Night time potty training can be a bit of a mystery and many parents don’t really know how and when to start it. Here’s our top tips for tackling night time dryness.
Start when your child is well & free of illness
When children have coughs and other illnesses it can affect their sleep and cause a backward step in daytime potty training too, therefore it’s best to tackle night time training when they are well and in their normal settled routine. This means avoiding times of change, stress or excitement, such as moving house, starting school or the arrival of a sibling. It’s also important to ensure your child isn’t suffering from constipation as that is a common trigger for bedwetting. Check out the signs of constipation and how to deal with it here. Signs of Constipation And How To Deal With It
Start at the right time for you
The chances are that you may have a few nights of interrupted sleep while you deal with wet beds so make sure you start at a time when you know you will be able to cope with broken sleep.
Look for signs of readiness
Look out for a pattern of dry nappies in the morning, or nappies that are still warm, suggesting that the child has had a wee when they woke up rather than in the night. Some children also decide they don’t want to wear a nappy or take it off themselves in bed, which are other indicators that it’s time to start. Some children won’t ever have dry nappies until the nappy is taken away from them, therefore you may need to bite the bullet and give it a try regardless. Generally speaking, health professionals say that night time training can start after little ones have been reliably dry in the day for six months.
Set up a good bedtime routine
It’s a good idea to have a consistent and relaxed bedtime routine where going to the toilet is the last thing to do before climbing into bed. Try not to rush children through their bedtime routine. It can be tempting to get them into bed as quickly as possible, especially when you know there is still a long lists of things to do before you get to the luxury of going to bed but it’s important that your child sits on the toilet or potty long enough to fully empty their bladder. Some favourite books or toys in the bathroom can help keep them relaxed and sitting for long enough on the potty or toilet.
Limit drinks before bedtime, especially caffeine based or fizzy drinks.
Keep up good daytime habits
It’s important that children are well hydrated and drinking plenty throughout the day. Avoid salty food, especially in the evening, as this can encourage them to drink more and for their body’s to hold on to water for longer, which may increase the likelihood of accidents at night.
Get prepared for accidents
Put a potty in their bedroom and encourage them to practice getting from bed to the potty. Place it on a bed mat to protect the carpet. It’s a good idea to protect expensive mattresses with a waterproof sheet, and to put a night light by the bed to help when they wake up in the dark.
Make sure they can pull their pyjamas up and down easily and have fresh pyjamas and bedding ready in case of accidents. A handy tip we’ve been told is to double make the bed with an extra sheet beneath the bed mat and top sheet. This means the top sheet and bed mat can be removed in the middle of the night, leaving a clean dry sheet below. (Best to have a waterproof protector like the Bambino Mio bed protector underneath this)
Dry Like Me pads can also be helpful to limit the mess of accidents. These disposable pads fit inside normal pants and hold approx. 150ml of liquid. When wet they bulk up making it more obvious that the child has had an accident, but because they contain some or all of the mess, depending on the size of the accident, they protect the bed and stop the child getting too wet, cold and uncomfortable. These can be great during the first few nights, when you want to test if they are ready by removing the nappy. Use with a bed mat to protect from larger accidents.
For more information on all the kit you need and the best ones we have found, see our NIGHT TIME BUYING GUIDE.
Talk to your child
Tell them what’s expected and what to do if they need a wee. Some children get upset by accidents so try to reassure them that you won’t be cross or upset if an accident happens. It’s a good idea to talk them through our night time story book, Lilly and Luca’s Bedtime Story which you can download here.
Take the nappy off for three to four nights
Some children need a few nights of accidents before they learn to hold on throughout the night. If after four nights there are still loads of accidents, it is likely that your child isn’t yet physically ready to master night time dryness, and we would recommend waiting a few months before trying again, unless you start to see a pattern of dry nappies.
When to seek help
If your child is five and is still not dry through the night, you should seek help and advice from professionals. You could speak to your health Visitor, School Nurse, GP or contact ERIC for advice.