After potty training your child, you’ve discovered that even though she can already control her bladder during the day, she still pees in her bed at night. It’s very frustrating because no matter what you do, she still ends up with soaked pull ups.
And you’re not alone. Countless parents have become very frustrated with their unsuccessful attempts to toilet train their little one at night. But you know what, it doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult. In this guide, I will teach you how to potty train your child at night and succeed at it in the shortest time possible.
WHEN SHOULD YOU START NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAINING?
Many parents are wondering when’s the right time to do it. The truth is, there’s no official age on when to start night time potty training. And although you have trained her to use a potty during the day, night time potty training is entirely different.
Stephanie Berk, author of the book How to Potty Train Your Dragon (Child) says it’s 95% different from daytime potty training and communication is a crucial element.
Here’s a readiness checklist you can refer to:
- Some days your child stays dry when she wakes up in the morning.
- She doesn’t want to wear her nappies at night.
- Your little one can understand and follow simple instructions.
- Your child is over 3 years old.
You can’t expect your child to be able to stay dry during the night even if she is able to stay dry the whole day. This is because it’s a lot more difficult for young kids to control their bodily functions when they’re asleep and unlike adults, they aren’t going to be roused up their urge to pee.
But once you notice any of the indicators above, then have a conversation with your child about using the toilet at night. Be enthusiastic about it and act on it promptly while they are still willing.
HOW DO YOU START NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAINING?
The first step is communication. Make sure your child fully understands what she needs to do because you can’t expect her to know this on her own.
Talk to her in such a way that she can understand. You can’t say, “you need to stay dry” because she may not know what that means.
Instead say things like, “We’ll start going to the bathroom at night so you won’t pee in your bed.”
Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, the next thing you need to do is keep your child properly hydrated throughout the day. Don’t give her anything to drink before bedtime and let her use the potty before turning the lights out.
HOW TO NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAIN A BOY OR A GIRL?
1. Protect your child’s bed with a waterproof mattress cover. You need to understand that this is not going to happen overnight. In fact, for some kids, it’s going to take weeks until they will be able to consistently stay dry through the night. So, unless you are willing to clean her mattress every other day, you need to invest in a quality waterproof cover.
2. Don’t let your child wear nappies or pull-ups at night. Doing so would motivate her to really make an effort to wake up at night if she needs to pee. If, after two weeks, she still continues to wet her bed, you can restart the pull-ups.
3. Tell her that if she wakes up at any time during the night, she should go to the bathroom. Even if she doesn’t feel the need to pee, she should still do so as a way to establish a habit. Take note that you’ll need to assist her on the first few nights. At around 10-11PM, gently wake her up from sleep and take her to the bathroom. Keep the room dimly lit when doing so. You may also have to reassure her that there’s no need to be scared of going to the toilet alone.
4. Offer support and encouragement. It can be really frustrating at first. Many parents complain that after several weeks of trying, their kids still wet their beds. But instead of getting upset or losing your temper, you should offer words of encouragement. Stay calm and don’t pull your hair when you see your child’s wet bed sheets in the morning. It’s not going to help; it will only stress your child out and this in turn will cause them to regress.
HOW TO NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAIN A 3 YEAR OLD?
Kids younger than 3 years old should not be trained to use the potty at night. Although some parents have succeeded in night time potty training their 2 year old’s, most kids do not yet have control of their bladder at this very young age.
So if you want to train your 3 year old to use the toilet or potty at night, you simply use the same steps that I have outlined above. In addition, you should try to establish a night-time routine such as:
- Brushing their teeth before bedtime
- Reading a story
- Urinating in the toilet
- Tucking them in
- Turning off the lights
- And reminding them to pee if they wake up at night
HOW TO NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAIN A 4 YEAR OLD?
A lot of parents complain that their 4-year-old still wets their bed. But you know what, this should not be surprising. A lot of kids at this age are still unable to consistently stay dry during sleep. In fact, many 4-year-olds still use diapers/pull-ups.
