trying to work with him in a positive manner of not wearing pull ups at night. He has been wetting the bed. I even take him to the bathroom whenever I get up in the middle of the night. We have cut back on liquids in the evening, but it is difficult because he plays hard. I am going to give it a few weeks & am thinking of purchasing the alarm. He is willing to try it, he gets angry & upset at being wet. We constantly try to reassure him & we have decided to set up a reward system. Is their anything you can suggest? I was told there is a pill kids can take at the age of 8. What is this? I I am going to continue to keep it up & trying. I have purchased extra sheets to make doing laundry a little less.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Have you tried a bed wetting alarm? At your son’s age, they can be very useful especially if you son is very motivated. Consider talking with your son’s pediatrician about them or simply give one a try! (no need to spend a bunch of cash on them, the studies were done on inexpensive models).
There are pills to help your son stay dry. They work by suppressing the production of urine at night….so they are more of a band-aid to the problem, not a solution. But they can be really helpful for kids who are frustrated and just want to have a dry night! Talk with your son’s doc about trying them for special occasions, etc.
Jessica G says
My son is 2 1/2 years old. He is pretty good about going potty in the toilet. I think we would have far more success if he can reach the toilet without a problem. He never liked the small (kid) toilet so he’s always used the regular one from home which is obviously a bit too high for him. We have a step stool for him but he seems to be a bit afraid of standing on it without some assistance and can’t seem to sit on the toilet by himself as he thinks he’ll fall in. We sit him down and he holds himslef without a problem but he can’t do it on his own. What do you recommend we can try to make this success go much further? He’s in daycare and his teacher says how good he is. Of course he’s had accidents at school and at home weather from waiting to the last second and not being able to hold it in to being lazy becasue he’s watching a movie or playing a game but overall he’s pretty good for his age I think. Some naps he’s dry…so should we try going nights without pull-ups? any advise is greatly appreciated.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Jessica, so sorry to miss responding to you earlier. Maybe this is already solved? Most of the potty puzzles do just work their way out over time….
For the issues of the big potty and falling in and then refusal for a toddler potty, I’d do your best to state the choices (small potty without help vs big potty during day when someone is around). However, there are potty seat inserts that you can put on the toilet and have your child sit on that don’t force them to spread their legs in the same way and decrease the sensation/panic of falling in. Those inserts might be a perfect solution for your boy…..he’ll be far more likely to mount the stool and get up there all on his own if he doesn’t think he’ll tumble in.
Hope that helps!
I’m so glad I found this thread… I’m beyond frustrated with my DD we had previously potty trained in February and she was doing amazing, then she started regressing and my husband came up with the idea of putting her back in diapers (smacking head now) So in August she stated throwing fits about getting her diaper changed (she hates it and it had gotten unbearable) so we re-started potty training.. well now I am the one trained, she wont tell me if she has to pee… if I take her she goes and will hold it until I take her or she has an accident. She will not poop on the potty, unless I get lucky enough to smell farting (meaning shes holding it) She is more than capable of telling me she has great speech and can even get herself undressed and dressed again. The other day I was busy and told her to go potty, she did exactly that. But If I don’t tell her she will go in her pants…. and i’m so tired of poopy panty’s 🙁 I’m starting to get angry with her and I know that will just make it worse. She just turned 3. I think what is so frustrating is I know she can and is being stubborn. We don’t put her in pullups unless it nap and at night (before she went without nap and stayed dry now she wont) She also has to wear them to her mothers day out program until she can tell them she needs to go. Any advice would be wonderful 🙂
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Katy, I think your fatigue with the struggle is REALLY NORMAL! I hear about this nearly every day in clinic. I think the most important thing to do is back off. Stop askign your DD to accomodate your clock and schedule for mastering her potty training. I’d suggest you completely back off and leave it all up to her. Show her where the panties are, and show her the diapers/pull ups. Ask her which she wants and let her chose. Stop reminders all together. Let her regain the sense of fullness and sense of urgency to pee.
