I thought diapers were supposed to, you know, actually contain the pee.
October 1, 2012 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Is everyone changing diapers at 3am and I just didn't know about it?

My son is almost 22 months old. We cloth diaper during the day (Bumkins) and have been using disposables (7th Generation) for overnight since the cloth stopped containing pee at around 9 months.

Up until 2 weeks ago, I could put a disposable diaper on him at 8:30pm and it would contain all his pee until 9:30 the next morning. And during the day, he could stay in a cloth diaper for 3 hours most of the time.

Now, very suddenly, he is very wet by 4am every morning, and he can literally have a dry cloth diaper and then 5 minutes later he will have entirely peed through the diaper so spectacularly that his pants are wet all the way down to the cuffs. He is not drinking more at bedtime lately than he usually does

Is this... a thing? That I did not know? Is it because he had a growth spurt and his bladder is suddenly bigger? Is it because he's saving it all up and then lets go in one big rush?

What can I do to contain these rivers of pee? I tried switching from the 7th Generation to Huggies Snug & Dry for overnight, but he's still soaked by 4am. The cloth diapers... I hate to stop using them because they still fit well but not if they're completely failing at their one and only task.

Did you have this problem with your toddler? What did you do?
posted by rabbitrabbit to Shopping (35 answers total)
Are you potty training him? He could be holding his pee for too long and then really has to pee. I think he's ready for big boy undies and a potty!
posted by Yellow at 11:08 AM on October 1, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: You need a bigger diaper, I'd say. Peeing out of the diaper is a classic sign. I don't know about cloth diapers, but that's definitely what I've experienced with disposable diapers. Go up a size. And try Pampers.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 11:10 AM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: It sounds like he's at the age where kids start gaining real bladder control - certainly not enough for potty training yet, but enough that they are able to hold it for a while and then it all comes out. The bladder also becomes much better at expanding as kids grow, so it's also able to hold more than it used to.

My 15 month old already occasionally soaks through at night - not because she's holding it yet, but because as she grows she eats more food and drinks more liquids, and thus more comes out overnight.

If he's not already in the largest size diapers, buy the next size up and just pull the tabs extra tight across the front when you put it on before bed. He won't be moving around enough for the diaper to come loose, but the larger size will absorb more liquid.

If he is in the largest size disposable, put a cloth diaper over it to catch the overflow.
posted by trivia genius at 11:10 AM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Huggies Overnights absorb AMAZING amounts of pee.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:11 AM on October 1, 2012 [7 favorites]

My daughter is four and wears a pull-up at night, and I have to change it in the middle of the night if she drank a lot in the evening (even if she pees before going to sleep). Everyone? No. A lot of people? Yes.
posted by Dansaman at 11:11 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

My kid at that age could blow out a large night time diaper every night.
They used to make absorbent inserts that were good for another extra gallon or two, but even with those, he needed a change at 4 AM.
You are not alone.

(They stopped making the inserts one day and that sent us into the arena of using feminine hygiene products. I was glad when that stopped being a problem. It WILL stop being a problem. Someday.)
posted by Seamus at 11:17 AM on October 1, 2012

I'm going with a larger size diaper is needed.

Having used cloth, disposable, and dealt with a long-term bedwetter, I'd say invest in a bit of fleece, doubled over under his sheet as a "soaker layer" as backup to the bigger diaper.

Given the differing equipment between boys and girls, could it be he needs to be "pointed" in a different direction, and/or put in a diaper with a larger overnight insert (for pocket diapers).
posted by tilde at 11:18 AM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: Yeah, the Overnight Huggies do contain a lot more than the Snug 'n' Dry Huggies.
posted by purpleclover at 11:23 AM on October 1, 2012

We started potty training our children before 22mo. Your son may not make it through the night at this point but if you have them get on the potty and pee before bedtime they may have a lot less to release during the night. Also, we would wake our children up when we went to bed 3-4 hours after them and have them use the potty. This was very helpful in getting through the night once they graduated out of pull-ups.
posted by evilelf at 11:31 AM on October 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Is everyone changing diapers at 3am and I just didn't know about it?

Not everyone, but a lot of 'em. Try an overnight/more absorbent diaper.
posted by zippy at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2012

With the cloth, have you used any creams or ointments on him and then used the diapers? That can cause repelling issues with cloth diapers and they may need to be stripped. As for leaking out of the disposables, every time I have heard someone having that issue, they needed to move to the next size up.
posted by chiababe at 11:40 AM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: At around that same time, we had to switch from 7th Generation diapers for overnight to the amazing chemical miracle that is Huggies Overnights. They can contain approximately seven gallons of pee without leaking. (We still use the hippie diapers during the day.)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:10 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

One of mine had this thing for a while where no diaper could contain the torrents of pee produced overnight, and every morning was another batch of laundry for me as everything was soaked. I bumped him up one size, as suggested above, and put one of his big brother's two-sizes-larger diapers over that one. Solved the problem while it lasted. After a month or so it stopped being an issue, and we don't have to do that anymore.
posted by ambrosia at 12:15 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are interested in getting him through the night, you might want to invest in soaker pants. You can get wool ones and fleece ones, which wick away moisture and also prevent outside layers from getting soaked.. Put these over the diaper. Or you could go to toddler overnight diapers with soaker pants on them. I used to put a flat (aka Chinese, but I'm not sure that is okay term) diaper in the crotch of the cloth diapers.

