Limiting fluid intake before bedtime

Mary - posted on 03/11/2012 ( 99 moms have responded )

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In the recent potty-training thread, as well as in various conversations both on COM and in real life, I've heard many a mom talk about not allowing their children anything to drink within a specific time frame before bed. This is done in an attempt to avoid bed-wetting accidents, and promote overnight dryness.



I have to admit, this sort of bewilders me. If your child is thirsty, and asking for some water after 7pm, do you really say no just because bedtime is at 8pm and you want the sheets to stay dry? I've never limited my 3 y/o's fluid intake. In fact, she always has about 4-6 oz of milk right at bedtime, while we are reading her bedtime stories. Admittedly, she was dry overnight within 6 months of being potty trained, and bed-wetting has not been an issue for us.



Even if she did have issues with overnight dryness, I still don't think I would be okay with restricting fluid intake just for the sake of the sheets. I often drink just before going to sleep, and keep a glass of water at the bedside, so I just couldn't justify limiting her.



Do you limit your kid's fluids before bed?

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MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/14/2012

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Little Miss. My kid is the same way. There has been more than once when we lived in an apt and the fire alarm went off, where she did not wake up. She is a very heavy sleeper. When she was 6 and I had to wake her to go pee. I was persistent. I moved her and I walked her to the washroom. I did this every single night.



Not easier said than done. I did it. I am not saying it was fun. I am saying though, that it worked.

[deleted account]

Many people seem to think that limiting fluids before bed is the same as flat out refusing your child a drink. That may be the case w/ SOME parents, but most certainly does not seem to be the case for many that have responded that they do (or have) limited their child's fluid intake before bed.



Limiting I don't have a problem w/ at all. Eliminating I would. ;)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/14/2012

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To me, if you are trying to potty train overnight, and your child does not have a fully developed bladder, giving them a full glass to drink right before bed is setting them up for failure. My nephew is almost 7 and he pees the bed every single night still. He wears overnights, but he floods those and still gets the entire bed wet. Limiting his water intake could greatly help this matter. But my sister is the same thinking, that it is mean to limit it right before bed. But I think it is a bit meaner to set your kid up for failure. He won't go on sleep overs, and is completely embarrassed by this. Help the kid out. And YES, he drinks A LOT RIGHT before bed.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/14/2012

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Yes I do limit water or drink intake past a certain time for my son. He is turning 6 in may, and has been overnight trained for so long I cannot remember. But sure as shit, if he has a full drink of water while brushing his teeth for bed, he will wake up wet. He gets so totally distraught after peeing the bed, it is heartbreaking. I usually limit his drinking about 1 hour before bedtime, and if he wants some, he knows just a small amount. And of course he goes pee before bed.



Trying to wake my son in the middle of the night to go pee??? Yeah right. That child won't wake up for anything. Once, the fire alarm was going off in his room, (no fire, just faulty) and he slept through it. Easier said than done.

Merry - posted on 03/14/2012

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My kids are both in diapers still so I have no real experience but I always thought that sounded a bit harsh and maybe dangerous?

I get very thirsty at night time since I usually forget to drink enough all day. As a kid I remember a water cup beside my bed so I could have a drink if I woke.

So,in my unexperienced opinion, water shouldn't be withheld.

[deleted account]

Mary, I 100% agree with you on your definition of night time dryness. Like what I said in my first post. Jacob woke tonight to go to the bathroom. That's almost instinctual. That says to me that if he has to go, he has to go enough that it will wake him if need be. Now, I'm not gonna douse him with fluids before bed but I'm not going to deny him either. Saturday night we went to Monster Jam in Syracuse. It's an hour away. We took the diaper bag, carried it with us all night, with a change of clothing for him. My little boy did me proud...sorry, my BIG BOY! He has a shy bladder and basically couldn't pee at the colliseum, even in a ladies room stall. So he went from 3pm until almost 11 (and yes, in that circumstance, I did limit his fluid intake lol) and attempted to pee several times, but couldn't. My son, who I am sooo proud of, waited (after repeated attempts to get him to go) and didn't pee his pants (even though if he had, I would have understood) until we were in a single bathroom at Dunkin' Donuts, with me running the water in the sink and telling him to close his eyes and pretend like he was at home.....I bought the boy a jelly donut at almost midnight. Yeah. I did it lol I told him he could pick any donut he wanted, as a prize for doing so well all day.

