Pro Tips for Night-time Potty Training
Allison Jandu, Author and Professional Potty Training Consultant
Sep 17 2019
If you’re like most people, you probably get a little more tired at just the thought of nighttime potty training. But the fact is, most kids are ready for nighttime potty training way before their parents realize it! And while it may take a little extra work in the beginning, I promise, it will be well worth it in the long run.
Here are some of my favorite tips to help get your little one diaper free with dry sheets:
1. Prepare yourself.
Starting any time, go in your child’s room about 20 minutes before they would normally wake up and feel their diaper to see how wet it is. Make a mental note – is it fully saturated, is it somewhat dry, or completely dry? Do this over the course of about a week and take an average of the results. Many kids are actually staying dry the entire night and waiting to wet their diaper before they get out of bed in the morning out of comfort/habit. If your child’s diaper is dry or mostly dry, congratulations! You don’t need any active training. Just make the switch to underwear whenever you and your little one are ready. If the diapers are mostly saturated, that’s okay too! You may just need a more hands-on training approach to get the job done.
2. Set your child up for success.
There are a few things you can do to facilitate dry nights. First, you want to limit fluids before bedtime. So if you can, have their last drink be with dinner. Secondly, try to avoid overtiredness which can cause excessive deep sleep, which can cause your little one to sleep through an accident. You can also incorporate a “double-void” into your child’s bedtime routine. This means, have your child pee at the beginning of the bedtime routine, and again right before getting into bed. This ensures the bladder is as empty as possible.
Have a small potty in their room that is easily accessible, or if your child is still in a crib, have the baby monitor turned up so you can listen for sounds of restlessness or for your child calling you to help them pee. Do some practice runs before you go diaper-free so your child knows what to expect if they feel nature calling in the night.
3. Ditch the diapers cold turkey.
It can be helpful to do a countdown on the calendar to no more nighttime diapers so your child knows a change is coming and so you can help them prepare for it. Once that day comes, go ahead and say goodbye to the diapers, because you won’t be needing them anymore! For the first 3 to 5 nights, have your child sleep bottomless so they can be more aware of their body’s sensations, and so they don’t need to fumble with pulling off clothing to use the potty in the night should they need to.
4. Try a “dream pee”.
If your child’s diapers were still pretty saturated during your recon that you did earlier, you may need to institute up to two “dream pees” per night for the first 2 weeks. This involves you lifting your child out of bed and onto their potty without fully waking them from sleep. Generally speaking, around 11 pm (or just before you go to bed yourself) and 4 am are good times. But there is a bit of a learning curve here, and the times can be adjusted as needed. Eventually you will go down to one dream pee, and then phase them out altogether.
As when teaching any new skill to your child, you want to be sure there is plenty of positive reinforcement for successes. Soon enough, buying and changing diapers will all be a distant memory!
For full details on nighttime potty training, be sure to check out my book The Wee Hours: A Nighttime Potty Training Guide. If you feel like you need more personalized help with potty training, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can view testimonials on my website at www.pottytrainingconsultant.com. Thanks for reading!