Pre-School and Daycare

Three year-old won't stay in bed at night.

I usually post on SP and Parenting, but I thought I'd try here since I'm feeling desperate.

DS has never been a good sleeper. He rarely sleeps through the night, getting up at least once if not more.

The primary issues seems to be that he wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but he'll stay in bed and scream for me to come and take him to bathroom.

His room and the bathroom are both very well lit and I've even tried pull-ups to see if he'd just sleep straight through and have an accident. No luck. I've tried letting him CIO, but he'll scream for an hour. Not to mention he shares a room with his sister and ends up waking her up too.

Anyone else have experience with this? Is there anything I can do to help him feel comfortable using the bathroom himself, then going back to bed? I haven't had a full night's sleep in almost four years. Crying This mama is tired.

Re: Three year-old won't stay in bed at night.

  • Have you tried putting a potty in his room?  One of my guys asked for this when he started sleeping in his underwear.  He said he was afraid to walk to the bathroom by himself.

    For the sleeping itself - or at least staying in his room - I put together a reward chart for one of the boys. He had to stay in his room until morning for a certain number of nights then he earned something he had been wanting.  It might work for your LO. 

    But I would address the potty issue first.


    My twins are 5! My baby is 3!

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    DS#3 - Allergic to Milk, Egg, Peanut, Tree Nuts and Sesame

  • I've talked to a lot of moms about this, and the consensus is they just need help in the middle of the night.  DD can get up and go on her own, but doesn't make it back to bed unless I go lead her.  It seems reasonable to get up with her for now.  I might feel differently at 4.  It's a pretty quick thing to get up, help her get back in bed, give her a kiss and then go back to bed.  Sometimes she whines that she wants books or cuddles, but I always say it's not time to be awake.  I know you're in a bit of a different boat since the kids share a room, but hopefully it's a very temporary problem. 
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  • My DD1 is the same way.  She has always been a crappy sleeper and I consider it a good night if she only wakes up once.  She always wakes me up if she needs to use the bathroom (3 steps from her bedroom door).  I have tried a bunch of stuff and this is not a battle that I am going to win.  I've found it's easier to just get up and take her so we can both get back to sleep quickly (and she doesn't wake the baby).  As far as all other wakings/not staying in her room, I give her a star if she sleeps all night.  After she gets a certain number of stars, she gets whatever 'prize' she was working for.  Night terrors don't count but she seems to be doing better with those.  If she stays in her bed while she is going to sleep, I let her bedroom light on but tell her it gets turned off if I hear her or she gets up. 
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  • My 2 1/2 year old son is a crappy sleeper. He's still in diapers but he frequently wakes up in the middle of the night. He's in a toddler bed and we have to put a gate in his room. He'll come to the gate and say "mommy" "mommy" until one of us goes in there. Then we tuck him back in and tell him its still dark, go back to sleep. Sometimes he'll do that upwards to 6 times a night. He also gets up before the sun 


    I'm also at my wits end. I can completely feel you on this and wish I had some advice.  

  • My daughter was an awful sleeper from the night she was born.  During the times she would wake up during and throughout the night, we would always simply walk her back to her bed, cover her up and walk out.  Lots of tears?  Yes.  Waking up the neighbors? (We lived in an apartment at the time.) Yes.  Frustration?  Hell yes. And obviously, none of us were sleeping well.  But, the consistency paid off. Doing the same thing over and over and OVER sent a clear message to her that it didn't matter what she did, she was going to stay in bed.  We also did alot of talking: "Jade it's time to go to sleep.  And if you wake up, Daddy or I will bring you back to your bed and cover you up so you can go to sleep.  You don't have to go to sleep right away but you DO have to stay IN YOUR BED."  We said that so many times it was ridiculous. Between that speech and us just putting her to bed over and over again, we showed and proved to her that our expectation was for her to stay in bed--not asleep necessarily, just in bed.  And it worked. 

    Just come up with a plan and stick to it.  It sounds easy but it's alot of work but you can do it.  Make it a goal and be sure to reward him when he does well.  GL! 

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