[deleted account]

I'm posting before reading the other replies.



No, I don't limit Jacob's fluid intake before bed. When we began potty training, I don't know who or where I heard it from, but I do remember hearing that I should not let him have anything to drink for like an hour before bed time. I've never been one to follow the rules though and I have always gone with a more natural approach to parenting, rather than a strictly regimented type of thing. Jacob has unlimited access to water all day, both at home and at school. Every morning, he has a glass of juice, usually apple, but sometimes pineapple or orange. At school, I know (because I asked) that he is allowed water whenever he says he is thirsty, milk with his lunch. Sometimes they give the kids juice with breakfast but usually it's milk....depends on what they're having for breakfast that day. If they're having cereal, for example, then the kids get juice. Anyhow, all of that being said, we usually eat dinner around 6. He always has milk with dinner, and it took me a lot of trial and error to figure out how much milk to give him (that he would actually drink) and not throw away so much. Then, he has his bath at around 7~7:30ish. Always a snack after bath, usually grapes or pineapple, apple and cheese and some water. I do try to limit the amount of juice he gets because I can't afford to buy the stuf that has literally zero sugar. So he gets water after dinner basically. Then, at bedtime, we brush his teeth and it's like this ritual. Every night after brushing his teeth, he rinses, spits, dumps the cup and then refills it with just a few sips of water and drinks it. At one point I remember thinking that it's better for him to swallow water than tooth paste......

But just before bed, he always, always, always asks for something to drink and I always get it for him. Water. I tell him, "You can have juice in the morning with breakfast. How about a few sips of water?" I get one of his cups (about an 8 oz cup, I believe) and fill it halfway. He takes a few sips and I set the cup on his night table. In short, I don't care so much about him wetting the bed as I do about making sure he gets enough to drink. How else is he gonna learn bladder control during the night, now that he's there? It's 3am here right now, and just about an hour ago I heard the pitter patter of little feet going from his room to the bathroom. Insert boy peeing sounds here. Then pitter patter back to bed.



He can have a drink anytime he wants one as far as I'm concerned. He's potty trained and if he has an accident, so what, I wash the sheets.

[deleted account]

i think having the child go to the bathroom right before bedtime would be a better method of fixing bed-wetting issues. besides, i know it is much easier for me to get to sleep with an empty bladder, but it is also much easier for me to sleep if i'm not thirsty or hungry (at least to the point that there's a gnawing feeling in my stomach, haha). so why shouldn't that idea be used with kids? seems logical enough to me.

Becky - posted on 03/11/2012

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No. Both my boys take a sippy cup of water to bed with them. The air is very dry here and sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night feeling very dry and needing a drink. Or coughing and needing a drink. I don't think they should have to be uncomfortable just because I don't want them to wet the bed. (Well, one is still in diapers anyway!) My 4 year old is good about waking up if he needs to go, but even if he wasn't, I wouldn't deny him a drink before bed or in the middle of the night if he was thirsty.

Minnie - posted on 03/11/2012

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Hahahah Teresa, in my dream last night I was in this strange dingey room with windows, it was like a classroom, and the blinds were on the outside of the room, so I couldn't shut them. So people kept opening the blinds! LOL So I found some sheets and hung them up on my side of the windows. But they kept falling down!

Stifler's - posted on 03/11/2012

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They're not toilet trained yet but probably not since I often get up in the night to have a drink or go to the toilet. Also if you tell a kid they can't have a drink before bed it makes them more likely to want one.

Jennifer - posted on 03/11/2012

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Jodi, she's seen a doctor twice a year for bed wetting but never for constipation! Did you read the article?

Jennifer - posted on 03/11/2012

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WOW! After posting on this thread, I went to slate to get my "Dear Prudie" fix and found THIS!

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/famil...



I hope the link works, but if not, the article is on slate, and is titled 'bed wetting: the simple cause your doctor probably missed'! My daughter will be at the doctor's office tomorrow morning!!

