Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Potty Training

Last night at bedtime I brought up the subject of reverting to diapers with Christopher Robin. He thought I was joking, smiled and laughed, "No, Mommy, I don't wear diapers!" When he realized I was serious he began to protest in earnest.

He has been potty trained for nine months, with occasional bed-wettings sporadically occurring. But every night for at least a week he has soaked his sheets around midnight, waking us up with wailing, forcing us out of our comfortable warmth to change sheets, change undies, change pajamas. The night before last I vowed it was the last time. Pull-ups would surely not be more expensive than all the extra laundry we were doing. A talk with my mom convinced me it might not be a bad idea. Bed-wetting runs in the family, and may last until he's 6 or 7 or older. That's a lot of midnight sheet-changing. And I truly don't think it's a behavioral issue. Christopher Robin sleeps deeply, and doesn't always realize what's happening until it's too late. I've been careful, amidst my midnight grumblings, not to scold or blame him, although I think my frustration has been clear.

But I did wonder if it might be something he could control. The night before last only his pajamas were wet, not his sheets, as if he had stood up out of bed before wetting. He has a fear of fire alarms that keeps him from going down in our basement by himself, and at night sometimes keeps him in bed when he would like to get up and come to us. Was that keeping him from coming out to use the potty at night, too?

I explained to Christopher Robin that the diaper was just for the night, just so he wouldn't have wet sheets or wet pajamas if he peed, but he absolutely hated the idea. I wasn't surprised, but I thought he could adjust. My Hero pulled him into his lap and explained gently again, that we knew he didn't try to wet the bed, but sometimes when he's sleeping it happens, and wearing a diaper was just to give Mommy a break from changing sheets, undies, and pajamas every night. "I won't have wet undies tonight," he kept promising. It broke my heart to see the anguish in his eyes at the idea of wearing a diaper.

"What do you think about giving him another chance?" I asked My Hero. "Maybe he'll want to wear his big boy undies strongly enough to keep himself dry at night." "It's up to you," My Hero said, even though it's both of us who wake up to change sheets and pajamas in the night. We decided to give it a try, and I explained to Christopher Robin that when he woke up at night needing to go potty he should jump out of bed, come get Mommy, and I'd help him go to the bathroom. And that if he wet his bed again, he'd have to wear a diaper the next night.

Ten after midnight last night I heard his door open, jumped out of bed to meet him in the hall, and helped him use the potty. "My undies are dry. I don't need a diaper." He said as he relieved himself.

That's right, little man. Maybe reverting to diapers is even scarier to this boy than fire alarms.


Anonymous said...

A question for you to ponder on. Do you want your children to do the 'right thing' out of fear?

Marie said...


I do think fear of consequences is an appropriate motivator for kids, especially in the earliest years when discussions about doing what's right are above their heads. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Proverbs 1:7. It's the beginning of us as Christ-followers to learn to live in obedience to God, and it's the beginning of children learning to live in obedience to parents. Hopefully as they get older they'll learn to want to do what's right for Jesus' sake. (=

Laura said...

I agree with you - this is a conversation that I would like to have more of with you sometime!

I wasn't actually leaving a comment to comment on the comments! I wanted to tell you that I admire and respect all your long and patient efforts with potty training. I can imagine how hard it is - I am proud of you!