Potty training is tough. There is no way around it. It is just plain old hard most of the time. Once your child masters daytime potty training the next step is night time potty training. Night time potty training usually goes one of two ways: either it is super easy or, it is hard.
The Easy Way
For some kids night time potty training is just natural. One day they start waking up dry and it just continues. For these kids, accidents are typically few and far between.
If they do happen to need to go to the bathroom during the night, they wake up and go and head right back to bed. Most of the time, parents have no idea they got up to go.
A few of these kids will wake one or both parents up but, it is a quick thing and everyone is back to sleep just as fast as they got up.
The Hard(er) Way
This is the most common way, many kids have a hard time with night time potty training. Their bodies know they need to go but, they don’t quite know how to wake up enough to get up and go to the bathroom. For these kids, they can sometimes recall a dream where they had to go to the bathroom but, don’t wake up to their bodies signals.
Sometimes the wet sheets will wake them up and other times, they may not know they wet the bed until they wake up in the morning.
How to Know if Your Child is Ready for Night Time Potty Training
It is best to make sure that your child is fully daytime potty trained. I highly suggest not trying to daytime and nighttime train at the same time.
By fully potty trained, I mean that your child rarely has accidents. I suggest waiting for two to three months before you determine that your child is fully daytime potty trained.
Make sure that your daily activities can still go on without accidents. A rare accident here or there isn’t a problem in fact, it is normal. Just be sure they are not a constant thing; especially while out and about.
Signs Your Child is Ready
One of the first signs that your child is ready to be night time potty trained is that their pull up or diaper is dry most nights. This is usually the first sign that kids show. After a week or so of dry mornings, it is safe to say it may be sticking around. At that point, it is a good idea to start considering night time potty training.
Stopping all liquids about 1-2 hours before bed will be very helpful. This way they aren’t filling their bladder right before they lay down thus, reducing the number of possible accidents.
Just like daytime potty training, consistency is key. Consistency with Night Time Potty Training is the hardest for me. Why? Because it means, setting your alarm and purposefully waking your child up and taking them to the bathroom. Not to mention it means I need to wake up too!
How Often do I Need to Wake my Child Up?
With daytime training it is recommended to take your child every 15-30 minutes in the beginning. Thankfully, for Night time Potty Training it is not quite that often. I recommend that you wake your child up about 30 minutes after they fall asleep to take them for the first time. From there, for night time potty training, I recommend you try every few hours.
If you haven’t already started a routine of going to the bathroom as soon as they wake up, this is the time to start it. When they wake up, their bodies may not fully register they need to go. Making sure that this happens before any other part of the morning routine starts will help reduce those morning time accidents.
When You Need Backup
There are some awesome products on the market to help.
- Night Time Alarm – Set the alarm to either vibrate or sound an alarm when it detects wetness. This gets your child used to waking when there is the urge to go to the bathroom.
- Disposable Bed Mats – Are you tired of waking up to change the sheets? Use these to be able to quickly pull them off the bed and let your child fall right back to sleep.
When is the Best Time to Start?
Being as your sleep will be interrupted for at least a few nights in a row, I recommend that you start this when you can stay home and have a few lazy days. If this isn’t possible for your family, try starting it when you can have a few mornings with a later start than normal.
Lastly, my best piece of advice is to remember that whether you are a first time potty training parent or a veteran, every child has their own way to approach it. My daughter was super easy while my boys were later and more difficult. Be as patient as possible and keep things light. If your child resists, give it a break for a week or two and try again!
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Angela Tolsma says
My holiday this year included two children just recently potty trained. It was an adventure for sure making sure they were comfy and didn’t have accidents during the night. The bed mats would have come in handy!
Leslie Morrison says
Getting my son to use the potty during the day was tough, then one day he was ready. Somehow I lucked out at night because around the same time he stopped having accidents at night.
This happened for my daughter too…day and night at the same time. Unfortunately wasn’t the same for my boys.
Nancy Johnson Horn says
It’s so important to make sure that they are ready before you trust them to sleep through the night with no accidents. Not fun cleaning the sheets 🙂 Great tips!
Goodness… I can’t imagine sitting on the alarm in the middle of the night to wake up and then go wake up my child to go to the bathroom. I never did that with any of my five children. If they had an accident, we discussed it that next morning and we limited fluid intakes right before bed. If I woke up all through the night mine alarm to go wake them up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom, no one would have ever had any sound sleep!
Terri Steffes says
Great tips. I like the idea of the stopping liquids a couple of hours before bedtime. My pediatric doc said the opposite, let them drink all they want, so that they learn to wake up when they need to go. Hmm. I never followed that advice.
I have never heard that advice to drink more. Strange…makes me think he wasn’t the one actually waking up with his child. 🙂
Amber Nelson says
Potty training was such a challenge, but it was sure a relief when the kiddos master it!
My kids are now past the potty training age…thank god…but there are some AMAZING tips here!! I totally wish I had this as a resource when we were at that stage.
Rachel Catherine says
I hate potty training period. Lol. I am holding off on trying my son because my daughter was so hard.
I hated it too. Seriously one of the worst things parents have to teach in my opinion. 🙂
Ayana Pitterson says
Urgh, I remember those days and certainly don’t miss it. I was thankful that we had a live in nanny, so she helped us a LOT on getting both kids potty trained. However, the night potty was our responsibility, and definitely, consistency was key to success.
Angela Ricardo Bethea says
Teaching your children for potty training is actually quite hard to do but with a bit of patience, It’ll be over before you know it. Great tips and those backup products might come in handy one day.
AnnMarie John says
When I was potty training the kids, I would usually ask them to pee before they go to bed, otherwise there’ll be an accident for sure. I think these are great tips for parents who are currently potty training or those who are about to start.
This is such a helpful post for parents. Whilst I don’t have any of my own children yet, I am an early years teacher and this is often a topic I talk to parents about. It must be a tricky skill for children to master and as all children are different, they all get there at different times.
Potty training must be so tough!! My sister in law is doing this now with her little one!
We are getting close to my two year old daughter being done with diapers. But right in the middle of this we are moving and are currently packing up our entire home. The transition hasn’t been easy for her so we’re taking a little break from potty training and revisiting when things settle down in the new house.
Limiting liquids a few hours before bed was what really worked well with my son. It was the one thing that really made a different in our nighttime potty training. Great tips!
Such a helpful post. My daughter just this week decided she didn’t want to wear a diaper bed. She has been day time potty trained for 6 months but we let her decide when she was ready to be fully potty trained at night
Cindy Ingalls says
Great tips for potty training. I think the most important thing to remember is that each kid is different. Some kids will be easy, others not so much. With a little patience and some pull-ups and backup products you will get through it.
It is amazing how different each kid is. 🙂
Yona Williams says
I don’t have any kids and haven’t had to go through this, but I know my brother didn’t have much trouble teaching my nephew. I do agree…consistency is key!
These are some great tips for new moms. I had more trouble potty training my older son than my younger son.
Misty Nelson says
Great potty training tips! We started and had a terrible time, gave it a break and somehow miraculously it was like our child potty trained himself. It went from frustration and complete uninterest to him just picking it up and wanting to be a “big boy.”