Nighttime toilet training and bedwetting
Just when you get through toilet training during the day, comes the question – when do I need to toilet train my child at night? And as with most things, this will really depend on your child as some will adapt quite easily and some will take a little longer. It really pays to be guided by your child and not to rush them as this can only cause further delays.Even though your child may have breezed through daytime toilet training, they may struggle with nighttime, but this is very common. It is not unusual for children to continue wetting the bed up until they are around 5.
How to tell if your child is ready to toilet train at night
- Their nappy is dry upon waking
- Their nappy is only just wet – as in they have only just weed upon waking
- Your child no longer wants to wear a nappy
- You child is waking up to wee
How to prepare for nighttime toilet training
- Talk to your child about it in the lead-up and explain what it involves – eg. they would need to go to the toilet during the night or use a potty in their room.
- Get them excited for it and make them feel special and independent.
- Start taking your child to do a wee on the toilet before bed and try to get them to use the toilet in the morning rather than going in their nappy.
- Prepare the mattress with a waterproof protector and have a few on rotation.
- Purchase a couple of extra sets of sheets as you are likely to go through a fair few in the beginning.
- Many parents find making the bed twice handy so you can just take off the top wet layer and have another one made and ready underneath to save you having to completely remake the bed during the night.
- Be patient and reassure them they are doing great – never get cranky with them in the night (hard when you’re tired we know) but remember this is a big developmental stage and it will take time.
- Negative reactions can hinder the process so keep it light.
- Read books about toilet training with your child.
- Know that there will be accidents and some waking during the night while they get used to this but remember that it is just a phase and it won’t last forever.
- If your child is struggling you may want to look at reducing their liquid intake before bed at least initially while they are still getting used to it (ensuring they are getting enough water during the day).
- If there are any other big changes going on in your child’s life like a new baby or a change at home or school, perhaps look at putting it off until they are more settled.
When bedwetting is a problem
Bedwetting is very common and can happen anywhere from every night to a few nights a week a month or every few months. Remember that it can take up to a year (or even two) for your child to be fully toilet trained at night. By around the age of 5, most children should be mostly dry at night (boys tend to take longer than girls) however a small percentage will go on to wet the bed beyond this. If you are concerned you should always speak to your doctor or paediatrician.