Support her ideas to use the potty whenever. If she asks to go to the potty support her, help her. If she asks to wear diapers, support her and help her. I suspect with a little time without the STRUGGLE, she’ll decide peeing on the potty is better for her and make a new decision.
Tell us how it goes!
Dr. Sara Goldhaber-Fiebert says
Hi I enjoyed meeting you at Stanford medicine 2.0. I’m a physician and mother of two. I’m wondering whether you have any advice on convincing a 4 1/2-year-old boy to go to the bathroom by himself in the middle of the night without disturbing his parents. He has had dry nights (hooray) with no pullups for a month now after 2 months of frequent accidenys, BUT he gets ME (always mom) between one and three in the morning to come Pee with him and tuck him back in, as well as sometimes at six in the morning. We’re trying to get him to stay in bed until 7am & not disturb us or his 2yo sister roommate when he does need to pee! Pls email me any thoughts Thanks, Sara
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Hi, Dr Sara. I have no great advice here as we have similar issues here at home. But like any behavior you’d like to have stop, you have to do a couple of things:
1) provide a clear, age-appropriate explanation of WHY (ie “I’m very tired and have to be ready for my day at the hospital each night and so I can’t be getting up at 1am” and “you’re a big boy who doesn’t need my help to pee”)
2) Set a date and stick to a changed behavior. Say next Saturday is the last day you’re going to help with pee at night. Inform your son, give him pep talks, celebrate his skills and then stick to it. NO getting out of bed after Saturday.
3) reward great behavior, sound independence, and growing up. Provide rewards in whatever way works for you and your son when he does it well and doesn’t wake you. Make him realize how great it is to be independent!
Our son goes poop at least three or four times after we put him down at night. He is three and wears pull ups at night. It appears to be a delay tactic of sorts. He is 100 percent potty trained. How do we break this cycle? Have him sleep in big boy underwear? He is a twin and his sister is starting to do the same. Help!
My son is 2 yrs old. On Thursday evening he began saying “I poop” so I thought wow time to potty train! He did great that evening, even pooped in the potty! Friday at daycare he did not go and I had chalked it up to being uncomfortable going there. Sure enough, Friday evening he did great & once again even pooped in the potty. Then came Saturday, he had so many accidents during the day & did well peeing, no poop, in the potty in the evening again(4-8pm). Now today, Sunday, he started with the accidents again. We have yet to have any success so I put him back in a diaper with his big boy undies covering it. He had stopped telling me he had to go until I put the diaper back on. He will still not say he peed but he will tell me he pooped. And all the accidents in the undwear or training pants never really seemed to phase him much. Im so confused!! I obviously was the one being trained since he stopped telling me he had to go. So what is my next step now? He will sit on the potty with mostly no problem but not having any success. I’ve been sitting him on every 30 mins for 5 mins each time. Should I back off & completely stop putting him on or keep sitting him on just less amounts of time? So frustrated & confused. Please help!!
Lorraine Salt says
Hi there, very glad I found this link. My son stopped wetting at night almost as soon as he dropped his nap (3.5yrs), we found dry pulls up every morning for a couple of weeks, so we talked to him about going into ‘big boy’ pants, he was a little reluctant but with gentle persuasion and lots of praise he agreed when they ran out we would’t buy any more. Things were great and he stayed dry in his own pants for several months but then out of the blue he started to have the occasional accident, no big deal it’s to be expected, then the accidents got more frequent until it was consistently every week or there about and with no apparent reason (no change to routine, nothing troubling him etc), but the wetting started to upset him and he asked if he could have his pull-ups back on, obviously we were reluctant (but TBH not that much as it was so tiring going back to mid night antics), so we made a deal with the devil and let him go back with a promise that we would try again soon. Ughhh now I could kick myself! He’s been dry every single night in his pull-ups EXCEPT the two nights I forgot to put them on! He immediately said “see I told you I needed my pull-ups Mummy, I don’t wet when I have them on”Arrgggh, what do I do now? He says don’t worry Mum I’ll stop wearing them when i’m 5 as i’ll be a big boy then! He’s not 5 til Dec and we were hoping to get him back out of pull-ups way before then. We just don’t get it though pull-ups=dry nights, pants=wet, shouldn’t it be the other way around??? Are we missing something really obvious? Any advice would be very welcome.
