Need Help! 4 1/2 year old wont fully potty train.

Rachel - posted on 04/18/2012 ( 492 moms have responded )

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Our 4 1/2 year old refuses to learn to fully potty train. We are having problems trying to get her to go potty at night so she can wear underwear all the time & not just during the day. We told her to treat the pull up like underwear while she is in bed but she says "It's easier to just go in the pull up." We have tried leaving her in underwear to go to sleep but wake up to change sheets & all every morning. I just don't know what to do anymore. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you!

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JENNIFER - posted on 05/01/2012

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Rachel,

I understand your frustration. My daughter finally quit using pull-ups at 8.5.
We tried everything. We even went to the doctor and they put her on Meds to help train her blatter. Nothing worked. She woke up one day and just told us she was not going to wear pull-ups again. I set my alarm for about 1am for about a week and then she just started waking herself up if she had to go. She makes sure she goes to potty before bed and she doesn't drink after 8pm. It took awhile but she is pull-up free.

Rochelle - posted on 05/01/2012

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My daughter is almost 9 and still wets the bed. She sleeps so deep she just doesn't wake up to go I guess. Pull ups or overnights at night and underwear during the day works. It will be alot less stressful on you too. She will get it when it's time. I wet the bed til I was 11 and a good friend of mine wet til she was like 13. I do not recommend the alarms they sell to wake them either. My sister used to have an alarm that went off when she began to wet. She has never been able to get into a deep sleep since. She is 39 and to this day sleeps light and hears everything.

Karen - posted on 05/01/2012

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I have been extremely lucky with potty training... My son was fully potty trained ( day and night) by the age of 2years 9 months. Yes we have the occasional accident at night when he is ill or extremely tired.. but that is very seldom in the last 9 months he has only had 3 or 4 accidents. He is 4years 9 months now.
My daughter decided just a few days after her second birthday that she was not going to wear nappies (diapers) anymore and by the end of the month she was day potty trained. I continued to put a pull up over her panties at night and by the end of the next month she was fully potty trained both night and day. Once again we have the occasional accident at night but it is when she is very tired and or ill and doesn't wake up in time to get to the toilet.
Since your daughter is saying it is easier to go in the pull up, I would try having the panties on and then just before she climbs into bed, put the pull ups on over the panties. A gentle reminder what will happen if an accidents occurs, and a last visit to the potty/toilet, then bed. Then use a star/reward chart so that by achieving 7 dry pull ups ( a week) she gets a reward for example her nails painted, a small toy, etc... My cousin used this with both of her children and it has worked well for her two. Especially since her son only achieved night time dryness at 4years 7months....but her daughter was much sooner at 2 years 4 months

SO good luck with what ever method you try..

Kate - posted on 05/01/2012

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well .... my hubby put the kids to bed last night and put my 4.5yr old in pull ups and non suprisingly when she got up this morning she was wet, embarrassed and sad that she hadn't made it through the night dry like yesterday .... needless to say she will be back in big girl pants tonight so fingers crossed smiles and pride tomorrow .... just goes to show how pull ups give out mixed messages ... btw she hadn't had a drink post 17:30 and was in bed for 19:30 .... the potential extra washing is worth seeing the look of pride on her face in the morning!

Laura - posted on 04/30/2012

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My daughter is the same age with the same problem.... We've tried everything, waking her up four times a night to potties in the room.... I have now decided that I am going to leave her in her pull ups, I think it depends on when the child is ready, and I certainly don't want to force her... And even waking up to take her doesn't help as she is still wet in the morning, all it achieves is making her very crabby the next morning :)
I keep one thing in my head, she has always just suddenly done something, so maybe thing will be the same :) good luck :)

Pandita - posted on 04/30/2012

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Oddly, some multiple vitamins have the effect of making kids incontinent at night. My third child pees if I give him multiple vitamins, especially if they contain iron. As soon as I stopped giving them to him (at my sisters suggestion), he stopped almost completely within a few days. I don't know if she is taking vitamins or not, but if she is, it might be something to look into.

Sherri - posted on 04/30/2012

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Oh since most are saying check with your doctor. Virtually no doctor will even consider it an issue and do anything about it till they are around 8yrs old.

