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Troubleshooting Toddler Overnight Diaper Leaks

This post was originally published on November 11, 2015, when I was a new mama of one and experiencing my toddler peeing through her diaper overnight for the first time. Now, as a mama of three, I have since learned all of the tips, so this was updated on April 22, 2020, to include everything I recommend for leaky overnight toddler diapers.


Have you ever heard of the expression: when it rains it pours?

Well, I’d love to add to it: …and it soaks through your super-absorbent diapers, through your child’s pajamas, sleep sack, and sheets, and all the way to the motherloving mattress.

Too much?

Ladies and Gentlemen, at 14 months old Marlowe was a bedwetter who was sleeping in a regular diaper.  LOL! You experienced moms out are probably laughing over your lattés right now, like, “this poor fool, why didn’t she know all the STUFF?! BAHAHAH!!!”

Well now I do know all of the stuff, and I’m here to share it!

Marlowe had been using the same old diapers all year, upping the sizes as she grew, and we never had any problems.  The occasional leak or blowout of course, but nothing major.

 

Eva Amurri Martino wears a red sweater and jeans, and lifts one year old son, Major, in the air to tickle him
Photo by Carter Fish

Then suddenly, Marlowe started wetting the bed every single night.  The poor thing’s diaper would leak completely and soak her from the neck of her PJs all the way to the ankles – not to mention all of her sheets, loveys, sleep sacks, etc.  It would wake her up super early (of course), but even worse was the discomfort of being soaking in cold pee.  It absolutely broke my heart to go in there and see her so uncomfortable. Also, having to change out all the linens in her entire crib every single morning wasn’t…ideal.

I had tried everything:  I googled toddler peeing through diaper overnight which led to testing out every brand of “overnight” diapers in existence, trying to go up a size in our regular diapers, we even tried reducing her night time bottle by a couple of ounces, yet nothing was making a dent in our little bedwetter’s nighttime experience.

At this point, I was feeling so anxious every night before bed, wondering if my sweet baby girl would wake up in a yellow flood at 5 am, so I called in the troops!

 

 

I emergency-texted Marlowe’s night nurse, Pam (who was also my postpartum doula) to ask for some advice and I ended up learning that between the ages of 12-16 months, many toddlers (read: most) begin to wet through their diapers at night.

As it turns out, everything we were going through was totally normal, but now: what to do about it?

 

How To Troubleshoot Leaky Overnight Toddler Diapers

 

1.) Start With A Solid Overnight Diaper

Every kid is different, so every diaper is going to fit them differently. The first step to troubleshooting leaky overnight diapers is by trying out a solid overnight diaper. I recommend purchasing in both your child’s size as well as the next size up. The brands I have had the best experience with were:

The Honest Company Overnight Diapers

The Honest Company

Honest Diapers are my favorite diapers overall. They’re hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and they never irritated any of my kids’ skin.

Pampers Pure Protection

Pampers

These may not be labeled as ‘Overnight Diapers’ but they are! They’re known for being super absorbent, like other Pampers, but without the chemical additives. These contain no fragrances, chlorine bleaching, latex, parabens, or other allergens, and can prevent leaks for up to 12 hours!

Huggies OverNites

Huggies

These are widely considered the most absorbent diapers on the market, and I used them with great success.

2.) Introducing Your New Best Friend: Diaper Liners

Diaper Liners are a soft insert that goes inside your regular or overnight diaper to add extra protection and absorbency…kind of like a mini maxi pad! There are a number of these on the market to choose from, but my personal favorites are:

Sposie Booster Pads Diaper Doubler

Sposie

These are the diaper liners I used with Marlowe and Major and they worked great!

Naturally Nature Overnight Diaper Doubler Booster Pads

Naturally Nature

Natural diaper liners like these weren’t around when I needed them for Marlowe and Major, but I might give them a try with Mateo. These are hypoallergenic, made with cruelty-free materials, and are 100% free of fragrances, latex, chlorine, and phthalates.

