When and how do I start nighttime potty training?
Real Mom Problem
“I'm thinking about how full my daughter's diaper is in the morning, and it seems like she must pee all night long. I'm just at a loss thinking about potty training and what to do at nighttime!”
- 1. It's normal for a toddler to be fully trained during the day while still wetting at night
- 2. Many children continue to have nighttime accidents up until 7 years old and sometimes beyond
- 3. You can lessen nighttime wetness by eliminating drinks 2 hours before bedtime
- 4. Consider getting your toddler up to use the potty just before you go to bed
- 5. Use waterproof mattress pads and other protection to keep your toddler's bed dry and make bedding changes easier
- 6. Try using training pants at night. It's unlikely to confuse your day trained toddler
- 7. Never punish or scold for nighttime potty accidents
Real Mom Solutions
Nighttime wetness is extremely common. After all, it's tough for a little one with a little bladder to go all night with no trips to the potty! Here's how these moms of CafeMoms dealt with nighttime wetness.
You Just Have to Wait
Nighttime potty training is completely different than daytime. There really isn't anything you can do about it - they either are ready and wake up dry or they aren't. My oldest was dry at night by age 7 my current child started waking up dry before age one.
You cannot night "train" a child. They are either physically capable of holding their urine or waking up to pee or they aren't. If your son is still waking up wet every morning he is not ready to be in underwear and there is no shame in that. Some kids can day train at 2 and still be in pull-ups at 5 or 6. It's just the way they are made and every kid is different. Try not to measure your son against other children in this regard. Once he's gone maybe 2 weeks dry EVERY morning, move to underwear and see how that goes. Protect your mattress though!
Try These Tricks!
I was told by my doctor that once they are ready for nighttime training, their diaper will be dry. We just waited with both boys until they were dry at night and then removed their diaper. Each child will be different. When I taught 5th grade, I had a student that still was wearing a pull-up at night and his doctor said it was normal
Some children do not get control of their bladder overnight until they are 8-9 years old. Very common. Are you toileting him before bed? How about waking him to go when you go to bed? Layer the sheets (waterproof pad, sheet, repeat) to make for easy changes if he does wet at night. When are you stopping liquids? Do it at least two hours before he goes to bed to see if that helps.
Invest in reliable mattress protection for night time accidents!
I had a hard time with my now 5 year old daughter. She will still have an occasional accident. She is a HARD sleeper. So what I had to do was wake her up at night; 2 times in the beginning and slowly down to one time a night for a good 6 months! It was hard but she finally is getting it. I have her go before bed, and NO water or juice about 2 hours before bed.
Some kids need Pull-ups and Goodnights/Underjams at night. If your child is consistently dry during the day and having accidents mainly overnight, their body is not physically ready. It's normal for kids to 'bedwet' until age 7. Cut out liquids at least an hour before bed, and food 2-3 hours before. Our doctor says not to wake them up.
I usually start potty training during the day and slowly work into nap and nighttime . If the diapers are dry 3 or 4 naps in a row then they come off . Same with nighttime . Expect that there will be accidents. It takes time, but they get it! Good Luck!
The Why Behind Nighttime Wetness
As the others have said, nighttime is different than daytime potty training. The body must first develop a hormone that signals the kidneys to slow urine production when the body is asleep. Without that hormone, you produce too much urine to stay dry. Some children develop the hormone very young, others not until 7-8 years, puberty, or later.
Doctors consider bedwetting normal until about 7-8 years old. After that point they'll sometimes check to see if there are other reasons for bedwetting (infections, diabetes, etc), but usually there's still not much the doctors can do until a child's body matures on its own.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a great book called "Waking Up Dry," which explains the various causes of bedwetting and what you can do about it, if anything. Check your local library to see if they have a copy.
Really, though, your son is still young. I wouldn't worry at all about the fact that he's still wetting the bed. Keep using the pull-ups until you start seeing occasional dry nights. Then you'll know that his body is maturing.