Kathy - posted on 04/30/2012

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Your child isn't "refusing" to fully potty train. As I understand it, you can't train kids for when they are sleeping. Their bodies just have to naturally develop the ability to hold it throughout the night and/or to wake themselves to use the potty. She probably just feels more comfortable knowing she has the protection of a pull-up. I would suggest that you don't stress yourself or her about it and continue to put her in pull-ups when she goes to bed. This is normal and staying dry throughout the night happens at different ages for each child. I have two kids and the potty training pattern for both of them was very different from one another.

Angela - posted on 04/30/2012

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My son didnt potty train until he was 4 , 4 1/2, But we found out he was autistic but not full blown autism he has asbergers sydrome. He can talk and learn he has a collage iq.

Tracey - posted on 04/30/2012

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I'd follow Regina Walker's advice and check with your doctor. My first two kids were night dry at just 12 months, which was before they were dry during the day. Then my youngest was day dry earlier than that, but wasn't night-dry until 18 months. Their cousins weren't night or day dry until age 2. All kids are different. If she's not physically capable of being night dry, your doctor should be able to tell you. Then you'll know if she's just being lazy or not.

Sherri - posted on 04/30/2012

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She is fully trained!! Night time wetting is not her fault and 100% normal. Her little bladder is simply immature and until she grows and her bladder matures she will most likely continue to wet the bed. Many many many children wet the bed until they reach puberty.

My friends son is 7 and still wears pull ups.
My other friends son was 9 until he stopped bed wetting.
My son didn't stop until he was 5.

All these kids were 100% potty trained when they were 2.

Cheryl - posted on 04/30/2012

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I appreciated Jennifer D's post below.. I also had one who was about 8 when he stopped using pull ups.. my third son and by that time I had learned everything the hard way.. number one every one is different.. don't sweat(or wet) the small stuff.. I was so busy with trying to keep up with a semblance of running a household.. that the thought of getting him up at night(which we did with our first.. used one of the "wee" alerts.. very annoying and everyone was tired and cranky all the time because no one was getting any good sleep).. they all outgrew it and have grown up to be very successful young men, thank you very much.. I got to read them more books and we were more relaxed about that kind of stuff.. life is too short and they grow up way too soon!! there weren't any pull ups with my other 2 sons so we used the cotton training pants.. I say...YAY for PULL UPS!

Lisa - posted on 04/30/2012

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I can't believe you expect a 4 1/2 year to be night trained. Your expectations are just too high.

Rebecca - posted on 04/30/2012

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Most children that are not potty trained by 5 at night.... are sleeping through it. They are deep sleepers. The only known cure that I know of is teach their body to fully awaken to go at night. One can purchase a bed-wetting alarm and get them up, take them to the bathroom, and make sure they are fully awake, sit them on the toilet. OR one can stay awake next to them sleeping in bed for about a week to get them up when they squirm/make faces to awaken them fully and set them on the toilet. Continue this until the body is re-taught to awaken at the appropriate time. (Usually 2-12 weeks depending on the child)

Patricia - posted on 04/30/2012

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Some children are just very deep sleepers and don't wake up until its too late. There are tools that can help. My sister works in a hospital and nephew age 7 is still having this problem. One of the nurses recommended incontinence pads as they get older for accidents instead of pull-ups. Once they get to a certain age pull-ups are embarassing for the child and difficult for parents to clean-up the mess daily. They are thin pads you put over the mattress in case of an accident and can find them online on amazon or your local drug store. Also, bed wetting alarms may be an option. They vibrate and wake up the child at the first sign of moisture to allow them to go to the restroom. This has been effective for my nephew since his is at a stage where he is embarrased and wants to wake up instead of having an accident. You can find them on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/PottyMD-W103-Bedwe...

Debbie - posted on 04/30/2012

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this is a hard one. My son was under 3 when was potty trained. He was still sleeping in my bed, and I ran out of pull ups and I had to put him in underwear. I told him you better not pee the bed I dont want to sleep in pee, and he's never had an accident, he's almost 7. Im NOT saying that works, it just seemed to work for me. I think of all the things we do as a parent this is the hardest one.

Jen - posted on 04/30/2012

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I see lots of good advice you can try, like limiting liquids in the evening, making sure she goes potty before bed, and possibly waking her up before you go to bed. But the fact is, she may just not be ready. Her bladder could be too small, or her body may not wake her up to go. If this is the case, chastising her, telling her "big girls don't wet the bed", or making her change her own wet sheets is probably not going to help, and it may hurt.



