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Tips for Nighttime Potty Training

Jul 17, 2014

Nighttime potty training can be frustrating for both the child and the parent. Children often feel embarrassed when they wet the bed and parents can become exhausted by the continuous efforts to keep their sheets clean. The most important thing to do is for both parent and child to learn to work together.

For most children, their bodies will continue to mature to increase their continence. Once your toddler learns to associate the state of his body in connection to relieving himself in the potty, he’ll do better. Trying to gauge how quickly the event will occur, and correlate that to wakefulness takes some time to get right. So remember it’s normal for kids to have no daytime accidents, but to slip up during the night.

Neuropsychologist Dr. Peter Stavinoha explains parents can prevent shortfalls by using a nighttime pull-up. That way when he gets up to go to the bathroom alone, or with aid, he can still go through the steps he practices during daytime hours. If he oversleeps, the pull-up will catch the waste. Also, using mattress covers or slip sheets with plastic coating on one side will help with this process. Assure your toddler the special bedding will only be used temporarily. In fact, to prevent the barrier from becoming a crutch, only use it at night.

To set him up to succeed on his evening trips, make sure his roll guard doesn’t hamper him from getting out of bed. Remove any items that block his path or that could be a hazard if he’s in a hurry. Shine a little light in the bathroom so he can see to flip up the top, wipe himself, and then clean his hands. Being in the dark alone can be scary, especially if your toddler is already anxious about making it to the potty in time.

Potty training expert Carol Bovill also reminds parents to ensure their child’s bladder is empty by limiting fluids after dinner. A few sips won’t hurt, but be wary of “liquid diet” foods—ice cream, popsicles, soups, Jell-o, and some fruits—that may cause similar issues. It won’t hurt to also insert a potty stop in your toddler’s nighttime routine just before he hops into bed. While you’re at it, pencil in an additional stop on your things to do, so you can take him again on your way to bed. Doing so shouldn’t wake him fully, and will hopefully help you get a better night’s sleep. 

Above all else, make sure your child knows you’re there to help. Knowing you’re a shout away in his time of need is immensely comforting. Sure you might lose some sleep, but if you both keep at it, the time will come when your toddler handles the situation alone. Having your support means the difference between having that end result sooner rather than later. 


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Our youngest is starting to potty train and this seems to be his biggest issue.