The thing that propelled me into starting Logan into nighttime training was that he started to outgrow the diapers and I couldn’t get a larger size. I had actually wanted to start him around his 3rd birthday, but I waited because Scarlett was born then and I couldn’t pick him up for a few months, so Logan was 3 years and 4 months old when I began. He was staying dry all night most of the time, so that gave me the courage to take him out of diapers.
At first I took him to the toilet at least twice a night, then eventually it went down to once. Most mornings he woke up dry, though I did notice he was more likely to be wet when it was raining or cold. He doesn’t stay covered so well (many kids don’t) and though I dressed him extra warm, he would still pee.
Now that the weather is warming up, he is mostly staying dry again, and I have even had nights when I would forget to take him and he would wake up dry. He often comes to our bed in the night, and if I happen to be awake (nursing the baby), I tell him to go on his own and he will. But if I’m not awake, chances are that either he already wet or will wet … our bed. And it is always on daddy’s side. Ha.
With Lila I may wait longer before starting her nighttime training. (She is 2 years, 9 months now.) Up till now she has only woken up dry a handful of times, so she is not yet ready for it. One bonus I have with her is that pull-ups are now available here, so I plan to use them during her training time.
The way I see it, you have two choices: either keep your child in diapers/pull-ups until they are dry all night, every night, or take the time to get up in the night and take them to the toilet until they can either do it themselves or until they no longer wet in their sleep.
I don’t think there is a perfect way for night training; I am still learning as I go. I also feel it is important to separate daytime and nighttime training. They are two separate things and will be learned at different paces, so, even though I know it is possible for a child to be completely daytime trained by 2, it could take a few more years before they will be nighttime trained. It may not, cause I have heard of children picking up on both quickly, but it more likely will take that extra time.
If you do want to go the waking-them-in-the-night method, then here are a few things I have learned.
-Pick a time to focus on it and go for it. Take the diapers off and don’t look back. (Though you may like to try using pull-ups since they are easy to pull up and down, and if your child does wet, you are spared the bed change.)
-Talk to your child about it. Tell them about your plan and get their ideas too.
-Make sure you start at a time when your child’s home life is stable and they aren’t facing any other big emotional issues like starting school, a new baby in the house, sickness, or any other situation that could cause them emotional upset. Trying to potty train during such a time can make it harder and the chance of them succeeding will be lower.
-If you are going the diaperless route, be prepared for wet beds. Invest in a good plastic sheet to keep the mattress safe, and keep extra sheets and pajamas at hand so you don’t have to hunt for them in the dark.
-An idea I read about somewhere was to make the bed in layers with several plastics and sheets on top of each other. That way, when one is wet, you just have to take it off and the next is there, ready to go.
-You may find it helpful to set an alarm for yourself so you will actually wake up to take them to the toilet.
– I find it debatable whether curbing liquids in the evening works or not. Some people sware by it while for others it makes no difference, so you may have to experiment and see what works best for your child. Since we live in a hot climate, often the kids will want water at night, so I give it to them. I’d rather they need to pee than feel thirsty.
-If your child is a very deep sleeper and doesn’t wake up when you get them up, you may have have to actually wake them for them to pee at all. With Logan, I would stand him in front of the toilet and would have to shake him awake or he would just flop around, sometimes trying to sleep on the toilet.
-Very important – don’t punish them if they wake up wet in the morning. They were asleep when it happened and didn’t do it on purpose. Just reasure them that it isn’t a big deal and help them get cleaned up.
Mommies, we need your success stories! Please share what helped you when night time training your child and at what age you started and by what age they were staying dry all night.