Lori Periman says
Fantastic Article! I am a mom who has struggled with the same issues and I know training pants delay training! I developed a product (still in prototype phase) to help get kids out of diapers and training pants faster, without all of the mess. If you have a chance, please take a look at my initial website and let me know what you think. I would love your (or anyone’s) feedback! http://WWW.TestDRYves.com
Carli W says
So my son who just turned 3 at the end of Aug has been fully potty trained during the day since May. We took him out of diapers at night when he started being able to be dry thru the night. But then some nights he would wet the bed. Others he would not. Sometimes he will nap for 2 hours and wet the bed and sometimes he will sleep 3.5 hrs and be dry! He is dry about 35-40% of the time. After so long we decided to try pull ups to give us a break on laundry. Now Im thinking its a BIG mistake because now he wets his pullups 100% of the time! I know bed wetting is normal for his age and I wonder if we are hindering him by resorting to pullups or if we should just wait until he can start staying dry again and then try to let him sleep without them. Im 6 mths pregnant and with horrible back pain so taking off and putting on his sheets twice a day is killing me! Not to mention having to bathe him every since day (sometimes twice a day) because he get urine all over his body and his hair. I don’t want to stump his progress but pull ups have helped me but Im afraid they are hurting him! Is it crazy to think he will get over this soon?
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE says
I would try to get out of pull-ups and talk with your son about it. make a plan together and set him up for success. Sometimes kids just use pull-ups and diapers as a crutch–as if, “why would I get up when I have this diaper on and I can just continue sleeping and pee.”
Here’s a YouTube video I did about this:
Moorea Malatt says
Wendy Sue, thank you for this wonderful, informative, helpful and kind article on nighttimes- I teach early potty classes (10-18 months) here in Seattle as well as coach parents on gentle potty learning at the toddler age. I always suggest that we not even attempt pull-ups during the day since the age of potty learning completion dramatically rose after the advent of Pull-Ups in 1989. Pull-ups being like disposable diapers are so absorbent that they prevent that body-neural connection from happening. I do tell my clients and workshop participants that nighttime is an entirely different ballgame linked to genetics, level of hydration and even she sorts and lengths of sleep cycles a child gets through at night. Many people don’t think of it, but cotton washable square “hospital” bed pads at less than $20 each are a truly excellent option for trying undies at night instead of a crunchy mattress cover or multiple sheet changes in the middle of the night. Lets also not forget that if we try to limit fluids before bed (which I agree with you on!), we remember to encourage extra fluids during the days so that we are properly hydrating and not encouraging constipation. Although I disagree with a previous article about starting potty optimally at 2.5 (before 2 seems both easier and quicker for the families I know and for mine,) I thank you so much for encouraging families to try nighttime dryness and for being Ped who is willing to share the “how.” The waking the child up at 10-11 for a pee which you mentioned is often crucial for some families and such a smart tip that few people know!
Beth Tirro says
Hello! We have a 3 1/2 year old girl who has been wearing underwear during the day for 2 weeks (we use a pull up at night). She is finally doing well, although she still has an accident everyday (always poop, but occasionally a pee as well). We are going on a trip to a theme park and are facing a 4+ hour drive and 6 days in the park. Would it be detrimental for her to wear a pull up in the car and while we are in the park? We would still have her go on the potty but I’m concerned about not having laundry access should she have accidents or wet her car seat. I would really appreciate your advice.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE says
I’d talk with your 3 1/2 year-old. Let her be in charge of what is preferable in the car. If she wants to wear undies, let her & set her up for success: limit water , stop every 2 hours for potty breaks, remind her to tell you if she needs to go, and have potty break just before in car. If she wants a pull-up for the ride then follow her lead but STILL stop every 2 hours to use restroom—use the pull-up for emergency not as a diaper…let her prove to herself that she can stay dry! Then perhaps on the way home she’ll elect for underwear.