Jennifer - posted on 03/11/2012

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All of my kids were dry all night from the first day without diapers, save one. First sign I looked for was dry nights, though. I was told that was a sign they were ready for potty training and it normally happened at 2.5 years. My middle daughter, however, was still wetting during the nighttime at 3, and had to start in Head Start. As liberal as they are, they insisted on no diapers. She showed a few other signs of not being ready, but I trained her. She did alright during the day, but seemed to have a very short 'waiting period', and had to wear pull ups at night. At five, I took her to the doctor, and they found nothing wrong. We tried everything, including withholding liqued. It did not work. She does not wake up. Even now at 11, she still has accidents. They are getting fewer, but it happens. I just think she has an issue with waking. We use pull-ups, end of the issue.

Jenny - posted on 03/11/2012

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Whether you drink or you don't drink before bed does not make you less or more able to wake up at night to pee. If your brain has not yet made that connection then you will not wake up regardless.



However, I do believe that if you drink less or nothing before bed it will limit the probability of even having to get up to pee and as a result you may have a dry night. Can you see how using this technique is a band-aid fix and can result in years of unsuccessful bed training?



What needs to be trained is not the kid, not the conscious mind, but the unconscious part of the brain that picks up on the bladders signal that it is full and urges the body to wake up.



A book I've read that is directed at bedwetting problems in older children suggest that you encourage them to drink more before bed to increase the chances that they must wake up during the night to go pee.



Along with this technique, you can use an alarm bell which wakes the child up within a minute of when he's peed the bed, increasing the chances that he wakes close to the time he needs to pee and helping establish a connection in the brain with needing to pee and waking up.



Another way to do this without an alarm is for a week to consistently wake your child up every 45mins-1hr during the night. It is noted in the book that this is different to waking the child up during the night every time you wake up and before you go to bed yourself because it is more consistent and increases the chances that you wake the child up right before he needs to pee.



In the book it also suggests that the problem will resolve its self once the child is ready without having to wake him up by the hour. So if you feel your child is ready to begin night training why not try not limiting his fluid intake and increasing it to really test his ability to wake up. I would say that if he wets his bed consistently for a week of doing this he is just not ready.



This is just one of many ways to encourage a child to stay dry during the night, but I wanted to share it because its quite a different take to what we're used to hearing about.

[deleted account]

My son is now trained in the day, for the most part, but we are nowhere near nighttime training, he wakes with a near over flowing nappy every morning, although saying that the last couple of days his nappy has been significantly less full so we may get to the point where he is night trained over the Next few months. We don't plan on even considering night training until he's out of his cot (which we're procrastinating about because he doesn't get try to get out of it yet) because we feel he needs to be able to go to the toilet if he needs to go ithe night without having to shout us to get him out of bed. When we do night train him we won't be banning drinks though that is silly, if he needs to drink he needs to drink, we take a drink to bed with us so why shouldn't he?

Jodi - posted on 03/11/2012

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We tried it with my step-son, because he was a bedwetter for years - we tried pretty much everything. But nothing worked, including limiting fluids. I've come to the conclusion that a kid will be dry when they are ready and that limiting fluids really isn't going to make the difference.

Chrystal - posted on 03/11/2012

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I limit my sons fluid intake after 4pm. No matter what diaper we've tried he's wet the bed almost every night since he was born. Which when he woke for night feedings was fine my husband changed the sheets while I fed our son. But when he stopped waking for feedings he still wet the bed and it caused rashes. As he's gotten older he also started chugging down 2-3 glasses of water an hour before dinner and then not eating and still was wetting the bed every night. So we took his sippy cup away after 4 pm and that means he eats dinner and doesn't have a constant rash on his belly from sleeping in pee. We let him have a glass of milk with dinner and if he asks for a drink we go get him one and let him have a few sips which is rare that he asks because during the day he drinks 5-6 cups full but we don't let him have as much as he wants. It's not about not wanting to change sheets it's a better option in our view than waking up a 1.5 year old every night to change him and his sheets or letting him live with a constant rash.