My youngest slept in pull-ups until he was 8 1/2. It's actually not unusual. Once he was really able to do it, he has done extremely well. My older son was out of pull-ups at night by 4. Unfortunately, he would go months at a time with no accidents, and then go months at a time with an accident every night. That lasted until he was about 7. He had no control over it. The pediatrician recommended that we wait until he was 8 or 9, and at that point we might have to consider some testing and/or medication. It stopped before we got to that point. The pull-ups are frustrating, but her little body and mind are still growing. She might need a little more time.

Sally - posted on 04/30/2012

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Have you tried getting her up late to go? My mom goth up every night right before she went to bed and made us use the bathroom. She never had any problems with us.

Regina - posted on 04/30/2012

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Another tip: 1). cut-off her drinking around 7pm 2). Take her to the doctor to confirm her bladder size, and 3). she could just be a temporary bed wetter. I had a child with the same situation....Good Luck Mom, and just hang in there!!

Regina - posted on 04/30/2012

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try asking her which would she like to wear to bed at night, if she choose the underwear, then remind her that she will need to wake up to go potty. If she does potty for a few night with underwear, then also have her share in the responsiblity of bed cleaning. She will learn begin to learn 2 very important life skills of responsibility....and that's really a good thing. Smile

Bette - posted on 04/30/2012

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Get her out of the pull ups put her in the underwear and tell her big girls dont potty in their beds at night mommy is a big girl and she dont go potty in the bed.Then tell her if she pottys in the bed she will have to change the sheets .

Maja - posted on 04/30/2012

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I stoped giving my kids liquids 1 hr before bedtime, and make them go to bathroom before hitting the sheets. I'm still pottytraining my 2 1/2yrold but my son is 4 and a half and he's doing great at night.

Frances - posted on 04/30/2012

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Another thought that may help all the potty-teaching moms out there - if this is worst thing your child ever does (wetting their bed at night), then we are truly blessed!
I said this recently to my hubby. He was really upset with our son (he's in HS), about missing a ball that was hit to him because he didn't get low enough to the ground to scoop up the ball. Hence, the ball went under his glove and rolled away. It is a fundamental skill that my son knows and has heard dad repeat many, many times, but the kid made a mistake. I stood by listening to the commentary back and forth and finally said to my hubby - "if this the worst thing mistake he ever makes in his life, then we are doing a pretty darn good job!"
Hope that story makes you smile a little wider today!
Enjoy your blessings, big and small!

Lyn - posted on 04/30/2012

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I have the same problem with my 4 1/2 yr old. The main problem with her is that she doesn't mind being wet! Yep, even with the panties on under the pull up. The only thing she didn't like was getting irritated from the urine then she would complain that her "lollyloo" hurt. Now that she knows she'll be in PreK next year she's trying a lot harder because I told her they won't let her go to school if she is still wetting! THAT made a huge impression, and wanting to have a sleep over at her friend's house too. Her mom told my daughter that she doesn't do peepee at night! We're making progress but have bad days too.

Zina - posted on 04/30/2012

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My daughter (who is now 8) had the same problem. What we did to solve this problem was first, no drinks within an hour of bedtime. If she went to bed at 8, all drinks were cut off at 7. She had to go potty right before bed during her bedtime routine. Also, we made a big deal of throwing the pullups out. We went cold turkey. She knew as long as she had the pullups on that she could go in them; therefore the safety net had to go. Don't forget a waterproof mattress pad though! And last, I woke her up before I went to sleep to take her to the bathroom. This was usually about 10:30 or so. I think this helped her waking up if she needed to. We had a few nights here and there where she still wet the bed; but all in all, this worked great!

Frances - posted on 04/30/2012

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No drinks at least 1-2 hours before bedtime and always have her drain her bladder right before bed. Also, don't make a big deal if the pull up is wet in the morning, but do make a big deal if it is dry. Give lots of praise for the behavior you want to see -dry pull-up, and eventually you will get more of that behavior. Also, kids bladders are very small and she will stay dry all night when she is physically able to. Being dry all day and using the toilet is the bigger deal. The nighttime dryness will come in due time, when the child is able to hold it all night. Good luck! We've all been there! I don't recommend waking your child up in the middle of the night to pee, as it breaks up the quality of their sleep and your sleep as well.

