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Single-Parent Potty-Training Wars

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Single Mom Seeking: A single mom I know is the mom of a kindergartner -- and he wets the bed. The pediatrician ruled out any medical problems. This little guy is simply reaching the "dry at night" developmental milestone a bit later. It's perfectly normal.

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Confidently, this single mom reports: "I'm really getting a handle on it. We're having more and more dry nights in a row!"

This mom is proud of herself for setting up a routine that really works for her son:

  • Making sure her son uses the toilet before bed.
  • Giving him just a little cup of water before bed, instead of a big glass (and limiting night-time snacks).
  • A couple of hours after he goes to bed, she gets her sleepy son up to use the toilet.

When he does have an accident, she's careful to keep things matter-of-fact. She keeps fresh PJs and extra bed linen handy, so everyone can get quickly back to sleep.

So, what's the problem? "When he goes to his father's house every weekend, all of my routines go out the window!" she says. When her son returns to her home on Monday, he's wetting the bed again.

Single moms, what do you think? Does this dad need to step it up and really help his son potty train? Or does this mom need to relax and just let her son potty train when he's ready?

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17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 22, 2010, 11:08 AM

i am not a single mom. in fact im a step mom to a 2 year old girl. i potty trained our daughter but every weekend when she goes to her mothers half my work goes out of the window. she refuses to bother potty training. its frustrating but you cant control what goes on at the other house. but in your case i believe you need to really press the issue. its not a question of letting your son potty train when hes ready because he is in kindergarten and you have him potty trained. its just his father that can not keep up the structure he needs.

Black Iris May 23, 2010, 2:23 PM

I wonder if the boy is wetting the bed partly because going back and forth between houses is stressful.
I think the mom needs to talk to the dad. If she fights with him, she will only add to her kids’ stress. So I would suggest asking the dad what he thinks the problem is and what he thinks would solve it. Then maybe the two of them can come up with a solution they can both implement. At the end of the day, though, you have to accept that he’s the kid’s dad and he can do things the way he thinks is best. If the mom can’t convince the dad, she may have to just live with a kid who wets the bed on Mondays.

AnonymousB May 23, 2010, 2:26 PM

@Anonymous step-mom, A lot of people think two is a little early to potty train. Why put the poor kid in the middle of your conflicts with the first wife? You got the man and the kid. Let the mom decide when her kid should potty train.

MartiniMama May 23, 2010, 4:32 PM

This post doesn’t mention if she has discussed the routine with her ex at all. It’s imperative that for this (and future childhood issues) they they be on the same page as far as parenting goes. I have friends who are divorced and don’t even tell each other what is going on with their kids. Then they get all pissed when something they were “working on” gets “undone” when their kids are with the other parent.

Sounds to me like she needs to sit down and have a talk with her ex and try to get him on board with the program!

Chrissy May 23, 2010, 8:23 PM

Is he wetting the bed at his dad’s? If so, than that can be the common groud that the single mom can start with with the dad. I’m sure he doesn’t like the bed wetting anymore tha the mom.

Anonymous May 24, 2010, 12:39 PM

I’m also a stepmom to 2 little boys, 5 and 2. We have them every other weekend. Both still drink from the bottle before bedtime and the little one still wakes up in the middle of the nite for feeding. My husband tried to get him to stop drinking in the middle of the nite. Let me tell you, it’s always a long nite of screaming and crying from him. But all the work that my husband put in goes to waste when the boy is back with his mom. Potty training? LOL that’s a joke. All I will say is grandma HAD to potty trained the older boy when he was 4.

Mimi May 25, 2010, 11:18 AM

I’m not a single mother, nor am I a mother at all. I’m a teenager who wet the bed until she was 8. My parents tried a lot of things, but I really just grew out of it on my own, and I think that’s what this kindergartner needs to do too.

Jillian May 26, 2010, 9:37 AM

Potty training and bed wetting are not the same thing. I would relax and just be glad my child has a relationship with his father. So many children don’t.

SingleMom June 23, 2010, 8:42 AM

I can understand how frustrating this is.. I have a 22mos old and we are potty training and when she is home with me all week she does AMAZING! and 24hrs with dad and its all out the window. Did you have this problem with your son? How did you handle it cause I’m going CrAzY!

Karen July 12, 2010, 8:40 PM

This child is already potty-trained. Overnight dryness and being potty trained are not the same thing.

Be patient. Buy him Goodnights and let it go. This is not a training issue. He will be dry on his own before too long. No sense making him have issues because of this very normal behavior.

alaine August 20, 2010, 7:17 PM

My daughter is 27 months and have tried potty training and she is doesnt seem ready yet…theres so much pressure on the parents and toddlers! I say it’ll happen in good time!

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Jessica Paul February 7, 2011, 5:00 PM

Single moms, what do you think? Does this dad need to step it up and really help his son potty train? Or does this mom need to relax and just let her son potty train when he’s ready?

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