The Last Step: Nighttime Potty Training
It is nighttime and your child is sleeping and you are going to go to bed. How will your child remember to use the potty chair during the night? You are not there to remind them. They are on their own. Before deciding it is time to prepare your child for nighttime potty training let’s look at some information to consider before making your decision to start.
Most likely you have daytime potty trained your child sometime between the 2 years old and 3 years old time period. Now that your child has the daytime potty training in place when is it time to consider nighttime potty training? It is very common for the nighttime bladder control to not fully mature until ages 3-6 years. It is recommended to wait for signs of your child staying dry at naps and overnight before considering nighttime potty training.
It is also not recommended to wake your child during the night to use the bathroom unless your pediatrician recommends doing so or if your child is older (5-7 years). A Dr. Chang adds, ”waking a child to use the bathroom is not very effective because once the parents stop waking up the children, they will go back to wetting the bed.”
A child’s nighttime sleep is extremely important and using a pull-up at night until they are developmentally ready for nighttime potty training is an easy solution realizing that they may be older before they are ready to stay dry all night or get up to use the bathroom. Be patient for their readiness and don’t sweat it!
If you believe you and your child is ready for night time potty training you will want to follow the following steps.
As mentioned earlier, a child typically develops the ability to stay dry all night between the ages of 3-5. Be watchful during this time period for signs of readiness, such as staying dry during naps and overnight. If the ability to stay dry during these times doesn’t occur between 3-5, check with your pediatrician. Some children have sensory issues and the ability to stay dry may be delayed and use of pull-ups at night may be extended.
When you see multiple dry diapers this is your window of opportunity to begin nighttime potty training. You will want to stop using diapers or pull-ups at this time because if they are available your child will choose to use them rather than staying dry. You don’t want that bad habit to start.
Some of you may have used the “bare-bottom” method for daytime potty training. If you did, continue this method into the nighttime potty training. Put your child to bed with a bare bottom with an oversized teeshirt. The feeling of having something on may trigger your child to pee at night, even if underwear. Remember, they are sleeping and the feeling of something there to catch their pee may cause them to pee. Bare bottom is best.
Because your child is in bed with a bare bottom, you will want to put a mattress protector on your child’s bed as there may be accidents. In addition, you may want to place washable towels, blankets or waterproof pad underneath them. There are pads that are soft and comfortable on one side and plastic and waterproof on the opposite side and easy to wash. These are ideal. Due to the plastic waterproof side, these pads tend to stay in place. If there is an accident during the night, you can remove the wet pad, replace with another and the bed will still be dry.
At the time of nighttime potty training, you will want your child in a bed that your child can get in and out of easily. You do not want your child in a crib where they are confined to the crib. In addition, you may want to set-up a potty chair next to the bed for easy and quick access.
During daytime potty training it is recommended to pay attention to diet and fluids so that your child pees and poops easily. When nighttime potty training you will want to limit the amount of fluid that your child drinks right before bedtime. Be sure after drinking fluids your child pees before crawling into bed.
Talk to your child about going bare bottom at night and not using pull-ups or diapers at night anymore because they are ready and staying dry. Explain to them that they will pee right before going to bed to get rid of fluids so they can sleep. Discuss what to do if they feel the need to pee at night and show them that their potty chair is nearby. It would include a nightlight near their potty chair so that they can easily see. It is not recommended to wake your child to pee at night but rather let them manage their own needs and let them sleep.
Be patient, celebrate dry nights, and don’t make a big deal of nighttime accidents. Just clean up the accident and move on. Try again. In time, there will be more dry nights than nights with accidents. If the signs are there for developmental readiness the process should go well!
Remember that children are unique and one plan does not work for all. Design the plan that works for you and your child.
Note: “Yes, You Can!”, manual written by Megan Pierson M.A. at Toddler Shop was used as a resource in this blog post. This manual will be available for purchase on The Potty Fairy website. Please read further if you are interested in information regarding potty training and toddler sleep from Megan.
“Yes, You Can! “Potty Training / ToddlerSleep Manual
“Yes, You Can” manual is a Pediatrician and Urologist backed, easy-to-follow 3-4 day complete potty training guide, covering signs of readiness, how to prepare your home, days 1-3 of potty training, potty training charts, follow up recommendations, and certificates of achievement for your child.
I believe that sleep should never be compromised during the potty training process, so I have created a customizable visual nighttime chart as a fun and effective tool for you to implement with your toddler.
Contact me today at for all your toddler needs (potty, sleep, behavior). www.sleepshopoc.com/TODDLERSHOP or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get your little one potty trained and sleeping.
The Potty Fairy 2nd edition book is available in hardcover, softcover, and all e-book formats. Available in English and coming soon in French and Spanish versions too!
Watch for release in May 8 2018!