Friday, February 5, 2010

Requests From Our Readers: Week 18

This week we are talking about potty training and bed wetting. Check out what our reader said....

"Hi ladies! I know this is something we've covered before, but I need some help. I've tried keeping it short, but some background will help with the troubleshooting.

Okay, my 3.5-year-old is pretty much potty trained. I started potty training her over a-year-and-a-half ago, and we had a very rough go of it. I made a variety of mistakes early on, but a year ago, I just gave up. I stopped pressuring her to use the toilet, doing what I could to make it a positive experience. Now, she is in underwear and has only a couple accidents a week. (One good thing comes from all this: she can last upwards of six hours between visits to the bathroom.)

I hesitate to call her completely trained because usually she won't take herself; rather, I require her to go before she can get in the van, watch a movie, play with toys, etc. Do I call this potty trained, if she rarely has accidents but avoids deciding for herself to use the bathroom? What more can I do to make her want to use the toilet?

Like I mentioned earlier, bladder control is not an issue. However, a couple times a week, she wets her bed. I know this is normal. We can wake her up to use the toilet, but she screams and cries, and once we make a bargain with her, it still takes her forever to calm down and pee. If she wakes up by herself and we ask her, she refuses. The other morning, she was in my bed cuddling with me, and what does she do but wets in my bed! So what techniques do you use to prevent bed-wetting? Or, is this something I'll have to put up with because of the mistakes I made early on in her training? Is there something I can do to help her want to use the toilet in the middle of the night? Or in the daytime?

I'll appreciate any help I can get."

So help her out. Please address her specific concerns about bed wetting and daytime motivation to use the toilet! We've all been there ladies, so offer up that advice.


Tannie Datwyler said...

Well.... I'm no expert since I have only potty trained one child. But, I had a somewhat similar experience. I tried to train my little girl way before she was ready (but hey, I thought - she's 2, she can do it). She wasn't showing ANY signs of interest at the time, so it was totally me pushing her. I tried for 2 months with hardly any success or improvement. I was so frustrated... so I gave up for about 4 months and then tried again. The second time I also was at it for about 2 months with NO SUCCESS or improvement. So I gave up again, convincing myself that I was a failure....

Finally, when she had just turned 3 I gave it a 3rd go and she was amazingly quick and picked it up like a charm! She trained so fast and doesn't even wet at night and hasn't had an accident for almost a month.

So personally for myself, what I learned from this is to wait until the signs appear that the child is ready... I WILL NOT decide on my own to do it. Even if my next one is 3 and still hasn't showed signs I won't push it. But if he magically shows signs at 18 months then we'll give it a try.

The important thing to remember is that all kids are different. You can blame and blame and blame yourself, but it isn't your fault!! You may have not done it perfectly (let's get real, who potty trains their first child perfectly?) But a lot of potty training is left up to the child. Some are easy, and some are hard.

Now, with that being said - your little girl is old enough and obviously knows the routine. She can go potty on her own and is not having many accidents. This is what I'd do - put the ball in her court for a week. If it doesn't improve you can go back to what you were doing before. You will have to TOUGH IT OUT, because there will probably be more accidents for a while. Try not to have her go to the bathroom on your request, but let her take the lead and go when she feels like it. You will probably have a lot of accidents. But you can offer rewards for all the times that she CHOOSES to use the toilet properly.

When training went really well for my little girl it was because I put it totally in her hands. We made a cute chart (I can e-mail it to you) that had animals all over it and we'd check them off. Each time she checked an elephant she got a treat. It was random as to when the elephant would come up. She was also excited to check off other animals, even when she didn't get a prize. She also got a big treat for going "poopy" (sorry... graphic). But the main thing was that I hardly ever asked her to go. I just let her do it. And when she had an accident I hardly said anything but I just helped her change and left it at that.

You'd think she'd become dependent on the treats, but after she had pretty much gotten the potty training down I stopped reminding her about the chart and only checked it if she remembered. And when the chart was full I said "you are potty trained" and I haven't given her a treat for going to the bathroom since and she doesn't complain.

