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Nighttime Potty Training | Can it be Done?

OK, so your child is potty trained, at least for the daytime hours. But what about at night as the child sleeps? Chances are that your potty trained child is still wetting their bed at night. But that is normal. Nighttime bladder control is very different from daytime bladder control.

Is nighttime potty training possible?

Now the question is, is nighttime potty training possible, or do you just have to let nature take its course.sleeping child

This is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that yes you can train a child to not wet their bed at night, and their are aids, such as bed wetting alarms that can greatly speed the process. The bad news is that there is not much you can do about it until they are physically mature enough to have bladder control during sleep. The problem is that while the child has matured enough physically to control their bladder during their waking hours, they may still be too immature to have that control while sleeping.

Simply put, although they may have a full bladder that full bladder sensation, which would send them scurrying to the potty during waking hours, is not enough to wake them up at this stage in their development. Also, they simply cannot hold their pee for the 8 to 10 hours they may be asleep at night. They are just not physically mature enough to do that. And no amount of shaming, scolding or punishing will change that.

Negative responses on your part to your child’s bed-wetting may only make the problem worse and can actually cause the child to have more nighttime accidents. Not to mention the damage it will do to your child’s self-esteem. Remember, this is something they have no control over. They cannot help it.

Another thing you need to remember, if you are inclined to scold, shame or punish your child for bed-wetting is that stress in a child can cause regression of their day time potty training. So, stay calm, stay cool, and just know that this is simple part of raising a child.

A few facts about bed-wetting

Generally, a child does not mature physically enough to stop bed-wetting until they are somewhere between 3 to 7 years of age. Most, about 80 to 90 percent, will be able to keep dry overnight by the ages of 5 or 6. The rest sometime between the ages of 6 and 7. This is considered to be normal, so do not worry if your 7 year old child is still wetting the bed

It also makes a difference if the child is a boy or a girl. For some reason girls develop nighttime bladder control sooner than boys. Consequently, about 70 percent of bed wetter’s are boys and only 30 percent girls.

Is there anything you can do about bed-wetting?

The answer is YES. Even if they are not yet physically mature enough to have bladder control at night, there are still things you can do to make the situation better for the child.

1. There are a number of absorbent, washable mattress pads available to protect the mattress. This is a must have.

2. Instead of the child sleeping in underpants, have them go to bed wearing Pull-Ups instead.

3. Make sure your child goes potty just before going to bed. This may not stop the bed-wetting, but it may cut down on its frequency. Statically most bed-wetting occurs during the first few hours of sleep.

4. Do not try to keep your child from drinking after supper. First of all, your child needs to stay hydrated. Second, withholding liquids in the evening before bedtime does not really work in preventing bed-wetting.

5. Give your child an overnight wake up call or two. You can buy alarms designed just for this purpose. A timely wake up at night could prevent a bed-wetting that night.

6. If your child tends to sleep through alarms, consider waking the child up yourself a couple times each night. Of course, the downside is that you will have to wake up and get up a couple time a night too. Oh well, nothing’s perfect.

7. Use a Bed Wetting Alarm. These devices are designed to go off when they detect wetness, thus waking the child as they are beginning to pee. The idea behind them is to condition the child to wake up when their body senses the need to pee. Of course, in an imperfect world it does not always work out that way. But it may be worth a try.

8. Chill out. Dealing with a bed-wetting child is just a normal part of being a parent. There is nothing you can do about it, so just go with the flow. Even after a child has matured to the point that they can stay dry overnight, accidents will still happen. So, keep the waterproof/absorbent mattress covers and pads on the bed for a while, and keep a few spare dry pajamas available for the child to change into for when an accident does happen.

1 thought on “Nighttime Potty Training | Can it be Done?”

  1. Hi Elden

    Thank your for article on Nighttime Potty Training. It is very interesting.

    In response to, “The bad news is that there is not much you can do about it.” Well, maybe it depends on the child’s routine. My grandson is four years old, and it took a while to potty trained him. However, he is now sleeping through the night and he does not wet the bed. So, for us, nighttime potty training is working.

    He used his last Pull-Ups about the middle of the month, and he has been sleeping in his underwear since then.

    I agree that we should have “washable mattress pads available to protect the mattress.” We did not buy any of that, because we let him sleep in the pull-ups until he stopped wetting them.

    To help with getting him to stop wetting the pull-ups, we did reduce the amount of liquid that he drank after certain hours. He was allowed the drink as much as he wanted during the day, but we started reducing the amount at about 7:PM and that helped. We also make sure that he uses the bathroom before he goes to bed.

    Based on our experience with my grandson, I think that is would be a good idea to let the child continue to sleep in pull-ups until he/she stop wetting them.

    I believe that you article will be very valuable to parents who are looking for help with potting training. Thanks again

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