I totally understand about not wanting to use the toxic disposables. I made it through and you can too!
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 12:17 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

My daughter did not experience a change in pee volume so it got me wondering if this sudden change is indicative of anything to be concerned about. While likely not, according to a lot of posters here it doesn't sound all that unusual, you may want to take him to the pediatrician, as frequent peeing can be a symptom of various issues according to this

Potty training at 22 months would be extraordinary and likely very futile, but all kids are different.
posted by waving at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2012

When my 3 year old had that problem, we used Depends Boost pads in his diaper. They have an adhesive side that attaches to the inside of the diaper and probably double the amount of liquid the diaper can hold.
posted by ShooBoo at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: Huggies Overnights are your newest best friend! I have 2 toddlers and they are both potty trained but wear the diapers at night and those diapers are worth every penny!
posted by ramix at 1:11 PM on October 1, 2012

My son experienced about the same thing at about the same time. We use cloth diapers all the time. For a while he was soaking through a double-insert Fuzzibunz and waking up in a huge puddle every morning.

Severely restricting his fluid intake for a couple hours before bed fixed the puddles for the most part. It was around then that he was learning to drink from a cup, and I think he was drinking more than I realized. We still have wetness problems but not the massive soaking like before.
posted by Liesl at 1:17 PM on October 1, 2012

Response by poster: All right, it seems like the consensus is Huggies Overnights. Which I just went out on my lunch break to buy and Walgreens doesn't carry them (WTH?), so I guess I'll check my local grocery store after work in the hope that they are more with it (seriously, if they are so great you'd think everyone would have them). If so, I will report back tomorrow with the results.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:44 PM on October 1, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, and as for the cloth... I do have a stash of BumGenius and Fuzzibunz that I haven't been using because the Bumkins are AIO which is so much nicer than stuffing diapers all the time, but I will test those out to see if they're more absorbent. And I suppose in worst case, I now have all these Huggies Snug N Dry that I can use when we're leaving the house.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2012

Response by poster: Sorry, third comment, but hey, it's my thread...

We're not potty training him yet because he's not really showing readiness signs. He does have a potty chair but mostly he just closes the lid and uses it as a stool.

I don't use diaper creams with the cloth diapers, if he has bad diaper rash he'll get A+D slathered on under a disposable until it clears up.

I have been buying size 4, but I confess I have no idea how much he weighs since he hasn't been to the pediatrician since his 18-month checkup. Maybe I should be buying size 5, I'll call home and see if my spouse can weigh him before I stop at the store.

If all else fails, I guess I will start restricting liquids close to bedtime. I can foresee that causing a lot of tantrums so I want to leave that as the last thing I try.

I really don't think it's a medial concern, though that did occur to me when it started happening. I guess I can call the nurse advice line and ask.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:00 PM on October 1, 2012

I don't have kids, but I'm now imagining all of these toddlers rolling around on gushy diapers full of pee.

Just came to say that older kids have larger bladders, so although it doesn't seem to be a big change in the liquid intake, it's more of a gush when they do let it go.

There are also GoodNites bedliners, that you can use in conjunction with the enormous, Hoover Dam capacity Huggies.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:01 PM on October 1, 2012

My kids both had to move to a larger diaper size before they hit the weight limits on the package. Going up a size usually fixed the overnight leaking.

We always used Target's UP&UP brand diapers & thought they worked fine. I never tried any special overnight style.
posted by belladonna at 2:13 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

The medical term for abnormal amounts of peeing is polyuria. Not that it sounds like there's any medical problem - I wouldn't know either way - but FYI in case it's useful for keyword searches.
posted by XMLicious at 2:37 PM on October 1, 2012

Size 5 Huggies Overnights are for kids over 27lbs. Not that it means anything, but my 30 month old is about 29lbs and a skinny boy but has worn a 5 since about 22lbs or so. Remember to point his penis down and get the waist band good and snug.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:46 PM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: I went through this stage with both my kids. I don't understand what is going on either, but it does seem to go away after a while. I agree to try the Huggies Overnights, but warn you that those things sometimes cause hideous diaper rash. I used disposables with both my kids, and Pampers were fine and caused no issues. I switched to Huggies Overnights when we hit the mysterious overnight pee-monsoon stage, and my youngest got an awful rash, so I had to stop. It took a few days for the rash to show up, but stopping the Huggies made it go away. So just buy a small pack and keep an eye on the situation.
posted by Joh at 3:59 PM on October 1, 2012

Things we tried when this happened to us:

-laying a maxi-pad in the diaper, or around the front of the waist of the diaper
-larger size diaper
-putting the diaper on backwards*

*this also works for a short time when they begin taking off their own diaper at night
posted by MeiraV at 4:05 PM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: nthing huggies overnights...... miracle britches....
posted by pearlybob at 4:19 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Size 5, 7th Generation *OVERNIGHTS*, solved this problem for us, no problems for a couple of months now - our kid is about a month older than yours.
posted by iamabot at 4:54 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: nth overnights, and I used a size up anyway, just to soak up even more pee.
posted by gaspode at 4:57 PM on October 1, 2012

Just adding that I do a middle of the night change between 2 am and 4 am or the kid (19 months) will wake around 6 am with a full diaper instead of sleeping (and letting mommy sleep) until 8 am when he's changed.
posted by saradarlin at 5:44 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yep, mine always went up a size long before their weight indicated they "should". And it always fixed the leakage issues as well. Good luck!
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:20 PM on October 1, 2012

Response by poster: Huggies Overnites Size 5 FTW! First dry night and no diaper change in 2 weeks! Thanks MetaFilter.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:02 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: And I just noticed iamabot's recommendation for 7th generation overnights. Didn't know they made such a thing. I may have to try those too, since they're likely a little less hard on the environment. Thanks again!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you considered trying cloth overnight? A good, super absorbent fitted and cover (I love the Bamboozle Stretch with an extra bamboo insert and a Flip cover) holds my super heavy wetter through, no problem. Lanolized wool is great for overnight too.
posted by litnerd at 7:35 AM on October 7, 2012

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