So your child is now reliably clean and dry during the day and you may now be wondering when and how to tackle night time training?
Read on to find out how to know if your child is ready, and get lots of tips to help you both prepare for the next stage of the potty training journey…
Signs of readiness
Your child’s bladder is still maturing up to the age of five and night time dryness is expected to take longer than the daytime. Each child is an individual so try to avoid comparisons with others the same age – just because they are out of nappies in the day doesn’t mean they will automatically be dry at night too.
Signs they may be ready to start night time training include: dry or just damp rather than full nappies in the morning and two or three dry nights in a row. Your child may ask not to wear bedtime nappies or take them off during the night. They may even start waking in the night to use the toilet or wake you up to ask to help them go.
Before you begin, think about what’s going to make it easier for those first days and weeks.
- Explain to your child what they’ll need to do in the night now they won’t have a nappy on.
- Put a potty in their bedroom and encourage them to practice getting from bed to the potty or toilet. Place it on a bed mat to protect the carpet.
- Protect their bed with a waterproof sheet. We love the Brolly Sheets range of Lite washable bed mats plus the duvet cover protector.
- Put a gentle night light by the bed, such as Little Cloud night light
- Make sure they can pull their pyjamas up and down easily.
- Have fresh pyjamas and bedding ready in case of accidents.
- 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)
Good drinking habits
Encourage your child to stopping drinking an hour before bedtime.
Don’t restrict daytime fluids thinking this will help, it doesn’t and can lead to constipation which creates even more problems! Make sure they’re having at least 6 drinks during the day.
Try and avoid drinks like hot chocolate and anything fizzy especially before bed as they are more likely to make your child wet at night.
Good toilet habits
Doing a wee when they first wake up and just before bed should become part of their everyday routine.
Make sure they aren’t constipated (pooing less than 4 times a week), as this will stop their bladder from being able to fill properly.
Explain to your child why it’s important not to keep your bladder to be emptied – if it’s used to being ignored all day how you can expect it to wake you up at night?
Will ‘dream wees’ (lifting) help?
Lifting your child can be useful in the first few days without nappies, but make sure the light is on and help your child to wake up. In the long term, taking your drowsy child to the toilet won’t stop their bedwetting as it just allows the child to wee in their sleep into the toilet.
Praise and rewards
Try to make it a calm, positive experience for both of you. Offer your child lots of encouragement and reassurance. Always reward the efforts they are making to be dry rather than rewarding a dry bed. Avoid putting too much pressure on them to be a ‘big boy/girl’ and try to avoid making a fuss out of accidents – it’s all part of the process just like with potty training.
One of our favourite reward charts is the Red Bus Reward chart
How about nappies or pulls up ‘just in case’?
Some children will never be dry as long as they are wearing nappies – they go to sleep knowing it doesn’t matter if they wee in their sleep and that is just what happens! They’re not being lazy – they just don’t have any control when they’re sleeping. So be brave: try without nappies or pull-ups for a few days to see if it makes any difference. Dry Like Me night time training pads can be helpful as they capture up to 150ml, so help capture the mess. They enable children to get out of nappies and can be fitted into regular underwear.
If accidents keep happening every night, or more than once a night and you’re finding it stressful coping with washing, it’s better to go back to nappies and try again after a few weeks. Keep going with the good toileting and drinking habits in the meantime.