Beth Tirro says
Thank you for the advice. We will give her the choice : )
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE says
You’re welcome! Please
Return to comment to let is know how it goes. Safe travels!
My almost six year old daughter still wears pull-ups to bed. A few weeks ago we tried again to night train. We limited fluids, she went pee before bed and then we woke her up around midnight to go again. She cont. to wet the bed. We began waking her up after midnight to go again. She still wet the bed about every other night. Two weeks on and we were all sleep deprived and it was taking an emotional toll on her, despite our not makings big deal out of it. We stopped so we could all sleep.
Sleep is super important, and I’m not sure what else we should do at this point.,
Marcie Pohrman says
My four year old daughter is nowhere near being night potty trained. She wears underwear during naps, but it’s really the luck of the draw if she pees the bed at that time. She naps pretty early, thus doesn’t consume much liquids so we can go a few weeks without nap accidents, at night, liquids stop after 5:00 dinner & she goes to bed at 7:30. Her pull up is soaked in the mornings. Now she will occasionally even come out of her room about 30 minutes after going to bed asking for a new pull up because she peed in it already. Is this progression that she now realizes she pees in it? I would like to wait for consistent dry night before going to underwear but I feel like it’s never going to happen! She is little (4 years old, 30 lbs) so I wonder about her bladder size.
My older daughter was night trained by age 3.
Any advice would be great, thanks!
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE says
I think you’re doing everything right. At some point you may want to trial her out of pull-ups to see if she can stay dry since she is 4 and can understand the plan. If after a few nights she is unable to keep them dry (or unable to get up on her own to pee — or doesn’t wake up) then it’s okay to wait a bit longer to try again.
Keep doing all the right things setting her up for success and keep positive! Whenever progress is made, make note of it and celebrate.
It’s not unusual for one child in a family to potty train earlier than another.
My son is 2 months from 5 years old. He has been daytime potty trained (did a 3 day process) since 26 months. Hasn’t napped in almost 2 years and goes to school 5 days/week, full time til 3.Recently learned to swim, is learning to ride a bike and wants to be a big boy – badly. He has worn pull ups since 26 months old, after I tried to do the 3-day night time method with him – after 19 days with only 3 dry nights, he was anxious and I was a mess so I gave up and put him in pull ups and didn’t look back. Until recently, when he started having less pee in his pull ups in the morning. He’s gone through phases – a few times when he was 3.5 he had a few dry nights but we missed our chance to try back then. Anyways, 2 weeks ago, we had a celebration and told him no more pull ups. I go in every night about 2 hours after he goes to sleep and take him potty. He’s 99% of the time dry at that point. But without pull ups, in order for him to stay dry all night, I have to go in every 3 hours. He is too scared – even with nightlights – to go potty (3 rooms away) alone. Finally, both of us tired and worn out a week ago, I said “do you want a break? you can do pull ups again if you want” and he said yes. But it turned out he still wanted his star chart (if he had a dry night he got a toy he had selected) and he was upset that I wasn’t helping him and giving him stars. He didn’t really want the break as I thought he did (or I did?). He didn’t want to give up the chance at dry nights. SO we bought a tiny kid urinal, put it in his bedroom this week, he was thrilled! He now has that, a star chart and if he has “almost” dry nights, we give him a tiny treat in the morning. Hasn’t had a complete dry night yet (now that I’ve stopped going in every 3 hours – I go in only once before I go to sleep now). He has trouble pulling the pull ups on and off when going potty, so he’d rather risk the wet bed. And he doesn’t want to give up the process, even though I think, for some reason, he’s not quite ready physically. He simply hasn’t had a single dry night yet without me doing the work all night. So: how else can I help him? He has the cute urinal that he loves in his room, he has a star chart and gets a toy if he’s dry all night but if he’s almost dry he gets a treat in the morning, and I’m limiting liquids 2-3 hours before bedtime, and we’re celebrating successes but not focusing on accidents. STILL, though, he’s not dry. So many accidents. He sleeps so soundly. We think we should just continue on, since he seems to want to and doesn’t want pull ups anymore – but does this mean he may have bed wetting for a long time? Should I go in every 3-4 hours and help him stay dry every night until he seems able on his own? I don’t want to demoralize him by insisting on pull ups – they are just a hinderance it seems. Ahhh! I’m afraid I’m doing something bad to him since he cannot seem to stay dry all night on his own yet. I feel there is no turning back but is there something more I can do to support his brain so he learns? Thank you.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE says
Certainly don’t think it’s a problem to give yourselves a break at this point. Return to ask him about trying nights without pull-ups on periodically. Keep setting him up for success like you are with incentives to succeed at staying dry!
