And so the time has come to seal the deal and finally get rid of those diapers and nighttime potty train. This is a huge milestone for you and if it were me, I’d be celebrating with some cake and wine 😉
However, sometimes our excitement can cause us to rush into something that will create more issues than success and in fact can cause us to set progress back. We don’t want to get frustrated, they don’t want to disappoint us, and no one wants to change wet sheets in the middle of the night and create sleep issues!
It is VERY common that your child is ready to daytime potty train well before they are ready to nighttime potty train. So today I’m going to share some pointers with you to help you determine if they are ready to nighttime potty train, so you don’t sacrifice all the progress you have made with their sleep.
They need to be ready to go all the way through the night without using the potty. That’s right, without. I say this because I have heard of a method where you go in and wake your child up to take them to the bathroom. I do NOT suggest this approach for the sole reason that you are interrupting their sleep, and nothing should be doing that. If your toddler isn’t ready to sleep through the night without needing to pee, then they are not ready. Put the diaper back on and try at a later date.
With that being said, if your little one has had a few mornings of waking up with a dry diaper it could mean they are up for the challenge. Two or three mornings is a good indicator of this ‘go ahead’ because it is a sign their bladder muscles have developed to the point where they can hold it for the entire night.
Keep in mind, it is very unlikely to make every morning going forward accident-free. Remember when you daytime potty trained them… there were accidents. So, pick a good time for you to do this, do your laundry to get some spare sheets and extra pjs ready. And remember, patience is something else you will need and accepting this reality before you start will make it a better experience for everyone.
Keep this positive mindset when explaining what is going on to your toddler. Be enthusiastic but don’t make this monumental (even though it is for you!). We don’t want them to feel like they have pressure to do this or the feeling of letting you down if it does end in an accident. Keep this in mind too if you are doing a reward chart. These can be extremely beneficial as an incentive but if your toddler tends to get easily upset you may not want to use it.
Make your toddler get on the potty right before bed, even if they say they don’t have to go. A lot of parents have had success with a potty session 30 minutes before bedtime and then again right before bed.
If your toddler does wake up because they had an accident, again don’t get upset, just walk them back to their room, clean them up, change the sheets. Remember you are mentally and physically prepared for this to happen.
(Laundry Tip: Put the mattress cover down, a set of sheets, and then repeat. This way in the middle of the night all you have to do is take off the sheets and mattress cover on top and the second set is already on the mattress.)
Keep the room as dark as possible, keep the process short, and don’t put your little one in the bath unless it is vitally necessary. A bath is a huge wrench in your child’s sleep for the night and then you have those kiddos who know that wetting the bed mean they get a bath and you for 15 minutes in the middle of the night. Not ideal!
Now, if it has been a week or two of regular accidents then you need to give some consideration of taking a pause and trying this again later. Is your toddler ready but not willing? Or willing but just not ready? Don’t put your desire to stop buying diapers above the reality of what is actually the least amount of stress for everyone involved. Yea it’d be great, and it will happen but just not now and that is okay.
To emphasize again, my final thought is do not sacrifice their sleep routine for this. Do not attempt any “dream-potty” routine where they go potty while you keep them asleep, impressive but not good. You don’t want to create an issue while trying to fix another one. You will be better off waiting until the moment is right. Good luck!