Switching from diaper to underwear at bedtime - tips please

Liz - posted on 11/29/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )




I have a 3 1/2 year old boy who is fully daytime potty trained, and has been for about 6 months. He takes a 3 hour nap/rest time during the day and wears underwear and stays clean and dry. Night time is a different story. He still has to wear a diaper to bed. My question is, how did you all transition your kids from a diaper to underwear? We have an older son who is almost 5 and one night we just took his diaper off at night and he did fine. My husband gets up at about 3:00 in the morning for work and he took him to the bathroom for a couple of weeks until we thought he could go all night. I think after that he had about 2 accidents. However, my second son (the one that this post is about) is TOTALLY different and I don't think this would work for him. I don't do pullups because I feel like they are a waste of money. Any tips would be helpful. Thanks!


Bonnie - posted on 12/01/2011




There are no tips. It depends on the child; how heavy a sleeper they are, and how strong of a bladder they have. Some kids don't wet at night at the age of 3 and some take until the age of 8.

Terri - posted on 12/03/2011




we used pull ups at night, then switched her to panties. explained to her that she needed to get up to go potty (which we really didn't expect her to do at first). she goes to bed about 8:30PM and we'd wake her before midnight so she could go potty. she'd always go potty and go right back to sleep. then, after a while we quit waking her. we also used the disposable pads for her bed. layered mattress, pad, sheet, pad, another sheet...so that if she did have an accident we didn't have to change the whole bed each time. also limit drinks a couple hours before bed if possible. now she wakes up to tell us if she needs to go. im sure every child is different though. oh, we also made a potty chart and she got a sticker for each night she stayed dry.

Teresa - posted on 12/01/2011




Pull-ups are made for just this situation. They feel like underwear but act like a diaper. Nighttime wetting is different because they are asleep when it happens, so it is not for a lack of trying. Talking to him will help but at 3 he probably does not even know when he does it much less why. My 7 year old started up again this past Oct and after a conversation with him we figured out that it was scary movies. I don 't let him watch them but my husband does and even our 7 year old said it was the scary movie that made him do it. For your sanity and his self-esteem, pull-ups are not such an evil, they do help.

Mary - posted on 11/29/2011




I agree with Sherri. I don't think nighttime dryness is something you can "train". Their bladder is either ready for it or not, and there is really nothing you can (or should) do to force the issue.

My daughter trained on the early side (right at her second bday). It was pretty quick and painless. I didn't really even worry about the nighttime issue. In the beginning, I would say she was dry about 50% of the time in the mornings. Gradually, those episodes of having a wet pull-up in the am became less and less. I just waited until she was consistently dry every morning before having her sleep in underwear. I never limited her fluid intake, nor did I ever wake her to pee...it just happened when her body was ready for it.

[deleted account]

My girls were in pull ups at night til 4.5. I let them start trying to go w/out them after 3 things happened.... we got mattress covers, a washer and dryer AT our house (instead of needing the laundromat), and they could go at least 2-3 nights w/out wetting the pull up. One of my daughters wanted to go pull up free as soon as those things happened. The other waited for about another month. They still had wet beds about once a week at first... and decreasing in frequency as they got older. The last wet bed wasn't til 8.5, but that wet bed was over 6 months after the one before.

Then you have my son who was dry through the night about 90% of the time before he started potty training. He's been potty trained for right at a year now and has only ever had one wet bed!

Every kid is different and what works for one will not neccessarily work for the other. I'd much prefer a diaper or pull up to changing wet beds all the time (once a week was pushing it, but survivable).


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Kelina - posted on 12/03/2011




Have you tried a cloth training pant at night? When my son still had diapers we would put him in those at night. Every morning they were completely full and he woke up crying a lot. When he ran out we started putting him in our daughters cloth diapers and amazingly they;re hardly wet at all in the morning and he's not waking up screaming. I figured out it was because he was peeing in his diaper which he knows conciously he;s not supposed to do but didn't wake up. 90% of mornings he's got a full bladder and has only dribbled in his diaper. I think it's because cloth feels a lot different than a diaper, and I also found that the training pants were useless. they felt like a diaper so he just went in them. We did much better the second time around when we just put him into underwear.

Liz - posted on 12/02/2011




Thank you everyone for your tips and advice so far! I am not against pull-ups in general, but to me, they are just expensive diapers, and I have two other kids also in diapers - I don't want to pay any more for those things than I have to!

Bonnie - posted on 12/02/2011




Pull ups are not evil, no, but I disagree that they feel like underwear and act like a diaper. To me and to many others pull ups are just like diapers except they are easy for small kids to get them on and off on their own. They have padding just like diapers, for many children this doesn't help.

Rachel - posted on 11/30/2011




My daughter was day time trained by the time she was 22 months nap time and all. We waited probably 6 months. She would be dry probably half of the morning. So I just put her to bed in her panties explained to her that if she had to go pee that she needed to wake us up. It took about a week she had probably 1 accident every night. But that was it. I think she learned what it felt like when she had to go. Because as soon as she started to pee she would wake up and yell for us as she was running to the bathroom :) Good luck....your going to have accidents and it's ok but I wouldn't yell at him for it. My daughter is 3 1/2 and she hasn't had an accident in bed since that first week.

Colleen - posted on 11/29/2011




We used to wake Rocco up. We had him pee before bed, then before we went to bed we'd go wake him up to pee. We didn't do pull-ups or diapers. We bought thick cotton training pants and some waterproof covers for them. He had occasional accidents, but now we don't have to wake him up, and he no longer wears the trainers. Now he wakes us up or comes out to get us so he can have his midnight pee:)

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