Keep this positive at all times. Bed wetting is still very common at this age (up to 20% of 5 year-olds still wet the bed at times) and it’s okay if he isn’t dry at night—his brain/bladder connection needs more time to develop. If ongoing concerns don’t ever hesitate to check in with your pediatrician.
Stephanie Whittaker says
Hi I have a 12 year old step son who still wets the bed every single night. We do not put him in pull ups when he is at our house on the weekends but his mom, who he spends most of the time with, still puts him in pull ups. I am at a loss and don’t know what to do. Do you think it’s because he wears a pull ups still that he can’t break the cycle? His mother also refuses to give us his insurance so we can’t take him to the doctor either. Any suggestions help!
Frustrated Momma says
I’ve been so frustrated, especially the last few months. My 9 year old daughter has never been dry overnight (so I don’t think this is some major regression that she needs to see a therapist about or anything). She has seen a child psychologist who said there was basically nothing “wrong” with her, and just that we needed to push the issue of bed wetting a little more… Light a fire under her… That was a year and a half ago. We have since been to the pedicatrician about this issue (several times over the years), and the last time she was put on a medication to make her kidney stop producing urine overnight…. However, we’ve recently discovered that she has been wetting in her pull up on purpose BEFORE BED and sleeping in it all night!!! I had my suspicions that she was peeing in the morning because she just “didn’t feel like getting up” as she put it. But I had NO idea she was sitting in her own pee all night. We tried setting an alarm clock, but she would just get up and turn it off, heading back to bed. We tried getting her up at night, but she was just a grump about it and had already peed, on purpose, earlier in the night… I don’t want to waste the money on a bed alarm if she obviously isn’t motivated to get up…. We’ve tried just taking her out of the pull ups and having her wear panties, and wash the sheets when she wets… She wet every night for months, and she even admitted that she would wake up in the night, didn’t want to get up and go to the bathroom, and would pee and it would take her “a while” to fall back asleep because the pee was uncomfortable. I have tried SO many rewards systems, my head is spinning. Her lab work from the doctor is normal, she does not have a UTI, she is not physically incapable of holding herself for an extended period of time (and NEVER has accidents at school or anywhere she’s around her peers). She doesn’t have “accidents” at all during the day anymore, and it’s only when she has her pull up on before bed. But I make her go potty right before bed, and she still pees in the pull up…. She practically forces herself to pee in it! I’m at my breaking point with this! PLEASE HELP!!!
I have a question! My son for some reason will not keep a pull up (or any clothes) on at night, and every single night he wets the bed. I will sneak in before I go to sleep and slip one on, but he still manages at one point in the night or another to take it off. I’ve even double checked it was on a few hours later and it is. But every morning (between 3am and 5 am) he wakes up crying because he is sleeping in cold pee. Pull up is dry next to the bed. Is there any way to keep him in one? I am not concerned with bed wetting in the sense I know it is a brain to bladder milestone but I am sick of the early morning (ps he doesn’t go back to sleep after this wake up call) and washing sheets for no reason. Keep the damn pull up on, ugh!!!