3.) Doubling Up On Diapers

This may sound nuts, but it really works!  Try putting a regular diaper in your child’s size on first, then put another diaper in the size up on top of the first. Another tip is to put an Overnight Diaper as the exterior diaper over a regular diaper for an extra dryness boost. I used Marlowe’s regular daytime Honest Company diaper underneath a Huggies Overnight diaper, and it was bulky…but it WORKED!

My favorite regular diapers to double up with are:

The Honest Company Diapers

The Honest Company

As I mentioned earlier in this post, Honest Diapers have always been my go-to. Layering two sizes was a bit bulky but stopped the leaks!

Seventh Generation Sensitive Skin Diapers

Seventh Generation

These are another one of my favorite Diaper brands. They’re ultra-absorbent and contain 0% chlorine bleaching, lotions, or fragrances.

4.) Invest In Waterproof Crib Mattress Pads & Spare Crib Sheets

It’s so important to treat yourself with kindness when you’re going through a tough parenting challenge, and I think the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to reduce the amount of extra work you’re obligated to do.

Invest in a waterproof crib mattress pad cover, and as many crib sheets as you can store in a linen closet so you don’t have to rush to wash the linens every single morning like clockwork.

My favorites are:

Crib/Toddler Bed Waterproof Mattress Pad

Pottery Barn Kids

This crib mattress pad is made from 200 thread count 100% Cotton Percale, with a waterproof inner lining. It’s machine washable, which is good…because you’ll be doing a lot of that LOL!

American Baby Company Waterproof Fitted Crib and Toddler Protective Mattress Pad Cover

American Baby Company

This has almost 6,000 5-star reviews, and it’s under $20!

Kyte BABY BAMBOO CRIB SHEET

Kyte Baby

I’ve mentioned here before how much I love Kyte Baby. These crib sheets (and pajamas! They make the best pajamas! And sleep sacks!) are made from a special type of natural rayon that comes from bamboo and are super soft and breathable.

Burt's Bees Baby 100% Organic Cotton Fitted Crib Sheet

Burts Bees Baby

These are awesome cotton crib sheets that come in every color and are super affordable.

Eva Amurri Martino wears a red sweater and jeans, and lifts one year old son, Major, in the air to tickle him
Photo by Carter Fish

Initially, I ordered the diaper liners right away, and while I waited for them to arrive, I doubled Marlowe’s diaper at night.  I used her regular daytime Honest Company diaper underneath a Huggies Overnight diaper, and it was bulky…but it WORKED! A few days later, the liners arrived, I tried one of those inside an Honest Company Overnight diaper, and that worked also! I was so thrilled to have options.

With Marlowe, I ended up using the diaper liners inside the Huggies Overnights the most, just because it was less bulky. That solved her overnight diaper leaking problems for good! With Major, I used the diaper liners with the Honest Company Overnights and they worked just as well!

If any other mamas have other tips to add to this list, comment below!

 

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15 Comments

  1. Parmis says:

    Dear Eva,
    I absolutely love your website. I too am a first time mom. My son is two weeks younger than your adorable Marlowe. I find all your posts to be incredibly helpful and timely. We’re going through the same bedwetting phase right now. I think the diaper liners are an excellent idea. What brand do you prefer? Thank you for all the great info!
    xoxo
    Parmis

    11.20.15 Reply
    • Hi Parmis!
      Thank you so much for the kind words 🙂
      I linked to my favorite liners in the post, you can just click on there to find them!
      I hope they work for you! If not, try the doubled-up diapers trick

      xoxo
      EAM

      11.20.15 Reply
      • Parmis says:

        Thank you so much for the quick response. I’ll definitely order the liners and let you know how it goes. Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo

        11.20.15 Reply
  2. Wendy says:

    This is one of those issues when “YEMV” is particularly relevant. I have two kids LONG out of diapers but never ever had flooding at night. In fact, just the opposite (which provoked stress on our end). I remember vividly when our first started waking up in the mornings with a totally dry diaper. I was really worried! Was he dehydrated? Was there something worse going on, like with his kidneys? As a new mom, I’d never heard of such a thing and immediately started worrying about what could be wrong.

