Dec 2013

Potty training - being dry at night

Many mums in my 2nd baby preparation classes ask when their toddlers should stop wearing nappies at night?

As with potty training in the day time, I find this is very child-dependent. Some parents find that when their toddlers are dry in the day, they don’t then want to wear nappies at night either, but for most this isn’t the case and so I’d treat day and night time dryness separately.


Why might it take longer to be nappy-free at night?

A hormone called vasopressin works to concentrate the urine so that it doesn’t take up so much room in your bladder (stopping the need for you to wee at night). For many toddlers this isn’t produced in high enough concentrations until they are 3 or 4+ years old.

Others sleep very deeply and therefore they find it hard to wake up to go to the toilet when they’re younger.

Signs your child might be ready.

If they wake up with a dry nappy for about a week.

Some toddlers only wee in their nappy in the morning so if their nappy is wet but still warm (!) they may also be ready.

How should I go about it?

Initially I’d try to restrict drinks after tea time e.g. after 5.30/6pm

Make sure they do a wee before they go to bed – some even do one before and after stories, so give them the opportunity if they want to.

Put a plastic cover on their bed incase they do have an accident, to protect the mattress.

Leave a potty in their bedroom (on an absorbent pad incase their aim isn’t great) with a night light incase they need it. Alternatively, leave their door open with a night light on incase they’d prefer to go to the bathroom.

I personally wouldn’t lift your child before you go to bed as this may train them into going at the same time every night. If you feel you want to, or if you have a really deep sleeper who you think needs to be lifted initially, I’d suggest waking them up so they know that they’re going to the toilet, and changing the time you lift them if you can.

Make sure you have spare bed sheets to hand and spare PJs incase they do have an accident.

Try not to make them feel bad if they wet the bed, and instead just change them and the bed.

Hope that helps. If you have any particular questions, just email me