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My two cents on night training

Posted by on May. 10, 2010 at 2:00 PM
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Basic caveat -- this is only my experience, but it's based on training two kids and I thought I would share. I know there is a lot of debate about when and how diapers should be taken away at night and how proactive the parent's role should be in nighttime potty training. I now firmly believe that kids can and will night train on their own, and that the potential risks of actively night training do not outweigh the potential benefits.

My oldest day trained at 19 months. She wasn't really showing too many "readiness signs" but we went cold-turkey to underwear for awake time (kept a pull-up for naps and night).  She did well, it took about 2 weeks but we kept her in the pull-up for sleep because it was always SOAKED. A couple of different times, she asked to sleep in underwear and each time we let her.  At about 27 months we tried actively night training by waking her up at 10 pm and 3 am (we tweaked the times a lot). Out of about 3 weeks of doing this, we got maybe 3 perfectly dry nights, and on two separate occasions she woke up asking to pee on her own. Not a great success, in my opinion, and it set us into a very long stretch of frequent night waking and bedtime problems. Maybe not related, but in any case, as we tried to recover from that, we were not about to do anything at all that interfered with consecutive hours of sleep. We went back to the pull-ups.

Then we started day training our little one. She was 17 months and we didn't do total cold-turkey because she had nursery school some days and she was very young, but shortly enough we were in just underwear. Unlike her sister, the little one started waking up dry from every nap (we ditched the nap pull-up after about 3 days), and even some nights (at 18 months).  We tried underwear for bed, but she usually has about 3 consecutive dry nights followed by a wet night, so we continued with the pull-ups for bed and were just happy to reuse them a few nights in a row.

We started letting our big girl choose at naptime whether she would do underwear or pull-up. She started more and more choosing underwear (we didn't mind the clean-up so much when it wasn't 3am) and woke up wet almost every day for a week. Then she started asking for pull-ups again. One day, several weeks later, the nap pull-up was dry. THe next days he chose underwear, and has every day since, and has been dry every day since! About two weeks later, she had her first dry morning ever!  A week after that, another dry morning! And now, a month after her first dry morning, and 2 weeks before her third birthday (almost 18 months after day training!), she is waking up dry about 3 nights out of 4, just like her baby sister. 

This is the girl who was so soaked every morning just 6 weeks ago that if she did not wear a nighttime pull-up or diaper, she would soak through. We had no reason whatsoever to believe she was anywhere near being able to do this, and then all the sudden she did!  And the fact that her little sister can do it already just shows me how different their bladder capacities are, particularly while they're unconscious.  For each of my daughters, I'm going to wait for a full weeks of dry nights and then get these pull-ups out of the house!

I just wanted to offer this because when I was trying to figure out what to do with my girls, I anguished a little over what my role should be. I was afraid I wasn't doing enough to help my older daughter, and then when I did try to do something, it felt like it ruined EVERYTHING!  I'm so glad she came around on her own, when her body was ready.

I feel like the night time thing is so different from daytime training, when "readiness" is certainly a factor, but does not mean what a lot of people take it to mean. (Basically, a child ready to train him or herself with little to no accidents).  So my advice is: don't stress over night training. It will come, and it could come at 18 months or 3 years or I'm sure even later than that! 

by on May. 10, 2010 at 2:00 PM
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Replies (1-8):
Andrewsmom70
by Group Owner on May. 10, 2010 at 10:24 PM

Thanks for sharing your experiences.  They are going to help a lot of moms that are struggling with night training or freaking out because their child isn't yet night trained. :-)

annettenikole
by on May. 11, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Thanks, that's awesome!  I wanted to put my DD in undies all night from the start (a did a few days actually) but she just wasn't ready!  And I would never wake her up to pee because she is so sensative to being overtired, so I don't mess with her sleep!  I've just let her go in pull ups... and this morning she was actually much less wet and woke up in the morn and went pee in the potty instead of the pull ups!  It comes in their own time :-)

LizzieBmom
by on Jun. 12, 2010 at 2:31 PM

 Thank you! This is really helpful!