Frustrated Teri says
Hello. I have a daughter who is about to turn 5. She still wears a pull-up to bed and wants to continue wearing it. She does have accidents at times during the day too (not everyday). We have attempted to take the pull-ups away at night, but I just end up cleaning sheets (and getting frustrated for a week). She also chooses to pee in them in the morning instead of use the toilet – I have overheard her peeing while standing in the bathroom with me. I don’t know what to do. I would really like her to get out of them now that she is almost 5. Do you have any suggestions?? Thank you
Shanie Lieberman says
Hi. My daughter is almost five -in 4 months -and has recently regressed in that she wets herself as well as at times pees on the floor. I have recently begun telling her that if she does this then she will not get to go out to fun places with the rest of the family if she behaves as a baby does. This seemed to make her pay attention and for a day or two was truly on top of the peeing in a timely manner in the bathroom. She went off to school in such a positive and confident frame of mind. I think that being in control of her toileting imbued her with tremendous self – esteem. Now she is wetting herself again. She is a foster child and has been with us for three years (we are hoping to adopt her) but she does see her biological mom who encourages her to regress by mocking her when she makes any sort of progress. And her teacher doesnt seem to be supportive these days as well. Can these factors be having an adverse effect on her toileting and any additional tips that I can work with her on that would keep her the right track. She is an intelligent and bright child who sleeps through the night thank G-d with no problems whatsoever. Also when we are out shopping as well she is very on top of her game. Its only when she is relaxing at home basically that she gets lazy and delays going to the bathroom. Please – any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Emmalie Gauthier says
A friend of mine has been having a lot of trouble with her children. She has two boys, aged three and five. She has been trying to get them potty trained and while they are, still they mess in their pants. They know perfectly well how to use the potty and go without pullups during the day, but they are randomly using their pants and laugh when she has to clean it up. When they go to daycare, they are good as gold. Same with when they are out with anyone else. But as soon as they see their mother, they turn into nightmare children. She is at her wits end in regards to what to do with them at this point.
Marne Champlin says
My 6 year old son has been potty trained since he was 3. He still has pee accidents at night though. He still wears a pull up at night. Over the summer, he was dry most nights. Now that school has started, he’s more tired and is peeing in the pull up. He pees so much that it leaks. He is a very sound sleeper so I’m not sure if that’s the reason? I tell him to get up to pee at night and he says he sleeps all night without waking. I have a nightlight in the bathroom which is right outside his door so I don’t think that is the problem. His 3 year old brother hasn’t worn a pull up since he was 2. He stays dry all night or gets up to pee at least once. It’s getting frustrating. I think if I took away the pull-up he would just pee the bed which wakes us both up. Maybe that is what needs to happen to make him wake up to pee regularly? I don’t know. I’m out of ideas. Help!
Scott Richards says
I have the reverse issue to many of the above…
My 5 year old son is completely toilet trained day and night but my wife keeps insisting on putting him in a pull up whenever he has had any stomach issues because, and I quote, “To stop him dirtying his undies.” He has absolutely zero need for them yet whenever I disagree about putting him in them my wife goes off the deep end and starts yelling and swearing at me for not agreeing with her parenting choice.
I have a step-son who is 6 he has accidents during the day and sometimes at school. He has had a lot of changes in his life he lives with his mom. But I just bought pull ups I will limit fluid, take him potty before bed. But by morning he has peed so much it has soaked his PJs up to his neck. I would bathe him in am. But it happens a lot so started putting him in pull ups. He’s on meds and my son had same problem stopped at age 11. Ended up being meds constipated him and caused his stools to be large and press up against his bladder. My son finally doesn’t wet the bed but he wore night time pants until he stopped. I could never wash clothes or sheets enough to get smell out. Is it wrong to put my step-son in pull ups only at bedtime? He had only worn them one night I even took him potty and he had a BM. I feel like it’s neglect to have him pee all over himself if he can’t control it I wouldn’t leave my clients in solid clothes through the night.
Amy L Cagney says
I have an almost 4 year old. We started potty training and went straight to underpants and didn’t use pull ups. He was doing well, pooped on the toilet a couple times, then he started to withhold his poop. He would soil his underwear, and I thought he might be holding it. I started giving him Miralax and I put him back in pull ups so he would feel comfortable pooping again. He still doesn’t poop every day in the pull ups, and often withholds despite the Miralax use. He isn’t constipated, he just holds it in! Now he has regressed back to peeing in his pull up too. I don’t want to do the underwear thing again, because I feel like he is going to continue his poop withholding issues. What do you suggest?