As for bed wetting... it is totally normal for children to wet the bed up to even age 5 or more. Really, that shouldn't be a concern. If you are worried about it, I'd just put her in pull ups at night (though you might not want to go that route since that is expensive). If she wakes up with a dry pull-up then give her some kind of reward and make a BIG DEAL out of it (you can also reuse the pull up the next night). If it is wet when she wakes up, don't make a fuss but just encourage her. Then, if she goes a whole week without a wet pull-up try panties again. This is exactly what we did with my little girl and it worked great.

Now again, your daughter is different from mine! So if none of my ideas work, just throw them out. :) I hope this helps... and I'm sorry it was so long. I just want to help you out!

Jen said...

What about night time training? My daughter has been potty trained for almost a year during the day but still wets her diaper multiple times a night. How do I help her to overcome that?

Tannie Datwyler said...

How old is your little one Jen?

Jen said...

She will be 4 the end of May.

Delia said... my son who is barely 5 has been potty trained for like 20 months or something. He was even potty trained at night at age 4. 4 1/2 he started wetting the bed randomly. Not every night at first. Then it turned around and he would wet the bed more than not. Now he is in a night time diaper. I went to the doctor to make sure he didn't have a infection (the first step if they are trained and then start wetting the bed)...he didn't. He was then diagnosed with secondary eurenesis which means that he can't control his bladder consistently at night which may continue onto age 8 or longer. Because of this I have been careful about emphasizing the rewards in this area. We still have rewards for dry nights but we don't want to play it up too much since he can't entirely control it. A few times he has tried SO hard to stay dry by going to the bathroom like 10 times before bed, not drinking anything, and letting us take him in the middle of the night. Even then he wouldn't stay dry. He would be so discouraged that he gave up trying. So...this can be a delicate issue. It does bug me that he has given up trying at all and since then has not had ANY dry nights for almost a month.

I have an idea that I am going to start soon that is similar to an advent calendar to try to get him to want to try again. Just like you count down the days to a big event, we are going to make a candy garland that leads up to a bigger reward. So every night he is dry he gets an instant reward to take from the garland - a piece of candy or a penny (I haven't decided which yet). Then when all the little rewards are gained he gets the big one at the top such as a dollar to spend at the dollar store. I am hoping this will work. I have a feeling it might at least get him to try. When we first potty trained him he really responded well to a consistent reward every time and not random rewards or rewards after so many times without a reward. That perplexed me. I thought sporadic rewards were the best kind (like gambling) and really I felt like the verbal praise and good feelings from being successful would be enough...they weren't for him. He did best when he could bank on that sweet reward. Even if he went incessantly just to get the reward I didn't make a fuss and it worked. I had to break down my preconceived notions and my pride and just listen to what HE needed and what would work best from HIM. He did eventually forget about the treats and it wasn't a big deal. We just phased it out and didn't mention the treats anymore. Weeks later he would remember the treat thing and we would just say he is big now and doesn't need a treat every time he goes to the potty anymore. He loves being "BIG" so there was not much fuss after that.

Good luck. I hope some of rambling sparked any ideas that apply to your situation. said...

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On The Go Family said...

Our little guy potty-trained himself around 2 1/2 years old. For a couple months, he was fine at night (with an occasional accident) and then suddenly he started wetting again. I DID NOT want to go the Pullup route, so we did rewards and all kinds of things to try to get him back on track. He got so stressed out about it that he started getting up multiple times a night to go potty, thereby losing lots of sleep and turning into a daytime monster. He's had nighttime sleep issues for about 6 months now as a result of us trying to keep him dry at night.

Before we traveled for Christmas, I finally gave in and got some Pullups. I didn't want to deal with bed-wetting in other peoples' beds. I'm so glad I did. He has slept SO much better and is a happier kid.

My pediatrician reminded me that some kids are not physically possible of being night trained until older, so you have to be careful about rewards, etc. Obviously only you as the mom can decide if your child is physically capable.

For us, Pullups have been a great thing. We've seen no daytime regression and though I hate paying for them, using Pullups was definitely the right thing for us to do.