Celebrating No More Diapers Day
Celebrating No More Diapers Day
My household is officially diaper free. After eight-and-a-half years. My husband and I are going to drink to our diaper-free status tonight (always looking for a solid reason to open a nice bottle of bubbles). Because here's the thing: even though diaper extinction is a normal and inevitable milestone for every family, it calls on some of the most evasive parenting skills—patience, persistence, consistency . . . did I mention patience?
Both of my kids transitioned to daytime undies more or less when kids are expected to be in undies—somewhere around 2-3 years of age. Then there was the absurd stage (for both of them) of putting on their own pull-ups and hiding in corners and closets to do their #2 business. (The developmental experts at Seedlings Group got me through those good times.) But the real struggle was nighttime.
I had been told that I would know when my child was ready to sleep in underwear when she woke up with a dry diaper. Well, the morning dry diaper never happened. Not at 4 years. Not at 5 years. Not at 6 years. And heartbreakingly, she was emotionally ready for underwear at night long before she was physically ready. I tried all of the usual tactics dictated in articles on the subject—nothing to drink at night (I practically dehydrated the poor thing), waking her and taking her to pee before my own bedtime. Didn't matter. I considered the dreaded pee alarm, but just couldn't bring myself to do it.
As I came to find out, it's not a matter of training. It's biological. There's a pee hormone. It's called DDAVP, and it's what your body needs to stop urine production at night. And some of us take longer than others to produce the amount needed to stay dry at night. I learned all of this from Dr. JJ Levenstein, who also asked me if I was a bed wetter. And then I remembered: Yes! I was. Until I was almost 7. It's hereditary.
So, what did I do? I changed sheets in the night. A lot of sheets in the night. And I bought the best non-toxic waterproof mattress pad covers I could find—the ones from Naturepedic. And we rode it out. I think we were at it for about a year before we had our first dry night. But it finally happened, as Dr. JJ assured me it would.
So when my son turned 5 recently, and announced that he would like to try to sleep in underwear, I braced for the worst. I readied my middle-of-the-night arsenal (change of sheets, extra mattress cover, change of clothes, wipes, a washcloth, a flashlight) outside his door and went to bed white-knuckling my pillow. But then it was 7am. And there he was standing at my bedroom door, with dry undies. And so it's been for almost every night for the past two weeks. Which means today is the day. The day we gave the leftover diapers to the younger child in the apartment down the hall. The No More Diapers Day. Cheers!
Tara Mandy is the founder and publisher of Traffic Network, comprising StrollerTraffic, The Cribsie Awards, and Family Jaunts, a travel resource for families launching this fall. Prior to creating Traffic Network, Mandy spent 10 years as the travel editor of New York magazine. Currently, she resides in Manhattan with her husband and two children.