I tried to get my 4 years old son off the pull up and the problem is he usually sneak in to sleep with me and my husband which is a big problem if he wets our queen sized bed which wouldn’t be fun at all.. any idea?
My three and a half year old son has been almost fully potty trained eight times now but he has simply decided once more to stop using the the potty after a two week run with no a single accidents. Despite all reward or punishment efforts he just repeatedly stops potty training for no inherent reason and starts purposely using the bathroom on himself. He is EXTREMELY intelligent for his age and fully understands what he is doing wrong. This time he has even started hiding behind furniture to poop on himself and then despite being put in time out for doing so tonight he literally did it a second time less than twenty minutes later. He has been unofficially diagnosed by a behaviorist with strong red flags for Aspergers (High functioning autism),O.D.D, and A.D.H.D.
Hey Wendy sue,
I apologize as I see this is such an old thread but I’m writing because your advice is so different than our pediatricians and we are having difficulties with our eldest. Our oldest is nearly 6, day potty trained by 2, but still wears night pull ups. She desperately wants out of them, particularly since our 3 year old is now out of them.
She’s only been dry a handful of times before. Would you recommend the alarm? Is it worth it to try no pull up even though we don’t have confidence in it being successful? If so, how long would you give it before going back to pull ups?
Thank you so much for your time, your perspective is radical departure from our pediatrician who said don’t do anything, just wait, even if it’s until she’s 10+. I think that would break her spirit though.
I have a question.. we started potty training our 23 month old this weekend and he did amazing. We did the naked/ underwear technique and took him constantly and by day 2 and 3 he got down to only two accidents on the floor a day. Well today he had to go back to school and the teacher doesnt want him in underwear that he isnt ready becuase he doesnt talk but in pull ups for atleast 3 to 4 weeks. I feel like that is going to confuse him. What is your take? We are doing pull up for nap and night night at home.
2.5 years old – mostly potty trained , 75 percent dry during naps in a pull up. At bed time she gets up within a hour at least four times due to a wet pull up( tiny amounts ) as soon as she starts to drift off, she pees her pull up a little . Her bed time is 630pm but doesn’t fall asleep until 730 due to this .
My daughter is 2.5. She potty trained around 2, and is successfully day-trained. She goes on the potty during the day whenever she needs to pee, and she goes when she wakes up and before bed (and before naps). She does it both independently (when she feels the need to go) and when we ask her to (before we leave the house, etc).
She has struggled with night-time and nap time dryness. In the beginning, she had many successes: some dry naps, some dry nights . . . even many dry nights in a row (we did a twilight potty break after she’d been asleep for a bit, and woke her early to pee before it was time to get up). This seemed to help her. She has always avoided pooping in the potty . . . she tries to wait til nap time or bed time, and goes in her underwear. This is still an ongoing problem. Although she has successfully pooped on the potty a few times, in general, she will not.
She had some nap time accidents at day care during these early stages, and our provider requested we send pull-ups for her during nap time. Unfortunately, our hands were tied, but as parents, we committed to helping re-train her sleep time peeing over the summer. Over the summer, there were some positive successes, but in general, she has peed in her underwear during almost every sleep time (nap and bedtime). Sometimes it is while she is asleep, and other times (many times) she is awake in her crib when this happens. She’ll go potty right before bed (and pee), and then ask to go again, so we take her (but she often doesn’t pee after the first time), and then 5 minutes after being in bed, she will sit down in her crib and pee. She won’t call for us, and only reaches out to say “I have to go pee pee” after it has already happened. We’ve talked to her about calling us before her underwear get wet, but she just doesn’t seem to want to. We can literally take her 5 times to the potty (as many times as she asks while in bed), and it still happens. We’ve tried everything: incentives, rewards for dry nights, a big girl bed for successive dry sleeps, etc. She shares a room with her sister (who is a little older and has recently transitioned into a toddler bed). She really wants a toddler bed, and we told her she could get a big girl bed when she can be dry. Honestly, if she is sleeping and the pee comes out, I can understand that— she might just not be totally capable of holding it while asleep. But, we are at a loss when it comes to the peeing in the crib while awake. She is a really mature, super bright, awesome kid. The best. But, we need some advice when it comes to this. She is wet almost every single sleep time (both naps and night time). Sometimes if she pees in her crib right at bedtime, she will stay dry for the rest of the night, so I know she can make it a long time. I don’t mind washing 1,000 sheets, but is she getting desensitized to wetting her underwear. Would putting her in pull-ups for sleep make it worse?? We are super positive with her and encouraging, but I always worry we are somehow making it worse.
