It can be very exciting when your toddler shows signs that he is ready to potty train. A lot of parents can’t wait to be finished with diapers—but what happens when all of a sudden your little sleeper starts calling out to you every five minutes after you say “goodnight” because he has to pee or wakes up crying because the sheets are wet? We think that sleep comes first, and the good news is that you can potty train your little one and protect his sleep with these tips!
Limit liquids before bed
The rule in our house is “drink as much as you like all day, but no drinks after dinner”. If you are still offering a drink as part of your bedtime routine, cut it back. Eventually, you will want to stop using a diaper at night, and if your little one is drinking a lot then that could mean accidents during the night. Cut off liquids one hour before you turn off the lights.
Potty during your bedtime routine
Toddlers love routine and keeping things consistent each night before bed is a great habit to get into. By having him go potty before you put on the diaper and pj’s, you can see how well his bladder does at night by how full the diaper is in the morning. It can also help you feel better about ignoring the request to go again five minutes after you say “goodnight”.
Make it fun! Set up a sticker chart in the bathroom. Pee gets one sticker and poo gets two. Be sure to factor potty time into your bedtime routine planning—it could add an extra five or 10 minutes.
Continue to use diapers at night
Some parents decide to go cold turkey and ditch all diapers at once. Depending on the age of your child, this can cause some bedtime stalling and wake ups during the night. When he is young, it is an exciting new skill and he will want to practice it. He will also catch on pretty quickly that when he yells “potty” you drop what you are doing and run to him.
If he is consistently waking up dry in the morning, then that is a good indication that you can drop the nighttime diaper—but if not, repeat after me:
“We use the potty during awake time and diapers for sleep”—say it again… and again and again and every time your child uses the potty. Say it and then stick to it. Once you say “goodnight,” whether it is naptime or bedtime, don’t go back in to use the potty.
I love the dream pee—yes, I said it. You have two options with this one: take a potty into the bedroom and lift your child out of bed and onto the potty and then back into bed, or carry him to the bathroom. There is no reason to wake your child. He sleeps and you go to bed with the peace of mind that his bladder is empty.
It could be years before your child is night trained—and that is okay. If you ditch the diapers and have accident after accident, night after night—bring back the diapers. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned with the age of your child and nighttime accidents.