Janice - posted on 04/30/2012

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IDK if this is the problem but some children have medical conditions that make it impossible for them to night train. Their brain does not actually send the signal that they have to wake-up when they need to pee. My sister and I were bed wetters. It really didnt matter what my mom did, we just wouldn't wake up and she took us to urologists and we tried going to a chiropractor. It was just something we needed to out grow.



If this is not the issue then I'm sure that once your daughter starts going to sleepovers she will stop. Bed wetting is very embarassing and a child who can get up and go pee at night (or hold it) definitely will once their peers are around.

Yvonne - posted on 04/30/2012

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My son is 4 and I am trying to nighttime potty train him. I've cut drinks at night and leave him in underwear but he still wets the bed every night and sometimes multiple times a night. I put him back in pull ups for the night and he woke up dry. He woke up so happy and so did I. I just don't understand why he can't do the same with underwear on.

Kristie - posted on 04/30/2012

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We used a bed wetting alarm for my son. Worked wonders within just a couple nights. I believe it was bedwettingalarm.com. A little pricey but totally worth it! My pediatrician was the one who recommended it. Good luck!

Doreen - posted on 04/30/2012

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Hi Rachael , I am a mother of 3 step mom of 3 and grandma of 9 and a few ideas that may work are first of all she is comfortable in the wet pull up so stop using them and try a pair of under wear with rubber pants over them or put her in a cloth type diaper with rubber pants just a thought for you to try she is dry when she goes in a pull up because they are designed to feel dry if she feels the wet she will more than likely stop . Another thing I used was a gum ball machine and the only time my son could get money for it was when he went potty and it worked for him he was 3 and if you don't want her to have gum put in raisenets or m&m's but it would have to be some thing she never gets only for a reward and put the machine up in a high cuboard and let her put the money into it and get the gum or what ever you decide is best for her but only when she wakes up dry. Good Luck I sure hope this helps I know those pull ups are expensive Grandma Doreen

Vivian - posted on 04/30/2012

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You just have have to stop the under wear at nite cos that encourages her not stop .4yrs she is big enough and she understand everything

Jenni - posted on 04/30/2012

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I wouldn't have thought wearing nappies at night was too much of an issue thou I am probably the wrong person to judge. My daughter is a perfectionist and it has played a hugh role in her potty training - she is 3 and only just started to successfully use toilet during the day lol. Toilet training was one thing she couldn't practice in her room. The more you stress over this the less likelihood of her doing it, I'm sorry yet maybe you just need to relax and just realize she is never going to do it in your time and just let her do it in her time. If she is wetting her bed then maybe she isn't ready yet, try not to give her a drink 1 -2hrs before bed, ask her to use to toilet before bed and explain to use the toilet when she gets up. She probably has lost her confidence so just let it go and try next month, yet make it her decision so it makes her feel more confident. Also it encourages her to have control - this is what I do with my perfectionist and it does work for her, she needs to feel she is in control. I also explain to her when she feels like it she can put her undies on, so maybe just explain every now and then "if she would like to try wearing undies at night she can, just let me know".

Gaynor - posted on 04/30/2012

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Firstly, don't stress about it, your daughter will pick up your vibes and that won't help. I had a similar issue with my youngest. He's an extremely strong character and will always do the opposite of what I suggest. I now let him decide when he's ready to do anything and 99 times out of a 100 the result will always be what I would have suggested in the first place!!! If you take a step back and just let things happen when she's ready I'm sure you'll find your lives a lot less stressful as we have found.

Good luck x

Janine - posted on 04/30/2012

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Hi Rachel,

Why don't you try this - Let your child have the last drink before bed at 5pm then put your child on the toilet before they go to sleep at 7pm and then again around 10pm. After a month or so your child will get up by them self and go during the night. But you need to be patient as all children are different and it may take longer or might happen really fast. Good luck I hope this works for you it worked for my daughter when she was little.

Regards Janine

Becki - posted on 04/30/2012

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My daughter was the same until I cut her drinks down, made sure she went to the loo before she went to bed and I now lift her around 10 to go to the loo and she manages to stay dry all night!!

