Thursday, October 14, 2010

i'm putting on the mommyblogger hat for a moment

I've been debating writing this... it's one thing to blog about your kid's struggles and achievements with potty training in general... everyone goes thru that and they're usually young enough that it's all just cute and toddlerish and part of life and can be kind of endearing to have recoorded(after the fact).

But this is different and older and seems more, I don't know, private. Probably because he's older. And he's sensitive about it... the type of thing that comes up in heart to heart talks lately.

But I still need to hear opinions and advice, and I know it's something a lot of kids go through and part of life, so here it is. And hopefully he'll forgive me when he's a teenager.

Sawyer's been wearing underwear for almost three years now. We still used pull-ups at night. When he was first potty trained, he wasn't even close to staying dry at night and I didn't care about nighttime... Savannah did the same thing. She was daytime pottytrained at two years old, but wouldn't stay dry at night. By three-and-a-half years I started pressuring her to wear underwear at night and we did the whole limit liquids, wake her up to go before we went to bed at night, etc, etc, and she still couldn't do it. She just slept too hard and couldn't make it all night. I finally, after months of laundry and early morning alarms, decided it was us being night trained, and not her and I gave up and said so what, pull ups are fine and we were all much happier, slept much better and she started staying dry naturally all by herself by her 4th birthday.

So I didn't even have nighttime dryness on my radar with Sawyer at all. I didn't care, it'll happen when it happens, and all that.
But then last summer, when he was three and a half, he started asking to wear underwear at night. He still didn't have dry pull-ups in the morning, but he wouldn't drop it, so we finally put him in underwear at night... and amazingly he stayed dry! From day one he would stay dry all night (minus the random accident here and there, but really it wasn't even once a week) and I thought we were done with pull-ups forever.
This went on for a good three or four months.

And then he stopped taking naps.
And suddenly we'd find him every night having accidents again.
Every. Night.
No matter what he'd had (or hadn't had) to drink, no matter if we went in to wake him and take him to the bathroom, no matter what.
My take on it was since he was no longer napping, he was just too tired and sleeping too hard and not waking up to go. So after a few weeks of trying and/or waiting for him to adjust, I finally said we were going back to pull-ups. And he was fine with it. We were all fine with it.

The thing was, even though he was wearing pull-ups, he was still wetting his bed. As in soaking thru the pull-up. Almost every night. Which was odd.
And then this spring, when we started making a few long road trips to Nashville all the time, I noticed he always had to go to the bathroom a lot. A lot. Apparently, this kid is a racehorse.

After one especially rest-stop-filled trip (seriously, five stops in under two hours, and still didn't make it in time for the last one. a wet carseat two hours into a six hour car trip?? not a fan.), I started trying to connect dots with the whole having stayed dry at night for months, but then suddenly not, and wetting so much at night, and now noticing how much he really goes during the day...
I called the dr. and we went in for some tests.
Everything came back normal however and she said it's just him and his habits and not to worry about nighttime at all... he was only four.
Which I totally agreed with. Agree with.

But over the last few months, turns out Sawyer doesn't agree with it.
Turns out it really bothers him that he can't stay dry at night. Like to the point where he's embarrassed about wearing a pull-up at night. He's frustrated with himself and wants so badly to "be a big boy."
Which took me by surprise.
I mean, I can understand that coming from a seven year old or something. But a four year old? He's really upset that he's going to be turning five and is still wearing pull-ups. Like really, honestly upset. This is a Big Deal to him right now.

So after a few heart-to-hearts about it, we decided to just bite the bullet and do it.
I talked to a friend and she said that her dr had recommended setting an alarm for 12:30/1 o'clock in the morning (something about a natural sleep cycle or something??) and getting him up to go to the bathroom... doing that for like two weeks straight and getting his body into the habit of at least partly waking up to go and eventually at least deciding if he needed to go.
So that was our plan.

But here's the thing.
We're taking him to the bathroom before we go to bed at 9:30/10 and then getting up and taking him again at 12:30... and we're still having accidents. Sometimes he's already wet by 10 o'clock. Other times he's dry for the first trip but then wet by 12:30. Other times he'll stay dry all night.
And he's so stinkin' happy when he does.
But SO disappointed when he's not.

And my biggest issue is that he's not even waking up when he's wet. He's laying in a huge puddle, but he's completely out and clueless until we wake him up to go to the bathroom and get changed. So in my mind? It's not going to work right now. He's just not physically ready.

But how do I get him to accept that?
I don't know what else to say to him to help him feel that it's all okay... that he is still a great big kid and no one else cares at all if he still needs a little extra back-up at night. He's just fixated on this and I'm not sure what to do.

I'm relieved we're going on a trip next week because it's an excuse where I'm saying he HAS to wear a pull-up (being in other people's beds) and we don't have to deal with it. Even though he's let me know numerous times he's not happy about that.

