Night Time Potty Training

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Night time potty training is a controversial topic in the mom world! Of course, being able holding in pee while sleeping is a developmental issue. But what is the right age to try? What if your kid is still wearing Pull-ups at night later than her peers?

At almost four, I had these questions about my daughter Emma. She’d never woken up dry a day in her life! (Is that even a real thing that happens??) I also saw something on the Internet (that darn thing) that said if you don’t start training your child to stay dry overnight by four, you’re more likely to have a bedwetter as they get up into grade school! Of course, that website was selling night time potty training coaching, so take it with a big scoop of salt!

Was She Ready?

However, what got me thinking was when we went through our poop withholding battle. When I put Emma back in Pull-ups full time, she started peeing in them, despite having been daytime potty trained for a year! I wondered if the same thing was happening at night: she was peeing in the Pull-up just because it was there, and I’d never asked her to do anything different!

The Prep

So we started talking about how big kids don’t wear Pull-ups at night, and how they wake up and go potty instead. She seemed pretty excited about it, and we talked about it for a few weeks beforehand. I also ordered some puppy training pads* and dug out the extra towels and blankets.

Coincidentally, Emma hit a growth spurt at the same time! One night, a few days before we started, she woke me up at 5 am with wet pants. Her Pull-up had shifted over because it was too small. The encouraging thing was that the Pull-up itself was completely dry!

Our Setup

So we set up her bed: old towel, puppy pads, old towel, puppy pad, sheet, puppy pad. That way she can have an accident and I can just whip off the towel and soiled pad and put her right back to bed. I also took off her cute comforter and gave her a small fleece throw blanket instead. She can have two accidents in one night before I have to strip sheets, and the throw blankets can fit in the washer with a regular load!

Our Potty Routine

Every night, as part of our bedtime routine, Emma goes potty both before her bath and right after we finish brushing teeth. I wake her up to go around 9:30 or 10, then again at 2am. With this method she’s been having accidents once or twice a week (updated below), which is a level I’m happy with! (And we don’t have deal with the bank-account draining Size 6 Pull-ups!)

So if you’re thinking about trying night time potty training, here are my best tips!

Gather Extra Supplies

No one wants to be fumbling around in the middle of the night looking for clean sheets and blankets! Keep them close by every night. I keep our extra blankets and puppy pads in Emma’s closet.

Bring In the Baby Potty

My long-term goal is for Emma to take herself potty in at night when she needs to. So I brought out the little training potty and put in her room next to her bed with a roll of toilet paper. She is currently using it in the mornings when she wakes up!

Change Up Bottoms

For some kids, the feeling of having something warm cradling their little tush is a bit too comforting! For the first week I had her sleep either bare-bottomed or in just pajama pants. Bare-bottomed worked best and was the least laundry! But as she stayed dry more often, I put her back in pants and then undies and pants.

Keep Your Cool!

The most important tip is to not get too stressed out! If you try out night time potty training and your kid just isn’t developmentally ready, it’s not the end of the world! Try again in a few months. We just don’t want our kids to associate going to the bathroom with stress or frustration; it should be a relatively positive experience.

Emma’s now over a month into night time potty training and doing great! She was ready, and realizing that and giving her room to try at the right time is what caused this success!

UPDATE: Emma’s been night-time potty trained for over three months and she’s doing great! We dropped the 2am potty run, and took the little potty out of her room. She hasn’t had an accident in more than a month. She’s moved up to a twin sized bed and we use this waterproof mattress cover to protect the mattress, just in case. It’s machine washable and even goes in the dryer!

Are you struggling with night time potty training? Tell me in the comments!

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Some kids wake up dry one morning. Mine was not one of those! As she was nearing four, it was clear that my daughter wasn't interested in holding her pee all night on her own. This is how we approached night time potty training. (Spoiler alert: it worked!) | Fulfill & Thrive

4 thoughts on “Night Time Potty Training”

  • Hi Diana,

    I came across your post as I was looking for ideas to help my 4 years-old daughter to stay dry. I really like the suggestions you give. My daughter’s been doing well during nap times for many months now.

    We were pretty excited since she did not wet her bed for 2 consecutive nights when we tried putting her to bed without a night diaper. However, she did wet her bed for almost a week now.

    I will try to have her sleep bare bottom and see how it goes. Unfortunately, she seems to be getting used to feeling wet and doesn’t really understand why she would need to wake up and go to the bathroom. I think I will try setting up a schedule to wake her up at 10h00 and 2h00 as you did.

    Thanks for sharing your advice! I was starting to think that she might not be ready yet. At least now I can try something and see if it works before we wait a few months more.

    • Glad the post helped, Caroline! I think the most important thing to remember is that kids develop at different rates. Giving it a good try, but being willing to wait a few more months if necessary, is a foolproof plan! Good luck to you guys!

      • Hi Diana, my 2: year old has been daytime potty trained for about 6 months now but I’m struggling with the night time. We started night time training a couple months ago and she did great for a couple of weeks but then after that she started having 2-3 accidents a night here and there. Did you cut your daughter off of liquids after a certain time before bed? I am wondering if maybe my daughter drinks too much liquids before bedtime. Or just simply not ready for nights.

        • Hi Sheryl! Thanks so much for reading and I’m glad you found this post! We cut off liquids at 6pm except for a small sip of water after brushing teeth. Also for the first few months I took her potty at 10pm while she was still mostly asleep. Also, my daughter was about 4 and a half by the time she was sleeping from 7pm to 7am without a potty break or accident! Every kid is different but holding it all night is mostly developmental, and it’s normal for kids to need to go at night until at least 5. I’d say keep trying every few weeks or months if you think she’s ready, but don’t feel like she’s lagging behind!

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