Our latest challenge has been Johnny waking up during the middle of the night to use the toilet. The positive side is he is trying very hard not to have an accident in his bed which he gets really upset. He doesn’t like having accidents with anything and then having to wait until we change his bedding until he can go back to sleep really gets him upset. So Johnny will wake up in the middle of the night and usually wake his Daddy and say “I have go potty” and sure enough he does. Then his Daddy tucks him in and Johnny is okay until morning.
Why is this a challenge? Some nights when Johnny does his night time potty routine he does it over and over again three times over a one hour period or he’ll repeat the routine literally every ten minutes (I’ve timed it.) We think he is trying so hard not to have an accident and then coupled with how he enjoys some repetitive behaviours to feel better he gets himself (and us) into a loop.
What do we do? Well we have tried everything. We have tried to reason with him and assure him that after attempting to go potty ten times in a row that there is nothing left but he is persistant. One of his teachers suggested resorting to a toddler gate on the entrance of his room once we feel he’s gone potty enough and then he can’t come into our room and physically wake us but can only talk to us and we tell him to go back to bed. That did not work at all and the idea that he couldn’t get out of his room really upset him a lot. So much so he was able to use this strength to take it right off.
What we find that works is to just keep going back and forth with him and calmly and softly let him know that everything is okay and he can go to sleep now. When it gets as frequent as ten minute intervals I don’t let myself fall asleep and instead sit in bed with the iPad reading until he stops coming in. Why? Because its precisely at the ten minute mark I’m falling asleep and get jarred into waking up over and over again.
We are also going to create a visual schedule by this bed so he is reminded of what is expected of him through the night as well as create a social story to further cement for him what happens during the night.
We are really happy that is trying to master the night time potty routine/waking up but both Daddy and I can’t wait until his anxieties about this level off and we can get more consistent sleep.
*edit I am happy to report that Johnny slept through the night without any wake-ups. Tomorrow might be another story but for now I celebrate every little success.