How to Handle Nighttime Potty Training
I about to contradict myself. Are you ready?
Nighttime Potty Training isn’t really a thing. Here are three ways to do it.
See? Contradicting, I know. But truly, the body trains itself at night. It takes a lot of work and consistency to get through daytime potty training, then at night there isn’t much you can do! You just let the body figure out nighttime potty training by itself. There are a few ways you can help, but ultimately, the body has to work things out for itself.
Nighttime potty training naturally happens as the body develops. It either naturally occurs, leading a parent to believe a child is ready to start daytime potty training (toddler wakes up dry a few times a week) or it naturally occurs after a child begins the potty training process. If you have begun potty training and your toddler still wakes up wet, it typically takes 3-6 months after a toddler is FULLY daytime trained to become night trained. So just by letting time pass, you are nighttime potty training.
All that is taking place around elimination during the daytime is being processed at night. In fact, everything you learn in the daytime is being processed at night! As the body matures and hormones push the body larger, they also signal the body to stop urine production at night. This is how kids wake up dry.
So what can you do to help things along?
Nighttime Training Method #1 Switch to Cloth
During any given day you potty train, a child has between 5 and 20 learning opportunities to develop a new toilet habit. At night a child has one. They will likely pee one time, possibly two. The best help you can offer a child is to switch them out of disposables into cloth. This way you are stimulating the brain with a wet and saturated sensation that can help wake the brain up when it wets during sleep. Disposable diapers are so good at quickly removing any feeling or natural consequence of urinating, it makes the body very comfortable to stay in its current habits. Switching to cloth helps the brain on a subconscious level, which is exactly where the brain is operating. Check out Super Undies Nighttime Potty Training Options. Just note, if you are potty training a toddler, the Hero Size 0 is most likely the cloth nighttime option that will fit. Size 1s typically fit older 3 yr olds and 4 yr olds.
15% of the time, switching to cloth can eliminate bedwetting in older children as well within two weeks of consistent use.
Night Training Method #2 – Extra Sleep
There’s nothing tough about this idea, except maybe the fight to get your kid to bed earlier! I list this as second in the order of ease and least invasive because it may or may not apply to toddlers. Kids in elementary school and toddlers with busy mornings don’t have a choice in when they wake up. Naps start to go away, and exhaustion sets in at night. There is a place in the brain that stays awake for the sole purpose of making sure you don’t eliminate in your sleep. When your body isn’t rested well enough, it is too deep in sleep to feel the signal of a full bladder. None the less, the bladder must release. Getting 30 more minutes of sleep per night for a few weeks can be enough to restore your sleep tank, stop bedwetting, and complete nighttime potty training.
Night Training Method #3 – The Birthday Suit
Try having your child sleep bare butted. When a child pees at night and the wetness is caught in the diaper, whether cloth or disposable, it is held close to the body. That limits the cause and effect feeling. If you want a real “wake up” effect, having nothing will give that to you! Sure, you have to diaper the bed instead. Sure, you have to wash a blanket in the morning. Sure, you need to budget time for a bath or shower the next day, but this is all temporary. Have your child sleep bottomless for three to four days straight, up to a week. Remember, you only have one opportunity each night (usually) for the learning moment to happen, so these methods are not a one-night solution. You will need repetition for the solution to take hold. After a few days if you don’t see any improvement just go back to diapers or cloth over night underwear. Try this nighttime potty training method once a month.