Nighttime Potty Training
Tips For Nighttime Potty Training
Nighttime potty training isn't something that's done at the same time as daytime potty training is in progress. The two don't work well when attempted at the same time. Rather, they are tandem processes, with daytime training preceding nighttime potty training.
Bladder To Brain Messages - The reason for this should be obvious. The youngster may or may not be having a difficult time with learning to stay dry during the daytime, but would have no idea what to do if nighttime training were to be started first. Even as parents, we don't have a good understanding, if any at all, about how the link from bladder to brain functions, and we can't expect a 3 year old to understand it either, especially when he or she is asleep. The youngster really has to be taught bladder control first, and this can only be done though daytime potty training.
We are proud of the child when it graduates from a daytime potty training regimen, even though occasional accidents are still a possibility. As happy as everyone is with the situation, it's not time to discard the diaper pail quite yet. Even a little one who has sailed through daytime potty training with flying colors, isn't ready to start wearing underwear or pajamas to bed.
Getting Started - The first goal should be to attempt to get the child to wake up in the morning with dry diapers on. If nothing else, this will save some time in changing sheets, which is no fun at 3 AM. If the child is managing to get through the day without accidents, it may be possible to get rid of the diapers and start using training pants instead. This represents a step towards wearing underwear at night, and keeps the sheets dry in case of an accident.
The child of course needs to understand was the goal is, and by the time he or she is 3 or 4 years old, there is likely a strong desire to keep dry during the night, especially once keeping dry during the day has become fixed the mind. One can start by minimizing the amount a fluid a child drinks after dinner. A glass of water an hour or so before bedtime will probably be fine, but nothing later. The child of course should go to the bathroom immediately before going to bed.
At first it's going to be a good idea to wake the child up once, if not twice during the night and take it to the bathroom. Waking up during the night may seem like caring for a newborn baby all over again, but this time the waking up isn't so frequent, and the husband and wife, or even a sibling, can share in the duties.
Keep The Lid Down - Once the child seems to be making it through most nights without any problem, the next step would be to teach it to get up on its own and go to the bathroom. At this stage, it's important that the child doesn't have to walk down a long dark hallway, partly for safety reasons and partly because the kid may be scared stiff in having to do so. Invest in 2 or 3 night lights for the bedroom, hallway, and bathroom, to make the journey a little less intimidating. This step and the one above may take 6 months or more to get through. The average child has usually completed nighttime potty training at around the age of 5, though some take longer.
Graduating To Underwear - In any event, once the child seems to be staying dry through the night consistently, it's time to switch to underwear or pajamas as night wear (underwear is probably best at this stage). Now, when the child wets the bed, it falls into the category of an "accident", and it is almost guaranteed that there are going to be a number of those. Now it's very important to stay cool, calm and collected. The child may feel badly about an accident happening, but need not fell ashamed. Rubbing a dog's nose in its own mess doesn't do anything positive, and trying to shame a child because of an accident isn't going to do anything positive either.
Just remember, nighttime potty training can be expected to last for a number of months, and that success is more likely to come in small increments rather than giant leaps. Like most other learning experiences, there are going to be some plateaus as well as reversals along the way.