The Night-Time Potty Training Dilemma

Now that most of our toddlers are potty trained during the day many of us are asking… what about night time? Night time potty training is not as simple as a learned skill, like tying your shoes. It is a psychological development; your child can’t decide to wake up dry any more than you can decide to walk through a wall.

Most pediatricians do not consider bedwetting to be an issue until after the age of five or six. Only 2/3 of toddlers under the age of three are night time trained. By the age of five roughly 80% of children are night time trained. You can aid your child in waking up dry but remember that it is a developmental milestone that your child has no control over. Some things you can do to aid in night time training are:

  • Limit fluids in the hours before bedtime.
  • Take your child to the bathroom before bed each evening.
  • Keep your child in a pull-up or something similar if they wake up wet on a consistent basis.
  • Be supportive and praise your child for daytime potty success and every morning if he wakes up dry.
  • Be patient and don’t get angry if your child doesn’t wake up dry.
  • Don’t put pull-ups on until just before bed and take them off immediately after your child wakes.
  • When your child has fewer than 5 accidents per month switch to night-time underwear and remind your child to get up if they feel the urge to go to the bathroom.

Another suggestion is to wake your child before you go to bed (assuming its 3 hours or so after you put them down) for the evening to take them to the bathroom. This is one of those parenting judgment calls. If you feel your child would benefit from going with you a few times in the middle of the night to trigger “Hey, I can get up at night to pee!” then by all means, it might work. My child would be very upset and I’d be in for a big tantrum if I disturbed his slumber and he certainly wouldn’t be up for me sticking him on the toilet.  And, of course, you could just go for it and put your child in underwear and see what happens.  YOU know your child best, just remember to keep your cool if you wind up changing sheets at two in the morning.

Author | Katie D. | Co-Owner, Modern Bliss, LCC

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