Despite a rocky start (that seemed like it would never get better), there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. For the past two weeks or so Annika has been dry almost every night, with a few little exceptions. I was doing the "dream pee" with her each night around 10:00 pm, which really helped (she goes to be around 8:00 pm and sleeps until 7:30 or 8:00 am, just for reference). The past few nights we've skipped the dream pee, and she's woken up on her own at night to go pee (YAY!!). However, she comes and wakes me up when she has to pee, so my sleep is still a bit disrupted. I'm sure though, that it won't take too long and she get the hang of just getting up, going to the bathroom, and going back to bed.
We hit a bit of a road bump with being away for the weekends, but we managed it. We told Annika that she would have to wear Pull-Ups while at the lake - just in case - which was something that she really didn't want to do (shortly after we started this whole thing she told me that she NEVER, EVER wanted to wear Pull-Ups again). We talked about it a few times before going to the lake, and I expected quite a scene when it was actually time for her to get ready for bed, but it wasn't that bad. I gave her the option of wearing her underwear under the Pull-Up,because she said she didn't like the Pull-Ups because they weren't comfortable, and she tried that out, but in the end she went with just the Pull-Up. And she was dry each night (granted, though, she was going to bed a lot later than normal).
So, now it seems like this experiment is coming to its long-anticipated end. I have no doubt that there will still be accidents from time to time, but we'll manage. I'm just so thankful to be done with stinky, wet Pull-Ups, and I'm really proud of Annika and her determination to do this.
If there's anyone else who's contemplating trying this out with their kid, let me offer just a few pieces of advice (I'm no expert - these are just a few things I've learned from our experience):
- Have patience! Success may not come right away (and you may find it frustrating and extremely tiring), but if your child is willing to keep going with it, then persevere for another night (and another, and another).
- Listen to your child. I think this is a big one, and it's the reason why we are where we're at today. Annika was very insistent on doing this (although it was our idea initially), so that's why we kept with it. If it was up to me, I probably would've thrown in the towel (or rather, the absorbent bed mat) long ago, but I'm glad I listened to her. On the flip side, if your child really doesn't want to do it, don't force the issue.
- Get the proper "equipment" - we've used disposable GoodNites bed mats, some hospital-type washable bed mats (borrowed from my mom) and I also bought a few washable absorbent bed mats from Walmart (which I don't like as much as the hospital-style ones, but they'll do in a pinch). I've also seen ones online that have "tails" on either side that you tuck under the bed, to keep them in place better. We have 6 mats, which meant that I didn't have to do laundry every single day when Annika was having multiple accidents in one night. Also have plenty of underwear and several pairs of pajamas (I think Annika also has 6 pairs of pajamas) on hand. With using the bed mats I didn't have to change the entire bedding, except for occasionally the top sheet if she had it under her, but if you decide not to use the mats, then you'll need several sets of waterproof mattress pads and fitted sheets. I recommend "double-sheeting" the bed (mattress pad, sheet, mattress pad, sheet), so if one layer gets wet at night you can just rip them off and you've got another layer ready to go. If you don't have already, you'll also want to get a night-light for you child's room, the hallway and the bathroom (or leave a light on in the bathroom), so they can easily find their way in the night, if necessary.
- Experiment with what to wear at night. Annika's tried sleeping with and without underwear, jammies with shorts and nightgowns (and for a short while - nothing but a t-shirt!). Give your child options and let them figure out what feels comfortable to them.
- Make sure everything is easily accessible. We moved Annika pajamas into the top drawer of her night table, so that she could easily find a new pair in the middle of the night. You may also want to designate a special hamper or laundry basket for wet stuff (we just told Annika to throw her wet stuff on the laundry room floor, which is just down the hall from her room). I also put the extra bed mats and sheets in a drawer next to her bed, so that I wouldn't be fumbling around for stuff in the dark (Annika would change her pajamas herself, but always asked me to change her bedding). Also make sure that there are no toys or stuff on the floor to trip on (or at least clear a path from the bed to the door).
- Make sure your child is ready. I totally believe that a child's body has to be ready for night-time dryness before this will work. Sometimes it's hard to know if they're ready or not, and you may have to accept the fact that now is not the right time.
So hopefully this is my last "operation: dry bed" post, and we continue to have dry, happy nights. :)