  I tried the 3 day method when my DD was 25 months old and I tried the no diaper at naps and bedtime as the method suggests.  I think she wasn't quite ready for either as she couldn't control her flow of urine so we took a break from PT after day 6.

 We are back on the 3 day now, she is 29 months old and its working great (day 2)!  I decided to use a pull up for naps and for nighttime this round because I was so exhausted and she wasn't sleeping the frist time we tried PT.  Having a full night of sleep and a good nap is making a huge differce with the day training and I was starting to feel guilty that I wasn't really following the 3 day by letting her have a pull up at night and naps. This makes me feel better!!

Lizzie's mom

Andrewsmom70
by Group Owner on Jun. 12, 2010 at 5:32 PM


Quoting LizzieBmom:

 Thank you! This is really helpful!

  I tried the 3 day method when my DD was 25 months old and I tried the no diaper at naps and bedtime as the method suggests.  I think she wasn't quite ready for either as she couldn't control her flow of urine so we took a break from PT after day 6.

 We are back on the 3 day now, she is 29 months old and its working great (day 2)!  I decided to use a pull up for naps and for nighttime this round because I was so exhausted and she wasn't sleeping the frist time we tried PT.  Having a full night of sleep and a good nap is making a huge differce with the day training and I was starting to feel guilty that I wasn't really following the 3 day by letting her have a pull up at night and naps. This makes me feel better!!


I waited until my son was fully day trained for about a month before I did night training.  At that point, it was almost a non-issue with the night training for us. :-)

One thing you might want to keep in mind though with using the pull ups at nap is that a lot of kids know that the pull up is coming at nap so they start holding their pee/poop until the pull up comes and then they go pee and poop like there's no tomorrow.  It's a bad cycle to get into.  So, just keep watch for that and if she starts holding her pee until that pull up comes, ditch it.  Otherwise, you are wasting your time training. :-)

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MacsMomma2008
by on Sep. 15, 2010 at 3:00 PM

This will be tremendously helpful!!  Thank you for this post!

Olivers_mommy
by on Jan. 12, 2011 at 9:21 PM

This post is the reason I joined this group again! :)

My 3.5 year old trained last year (at 2.5 years) using the 3 day method I found in this group.  I then let my membership expire from this group.. but I needed to come back because I was curious about night time training.  I feel better reading this post.  He wakes up most mornings with a soaked pull up and sometimes during naps he'll wet (and he sleeps on the couch so that sucks!).  He's a very sound sleeper.  His dad was a late wetter as was my mother (don't know if that means anything).

I guess I'll start with limiting the fluids and take it from there.  He's a stubborn child and I'm kind of worried that if I start waking him before I go to bed and early in the morning to pee.. that he'll fight me and then won't go back to sleep.

I could just wait it out.  He won't go to college wetting the bed. :)

Andrewsmom70
by Group Owner on Jan. 16, 2011 at 3:15 PM


Quoting Olivers_mommy:

This post is the reason I joined this group again! :)

My 3.5 year old trained last year (at 2.5 years) using the 3 day method I found in this group.  I then let my membership expire from this group.. but I needed to come back because I was curious about night time training.  I feel better reading this post.  He wakes up most mornings with a soaked pull up and sometimes during naps he'll wet (and he sleeps on the couch so that sucks!).  He's a very sound sleeper.  His dad was a late wetter as was my mother (don't know if that means anything).

I guess I'll start with limiting the fluids and take it from there.  He's a stubborn child and I'm kind of worried that if I start waking him before I go to bed and early in the morning to pee.. that he'll fight me and then won't go back to sleep.

I could just wait it out.  He won't go to college wetting the bed. :)

You may want to read the post that's right under this one.  It gives a step by step on how to night train. It might help too! :-)

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mna_823
by on Jan. 31, 2011 at 4:20 PM

   Thank you.  I was stressing about what to do during night time.

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