Night-Time Potty Training: When You Have No Other Choice

Last summer, Layne and I decided to look into getting First Gem potty-trained. She was 2 years old, why not? So we bought the potty chair and some books and some stickers and went about our lazy way of potty-training our girl. That summer she did not seem particularly interested, but fall came about and the potty became a more familiar thing.

Flash forward to the new year. I still would not call First Gem potty-trained, but she is getting there. Sometimes she’ll go days without an accident, other days will have multiple accidents. She has had the number two thing down, fortunately, for months now. We just have to work on Number 1. For any caretakers out there, my guess is there is a big difference between that big discomfort in your bum and the need to tinkle. I’m just happy to be done with her poopy bums (Second Gem still has that newborn stuff, so I have a way to go).

What we have not tackled is the night time. First Gem has a second cousin a month younger than her, a premie child daughter of my brilliant cousin, who has been beating through milestones since the day they let her out of NICU. My cousin and his wife believe she is gifted. I have no knowledge of gifted, but she is a cute and clever girl. She was potty-trained at 18 months in one week at the promise of a drum set. (Make mental note of drum sets). But apparently this little musician, as I discovered during a tentative potty-training conversation last Thanksgiving, still wears a diaper to bed every night. So if this genius child is still wearing a diaper to bed, we’re still good at my house.

Until the other night.

When our potty-training went into full seriousness and First Gem seemed to be getting the theory, we pretty much ditched the diapers. We buy knock-off pull-up diapers, but those are for preschool and, obviously, night-time. I found I could no longer mentally tolerate changing more diapers than I had to, and while I admittedly like the pull-up style for easy-off despite the expense, cloth panties seemed the way to go.  But the pull-ups were the go-to for the night. A week or so ago, noticing we were running low on our night-time daughter protection, I had picked a pack up at the store… and never took it out of Layne’s car.

So, one night when Layne was at work, I was getting First Gem ready for bed and I realized… we were out of pull-ups and the recently purchased pack were in Salt Lake City. I could pack the girls up and drive a few minutes’ down the road to ShopKo. Or I could even pull a dangerously free-range kids move of leaving the girls for those few minutes.

Or I could just leave my child in panties.

I did the third thing.

I tried to tell myself that First Gem had not had a nap-time pantie accident… ever. Even her longer naps of three or four hours left her dry. Surely this meant her bladder was holding itself while she slumbered. Still, I was a wreck. She insisted on falling asleep in the big bed, a habit we don’t care enough about to stop, and this terrified me all the more. To be sleeping next to a girl who might suddenly start peeing… my ick tolerance could not handle that. I would just wait for her to fall asleep, then I would quietly move her back to her bed.

But then I feel asleep.

Sometime in the night I heard my child grunting uncomfortably, but I was too groggy for the first few minutes to comprehend that she was in panties and in my bed. But as she settled back to sleep, realization struck.

Too late. Too late for recognizing those little grunts as a sleepily surprised girl voiding her bladder. The one mercy was that she had positioned herself head down, her little bottom off our comforter.

So… I cleaned her up, changed her pajamas and panties (new panties!), changed the sheets, and put her to sleep in her own bed.

Surely, she had piddled enough for the night. Surely, she would hold until the morning.

A few hours later I awoke to hear her screaming and crying. My heart heavy, I entered her room to find her once again soaked, a sad little pee-covered girl.

Pajamas and panties changed again.

And… back to her parents’ bed.

Layne gets home at 6ish, and I did not bother telling him our preschooler was in her third panties of the night. I thought it more merciful to let him sleep, only revealing the truth after coaxing First Gem out of bed later that morning toward the potty.

I retrieved the new pack of pull-ups from the car as soon as I could.

 

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