Dusty - posted on 03/11/2012

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My husband & I sort of limit our 3 year old's fluid intake. Usually it's about an hour before bed. He drinks alot during the day, so usually by the end of the night he's not really thirsty, but if he asks for a drink then we don't deny it either. He also has asthma, so I honestly would never outright DENY him a drink because it could backfire pretty bad if he's having a coughing fit. We also give him drinks of water throughout the night if he wakes up coughing or if he's sick. But normally he doesn't ask for drinks before bed because he also brushes his teeth & takes a small drink of water with it right before bed. I wouldn't think it was right to deny any child a drink. If they are thirsty, give them a drink!

Jenni - posted on 03/11/2012

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Those all sound eerily familiar to mine. I hate the ones where you can't find a place to pee. And every time you finally do, people show up and you got to hurry up and pull your pants back up.

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Lisa, you should see some of the 'appropriate' places I've found to pee in a dream.... like on chairs in a room full of people. Yeah... weird. lol

Minnie - posted on 03/11/2012

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This is hilarious- just last night I had a pee dream! I always have them when I have a full bladder and they always involve elaborate attempts to relieve myself but I'm always interrupted by someone. The surroundings are never right, people are always passing through, and the toilet is always in the middle of a big room, lol.

Minnie - posted on 03/11/2012

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No, I've never limited fluid intake. I keep a cup of water by the bed for myself, I think it's mean to deny water to a child.

[deleted account]

Jenni, I have pee dreams all the time (well, not ALL the time... at least a couple a week though). I either have to pee real bad and can't find a place to go or I FIND a place and just keep peeing w/ no relief. Either of those means I'd better wake myself up and go, but I've never started to go in bed for real.

[deleted account]

Mary, in regards to night time dryness/potty trained.... to me it's both/either. I'm up 2-5 times/night to pee, so I certainly don't consider myself not trained... I AM trained... to get up when I have to pee. ;)



My son might wake once a month to pee at most, but it's usually more like once every 2-3 months. His sisters sleep through w/out getting up MOST of the time, but one or the other may get up once or twice a week.



We're all night trained. :)

Jenni - posted on 03/11/2012

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I've had some pretty vivid dreams even as an adult of being in the toilet already when I really had to go at night. It's strange, they were so vivid and I thought I was already there, I even felt the sensation but I've never had an accident.... luckily!

Elfrieda - posted on 03/11/2012

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Just to throw out a child's perspective, I often (I remember it being often, not every night, but at least once a week) wet the bed until I was 5. It's not that I didn't mean to get up, it's just that I would *dream* that I had gotten up and was sitting on the toilet, then I'd "let go" and right away would wake up and know I'd made a mistake. Again. It felt really unfair that my dreams would trick me like that!



Eventually I remembered, even in a dream, that sometimes I thought I was in the washroom but was actually in my bed, and I'd try to do lots of tests to make sure it was real. (I'd feel the grout on the tile, I'd lick a towel, just do something out of the ordinary.) If it was a dream, usually that was enough to wake me up.



Doing those tests became a sort of compulsion for me well into my teen years, and I still do it sometimes when I wake up at night and am totally groggy.



edited to add: I remember my mom suggesting that I not drink very much in the evening and maybe that would help. I was grateful for the guidance, but I don't remember if it helped.

[deleted account]

I did w/ the girls. I wouldn't refuse them a drink, but only allow a small one if they were thirsty an hour or so before bed... and when they were a bit older I'd remind them of the potential consequences if they were going to have a big drink. They weren't dry consistently through the night til they were 4.5 and still had wet beds (w/ decreasing frequency) til 8.5... it was at/after 7 that I wouldn't limit, but would caution.



I don't limit my son's fluid intake at all... He drinks IN bed. ;) He'll be 4 in a couple of weeks, has been fully day and night trained for about 15 months, and has only ever had one wet bed so far.

Jenni - posted on 03/11/2012

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See, my experience with my step daughter was different. She stayed dry the entire night. She still doesn't get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom but she hasn't had a nighttime accident in a year and a half.



