Tips For Nighttime Potty Training
Many parents opt to get their kiddo in a good place with daytime potty training before deciding to ditch the diapers for naps and overnight. I get it! You want to preserve that precious sleep!! If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I am a fan of doing daytime and nighttime all in one go. Not only does it send the clear message that ALL pee/poop only belongs in the potty now, but it also prevents your child from withholding until they get their sleep diaper on (more on this to come later in the week). Before you dive in and get rid of diapers for nap and nighttime, there are some things you can do to prepare and determine how to guide the nighttime portion of potty training. In fact, many kids are ready for nighttime training well before their parents realize it! Did you know that many children are already holding their bladder through the night and then wetting their diapers as soon as they start waking up out of habit/comfort? It’s true! To find out if yours is one of these kids, start by doing some nightly “diaper checks”. If you can sneak into your little one’s room both before you go to bed at night and again about 20 minutes before they normally wake up in the morning and feel their diaper to see how wet it is, if at all. If you can’t do this without waking them, make note of how soon they need to pee after they’ve woken up. If it isn’t within the first 15 minutes of them getting out of bed in the morning, it’s pretty safe to say they already had their first-morning pee in their diaper. Do these checks for a minimum of five days in a row so you have a good set of data. If your kiddo was dry more than 50% of the time, then it is safe to say they are ready to go diaper-free for sleep times!
Here are several helpful tips for nighttime training:
Limit fluids after dinnertime - Mind the word “limit” – not eliminate! Try to keep their fluid intake to around 4 ounces or less between dinner and bedtime.
Perform a “double void”- Pee once at the beginning of the bedtime routine (before bathtime or changing into jammies) and then again right before climbing into bed at night.
Do some practice runs - Kids thrive on routine and predictability. Doing some practice runs will help them get more familiar with what might actually go on in the night when they need to go.
Move wake up time up by 15 minutes - The most likely time that your child (or anyone really!) needs to pee is the first thing when they wake up in the morning.
As a personal fan of sleep, I like to save what I call "dream pees" as a last resort for nighttime potty training. However, they can be an effective way to speed up developing the brain to bladder connection which is needed in order to stay dry throughout the night. If you try all the above tips and they aren't effective, try a dream pee before you go to bed at night - gently lifting your child onto the potty and then putting them immediately back to bed. Occasionally a second dream pee is needed between 2 and 4 a.m. You'll want to start phasing these out after the first two weeks though, so your kiddo doesn't become dependent on them.
If you need extra help guiding your kiddo through nighttime potty training, I offer excellent courses all about nighttime training, and I also offer consultation services that can give you that extra one on one support that you may need!