Kate - posted on 04/30/2012

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I recomend the not giving her a drink up to approx 2hrs before she goes to bed and then leave her in her day time knickers! I tried it for the forst time last night with my 4.5yr old and I have one very happy and proud little girl :-) and of course one very happy Mummy! I think pull ups give mixed messages so ditch then and good luck x

Kate - posted on 04/30/2012

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I recomend the not giving her a drink up to approx 2hrs before she goes to bed and then leave her in her day time knickers! I tried it for the forst time last night with my 4.5yr old and I have one very happy and proud little girl :-) and of course one very happy Mummy! I think pull ups give mixed messages so ditch then and good luck x

Stella - posted on 04/30/2012

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You say she "refuses to learn." Are you certain that she is able to fully potty train? It truly isn't worth battling over. My children are 23 and 19; they potty trained at different ages and at different "speeds." If it is actual defiance and you're not bothered by it, then the game is over because there's no fun in it for her anymore. Relax. Let her choose panties or pull-ups before bed, and kiss her good-night!

Cheryl - posted on 04/29/2012

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I would just keep using the pull ups at night.. no matter what. I had a child that wet the bed most every night till he was a much older child, and also sucked his finger til we got braces for him at 14. We would discreetly pack his pull ups and wrap well in pajamas for sleepovers and camp. We just didn't make a big deal about it, never shamed him publicly, and he would go into the bathroom with his pull up and pj's and do it all privately.. be positive and encouraging.. " well let's just keep trying. and pretty soon you won't wet at night anymore." no scolding or punishing, pay as little attention to it as possible. (there was a bit of a rustle and crackling to them back then but he got through it and it finally kicked in).. every child is different, he was premature. The less of a big deal you make it the quicker I think that it will work itself out.. If you constantly haggle over it it might become a power struggle thing. Don't fret, kids seem to grow out of all of this eventually..

Michelle - posted on 04/29/2012

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With my daughter I put her on the potty right before she goes to sleep. I used to put pull-ups on her and she said " No, I can just pee in my bed" one night she did not want to go on the potty. So that night I took her pull up off and said if you pee in your bed you are going to get wet now. She stayed dry that night but wet the next one. She was so so uncofertable. We are pull-up free and have only had 2 messes in 6 months

Vanessa - posted on 04/29/2012

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I have been told that children are only ready to be dry through the night when they produce enough of a particular hormone... Don't worry too much about the age of your child, I know children past 5yrs who were still wearing a nappy at night.

My secret with my daughter was to toilet her while she slept... I called it a dream wee, that got us used to wearing no nappy, and now I leave the nappy off and we haven't had a night time accident in quite some time... but what worked for us may not work for you.

Until her nappy is dry most nights don't take it off. Don't waste your money on pull ups, they are far more expensive than ordinary nappies!

Be patient, don't get frustrated or angry... that wont help your child or you... be understanding and don't worry so much about her being fully trained!

Naomi - posted on 04/29/2012

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How I fully potty trained my 3 kids..... no more to.drink after 8pm.... bedtime 9pm.... take them to the bathroom right before bedtime..... wake them up at midnight to go to the bathroom....then again at 3am.....n eventually they get used to it n wake up in the night to go on their own!!!!! It takes a lot of patience..... but it worked.for.me.... my youngest is 2in a half years old and is already waking up in the middle of the night to go.potty on her own!!!!!! She has been.wearing big gurl panties for almost a year!!!! ! My oldest is 7.... second oldest is 6....

Krista - posted on 04/29/2012

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I Have 4 kids & with all of them I always stopped their drinking at night at reasonable time so they weren't drinking late! Then of course make sure they go before bedtime & for a while I would go in in the middle of the night & take them potty & I would do this faithfully every night I was consistent & they were wearing underwear! I also watch what type of drinks they were drinking because caffeine, chocolate drinks because of caffeine in chocolate, & juices that aren't 100% fruit juice can make them pee more! Also you could have some kind of chart that you keep track of how well she's doing each night in big girl panties & have her goal be some kind of toy or taking her to a fun place hope some of this helps please keep intouch

Colleen - posted on 04/29/2012

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Hi Rachel - before I say anything, I just want you to know that I feel your pain and that anything I say is just from my experience and not standing in judgment. I've had 2 hard-to-trains. I know how tiring it is to change sheets and wash blankets and comforters every single day for months on end so I understand how the pullups make life so much easier. Here's the hard part . . . if she can tell you that it's easier to use the pullup than get up, then it's time to take the pullups away. You'll probably have to do what we did for a while which is limit fluids for at least an hour or two before bedtime, have her empty her bladder right before going to bed, and then wake up and take her to the bathroom sometime during the night and expect to change the sheets alot anyway.