If you have made several attempts to train your child and so far, it’s not working, you may need to sit down and talk to your child about it. Perhaps she is becoming very stressed out about the whole thing and it’s causing her to have even more difficulty in controlling her bladder at night.
Show encouragement and be patient. Reassure her that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and that you will keep trying to help her. I recommend that you assist your child at night. Wake her up and go with her to the toilet for a week or maybe longer until it becomes a routine. It’s also important that someone assists her in the morning in going to the bathroom. She may not willingly do this on her own, but you need to encourage her to do so.
HOW TO NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAIN A 5 YEAR OLD?
At this age, your child is likely no longer having “accidents” during the day. Most preschoolers are already very capable of controlling their bladder and they can go to the toilet on their own if they feel the need to pee or poo. However, some kids at this age still have accidents at night.
Keep in mind that this is not something you need to be alarmed about. Studies show that 16% of 5 year old kids still wet the bed. What you can do is to keep them from consuming any liquids an hour or two before bedtime while making sure they are fully hydrated during the day. And then see to it that they pee just before they sleep.
HOW TO NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAIN A 6 YEAR OLD?
By the time a child turns 6, she should already have achieved night time bladder control however, an estimated 13% of kids who are 6 years old still wet the bed. What you can do is to monitor the time of night when she usually does this and then set an alarm before that time so your child can wake up and go to the bathroom. You can also supplement this teaching your child to hold her urine for a little longer during the day.
HOW TO NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAIN A 7 YEAR OLD?
If your child still consistently pees in the bed at night the time she’s 7, then perhaps you should tell her doctor about this. Bed-wetting (medically known as nocturnal enuresis) often run in families so if you or a loved one used to wet their bed when they were younger, then chances are, your kids will have the same problem as well.
But there are other things that can trigger this condition. For example, your child might have a small bladder thus making it difficult for her to hold her pee at night. Other medical conditions that can cause bed-wetting include diabetes, sleep apnea and chronic constipation.
Your doctor may prescribe your child with medication that can help her control her bed-wetting if none of the tips listed here works.
HOW TO NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAIN A DEEP SLEEPER?
Bed-wetting is very common for kids who are deep sleepers. Because they don’t wake up easily at night, they are more likely to have night time accidents. One study in Canada measured the volume needed to wake up kids and it confirmed that kids who wet at night were the ones who were more difficult to wake up.
There’s no easy solution to this. But you can first try using an alarm and see if it works. You should do this every night for a minimum of 2 weeks or until your child is already able to wake up regularly at night when she usually needs to urinate. A reward system can also be helpful. For example, you can reward your child with a toy if she is able to stay dry for 10 nights without fail.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAINING
Before you make an effort to start night time potty training with your child, there are some important things you need to keep in mind.
- First of all, do not force your child. Unless they are ready, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to start training them especially if they’re still 3 years old or younger.
- Another thing to remember is that patience and understanding are crucial. If you scold your child for wetting the bed, it’s only going to stress them out and may cause them to continue to wet the bed. Constantly reassure your child that it’s OK and that you’ll continue to help her until she will be able to do it on her own.
- Also, in many cases, parents discover that even after a few weeks of trying, their kids continue to urinate in bed. If this happens, then you may need to let your child wear her nappies or pull ups at night and try again at another time. Again don’t force it.
- If your child is not ready to use the bathroom at night, you can use a potty at first. Place it in a convenient location near her bed so she doesn’t have to walk very far to be able to pee.
- If nothing works, please take your child to a pediatrician or a GP. They are better equipped at finding out the root cause of the problem and recommend a more effective solution. For older kids (7 or older), the doctor may prescribe medication to stop bed-wetting.
Toilet-training, especially at night, can be very challenging. It takes practice and a lot of patience. And even then, your first attempt may not be successful. Don’t be quick to give up. Just keep trying but do so without putting pressure on your child. Over time, they will be able to avoid peeing in bed at night and you will no longer have to worry about having to clean their sheets and mattress all the time. Good luck!