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Children on Paleo Diet and Peeing a lot at night

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Updated October 23, 2014 at 3:17 AM
Created July 25, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Both of my daughters are also on the paleo diet (trying to cure leaky gut) and lately they have both been peeing through their diapers at night. This comes and goes with the diet it seems. I must be doing something wrong - is it too much carbs or too much protein for them - any ideas on what is causing this? They are 1 and 3 years old.

It seems that either they are eating too much protein or too many carbs maybe? Last night for example they both wet through to their bed and they had some carrots, and lots of avocado, but also eat a lot of protein at each meal...

Sometimes though my 3 year old who used to be almost potty trained at night before the paleo switch still has nights where there is little pee. On the days she wets a ton at night she oftentimes has trouble holding it during the day.

I would assume there has to be a connection between either too much protein or carbs and peeing too much at night, just not sure which one to adjust.?

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9647 · July 27, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Wow, that's kind of amazing.

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11478 · July 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

@ MikeMC, maybe the grains are dehydrating. Maybe the paleo diet leads to more normal hydration, which leads to a fuller bladder.

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11478 · July 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM

@ Kelly, I agree with you that societal expectations have an effect on the age of toilet training. However, it is a logical error to say that because nighttime dryness is normal at 8 months, then it's abnormal to attain it after 3 years. There is a wide range of normal for this skill.

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132 · July 27, 2011 at 5:23 AM

I would disagree that it is normal for 3yo to wet the bed at night. In many traditional cultures children are completely toilet trained before the age of 2. It was common in our society until the "experts" started telling us children couldn't hold their bladder anytime before the age of 2. I have 3 children. I used cloth nappies and I co-slept with them so I knew exactly when they peed at night. My boys both stopped peeing during the night at about 8months of age. My daughter was about 10months. However they would all do a massive pee as soon as they woke up, with 2 minutes.

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2047 · July 25, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Can you expand on what you mean by "this comes and goes with the diet"? What are the variables and what effects have you noticed?

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1173 · July 25, 2011 at 9:28 PM

What's their intake of liquids at dinner?

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11478 · July 26, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Hi Jill,

You are right to wonder about the effects of diet on urine volume at night, but I don't think that it's necessarily anything abnormal happening. Also, it's perfectly normal for 3 year-olds to wet the bed at night.

The kidneys are constantly balancing free water (solvent load) vs. osmotically active particles (solute load).

Sugars, proteins and salts (minerals) all become osmotically active after being absorbed and/or broken down by the digestive system. When you ingest osmotic particles, such as sugars, salts and amino acids, it makes your kidneys work harder, and you urinate more to restore osmotic equilibrium. This is why diabetics urinate more when their blood sugar is high--there are too many "osmoles" of particles in their blood.

If your children are healthy, gaining weight well, and are not dehydrated, I doubt that they're overwhelming their kidneys by eating too much protein, salt or sugar.

Let's look at the flipside. If you drink a lot of water, especially in the evening, your kidneys will also produce more urine to get rid of excess "free water." In severe cases, you can overwhelm your kidneys by drinking massive quantities of water, which is called "water intoxication" (a very rare condition).

You can test for urine dilution using a "specific gravity" urine dipstick, which you can get at most pharmacies. When the diaper overflows, test the urine specific gravity. If it's less than 1.010, that's considered dilute, and is usually caused by water intake. If you decrease evening water intake, it will help speed nighttime dryness.

If the urine has a large volume with a specific gravity greater than 1.010, then you can test the urine further with a "multistix" dipstick, which includes glucose (sugar) and protein. If there are any positive tests on the urine multistix, then you need to consult your child's doctor.

Again, I doubt that there's anything abnormal going on--just normal kidneys doing their job.

Reference

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132 · July 27, 2011 at 5:23 AM

I would disagree that it is normal for 3yo to wet the bed at night. In many traditional cultures children are completely toilet trained before the age of 2. It was common in our society until the "experts" started telling us children couldn't hold their bladder anytime before the age of 2. I have 3 children. I used cloth nappies and I co-slept with them so I knew exactly when they peed at night. My boys both stopped peeing during the night at about 8months of age. My daughter was about 10months. However they would all do a massive pee as soon as they woke up, with 2 minutes.

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11478 · July 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM

@ Kelly, I agree with you that societal expectations have an effect on the age of toilet training. However, it is a logical error to say that because nighttime dryness is normal at 8 months, then it's abnormal to attain it after 3 years. There is a wide range of normal for this skill.

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132 · July 26, 2011 at 2:35 AM

After your child has been asleep for about 2 hours, try getting them up and taking them to the toilet. Then take them straight back to bed.

