For The Parents Whose Potty Trained Child Is Still Wearing Pull-Ups To Bed

Potty training is the worse. I started potty training Jay four, yes four years ago, and I can now say that he is 100%, full blown potty trained. I tried potty training when Jay was just shy of two, before Em was born in the summer of 2014. The first thing that I tried were these potty alarm diapers. The theory was that if he got the diaper wet, it would play a song, and then he would try and go to the bathroom before the diaper played the song. These diapers were made by a group of students who graduated from BYU and while a lot of parents found success, we did not. 


I tried potty training him again a few months after Em was born, a little while after we had moved to Georgia. At this point he was a little over two-and-a-half, and while we put in the solid effort for three days straight, nothing was clicking, and again we threw in the towel and went back to diapers for another year. Yes, year. 

Finally, when Jay was about three-and-a-half, we potty trained, and by this point he had been introduced to the concept enough, and he was just more mature and ready for it, and potty training him was a breeze. It took about a day, and from there were were smooth sailing... Except for when it came to bedtime. 

One of the major signs of potty training readiness is that your child wakes up in the morning with a dry diaper. Jay had literally never once had that happened to him in all those years. If we waited until that happened, then he wouldn't have been potty trained until now, right before his sixth birthday. 

Like daytime potty training, we tried having him go through the night in underwear several different times, and it just never worked out for him. He wanted so badly to stay dry, but he just physically couldn't do it. I brought this up to several doctors and therapists (the benefit of bringing Em in all the time is getting free advice about Jay in the process), and the last answer we got about six months ago was this: being able to stay dry though the night is a signal that the brain gets usually sometime before the age of seven, and there is nothing you can do about it until your child gets that signal. Literally nothing. So when we heard that, we just stopped worrying about it. We stopped reminding Jay to stay dry, took all the pressure off of him and ourselves, and just decided to let it be, and hope that it would work itself out within the next couple years. 

Then last week Jay ran out of pull-ups. We had company coming into town, we were fairly busy, and we just didn't have time to go and buy more. Jay said, "Dad, I really want to try and stay dry tonight!", so Derek sent him to bed without a pull up and the next morning, he woke up dry. And the same thing happened again, and again, and again. We've officially made it six days with no pull-ups, and I can confidently say that Jay is officially 100% potty trained. 

I share this because Jay perpetually seems to be behind his same age peers on so many things (asides from academics...), but he was last to ride a scooter, last to ride a petal bike, last to learn to swim, last to learn to pump his legs on the swing, still hasn't lost a tooth, the list goes on and on. This is no fault to Jay, he just has a shy and cautious personality, and so I believe some late milestones are partially due to that, and other ones are just his body taking it's time, and that's fine. 

I know first hand how frustrating and stressful it can be on the parent end of things when you're going to the store month after month to get those pull-ups. I want to tell you that if your child just isn't getting the night time potty training down, it will be okay. It really will eventually click one day, and you will have your morning dance parties when your child comes in to tell you they're dry. It will happen. And now that it's taken us four years to fully potty train our first child, we should probably move onto the second, so that we can have that done just before she turns eight. Wish us luck. 

2 comments

  1. I figured I cared more about day time training rather than night time training. And while we still need night time help (Goodnites are our favorite) I am so grateful it is nothing more. Your right, no pressure. They will get it.

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