Little Ones: Dry Nights


When, oh when, will my child be dry at night?

My twin boys were potty trained shortly before their 3rd birthday. Luck was with me and I was able to accomplish this in a few days going pants-free in our backyard in the spring.

Friends (who mainly had daughters, I realized after the fact) noted that a couple of weeks later, I might find that my children’s diapers were dry in the morning and they would soon also be night-trained. This was not even close to our experience.

As their 4th birthday approached, I asked our pediatrician about their heavy night-time diapers. She informed me that all children need to produce a certain hormone that concentrates their urine at night and until their bodies made this hormone, pull-ups would be part of our evening routine. The best indication of when this would happen would be when their father reached this milestone.

Unfortunately, my mother-in-law passed away before my children were born and my husband wasn’t quite sure when he was graduated to underwear at night. He did remember his younger brother “wet the bed” for several years.  Given this fact, we decide to visit Costco for 4T-5T pull ups and let nature take its time.


Their 5th birthday came and went and neither child was dry often enough to ditch the night-time diapers. Our doctor suggested letting them wear underwear, wet themselves to wake themselves up and then take them to the bathroom to finish urinating. We doubled up on mattress protection covers and tried this for several nights. We were all tired, had a lot more laundry than usual and were no closer to our goal. We were offered a pad that you put on a bed that vibrates when it detects dampness to wake the child up, but with worries of electrocution dancing in my head, we decided to try to wait it out again.

Then, at around 5 ½ years old, one of my sons was consistently dry. He was the child that was harder to potty train and had many more daytime accidents, but his body finally seemed ready. My other son was desperate to follow suit and often asked to wear underwear and sleep on a towel but he was 6 and already in grade one before he truly hit this milestone.

He had been dry for several weeks when both boys were invited to their first real sleepover party (which now seems early now given that they were only 6, but they had been begging for this privilege for months).   My son was worried about having an accident while at the sleepover. His doctor offered a medication that could be taken the evening of the party that would help guarantee a dry, if relatively sleep-free, night. Soon, the long years of night time diapers were a memory, and my husband and wondered what we were ever worried about.

Michelle Nelson is a marketer with 15 years experience in education and not for profits and enjoys a bit of blogging on the side. Food and parenting are her topics of choice. She works at Kids & Company and has twin boys.

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