My 2yo is toilet trained but about 2 hours after she goes to sleep she starts wriggling/squirming. I take her to the loo and after that she sleeps soundly all night without weeing.

Interestingly I have found that since switching my kids to paleo, all the wee problems disappeared.

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4553 · July 26, 2011 at 4:45 AM

I was a bed wetter late in age. It turns out I have a third full sized, fully functioning kidney. Docs figured I just had crazy renal capacity and would produce a load of urine and fast once asleep. Eventually I got a handle on it, but I was pushing my early teens.

On a related note, anyone wanna buy a kidney? It's sort of my retirement plan.

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9647 · July 27, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Wow, that's kind of amazing.

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1049 · July 25, 2011 at 10:29 PM

My daughter went from diapers to no diapers in about 3 days at age two. However, night time was an issue for another 6-7 months. I had to put large feminine pads inside to catch the excess (no liners in Italy) Cutting down liquids, dietary change- nothing helped. Sometimes it was 1 night in 3 of wetting sometimes more sometimes less. I finally bought hemp diapers (too much waste of diapers for eco-thinking) and you know what...she wet them once and never again and refused to wear them. No more bed wetting. I think the diaper is actually a crutch both physical and psychological.
1) they go to bed knowing they are wearing it

2) disposables keep them so dry, they never wake up.

3) cloth is a change if you've been using disposables, which for kids is not welcome so that is motivation enough right there. Maybe they are less comfortable but I doubt it, more a question of habit.

You could also try setting an alarm and waking them up yourself just to take then to pee. Eventually they will get in the habit of waking by themselves. I believe there are two issues at work here...the bladder developing fully to be able to hold liquid for a longer time and the ability to wake up on cue.

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50 · July 27, 2011 at 3:53 PM

I think most people are getting this wrong. I have a 3 yeard old daughter and the exact same thing is happening. If she eats grains during the day, she stays dry at night. If she eats strictly Paleo during the day, there is a 90% she will be wet during the night.

It's absolutely diet related as I've been tracking this for months.

My thought would be that grains hold more water than fruits and vegetables, even starchier vegetables like potatoes. Not sure why.

But it doesn't make me feel good that Paleo is causing this.

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11478 · July 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

@ MikeMC, maybe the grains are dehydrating. Maybe the paleo diet leads to more normal hydration, which leads to a fuller bladder.

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3904 · July 26, 2011 at 4:27 AM

You didn't mention anything about what they are drinking so I'm assuming they are not drinking more liquid than usual? That would be the first thing I'd look at. Their little sphincters aren't yet well-developed at that age. If they are drinking a lot of liquid near bed time this might also account for the extra pee.

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163 · July 25, 2011 at 9:51 PM

My son is 6 and unfortunately still has to wear night time pullups. Since switching to Paleo we havent noticed a difference in the amount he's peeing though. We use Underjams with the 30% Mom subscribe and save. For myself, I've noticed when I'm in Ketosis I have to pee a lot in the middle of the night. I know that high protein can also be a diuretic.

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12369 · July 25, 2011 at 9:12 PM

We have the same problem with our 2 yr old boy. We're trying to troubleshoot - but it's tough. We've switched to disposables at night - which help a bit, but have been adding an extra soaker to the diposables as well (a g-diaper disposable insert inside a disposable diaper).

I hope that you get a couple more useful answers as to the cause.

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593 · January 09, 2012 at 12:10 PM

i was raised on a very non-paleo diet full of grains, and i wet the bed through age 7

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20 · January 09, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Maybe the bed wetting is caused by the toxins as Natasha Campbell-McBride explains in this video? In that case healing the leaky gut and restoring healthy gut flora are the keys:

Wise Traditions London 2010 - Natasha Campbell-McBride

http://vimeo.com/10507542

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930 · July 25, 2011 at 10:19 PM

I have a (just turned) 5 year old and a 3 year old. We eat primal (Paleo + raw milk). They sleep in the Goodnight brand "pullups" because yes mine pee through a cheaper brand (like Huggies!). So first off, try switching to a high quality "pullup" and that should help. My oldest pees about 2-4 times within an hour before falling asleep. And in the morning her Goodnight pull-on is full but no leakage. She tends to drink a full sippy of water before bed too so that may have something to do with it. I don't feel like the diet is hurting her in anyway because she is SO healthy compared to other kids her age (rarely gets sick). Plus her allergy issues completely went away after cleaning up her diet.

Hope that helps!

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4080 · July 25, 2011 at 9:56 PM

If I eat fruit anytime after dark, I have to get up at night 2-3 times.

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