All that to say... anyone have any advice?
Anyone who's been through this have any ideas or new tricks on trying to help him stay dry at night?
And most importantly, any ideas on how to talk to him and help him understand that it's okay if his body isn't ready to keep underwear (and a bed and sheets and a quilt!!) dry all night.


Heather S. said...

Well - you obviously know what the nighttime potty thing has been like at our house. Norah is FINALLY wearing underwear to bed - but she gets up on her own usually twice a night. Anyway, she was always embarrassed because she knew that other kids her age (and younger) didn't need pull-ups at bedtime. We talked to the doctor about it and she really felt strongly that waking them isn't the best habit to get into because they aren't feeling any signals that they have to go. They are only getting up and sitting on the toilet because someone got them out of bed.
We just spent a lot of time telling Norah that God makes everyone's body different and it is okay. Not that it made it any easier for her, but we just tried to keep reassuring her over and over - literally every night. We also tried explaining - after lots of accidents when we tried underwear - that by her not waking up after she wet the bed, it is her body's way of saying she is not quite ready for underwear at night. Not much help, I know, but hopefully he will just accept it at some point.

Erin said...

I don't have any "expert" advice for you here, but it sounds to me like there's more going on than just him sleeping through needing to go to the bathroom. If he's going THAT often during the day, too, I can't help but wonder if there's not an issue somewhere. Have you asked his doctor to run some tests or something? Maybe he just has a small bladder, but I'd think he should be able to go longer without needing to pee by now. Kindergarteners get (at least here) just a few bathroom breaks a day during school. If it were me, I'd at least ask if there could be a physiological issue. What if you tracked his intake and output every day for a few weeks? Maybe it's as simple as he's getting lots more liquids than anyone realizes?

(but I just pretend to be a doctor - I'm not a real one or anything....)

Hope you can get it figured out for him. I hate that he's feeling stress about it. It sounds like all of you are really trying to make it work.

Is there maybe an option other than Pull-ups out there? I can't imagine what it would be, but maybe something that made him feel a little less "like a baby?"

Maybe something like this?
(they also have alarms you can wear or put in your bed)

Big hugs - hang in there!

Mom said...

I tend to kind of agree with Erin.Sawyer may be drinking a LOT of fluids! The nutrionist at the heart hospital said that we should all be eating our fruits & veggies NOT drinking them . Otherwise we miss out on all the fiber we need.So with that in mind ,if you could encourage Sawyer to try and eat more of the good stuff ,drink less juice. (especially in the second half of the day.) Not that we want him to think drinking water is NOT good for him...XOXOOXOXOX

heather said...

I just don't think too much liquid is the problem.... (I looked long and hard at that aspect before taking him to the dr last spring.)

My kids have only one glass of juice in the AM (which I still dilute with water), milk with meals, and then water is the only option aside from meals the rest of the day. That's always how we've done it with both kids. I figure with water he's only drinking what he needs and not just drinking because it tastes good (like juice) and it's not filling him up rather than food.
To think about it, it really doesn't seem like he's taking in more liquid than he needs... and we are especially vigilant the later in the day it gets. I guess I could try actually keeping track of how many ounces of liquid he's actually drinking though... just to see.

The other day he didn't even drink his milk at dinner... so he basically had nothing to drink after like 3pm, went to the bathroom as usual before bed (we always talk about getting it ALL out) and that was a night he was wet by 10 o'clock. Go figure.

Nicole said...

Aahhhck! Hmm.... what a tricky subject. Poor guy!

So, was all this brought on by him stopping naps?

I have no idea if this even pertains to you, but Aubri will pee literally ever 15 minutes if she drinks any sugary drings... capri sun etc. To the point where she will even pee her pants because she won't make it to the bathroom. I witnessed it first hand when we were camping, and then a few weeks ago Aubri went with a friend to a ballgame and they let her have a capri sun. On the way home they stopped like every 15 minutes because she had to pee. She peed her pants TWICE. She's been potty trained since she was 2ish... so its not a normal thing for her. That might be something to look into? Limiting his sugary drinks to lunch only, or nothing sugary after 1pm or something?

I wish I had more advice to offer. :(

my3buckaroos said...


Caleb, our oldest, sounds a lot like Sawyer. We tried this and it worked very well:

It took a few weeks to work, but now Caleb will wake up on his own to go to the bathroom at night. He's had maybe two accidents since summer started!

Have you noticed that he seems to have to go to the bathroom more often when a restroom is not easily accessible? Caleb had to go in the car a lot as well, but when we were home, not so much. I think it may be kind of psychological... I can say that he grew out of it!

Good luck, and hugs to Sawyer. Its hard to want something and not have control over it!

Anonymous said...

Tell him Ben still wears a pull up at nap AND bedtime. If that doesn't work you could go Billy Madison on him and pee your pants too. Only the cool kids pee their pants.

Seriously though, if we stay the night in a couple weeks we can indirectly make it very obvious that Ben is putting on a pull-up for night time and see if Sawyer notices it.
Amie R.

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