One of my boys would wake up with a soaked pullup every night and I couldnt imagine that he was ready to put them away. He was 5+ and my doc insisted that he was able to do it. I was resistant . . . until . . . I put the pullup on my son and he stood there in front of me and peed in his pullup. He was completely awake and the bathroom was 5 feet away. It was really tiring getting him up every night and when I didnt do it, he was wet. But in about 4-6 weeks, his bed was dry 8 out of 10 nights. There is hope . . . dont give up!

Hiba - posted on 04/29/2012

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Should add, ds is now 6 and we've had about two accidents since we cut the milk at 4.5 x

Samantha - posted on 04/29/2012

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have you tried her without it at all? If she's doing it on purpose, remove the pull up, simple. But she may need it, if that's the case there's nothing you can do. My kids are nearly 7, 5, and 4 and all still wearing pull ups at night. Apparently its hereditary, and my doctor says there's not much we can do. She's reluctant for us to try the bed wetting alarm mats or the nasal sprays yet, since if those don't work then you run out of options. So we use pull ups and pray and wait.

Hiba - posted on 04/29/2012

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This may have been covered as I've not read the whole thread...but, I had the same problem with my boy, 4.5 and couldn't stay dry at night...at one point we were waking him twice a night to go to the loo and it was miserable, and we still had wet sheets! gave up and went back to pull ups! Then my darling friend gave me great advice that worked with her boys, worked with my son, and has worked with my friends son since...Milk! I let ds take water to bed, drink as much as he likes, but no milk in the late afternoon or evening...it worked! I have no idea why, but it worked! Beyond trying that I wouldn't worry, they get there when they are ready, at school age peer pressure kicks in and they get more aware of their bodies, they want to be like their friends, she will get dry! :)

Hiba - posted on 04/29/2012

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This may have been covered as I've not read the whole thread...but, I had the same problem with my boy, 4.5 and couldn't stay dry at night...at one point we were waking him twice a night to go to the loo and it was miserable, and we still had wet sheets! gave up and went back to pull ups! Then my darling friend gave me great advice that worked with her boys, worked with my son, and has worked with my friends son since...Milk! I let ds take water to bed, drink as much as he likes, but no milk in the late afternoon or evening...it worked! I have no idea why, but it worked! Beyond trying that I wouldn't worry, they get there when they are ready, at school age peer pressure kicks in and they get more aware of their bodies, they want to be like their friends, she will get dry! :)

Janet - posted on 04/29/2012

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being able to be dry all night is a milestone that is achieved at different times for different children. it is within normal limits for children to wet the bed until they are 5 or 6. it is a good idea to consult with your pediatrician to find out what they think might be appropriate for a 4.5 year old. it is also helpful to rule out any underlying medical conditions that can contribute to bed wetting. her bladder just may not be ready to go all night. you can monitor how often her diaper or pull up is wet... if it has been dry for 2 weeks then it is time to try underwear.

all that said, I do wake up my daughter every night before I go to bed to have her go to the bathroom. she's almost 6.

Laurie - posted on 04/29/2012

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First, you may want to have her checked by a urologist. My daughter did the same thing and it was found that she couldn't empty her bladder when she went potty. They did an untrasound of her bladder ( non-invasive ) to measure how much was in it, she then went to the potty and they measured her again. She had to have a small out-patient procedure done. She now doesn't have to go potty every 5 minutes.

Bedtime pottying didn't get better after the procedure because she had trained herself to go in her pullup. She decided one day that she wanted to be a big girl and wear panties to bed. I was shocked and relieved at the same time. She is now 5 and has very few accidents.

A tip that sometimes helps is having your child wear panties under the pullup so that they can feel wet when they potty. Pullups are made so well in regards to pulling the dampness away from their bodies that they have no discomfort.

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