Most parents know that when you start potty training your child, nighttime dryness is usually the last thing to fall into place. However, it can be frustrating when after months of daytime success, your little one still seems to be wetting his or her pull-up or the bed each and every night.
Here are my five tips for nighttime success!
Evaluate your expectations.
You might expect that the moment your children learn how to control their bladders during the day that will also mean immediate nighttime success, but that scenario is quite rare. The truth for most children is that nighttime dryness takes weeks to months to follow suit. So the first thing to do is simply relax. It’s fine to keep your little one in nighttime pull-ups until he or she has a successful track record of a few dry nights in a row.
If you feel like your child could use a little incentive to try to keep his or her pull-up dry (after two months of daytime success) then a reward chart can be a good place to start. One thing to keep in mind about rewards is that in order for them to be effective, the reward must come as immediately as possible. So, for example, if your little guy wakes up with a dry pull-up, the reward would be ready as soon as he shows you his success.
Monitor nighttime sleep hours.
Overtiredness can be the culprit for many things, including bedwetting. Have a good look at the number of nighttime hours of sleep your child is getting, and if it’s any less than 11, try adding to it. When a child is overtired the body tends to sleep more heavily, which could be interfering with the body’s messages to the brain that would encourage a wake-up to use the toilet.
Children love to please you. Even if your little lady manages to keep her pull-up dry for just one night, that accomplishment deserves a celebration! Make a big deal about her success by calling a favorite family relative or having a special celebration breakfast. Once she gets the hint that keeping the pull-up dry at night is a big deal to everyone around her, she will be more motivated to keep up the good work!
Go diaper free.
Occasionally children just take the easy way out, no matter how much coaxing and rewarding a parent does. For some children, staying dry at night is just not a priority and they won’t do it even though they can… So, if it’s been at least six months since your little one mastered daytime dryness and you’ve tried the above suggestions many times over, then you may need to test your child by going diaper free at night. Be ready to wake a few times in the first week to change sheets and PJs, and also put a plastic mattress cover on for protection. Try it for two weeks. If you see your child moving in the direction of progress with more and more dry nights, then you know you are on the right track. If, however, there is little to no success, then trust that it’s more a matter of biology than stubbornness and go back to the pull-up for a few more months.
Lastly, we have one major DON’T when it comes to this topic:
- It’s never wise to punish a child for nighttime accidents. One in ten school-aged children still has trouble controlling his bladder at night, so it’s more common than you might think. It’s not your little one’s fault, and it’s just a matter of age and biological maturity before success comes.
(Image credit: Manish Bansal)
About Dana Obleman
Dana launched her successful private practice in 2003, and since then has helped over 30,000 of parents solve their children’s sleep problems. She is the creator of “The Sleep Sense Program,” a best-selling “do-it-yourself” guide for sleep deprived parents.
Dana has made numerous television appearances, has been featured in national and local newspapers, spoken at multiple parenting trade shows and baby conventions. She was also invited to lecture on solving infant and toddler sleep problems to Family Physicians, through the University of British Columbia.
In addition, to a BA in Psychology, Dana also holds a degree in Elementary Education from King’s University (1999), and is a professional member of the National Sleep Foundation.