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Ready For Nighttime Potty Training?

Nighttime Potty Training
Sarah Walton

Sarah Walton

So your toddler is officially potty trained during the day! 🎉

Now the question is when to start working on nighttime potty training…

During toddler sleep consultations, I get a lot of questions about how to handle nighttime potty training.

My #1 piece of advice?

I learned firsthand when it comes to potty training day or night, the best thing you can do is to not push or force the issue. Putting pressure on your child to potty train before they’re truly ready will only result in frustration for both parents and kids.

If you feel like you are ready to tackle nighttime potty training, here are a few tips and suggestions.

Manage Your Expectations

Not all children are capable of holding their pee at night for 10-12 hours, and not all children will be able to wake up to go until closer to 7 years old.

When there is an accident at night, try not to make your child feel bad about something they cannot control. It will have the opposite desired effect. Handle the situation calmly and quickly and get them back to bed.

Follow Your Child’s Lead

Follow your child’s lead when it comes to wearing underwear at night. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your child continuing to wear pull-ups at night if it helps you keep your sanity. Once your child has gone at least a week waking up with a dry pull-up, you can re-evaluate if you want to switch to underwear. If your child has no interest in underwear for the time being, don’t sweat it! Your little one will get there eventually.

Prepare For Accidents

When my boys were finally potty-trained during the day, they immediately refused to wear pull-ups at night (I cried a little) so I did a lot of pee laundry. I doubled up on waterproof mattress protectors and sheets. To do this, you layer the protector, sheet, protector, sheet so in the middle of the night if there’s an accident, you can simply remove the top sheet and protector and not have to remake the entire bed. You can find all of our favorite potty training products here.

Bedtime Routine

Have your child go to the bathroom at the beginning of the routine and then do one more final “potty” right before bed. Ensure your child is actually emptying their bladder. My boys were notorious for telling me they went and in actuality they just went a little and weren’t fully emptying their bladders which led to more accidents in the night.

Dream Pee

For some families, a dream pee can be very helpful. This is where you take your child to go potty somewhere in between 9:00-10:00 pm before you go to bed.

This is how you do it:

  • Scoop your child up out of bed and carry them to the potty. Carrying your child is preferred if you can, if not walking is ok too.
  • Keep the lights off or use a red nightlight.
  • Don’t engage at all.
  • Have your child go to the bathroom and put your child right back to bed.

The idea behind a dream pee is not to fully wake the child but simply empty their bladder and return back to sleep. Since not every child can go 10-12 hours at night without using the bathroom, this can significantly help avoid nighttime potty training accidents or super early morning wake-ups.

Stay Positive

If it’s not going well, take a pause and try again in a month or so. Don’t get discouraged!

Try not to compare your child to older siblings or other children his age. Every child develops at their own pace.

Most importantly, if you have any concerns, always reach out to your pediatrician.

Ask for Help

If you feel like you need additional help, reach out to us to talk about how we can help with both potty and sleep challenges.

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