Q&A: nighttime wetness

I'm hoping that today goes a little better than yesterday did. I had a bad moment with the teacher yesterday, but it turns out there's a student teacher in the classroom a few days a week and my son seems to like her a lot. Plus today is gym, so maybe he'll be excited about that. But who knows? I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, let's take a question from Jo Ann:

"I have two daughters, ages 5.5 and 3. My older daughter was daytime potty trained at age 3 but has been wet at night through all this time. (Actually, we had a 3 month period in her 4s when she was dry most nights but that stopped for some reason - not coincidental with any big life change, btw.) Since she outgrew Pullups, we've had her in Good Nites pants almost every night. Younger daughter was just recently potty-trained (thanks to Camp Grandma) and is also still wet at night. I know it's time to bite the proverbial bullet and move my older girl into panties at night and just deal with a wet bed for as long as we have to. I really hate this idea because her bed is heavy and unwieldy to make and unmake, especially in the middle of the night, but I am told it is the only way. Actually, for starters, I'd be grateful for tips on that. Our ped insists that cutting back on liquids before bedtime is not likely to have an effect.

But really my question has to do with what to do with younger daughter. I'd like to start making the change for both of them but I'm concerned about the timing. Older daughter is very competitive; what if the younger daughter catches on and starts being dry at night first? I'm worried that the older one will be too discouraged and start beating up on herself because she didn't "win". Does that mean that I have to night-train the older daughter first and just accept younger daughter being wet for another few months? (Or however long it takes.) Or if I do choose to take on both at once, how do I sell the idea to Older?

Another reason I'd like to just take care of both of them at once is, since there's likely to be night-time commotion anyway, I'd rather they were both awake for a good reason. Younger is my poor sleeper, and since her bedroom is right next to Older's, she's going to be awake anyway. Since Husband will likely be hiding out in the guest bedroom during the weeks/months that this is going on, I am hoping for this process to take as little time as possible. Help!"

You know, I really try not to tell people what to do, and instead just lay out the choices so they can decide what's best for them. But holy crap I cannot imagine going through nighttime training for one kid and then turning around to do it with the other one right after that. It would probably push me over the edge into insanity. Also, I don't think it's reasonable or equitable for a father to hide out and shirk responsibility for nighttime parenting, and I would make sure if I was up everyone was up, if you know what I mean.

But then I just had a really bad day, so that may be making me a tad more vicious than usual.

Anyway. 5.5 is pretty much the border at which the vast majority of kids are able to be dry all night (some still have more-than-just-occasional issues up through age 7). So your daughter ought to be able to be successful at this relatively quickly. Plus, she's old enough now to be able to get up if she wets the bed, change her pajama bottoms herself, and put down a towel over the wet spot and just go back to sleep. (That's what happens here with occasional accidents, and I don't even know about it until the next morning.) I think the night training is probably going to be way more successful with Older than you think it is, whether or not it happens right away. And it could definitely happen in just a few nights for her.

I think the only thing you can say to sell the idea to Older is telling her Younger wants to do everything she does, so she's going to get dry at night like she is. There's not really much else you can say about it.

Of course, you could take the easy way out and send them both to Camp Grandma for night training, too. Think your mom or MIL would go for it?

(Oh, and I'm with your ped. I haven't heard anywhere that restricting liquids has any effect on nighttime wetness. AFAIK, the only person who thinks restricting liquids helps with nighttime peeing is Oprah, who doesn't drink anything after 7 pm because she doesn't like to have to get up to pee in the middle of the night.)

Anyone?  How can Jo Ann sell training both at the same time to her older daughter? Any tips for tandem night training?