Nighttime potty training my oldest daughter was a breeze. I thought I was a rock star! She runs on logic, so we talked about everything and once she was ready, it was overnight success!
When we started to potty train my second daughter I felt like I was starting from scratch. She challenged everything I thought I knew (and still does). We decided not to push her until she was completely ready so we stopped potty training altogether. Lately she has been more interested and I decided it was time to brush up on potty training at night.
Here are ten nighttime potty training tips that I will be using and I hope help you!
1. Make Sure You Are Both Ready
Once my oldest daughter was potty trained during the day we started to focus on nighttime potty training. I waited until she understood that her routine would be changing. It took one night to realize that she may have been ready but I was not.
I had to mentally prepare myself for nighttime wakeup calls for bathroom runs or accidents. Nighttime potty training can take a lot of patience and I want to bring my best. Making sure I am ready helps ensure that my best will be given!
2. Extra Sheets and Pajamas
Once the nighttime potty training begins I make sure we have extra sheets handy. If we have an accident I am guaranteed my second daughter will be throwing a level eight meltdown. To help cut that fit short I keep an extra pair of pajamas out with an extra sheet. This helps me get her cleaned up and back in bed. I make sure I reinforce that accidents happen and this helps to calm her down.
3. Mattress protector and Puppy pads
I know they have sheet protectors that go over your sheets but my girls do not like them. When we first transitioned out of the crib into the big girl beds we bought mattress protectors. The girls think they are just an added layer but they save our mattress from accidents (including water or juice).
When we started nighttime potty training my oldest I went to the dollar store and picked up puppy pads. I stick those under the sheets on top of the mattress protector. If I need to wash the mattress protector I can and the puppy pad can go in the trash.
4. Bathroom breaks
I start 2 hours before bedtime and have the girls go to the bathroom. At this stage in the game my oldest daughter knew when she had to go. I would ask her every half an hour if she needed to go potty. 30 minutes before bedtime we would start our bedtime routine. The last step in this routine was to try and go potty. This would give her the chance to go before bed several times. Kids can get so busy playing that they forget to stop and go to the bathroom. I have found that giving plenty of chances to go can help eliminate an accident.
5. Limit liquids at night
This was something that we had to play around with. My second daughter cannot sleep without a water bottle and drinks whenever she wakes up at night. After dinner they usually have some water and drink as they play, but about the time that I start the bathroom breaks, I limit their water intake.
I never cut water out completely and I know this means we may have to wake up for midnight potty runs. I am okay with this because I know as they get older they will be able to get up and go on their own. My oldest daughter is now four and we do not limit her water intake. She drinks and uses the bathroom before bed. She wakes up in the morning and goes to the bathroom first thing.
6. Big Kid Undies
I decided not to use the training underwear that are available on the market. My reasoning was simple, my oldest was still using it as a diaper. They may imitate the idea of undies but they can still feel like diapers. One of the best decisions I made (even though I had to clean up a few messes) was to start using big girl undies. My oldest hated the feeling of them when she had an accident (more incentive to make it to the bathroom).
When we started the process of nighttime potty training I decided to do the same thing. My daughter would wake up if she went because of her wet underwear. Again, she didn’t like the feeling but with pull ups she would stay asleep. After a few accidents she would wake up right when she would start to go and would hold it until she made it to the bathroom.
7. Wake Them Up
This is a tip that may work for some children better than others. The goal is to gently wake up a child before you go to bed. This gives them the chance to go and may help with accidents. I tried to wake up my daughter to do this several times and found that this method does not work for her. Once she was awake she had a hard time going back to sleep.
8. Celebrate Each Win
Rewards should always be used wisely but in our house a simple high five reflects a major win. Whenever my daughter woke up to go to the bathroom on her own we gave high fives and praise the next morning. We did the same thing when she started to stay dry throughout the night. The trick is to celebrate wins and not focus on the accidents. Accidents happen.
Whenever I know I am getting frustrated and asking myself why my daughter challenges me, I take a step back and breathe. Each child is different and they will grow at different rates. Milestones are there to help track our children but I use them as a guide not a rule. In order to start that process young I do my best to let them develop at their own pace. My oldest daughter, after she was ready, was an overnight success. My second daughter is giving me a little more practice in patience but she hasn’t even hit her third birthday.
10. Put Advice in its Place
When my oldest daughter was 9 months old I was asked why she wasn’t potty trained.
I will let that sink in.
9 months old and someone thought she should be potty trained! Despite the fact that my daughter was eight weeks early, I know she was nowhere near ready to be potty trained at that young of an age.
She wasn’t even communicating with us yet (she waited until she was 2 years old) but I still carried around guilt for about a week. After that week I learned an invaluable lesson. Take advice when you need it, research topics if you must, but at the end of the day you know what is right.
If you found these tips for nighttime potty training success helpful, please share them on Pinterest!
And if you’re looking for more parenting advice, please follow our Parenting board where we share all kinds of helpful tips and tricks!