E has been potty trained for months now but has been going to bed in a nappy each night. I read somewhere that it was easier to night train children after the age of three and put off the evil task. In the intervening months I have completely forgotten how we trained her at all.
Anyway, with her third birthday fast approaching I broached the subject with her. She was keen to try wearing pants to bed and not her bedtime nappy. The trick, it seems, is to do something called “lifting” which involves waking the child up and making them go to the toilet in the middle of the night. Some say to completely wake them so that they register something is going on and their mind acts accordingly, and others say they sleep-walked their child to the toilet.
Here are my tips:
First up, if you’re going to do anything which risks there being a lot of extra washing – bed sheets, pyjama bottoms and so on, it’s probably best not to pick a week where the washing machine is out of action.
Second, lifting requires diplomacy and skill. None of the books cover this. You remember to bring the potty into their room (if you’re on a good day), wake them and they flop on your shoulder. You wrestle with their pyjama bottoms, whispering things in their ear but they’re essentially dead weight and it’s seemingly impossible to register that they must do anything different. It is at the moment when you think you’ve got control of their sleepy body that they wake, realise what you’re trying to do, their face contorts and they yell “no I don’t want to go on the potty!” and “I just want to go back to bed,” in a pathetic voice and you feel like a monster parent. This feeling will pass when you strip the wet bed the following morning.
So, I have been taking E’s pyjamas and pants down while she’s still lying in bed, rolling her so that I can just pull her down onto the potty from the bed and holding her from behind in a big hug as she wees.
Last night this all worked smoothly.
The problems are twofold, aside from the lifting. She often wees in her sleep, completely relaxed and doesn’t have any control over it. I guess this is where the lifting eventually comes in and sends signals that this is not right but we’re not there yet.
The other problem is that many potty training guides tell you that children won’t like being wet and this will help in training. On Saturday morning, while I was still asleep, E weed herself, moved to another part of the bed, weed again and then lay there perfectly happily until I came in to see her. *sigh*
On the plus side, I can recommend Ikea’s waterproof-but-not-nasty-squeaky-plastic mattress protector.