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Nighttime Potty Training | The Nanny Godmother

Dry Eyes and Dry Mornings: More Adventures in Nighttime Potty Training

December 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Bedtime & Sleep, Potty Training, Readers' Enquiries

Reader Claire writes to the Nanny Godmother of her daughter’s struggles to bid goodbye to the nighttime nappy:

My daughter is almost 3.  She has been dry during the day for over 6 months and has been using pull-up nappies at night.

She has started to refuse to wear her nappy at night even though it is soaked in the morning.  I have tried lifting her when I go to bed but she just screams at me; I have also tried restricting her fluid intake from 6pm in an effort to keep her dry at night.

Should I just let her wet the bed and see if she stops weeing at night or gets herself up to use the potty?  Is there anything else I can try?

Hi Claire,

Well, generally it is not recommended that you remove the nighttime nappy until the nappy is dry for a couple of nights in a row.  I would try to go through the nighttime potty training process with her, but I would start from the beginning, as it sounds like her bladder is not quite ready.  But we should definitely not discourage her; she sounds like a very independent little girl.

Before bedtime, if she starts to make a fuss about putting on a nappy, have a little chat with her.  Explain that because she is still having accidents in her bed it would be better for her to wear a pull-up, but try to make clear it is not a punishment.  Make sure she understands that if she needs to get up, she can call or come and get you at anytime.  It  might help if you put the potty next to her bed and make sure she can take her pyjamas down, and also that she can climb out of bed so she can do it by herself.  A night light will make it easier for her to see what she is doing.

Make sure that your daughter drinks enough fluid during the day so she is not thirsty before bedtime.   Taking her to the bathroom before she goes to bed will also help.

Even if she screams at you, I think you should continue trying to put her on the toilet so she gets into the habit of getting up.  She will get the hang of it.

Good luck; let me know how you’re getting on!



Off With the Nighttime Nappy!

Nighttime potty training poses its own challenges, as some of my readers have discovered.  As with many things involving children, success can be a matter of trial and error.  In this post, I offer some tips to two readers to help their little ones get past this stage.

Ilze writes:


I found your blog – and it is great.  Thank you for all the work! 🙂

I have a question about potty training.

My older son was potty trained before the age of 2, and everything still goes great during the daytime.  So I decided to try to potty train him during the night as well.  He is 2 years and 10 months old.  He loves to sleep without a diaper, but we have a problem – he doesn’t mind to get wet.  I let him sleep until he wakes up, and then we go to the bathroom and I put a new pyjama on.  I am not comfortable with him sleeping in a wet bed for hours, but I don’t want to disturb his sleep either after he wets his bed.  Any suggestions??  Thank you!!

Hi Ilze, I’m glad you found the blog and are enjoying it!

I would recommend waking your son up so he recognises that he is wet and understands what it feels like, because I am assuming that by the time he wakes up he is dry and a bit smelly.  When you wake him up, even though he is already wet, put him on the potty/toilet anyway to sit while you change the bed.  He will get it eventually.  You are doing a great job, don’t give up!

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Janel sends the following note:

Hi!  My daughter is 4 years old and still in night-time nappies.  She has no health/other issues, and was potty/toilet trained at 2 and a half with no problems.  I don’t know how to get her free of nappies at night-time.  We’ve talked about it a lot, and for a time I did try waking her and putting her on her potty – with some success at first, but then she just became upset.  She still will do a poo in her nappy – about once a week or so – and this is now something I feel I should be addressing.  She eats a varied diet, and has no bowel/stomach problems, and I restrict all fluid after 5.30pm.  She goes to bed around 7-7.15.  Any suggestions for what to do to address this issue please?  I really don’t want her starting school in the summer still needing nappies at night-time.

Thanks very much.

Janel, I would advise preparing your little girl by telling her that when there are no more nappies left, you are not going to buy more – and instead, if she goes one week without having an accident, she can choose a new pair of pyjamas.

It would surprise me if she has a poo accident in her bed as you don’t  have an issue with this during the day.

I would make sure that you put her on the toilet at least twice a night the first couple of days, maybe around 10 o’clock and then again around midnight.  If you notice that during this time she is staying dry, reduce the nighttime toilet visits to just once before you go to bed.  Carry her, talk in a low voice, but unless you have to I would avoid too much interaction and keep the lights down low (even off if she is okay with that) so it doesn’t disturb her sleep too much.

You could also try putting her to bed with no pyjama bottoms on so she can feel the difference, just as you do when daytime potty training.

The longer you leave it to start, the harder it will be for everybody.  So good luck, and feel free to let me know how you are getting on!