Nighttime Potty Training: Your Expert Guide

Nighttime Potty Training: Your Expert Guide

Daytime potty training was one thing, but getting your child to stay dry overnight is a whole other story.

So your child has mastered using the potty during the day, and you’d like to get rid of diapers for good.

We’re with you, mama.

But even if your kid is cool and confident on the toilet all day long, nighttime potty training can be a different matter.

In this article: 📝

  • Is my child ready for nighttime potty training?
  • How do you nighttime potty train?
  • Should you wake your child to pee at night?
  • At what age should a child be dry at night?

Is my child ready for nighttime potty training?

Your child might be ready to go to bed without a diaper if:

  • They’re reliably potty trained throughout the day.
  • They’ve woken up dry every morning for at least a week.
  • They sleep in a bed they can get in and out of by themselves.
  • They can go to the toilet without help (because no one wants to wake up to little-kid chaos in the bathroom).
  • They’re at least 4 years old.

How do you nighttime potty train?

How do you teach someone to do something when they’re asleep?

Sounds tough, right?

Ultimately, your child needs to “learn” to wake themselves up when their bladder is full, and this can only happen after a certain point in their brain development.

Instead, think about nighttime potty training as recognizing when their body is ready and making preparations to set yourselves up for success.

Plus, as this study suggests, prompting your toddler to use their potty during the day doesn’t have an impact on their nighttime potty training.

But many kids are ready to sleep without diapers well before we give them credit for!

Even if they are waking up with wet diapers, it could be that they have held it all or most of the night and gone as soon as they woke up in the morning out of comfort and habit.

How to start nighttime potty training

First, pick your moment.

Make sure that there are no big changes in your child’s life right then.

Also, think about yourself.

If you have a second baby who still wants to be fed at night or an important project at work, you might not want to sacrifice your sleep to change wet sheets in the dark.

It’s OK to postpone potty training at night if you need to.

When all of you are ready, get two or three waterproof sheets to protect the mattress and some extra bedding.

Night-time potty-training pants made of fabric and potty-training alarms are also an option.

Both these products encourage your child to wake up as soon as they’re slightly wet, helping their bodies to recognize the feeling and get to the toilet more quickly next time.

Then just do it.

No reward chart, no choosing new big kid underwear like you did when you started daytime training.

Remember, bedwetting is rarely under your child’s control, so making a big deal out of it can hurt their self-confidence if it turns out that they weren’t ready after all.

And if your child is under 5 years old, it’s technically not actually bedwetting; it’s all part and parcel of the whole potty training and toddler development process.

Overnight potty training tips

This being said, there are still a couple of things you can try to make it as easy as possible for your child to wake up dry.

  • Take them to the toilet 30-60 minutes before bed and then again right before they get under the covers.
  • Leave the bathroom light on to make sure that they can find their way to the toilet in the dark. Let them know that it’s ok to get out of bed when they have to pee.
  • If it doesn’t work, take a break and try again in a month.

Should you wake your child to pee at night?

Some parents choose to wake their kids to go to the toilet when they go to bed themselves.

Most bedwetting happens in the first three hours after a child falls asleep, so if they go down at 8pm and you head to bed at 11pm, the timing is perfect.

Taking your child to the toilet when you go to bed will empty their bladder of anything they drank in the evening, and it may help their sleeping brains to recognize when they have to wake up and go.

But there’s also no conclusive evidence to say that this works.

While it may be helpful for some kids, others may wake up so much that it takes them another two hours to get back to sleep.

At what age should a child be dry at night?

There’s no rule for when a child should be nighttime potty trained.

A lot of kids will show signs of readiness at some time between three and four.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, by the time they reach five, 85% of kids will be dry at night.

At six, this goes up to 90%.

If at seven they’re still having frequent accidents, most doctors will do further tests.

There’s a good chance they just need a few months longer, but there might be an underlying issue that can be treated.


Close accordion
Popular on the blog
Trending in our community