• Mary Carlson Pap

Nighttime Potty Training

The Last Step: Nighttime Potty Training

It's nighttime, your child is sleeping, and you're going to go to bed. How will your child remember to use the potty chair during the night? You're not there to remind them and they're on their own. Before deciding it's time to start getting ready to nighttime potty train, let’s talk about what to know before making your decision to start.

Most likely you have already daytime potty trained your child. Now that your child has the daytime potty training in place, when is it time to consider nighttime potty training? It's very common for the nighttime bladder control to not fully mature until anywhere between 3 and 6 years old; sometimes later. Waiting for your child to stay dry (in diapers) during naps and overnight is a good sign they are getting close.

It isn't recommended to wake your child during the night to use the bathroom unless your pediatrician recommends doing so or if your child is older (5-7 years). Pediatrician Dr. Chang adds, ”Waking a child to use the bathroom is not very effective because once the parents stop waking up the children, they will go back to wetting the bed.” A child’s nighttime sleep is extremely important and using a diaper or pull-up at night until they are developmentally ready for nighttime potty training is an easy solution realizing that they may be older before they are ready to stay dry all night or get up to use the bathroom. Be patient for their readiness and don’t sweat it!

Since nighttime training has almost nothing to do with you (since you won't be waking them up!), if you believe your child is ready for night time potty training you will want to follow the following steps.

Wait until you notice multiple dry diapers overnight. This is your window of opportunity to begin nighttime potty training. You will want to stop using diapers or pull-ups at this time because if they are available your child will choose to use them rather than staying dry. You don’t want to start that habit.

Some of you may have used the “bare-bottom” method for daytime potty training. If you did, continue this method into the nighttime potty training. Put your child to bed with a bare bottom with an oversized teeshirt. The feeling of having something on may trigger your child to pee at night, even if underwear.

No matter what, you will want to put a mattress protector on your child’s bed as there may be accidents. There are also waterproof pads that are soft and comfortable on one side and plastic and waterproof on the opposite side and easy to wash. These are ideal.

1. To make getting to the toilet easy, you will want your child in a bed that they can get in and out of easily. You don't want your child in a crib where they are confined as they may have more accidents. Leaving a nightlight on can feel reassuring when they wake up in the night.

2. When nighttime potty training, limit the amount of fluid that your child drinks right before bedtime. Have your child use the bathroom before crawling into bed.

3. Talk to your child about not using pull-ups or diapers at night anymore because they are ready and staying dry. Explain to them that they will pee right before going to bed so they can sleep. Discuss what to do if they feel the need to pee at night and do a quick walk through to show them where to go.

4. Let them sleep and wake up on their own. It is not recommended to wake your child to pee at night.

Be patient, celebrate dry nights, and don’t make a big deal of nighttime accidents. Just clean up the accident and move on. Try again. In time, there will be more dry nights than nights with accidents. If the signs are there for developmental readiness the process should go well!

Remember that children are unique and one plan does not work for all. Design the plan that works for you and your child. 


Yes, You Can!, manual written by Megan Pierson M.A. at Toddler Shop was used as a resource in this blog post. 

"Yes, You Can"  manual is a pediatrician and urologist backed, easy-to-follow 3-4 day complete potty training guide, covering signs of readiness, how to prepare your home, days 1-3 of potty training, potty training charts, follow up recommendations, and certificates of achievement for your child.

Contact Megan today at for all your toddler needs - potty, sleep, behavior. www.sleepshopoc.com/TODDLERSHOP or email me at megansleepshopoc@gmail.com and let’s get your little one potty trained and sleeping.

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