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February 3, 2007 / missknowitall

Potty Training Troubles

Dear Little Miss,
We have a 3 1/2 year old son whom we have been trying to potty train for 9 months. He is doing o.k with going pee in the potty, but he waits until we put on his “good-night” diaper to poop. We recently took away his diapers all together so it will force him to use the potty. He has pooped in the potty for about 1 week. However, he still wakes up at night half asleep upset that he is wet. We change his wet underwear 2 times a night. We are getting pretty tired of changing him. My questions are:Is it unreasonable for him at this age to stay dry at night? (When wearing diapers he woke up really wet) Do I allow him to have his diapers again at night in hopes he will not use them for a pooping opportunity…. or just keep changing him until he is mature enough to wake-up at night to use the potty?

Dear Changing Through The Night,

No, it is not unreasonable for a 3 1/2 year old to stay dry at night, but it is unreasonable to expect every child to stay dry at night simply because he/she is 3 1/2.  I have always told parents that they should keep a child in diapers at night until they wake up dry every morning for a week or so.  However, I can see the concern you have about him holding his poop till the diaper is on.  I would suggest you do one of two things (pick one and stick to it so he will have consistency).  You could let him have a diaper at night but only put it on after he has pooped that day.  If it gets very late and he has not pooped then put the diaper on him right before you, yourself, go to bed for the night.  The other suggestion is that you stop giving your son liquids at least an hour, if not two, before bed.  If he screams of thirst allow him one small drink right before laying down and if he wants more have him go potty first (remember to give him lots of liquids earlier in the day).  Then, wake up every evening between 12am and 2am to take him to the potty.  I highly recommend following the second suggestion because you have already taken away the diapers and this will be consistent with that; also, you will be helping him form the habit of going potty at night which is something he might have to be taught later on anyway.  No matter what you choose it sounds like you will be living in potty land for awhile.  For that reason I’m going to give you one more piece of advice: Get a babysitter and get out of the house once in awhile.  Your sanity will need it!

Wishing you poopy days and dry nights!

Miss Knowitall

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