Q&A: Peeing through a diaper at night

The title is a lie, because I don't actually have the answer. Michelle writes:

"I have a 21-month-old son who wakes up every morning SOAKING wet. Usually soaked through his diaper (a Pull-Ups overnight, I might add) to his pjs and his sheets.  In addition to feeling bad for my son who has to feel wet and yucky, I feel bad for my husband and I, since the wakings are getting earlier and earlier – he is now waking up between 5:45am and 6:00am (we have a 5 month old too, so sleep is a valuable commodity around here).  I know he would sleep later if he wasn’t swimming in his own pee.

He does drink a lot of fluids, usually two 8 oz. bottles of milk a day plus however much water he wants from his cup.  He loves water, so he gets a lot of refills on that.  I have tried not letting him have the water after dinner (5:30pm) lately, but that hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference.  He does get a bottle of milk at bedtime (I know, the horror!  It’s on my list of things to fix but with two under two I am doing good to maintain relative sanity and order around here – its my new year’s resolution to get him off the baba completely).  Surely it couldn’t be the milk causing him to pee like a race horse all night, could it?

I am just looking for some ideas on how to prevent leaks.  Should I limit the water?  Should I try to get him to pee on the potty before bed, even though he hasn’t really shown any potty training readiness signs? Should I just grin and bear it?  Will it ever stop?

He goes down around 7:30pm, usually falls asleep around 8:00pm (doesn’t sleep with bottle in mouth) and before the soaking through started he would sleep until 7am on the dot everyday.  As much as I love the fact that he is such a  good sleeper the lack of night wakings also means I can’t change a diaper in the middle of the night (*I have tried and we ended up watching his favorite dvd for an hour because he wouldn’t go back down).

He only weighs 30 pounds so the bigger Pull-Ups, Goodnights, etc just swallow him.  I am out of ideas – please help!"

You know, both my kids went through a phase of peeing through their diapers right at around that age. It lasted around 6 weeks to two months for each of them.

When my older son went through it, we were still using cloth diapers at night. We were using pocket diapers, and I kept increasing the stuffing until he was all puffed up like a marshmallow. I tried hemp, I tried microfiber, and nothing seemed to make much difference. Then one morning I just realized he hadn't peed through his diaper in a few days.

Flash forward to my second child. We were in disposable diapers by then (I use Seventh Generation, because I figure if I'm using disposable I'd rather give my money to a company with some interest in the environment, instead of a mega-conglomerate, and they're just as absorbent as the national brands). Same leaking through problem. So I tried three or four other brands of diapers in the same size and a size bigger. No change. He leaked through them all (but out the side with the bigger sizes. Then one day he just didn't leak anymore.

So basically, I have nothing, except that it'll probably stop on its own.

Anyone have anything that actually stopped the leaking? Or did you just try things and then it stopped on its own. Any idea why this happens at this age?