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Potty Problems Episode 2: Can I Potty Train If My Child Is Still In a Crib?

As a professional potty training consultant, I often recommend to my clients to do both daytime and nighttime potty training at the same time for the best, most efficient results possible. By removing all diapers from the get-go, it helps send a very clear message that all pee and poop belongs in the potty now. It leaves no room for interpretation or confusion. But all too often, I’m met with the argument, “But we can’t nighttime train yet because she stills sleeps in a crib.”

I completely understand that nighttime potty training is a scary enough undertaking without worrying about your little one having an accident because they can’t get out of their crib and to the potty in time!


The truth is, there is really no difference between nighttime training in the crib versus a bed. Your child’s need for you to be active and involved in this process doesn’t change! Even if your child were already sleeping in a bed, chances are they are going to need you there to help them use the potty at night, at least in the beginning.

If your child is still sleeping in a crib, here are some tips on how to set them up for success:


1. Turn up the baby monitor.

When you make the leap and remove diapers for naps and overnight, make sure your child knows to alert you if they feel the urge to go potty while they’re sleeping. Any time you hear stirring or fussing in the night could also be an indicator that they need to go, so when you first get started, try to be ready to spring into action quickly.


2. Keep a potty next to the crib.

Since your child will need to wait for you to go in and get them before they can go, take advantage of every second by having the potty right next to the crib for quick and easy access.


3. Do some practice runs.

Having to use the potty during the night if they need to go is a new and mysterious frontier for your little one! Children thrive on routine and predictability, so take some time to do a few practice runs so they can know what to expect if they need to go potty while they’re asleep.


4. Adjust wake up times.

Your child is most likely to need to go potty first thing in the morning – it’s human nature! So instead of giving them some playtime in their crib in the mornings as you normally might, go in and get them either just before they would normally wake up, or right as they are waking up to start the day off right with a potty success!


All of this being said, if you had planned on transitioning your kiddo to a big kid bed any time in the near future anyway, then definitely do that and let them adjust to the new sleeping arrangements before tackling potty training. Throwing too many changes at a toddler at one time greatly increases the chances of regressing in one or more of those new skills.


But the moral of the story is - don’t feel like you need to rush into transitioning to a big kid bed just for the sake of improving nighttime potty training! There is no reason why you can’t go diaper-free for naps and nighttime while your child stays comfortable and happy in their crib. Our kids are capable of so much!

For full details on nighttime potty training, be sure you check out my book, The Wee Hours: A Nighttime Potty Training Guide and follow me on Instagram for loads of free tips and resources!


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