Nighttime Potty Training


  • Author Paul Easton
  • Published July 20, 2008
  • Word count 510

For some children, nighttime potty training can be an easy and smooth transition from their daytime routine.

For these kids, simply being able to conquer bladder control during the day develops their nighttime habits enough that they are able to stay dry the majority of the time. However, about one third of kids under the age of three still have accidents.

Proper Bladder Control—Give It Time

You may feel frustrated if your child is one of the many who have difficulty maintaining bladder control. But it’s not your fault, and certainly not your child’s fault.

While they may have properly applied daytime bladder control, keep in mind that this is in large part a voluntary process. At night, however, despite the child’s best intentions, sometimes the signal from the bladder to the brain indicating that it is full simply doesn’t come through.

For this reason, a positive attitude is a must during nighttime potty training, just as it is during the day. Having a low-stress environment where the child's self-esteem and well being are cared for facilitates the process of developing this communication from bladder to brain in the child.

This means being ready to give positive feedback for every dry night and not holding them responsible for accidents—remember, children have no more conscious control over nighttime potty training than you have over snoring or turning over when you sleep. It simply takes time.

What Can I Do?

As a parent, you can create a positive atmosphere where both you and the child are taking action while the child is awake.

This means limiting evening fluid consumption and checking to make sure they make a final bathroom stop before going to sleep. Synthetic sheets are also very useful for this as they make cleaning up after an accident a simple matter.

Having a no-fuss attitude about accidents—even if it’s in the middle of the night—is an essential aspect of proper nighttime potty training.

You may not be thrilled to be up at 4AM changing sheets, but just remember that the child doesn’t want to be in that situation anymore than you do. You can mitigate any feelings of shame or embarrassment by staying cool and collected. Simply change the sheets, help them go to the bathroom one more time, and go back to bed. No big deal.

Nighttime Potty Training vs. Bedwetting

Did you know that it is considered a part of normal development to deal with nighttime potty training until age five?

Because it is a matter of neurological development, most medical practitioners tend to distinguish between age-appropriate nighttime bladder control development and actual bedwetting.

Bedwetting becomes the term used only when issues with nighttime potty training persist after age five, when you may want to explore other age-appropriate options.

Having consistently dry nights is usually the last hurdle of potty training. When your child reaches this benchmark, you both deserve a pat on the back and a celebration of your child’s final transition from baby to child. provides articles and information if Your Child is Ready for Potty Training for new parents. Great free help, links and more.

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