Say Goodbye to Pull-Ups Forever!
Are you in the midst of Potty Purgatory with your children now? Maybe you are at the beginning stages of toilet training and have given no thought yet to how or when you will tackle the task of helping your children stay dry at night?
In my last post, I hashed out how the Peterson tots (seriously) started their daytime potty training journey at age 3 and a half using Jamie Glowacki’s Oh Crap! Potty Training book as our bible.
The author of this lifesaving book gives her readers an option to begin nighttime potty training simultaneously with daytime training. I was a little deranged and a bit overconfident to take on this task full steam ahead as I did. There was also a large element of fear stemming from Glowacki’s statement that nighttime potty training must commence no later than age three-and-a-half to avoid the atrophy of their little bladder muscles and subsequent and indefinite bedwetting. Imagining being in the adult incontinence aisle of the drug store with my teenaged twins sent shudders coursing through my body, sealing the deal.
What You Need to Know
If you are at this stage with your kid, may I make a suggestion? Prepare yourself for the prospect of perpetual fatigue. Glowacki suggests kicking off nighttime training by waking your children up twice in the night: once before you turn in for the night and another in the middle of the night.
Have you ever had to set your alarm to go off at 3 or 4 a.m.? I will not lie to you. It’s dreadful.
While you are getting your children accustomed to waking up to go to the potty, you should pay attention to your kid’s tinkle schedule. Are they dry when you get them up for the second time but wet when they wake in the morning? You’d want to bump up the second tinkle time until you can identify when they typically wet.
This strategy worked beautifully for my son. I quickly tuned in to his schedule and pretty soon, we were nailing it regularly. But oh LAWDY, would that child bite my head off when I woke him up!
My daughter was a different story. Every time I thought I had her schedule figured out, she’d change it around on me.
For two long months, I was sleeping in my 21-year-old stepson’s vacant bedroom with my alarm screaming me awake at the most unholy hours. I was constantly having to alter my own sleep schedule in order to pin down when the floodgates would open. After the world had to put up with the persistently snappy, outrageously haggard Me, I finally arrived at the conclusion that this schedule was unsustainable. I had to come up with a new plan.
Glowacki briefly referenced bedwetting alarms in her book as possible options for deep sleepers. Desperate to get my life back, I researched these products exhaustively. They all work basically the same: special sensors detect moisture, rousing the Offending Tinkler by either politely beeping, screeching and/or vibrating. The problem that I kept encountering, however, is that I knew my children would protest wearing wristbands, armbands or wires of any kind. Other alarms were chunky and clunky; I personally couldn’t imagine having to sleep with a brick in my britches. (I exaggerate, but you get the point.)
During this time, I informally quizzed friends, acquaintances and strangers about their own night training experiences. I ventured onto the local Mothers of Multiples message board to investigate, eventually posting my own query.
The responses I received through these “interviews” varied more than I ever dreamed possible.
Some women were critical of my approach, one of whom pointedly informing me that pediatricians only consider bedwetting a problem for children over the age of seven. I actually was already aware of that fact, but it had no bearing whatsoever on my own decision making. How many of you have 7-year-olds? Or have ever been 7? Do you think that you would be OK with wetting the bed at that age? I dare say not. I have known children who struggled with bedwetting well into elementary school and have heard from their moms or dads how badly it affected their self-esteem and willingness to go to sleepovers or other overnights.
This is a path I did not want to journey down for any longer than necessary.
There were other gals who had my back, one who had gone down the bedwetting alarm path but none who ventured there with a 3 and a half year old.
So, I opted to ignore the naysayers, be encouraged by the supportive women and ultimately, blaze this trail myself.
Enter Teddy Bear Beep-Beep
After stumbling onto the BedwettingStore.com, I decided to give the DRI Eclipse wireless alarm a whirl. It was the only wireless alarm I could locate that had sensors small enough to pass muster with me. After giving this company an arm and a leg ($152 USD per alarm, to be exact), I committed to buy 2 of them. Basically, an extra car payment. My husband reluctantly agreed to this purchase, probably to exorcise my demons and get his wife back.
Oooh boy, I built this thing up big time to my twins. I decided to give these alarms a persona, mainly so they wouldn’t scare the hell out of our kiddos when they blew up at night. In my typical non-crafty style, I unceremoniously taped clip art of a random teddy bear proclaiming its love for each child on each alarm.
As the story went, their Elf on the Shelf friend Da-Da Dabot (long story) was sending his best pal Teddy Bear Beep-Beep to the Peterson abode to help the kids stay dry at night. Teddy Bear Beep-Beep sent an introductory letter before his arrival, my bizarre attempt at building enthusiasm about being blasted out of a peaceful slumber every night.
Much to my amazement and joy, the kids gobbled this stuff up!
And so began a new chapter in our lives. Teddy Bear Beep-Beep’s darling little image appeared on each tot’s alarm, which never once elicited the startled shrieks I had anticipated when they erupted. The Bear dutifully wrote the children letters of encouragement along the way and gave them certificates to acknowledge their achievements.
The Verdict on Teddy Bear Beep-Beep?
My son, a light sleeper, responded beautifully to the alarm. He was having regular dry nights after a couple of months with Teddy Bear Beep-Beep.
My heavy-sleeping daughter, despite her adoration of Teddy Bear Beep-Beep, stopped waking up after a time. (This will forever be a mystery to me. You can hear the alarm in ANY part of the house, even behind closed doors.) We bumped up the volume to the max and kept trying.
However, our best results came from taking “Beep-Beep breaks”, reintroducing it after a week or longer coupled with waking Caroline up to go to the bathroom once around 11 pm or midnight. In the end, she was consistently dry after 10 months of beginning the process. Now, we are Beep-Beep-free and our daughter wakes up on her own if she has to go.
I have no way of knowing how much the alarm shortened my twins’ learning curve, but I know for certain that it was solely responsible for my son’s success. Despite the length of time that my daughter had to use the alarm, I believe that trying different approaches with it paid off in the end. Would I cough up another $300 if I had to do it all over again?
You bet your patootie.
***I received no compensation from the author of Oh Crap! Potty Training, nor the manufacturers of the DRI Eclipse bedwetting alarm. I would receive a commission from the sale of the book if purchased through the links on this site.