Should we move her into a toddler bed? I wonder if she would get up and go to the potty on her own from bed at night or during nap even if she had access.
She starts preschool soon, and I’m confident she will be totally fine during awake time, but I worry about her naps. They nap in a room on little mats on the floor, and this will be new for her, so I’m hoping the open-concept will deter her from peeing while awake during the nap time, but I honestly have no idea.
Any suggestions or advice you might have is totally welcome. We just want to help her be successful.
Kathleen Judd says
I have a question…… My three year old grandson is being put in underwear and pees and poops in his pants as a method or potty training. Is this a good idea?
Jennifer Mariani says
My daughter is 6 years old she poops once in the toilet but she poops in her underwear most the time she pees in the toilet but most of the time she poops in her underwear and pull up it’s very hard to train her how should I train her and how do I try to get her out of pull-ups I do have on underwear two but she does the same thing so please I need help I need advice please
My son is almost 4 & wears a pullup every night. He is potty trained during the day & at nap but not at night. He will ask to not wear a pullup occasionally so I let him. Then, he wets the bed so I change the sheets, put a pullup on him & go to bed. Most nights (5-6 times) his pullups are wet. One night I tried waking him about an hour after bedtime & took him to the potty. He did not go, just cried & was half asleep. I am a working mom & he goes to daycare so I’m not sure of the solution but no progress has been made in a year. I tell him every night to tell me if he needs to go & not to pee in the diaper & remind him of the lights on for him to go to the potty. He knows I can hear him on the baby monitor but he continues to pee in the pullup. Still waiting patiently though.
My child will not change her pull out she’s constantly staying in them throughout the day and won’t even go to the bathroom anymore
Francis Jones says
My name is Frank. I am a single parent of two boys. Justen my oldest is 16 and my youngest Josh just turned 9. Nighttime accidents admittedly run in the family. The annonimoty afforded me by writing gives me the courage to disclose that I myself was washing my pajamas and sheets till I was 14 approaching 15 years old. I suffered immensely from the issue mainly because of siblings that exploited it according to their whim. My oldest Justen was also beset with the burden also. Being my first and only child at the time he was never subjected to the shame and ridicule I endured. It was kept a “CLOSE” family secret. I helped him keep it so drawing on my own childhood memories and helped him maintain that secrecy with all the zeal as if it were my personal problem. I found Empathy came easy for him. Anyway I allowed Justen to determine himself how he chose to deal with it. I kept plenty of pull ups on hand, well hidden of course, if he so chose. Justen chose however to forego the pull ups on most occasions preferring instead to simply wash the nights wet bedding. He would choose to use the pull ups only on weekends when I allowed him the opportunity to stay up n watch TV with me. He was allowed the privilege only if he wore the pull ups as falling asleep there with a bowl of popcorn was part of our routine. Justen started t becoming sometimes dry at 9 and all the time by 10. Piece of cake right? Yeah and it was. My concern is with my youngest Josh. He’s 9 now and I’ve applied the same rules for him. Josh however has decided that the pull ups are preferable over daily wash every morning. I’m getting somewhat concerned though because Josh hasn’t started having those occasional dry nights as his brother was having by this point. I’ve tried different methods trying to help get him there. We tried the alarm but that w only suceeded in waking his brother and me in a panic. I watch his liquids and limit them appropriately. My biggest concern is simply this. Is Josh’s reliance on the pull ups subconciosly prolonging the wetting by providing the security of knowing his bed and jamms will be dry in the morning