    Well, flash forward a few weeks and finally(!) the light bulb turned on for us: He was “holding it” all night long! He was showing us he was physically able and ready to start the potty learning process! I still feel like such a daft mama for completely misreading the situation and not picking up on the clues. 😉

    You can only do so much reading and talking to other folks — at some point, something is going to come your way that will surprise you. Bad OR good!

    11.20.15 Reply
  3. Wendy says:

    p.s. You’re such a natural — at mothering AND lifestyle blogging. It’s a delight to visit your site. Not only is it visually gorgeous, but you have such a way with words. Great writer!!

    11.20.15 Reply
    • Hi Wendy,

      Thank you so much, that is so kind of you to say! I really enjoy authoring the blog very much!

      I agree that the whole parenting process really is a process of discovery and acceptance. Accepting phases as well as acceptance that we are not always going to know immediately what is going on with our kids! I’ve learned to let go a lot more and try to allow the process of parenting my daughter to teach me– as opposed to the other way around.

      xoxo
      EAM

      11.23.15 Reply
  4. Andrea says:

    Night time diapers worked really well for us, thankfully. I found another great use for them too! If we were leaving the house for an extended period of time I’d put a night diaper on my son. I didn’t have to worry about leaks and he’d feel dryer longer. They’re also fantastic for road trips!

    12.05.15 Reply
    • Hi Andrea!
      That’s great to hear! I actually know a family that ONLY uses night time diapers! I think people figure out what’s best for them, you never know what your baby will need until they need it. Ha!

      xoxo
      EAM

      12.06.15 Reply
  5. Katie says:

    Hi Eva!

    Thank you so much for this post! As an avid reader of your blog I saw this last month and as luck would have it my 13 month old just entered this phase. I bought the pads per your suggestion but am wondering- how long did this phase last for you? I tempted fate last night and went sans pad for her as a test and paid the price this am!

    Thanks for putting up such a great honest blog- you have such a beautiful family!

    12.09.15 Reply
  6. Sarah says:

    You made me laugh when you said that the more experienced moms were laughing in their lattes. Technically I’m experienced but *no one* has all their mothering figured out.

    My third son just started wetting through a month ago and I STILL don’t have a great solution. Diaper liners do the trick until you need TWO liners in the most absorbent overnight diaper on the market. Then there is no room for the liners once they are full. We just accepted frequent clothing & linen changes as a fact of life and waited several months for this phase to pass.

    I never knew doubling-up involved two different diaper sizes. The whole idea makes a lot more sense now. 🙂

    02.04.17 Reply
  7. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much! I just ordered the diaper liners and cannot wait for this nighttime solution for my son <3

    08.01.17 Reply
  8. I don’t know details about overnight diapers but I think Luvs leak lock diapers is better than Huggies and Seventh Generation.

    12.25.17 Reply
  9. Mary G says:

    Hi Eva! You are such a resourceful mother! I never knew that nighttime diapers or booster pads existed until I read this post longtime ago !!! Your kids are so lucky, you really always go beyond !!! When I had a similar problem with my son I opted to change him while he was sleeping before I would go to sleep.Each night after he’d had his bath and had drunk his milk I would put him to bed and as I was going to bed a lot later than him I would go and check his diaper before I go to sleep.If it was already half full, sometimes already full (!) I would gently change his diaper quickly so that he would not wake up in the middle of the night or very early due to the discomfort of a wet diaper and wet clothes.Sometimes he would immediately wet his diaper after drinking his night bottle while awake so I always changed it and put him to bed knowing that it would get him through the night dry.It was easy because I never used a sleeping sack so I did not have to remove it to change the diaper and overall had very few accidents.

    04.22.20 Reply
  10. Kari says:

    We had major leaking issues and my little guy’s length has averaged 6 months ahead while his weight stayed the same so we are very long and skinny and a heavy pee-er LOL I actually found that Pampers® Cruisers 360° Fit worked the best for us. I tried to Sposie diaper pads but they weirdly deteriorated in the diaper. I have been very happy with these diapers!

    04.22.20 Reply