I'm mostly just playing it by ear with Ben. I would guess both factors play a role in night time dryness. Currently Ben does not rouse when he feels the need to urinate. But I've also noticed an increased occurrence in nighttime dryness over the past year. But both factors probably boil down to bladder control and bladder maturity. I've always felt my limiting drinks was a little in vain and have never felt "strongly" about it. Actually, until now I probably didn't put much thought into it. I completely acknowledge that nighttime training is more biological than influenced by the parents. I guess I just want to cover all my bases? lol

Mary - posted on 03/11/2012

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This discussion actually makes me think about another question -what exactly defines nighttime dryness? For me, it wasn't really about eliminating the need to pee during those hours - it was when she reached that point where the urge to go actually roused her enough to get up and address it. I suppose that's why I've never considered limiting intake as an option. That response in her was either going to be there or not, regardless of how much she had to drink.

Jenni - posted on 03/11/2012

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Oh and we use a diaper at night. Probably until he's for the most part staying dry. We tried diaper-less for a week and it was awful. He just isn't there yet. He doesn't wake when he needs to pee. He'd wake up cold and wet and it looked like torture, so I stopped.



We tried pull ups but he hates them for some reason and just bawls about having to wear them. He doesn't like the way the elastics feel, I believe. So I'm not going to force him to wear them if he's more comfortable in a diaper.

Jenni - posted on 03/11/2012

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I'm not sure if it's effective or not? So this will be a great thread for me. Ben is 3.5 and is at 50/50 wet/dry. Kira stayed dry at night early (between 12-18 months) so it was a non-issue with her.



I have started "limited" drinks before bedtime. The key word is limiting. Ben has always consumed a lot of liquid. Less now that he drinks from a cup, however. After 7pm we cut back. He still gets half a small glass before bed if he asks for it. It would feel wrong denying him liquid when he's thirsty. I always have a sippy cup of milk waiting in the fridge for him in the morning or if he wakes in the night and is really thirsty (that doesn't happen often).



I think I more just try to cut back. I'm not going to give him 6-8oz right before bed but he is allowed to have a little bit to drink. It wouldn't feel right to me telling him he couldn't have *anything* after a certain time if he's really thirsty.



So my question is, is it effective? Does it indeed encourage dry nights?



I'm also not pushy at all about potty training. I don't mind if my kids take until 3 years old to be fully day trained. And I do feel that night training is more biological than anything else. I've always been prepared that Ben wouldn't be night trained until he is much older. He was always so soaked at night when he was younger compared to my other two. (now he's only going once a night... maybe 2-4 days of the week) I don't really believe night training is something that a parent can have much of an influence on.

Elfrieda - posted on 03/11/2012

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We're just starting with the potty training, and we've been weaning my toddler off having a sippycup in his crib overnight. Restricting liquids right before bed makes sense to me. No, of course I wouldn't say no if he wanted a drink, but I would pour just a quarter of a cup and see if that was enough. And water, nothing like juice or milk. So that if he's thirsty, he'll drink it, but not just because it tastes good.



I'll make sure he drinks lots in the morning and afternoon. I don't think he'll get dehydrated.

Jodi - posted on 03/11/2012

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Mary, that was kind of my line of thought. But of course, everyone and their brother has something to say about it right? lol (My sister's prime example is her 4 year old who was night dry by 3, if he can do it why can't my child? Ugh!) Anyways, I think we might have a long battle ahead of us, my husband wet the bed until he was 12...which is a reason why I don't push the issue very hard.

Mary - posted on 03/11/2012

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Jodi, my personal opinion is no - allowing her to drink before bedtime is not the reason she isn't staying dry through the night. My daughter was both night and day potty trained by 2.5. As I said, I let her drink whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Every so often, she does wake up in the middle of the night to pee. Her body was simply ready to make that connection where a full bladder wakes her. In my opinion, your daughter's body just isn't there yet. I don't think limiting fluids helps develop that process. It might keep the sheets dry, but it doesn't mean that "connection" is there yet.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/11/2012

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Jodi, I had the same issue. My daugher had problems until she was 6 or so. I am not sure I would recommend this for a 3 year old (their still learning) but by the time my daughter was 6, I started something new. She would go to the washroom before bed but then I would wake her up before I went to bed and get her to go again. Sometimes, I would even wake her up in the middle of the night to go. Over a month or so, her bladder got bigger and better at waiting. I am not sure how or why but I think it has something to do with the brain wanting sleep more than to be woken to pee... Or maybe it was just pure coincidence... ;)

Celeste - posted on 03/11/2012

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Jodi, I found that to be true at our house too. He doesn't always ask for a drink, but even on the nights he doesn't ask for a drink, he still wet the bed!

