After weeks or months of sprints to the potty, unexpected accidents and perhaps some tears — from both of you — your toddler is finally potty trained. Before you ditch the diapers for good, though, remember that you’ve only tackled the first step in potty training: daytime. If you assume your toddler has a bladder of steel overnight, you’ll be left with loads of wet sheets to wash every week. Understand the basics of nighttime potty training to ensure your toddler wakes up dry and happy.
The Toddler Body
Your first foray into the wild world of toddler potty training began when you noticed a regular pattern in your toddler’s wet and dirty diapers. As your toddler started to establish a regular routine, you were able to get her to the potty at the right times to minimize accidents. However, night potty training isn’t so cut-and-dry. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, nighttime bladder control doesn’t happen until much later. In fact, your toddler might not gain full nighttime control until age 4 or 5. As a result, you’ll have to use some of that famous Mommy patience when it comes to fully potty training your little one.
Once your toddler has proudly conquered daytime potty training and struts around in his big-boy underwear, you can take proactive steps to minimize nighttime accidents. Reduce fluid intake after dinner and make sure your toddler uses the potty right before bed. If you notice a pattern when your toddler wets the bed — that is, if you’re woken up to screams of “I’m wet” every night at 2 a.m. — set an alarm just before that time, wake your little one up and take him to the potty. Teach your child that he can call for you and ask for help overnight if he wakes up and needs to use the bathroom.
No one said potty training was going to be neat and clean, and you probably learned that firsthand when you were accomplishing daytime potty training. Start the night potty training with a supply of training pants on hand because there are going to be accidents. Add a waterproof mattress cover to your toddler’s bed to prevent urine from damaging the mattress. Consider layering the linens so that you don’t have to deal with middle-of-the-night sheet changes — just peel off the wet linens and put your sleepy kid back in a dry bed.
Understand Bedwetting Basics
The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that potty-trained kids commonly wet the bed at night, often up until age 5. You might notice a few accidents a week at first, but those nighttime accidents taper off as your child approaches kindergarten. While frustrations are bound to occur — after all, you’re probably sick of washing urine-soaked linens — give nighttime potty training some time. You might have convinced yourself you were a potty training supermom after successful daytime potty training, but understand that nighttime simply takes a bit longer.