Bedwetting While Potty Training
My 5-year-old is having trouble at night. He wakes up every morning with a soaking wet pull-up. What can I do to help him wake up at night and go potty? —jdsunny503
Children learn to stay dry during the day before they learn to stay dry while napping or during the night. Most children who wet their beds while they are sleeping do so because they do not respond to the internal signal of a full bladder.
Make it a habit to sit your little guy on the potty as soon as he wakes up from a nap and first thing every morning. When he stays dry for several naps in a row, allow him to nap in his big-boy pants. Do the same with regards to nighttime if he stays dry at night after a week or more, and see what happens. If your son continues to have accidents while sleeping, remember that it's not his fault. Simply help him get cleaned up and tell him there's no reason to feel badly or ashamed because everyone has accidents until their body learns to wake them up to go to the potty.
If bedwetting continues after your son had daytime bladder control for several months, explore the issue with your pediatrician, just to make sure that your child is healthy and does not have a hidden or undiagnosed condition. If you are still running into bedwetting problems after you've had him evaluated, consider waking him up the same time every night to use the potty. It's important to be at the same time every night, take or leave 10 minutes or so. Be sure he is completely awake, (able to have an intelligent little conversation with you). If he's groggy, it won't work. Keep waking him for at least 30 days straight at the same time. Most parents pick about 15 minutes before they plan to go to sleep for the evening themselves. This is the most effective way of helping him build his own nighttime bladder control muscles.
I'd also like to recommend a wonderful book to help you deal with his bedwetting and it's titled Waking Up Dry by Howard J. Bennett, MD., F.A.A.P. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005)
In the meantime, be sure to double-make the bed. Double-making the bed means that you put two entire sets of sheets and plastic mattress covers on your child's bed. When your son wets the bed in the middle of the night, all you have to do is pull off the top layer of sheets and the soiled mattress cover and voila! The bed's made! Good luck!
For more potty training advice, check out:
Potty Training Tips from the Potty Pro, Teri Crane
Potty Training at Night
The Sleep Lady on Potty Training and Sleep
Talk to other potty training parents who are also in the pee-pee & poo-poo trenches on our Toddlers & Preschoolers Message Board!