Jodi - posted on 03/11/2012

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Well, my 3 year old is daytime potty trained, but not nighttime. I put her cup away around 7 (bedtime's at 8), but if she asks for something to drink, then something to drink she gets. By the time your body tells you you're thirsty, you are already starting to become dehydrated, so to ignore that cue? Uh uh, not happening in my house.



I have wondered if my refusal to ignore her requests for something to drink are the cause of her necessity for pull ups at night, but I have found that she pees regardless of whether she asks for a drink or doesn't. So what good would come of taking away liquid? (I would be interested in any ideas of ways to night time train if anyone wanted to message them to me! We do go potty right before hopping into bed, and she doesn't drink gallons and gallons when she asks, just a small child sized drinking cup at most.)

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/11/2012

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Isn't this why they make pull-ups??



So that those that are learning to potty train and/or are still not quite able to stay dry all night have a resource available rather than soaking the bed?



I would limit how much they drank right before bed but I most definitely would let them have a drink of water. That's just cruel to say "No, too bad if you are thirsty, now get to bed!"... Poor kids... I know I would like a drink if I needed one and no one is telling me NO. I wake up in the middle of the night to pee, so what, big friggen deal!



ETA:

I also try to make sure they get all their fluid intake during the day but that is not to say they are thirsty before bed, for whatever reason....

Bonnie - posted on 03/11/2012

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I don't say, "no you can't have anything to drink after 6 or 7pm" type of thing, but my boys do just get a small amount before bed. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't and they do use the bathroom right before bed.



I have heard of moms not allowing after 5 or 6pm, but the child's bedtime isn't until 8pm.

Celeste - posted on 03/11/2012

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One of my twin boys wasn't night trained for awhile while my other twin boy never had an issue at night. If the one that wasn't night trained wanted water, of course I'd give it to him. I don't let him gallons of water, but I will give him a cup of water if he asks for it..

April - posted on 03/11/2012

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What Krista said! Actually, my son has been potty trained for quite some time and night trained since November. Since Nov. he has only had one bedtime accident and that was the night i let him drink 6 ounces of water right before bed, which was in addition to whatever he drank at dinner.



Like Krista, I wouldn't reject his request for water if he wanted it right at bed. Glass after glass? No. 6 or more ounces right before bed? Probably not. For him, I think 3 ounces is enough if he is going to be drinking it right at bedtime. Plus, since I'm still nursing at night, it's not like he doesn't have any access to a drink. Even if i forgot to put a cup next to the bed, he'd still have something if he wanted.

Sally - posted on 03/11/2012

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If mine as for water i would allow it but would limit it to maybe half a glass. I didn't have the bottle issue because mine where of the bottle before potty training. I would of course give them extra if the were ill.

Krista - posted on 03/11/2012

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I wouldn't let him drink cup after cup after cup of water, no. But I think it's rather mean to not let a child have ANYTHING to drink before bed, or at any point during the night. I know I'd have a hard time sleeping if I had a bad case of thirst or even pasty-mouth.



My son has his drink at suppertime, and doesn't usually have a drink before bed, but I do put a 5-oz sippy cup of water in his crib with him, in case he gets parched. Some mornings, the cup is empty, other mornings, it's not. I'd rather delay potty training a bit rather than make my poor kid go thirsty, especially in the hot weather.

Tracey - posted on 03/11/2012

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I would rather put a plastic sheet on the bed to catch accidents than withold water from a child.

Michelle - posted on 03/11/2012

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I don't but I also live in a hot climate. My boys always have a water bottle beside their bed at night.



They are now 10.5 and 8 and we don't have any problems (and haven't since toilet training) with bedwetting. I always have a full water bottle beside my bed as well and most nights I drink the lot. I guess the difference is when it's still stinking hot at night you sweat more instead of needing to pee.

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