It Feels Like You're Almost There, But...
If your child has finally reached the milestone of being potty trained during the day, but still wets the bed at night, it can be frustrating. While most children are daytime potty trained by age 3 – 4, nighttime potty training can take longer.
This is simply because your child hasn’t developed to the point where he has control of his body functions during sleep. According to whattoexpect.com, most children’s systems don’t develop enough for them to remain dry at night until at least ages 5 – 7.
It’s normal for parents to wonder if they’re doing something wrong, but we encourage you to relax. Think of nighttime wetting as something beyond your child’s control, not a willful act.
Accidents will happen, especially at night, so here are six ways to help you and your child navigate this time.
- Establish daytime dryness before beginning nighttime training. As your child understands her body’s cues that signal the need to use the toilet, nighttime training will become easier.
- Keep your child well hydrated during the day. Stop liquids after dinnertime.
- Before bed, make sure your child uses the bathroom. Before you go to bed, carry your child to the toilet so they can go.
- Use a waterproof cover to protect your child’s bed from nighttime wetting. You may go through several sheet changes, but the mattress itself will stay dry.
- If your child is daytime potty trained, use pull-up style pants only at night and remove them right away in the morning. It’s easy for children to feel the pull-up pant is a safety net and wet it in the morning.
- Accidents happen and you may need to take a break and try nighttime training again in a week or two.
Make It a Team Effort
It’s also important to involve your child in the process as much as possible. Instead of scolding them when you discover wet sheets in the morning, gently change and clean your child, and together remove the wet sheets and clean the bed. This “team effort” helps your child feel a sense of involvement and your gentle attitude will lessen their embarrassment.
You can also consider appropriate rewards when your child wakes up with dry underpants, like playing for five minutes longer than normal, or reading an extra story at bedtime. Remind your child that staying dry means they can start playing sooner instead of spending time cleaning up and changing the sheets!
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