Top Tips & Advice for Nighttime Potty Training

You might be reading this article because your brilliant child has gotten the hang of this whole potty training business and it looks like all your patience, praise and persistence has finally paid off. But, you’re starting to realise that daytime and nighttime potty training are two different beasts altogether. If this sounds familiar, it might be because it’s time for you to level up to the next stage of training… congratulations! you’ve got this.

While mastering the potty throughout the day signifies a major developmental leap, nighttime presents a unique set of challenges. Unlike the day, when your child is more alert and their body is better equipped to hold urine, nighttime brings deep sleep, undeveloped bladders, and fluctuating hormones that can make staying dry a hurdle.

Not to worry, this is completely normal! Throughout this article, we’ll share the best advice we have on how to navigate this next stage of training and help your child add nighttime potty to their growing list of milestones.

Understanding the Challenges

  • Deep Sleep: During deep sleep, your child might not register the urge to pee, leading to accidents.
  • Bladder Capacity: Younger children simply may not have the bladder capacity to hold urine throughout the entire night.
  • Relaxation Response: When relaxed, the body releases a hormone that increases urine production. This can lead to accidents, especially early on in the process.
  • Medical Conditions: In some rare cases, nighttime wetting can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

6 Strategies for Nighttime Potty Training

  1. Limit Fluids Before Bed: While staying hydrated is important, cut back on drinks a couple of hours before bedtime. Avoid sugary drinks altogether, as they can increase urine production.
  2. Double Voiding: Before tucking your child in, have them try to pee twice. This can help ensure their bladder is as empty as possible for the night.
  3. Nighttime Wakes: For some children, a mid-night potty break can be a game-changer. This can be gradually phased out as their bladders mature and dryness improves. Be prepared with a quick and quiet routine: potty break, praise, and back to bed.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Just like during the day, celebrate successes with praise and excitement. On the other side of the coin, avoid punishment for accidents, as this can create anxiety and hinder your child’s progress. It’s all about the journey and celebrating each dry night.
  5. Waterproof Bedding Protection: Accidents happen. So, if possible, invest in a good quality waterproof mattress protector to minimise stress and make cleanup easier. Pro tip, choose a discreet option that won't crinkle and disturb/wake your child.
  6. Pull-Up Pants: Pull-up pants can offer a sense of security and independence, especially for children transitioning from diapers. However, choose training pants rather than thick diapers to avoid a false sense of dryness.

Additional Tips & Tricks

  • Nightlights: A dim nightlight can help your child navigate to the bathroom if they wake up needing to go. You can opt for a warm glow that won't disrupt sleep.
  • Practice Makes Progress: During the day, encourage your child to practice sitting on the toilet for a few minutes at a time, even if they don't pee. This helps build confidence and familiarity.
  • Be a Role Model: Talk openly about using the toilet yourself and let your child see you going potty. This normalises the process and can encourage them to follow suit with more confidence.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Limit foods and drinks known to irritate the bladder, such as caffeine (found in chocolate and some fizzy drinks) and acidic fruits.
  • Bowel Movements: Constipation can sometimes contribute to nighttime wetting. Ensure your child has regular bowel movements by offering plenty of fluids and fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Involve Your Child: Let your child choose their own potty chair or training pants. This can create a sense of ownership and make them more excited about the process.
  • Communication is Key: Talk to your child about nighttime potty training. Explain what's happening and what you're trying to achieve together. Answer their questions honestly and address any anxieties they may have.
  • Continue to Be Patient: Nighttime potty training can take weeks or even months and every child progresses at their own pace. Celebrate small victories and avoid comparing your child to their siblings or others.
  • Maintain Consistency: Stick to a consistent bedtime routine that includes using the toilet before bed. Consistency can help your child's body adjust and anticipate nighttime toileting needs.
  • When to Talk to Your Doctor: If your child is over 5 and still wetting the bed regularly, you may want to discuss it with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical concerns.

Remember: Nighttime potty training is a journey, not a race. With a positive approach, consistency, and the right strategies, you and your child can conquer the night. Celebrate every milestone, big and small, and enjoy this special time of growth and development.