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5 Tips to Make Nighttime Potty Training a Success

Last week I shared with you how Nighttime Potty Training was going in our house {it's not} and a Tutorial for a DIY Waterproof Mattress Pad.

Nighttime Potty Training

This week I'm sharing 5 tips that will making Nighttime Potty Training a Success {hopefully!}

5 Tips to Successful Nighttime Potty Training

1.  Wait Until Your Child is Physically Developmentally Ready.

We've tried a couple of times to get Sophia potty trained at night, one just recently, with little success.  She is just not developmentally ready.  So, how do you know if your child is?  He/She should be waking up dry at least 5-6 mornings out of the week.  Sophia would occasionally, but that just wasn't enough.  To have success, this is important that your child's bladder can handle holding the liquid all night.

2.  Limit Liquids at Night.

We found the most success when we limited Sophia's liquids for 2-3 hours before she laid down.  We usually start her bedtime routine at 8pm, but she gets up to use the bathroom one last time at 9.  So we limited liquids to a small drink of water after 6:30 pm.

The same can be said for day time potty training too.  I know that juice and water make her use the bathroom more frequently, so if I know we're going to be in public, where potty training is harder, I limit the amount of liquids she has throughout the day.  Not take them away – just limit.

3.  Rewards

Although some might disagree, I like to use rewards with any type of potty training.  We used a sticker chart in the early days of day time potty training that worked tremendously, so we brought it back for nighttime. 

Potty Training Sticker Chart

Every morning that she woke up dry, she'd put a sticker on the chart, after 3 she gets to pick from her Treasure Chest {that contains little snacks and toys}.

4.  Nighttime Potty Trips

This is a controversial one and I see both sides.  Waking your child {or in our case, carrying to the potty and helping sleep potty} can tremendously increase the success of nighttime potty training, but at a price.  It interrupts both the parents and the child's sleep cycles and can inadvertently cause more harm than good. 

We were doing this with Sophia and it proved to be the only way that I could seem to get her to wake up dry, but it really did do more harm.  She would be moody during the days {even more than a normal day with a two year old} and really, so would I.  I found that it really wasn't worth it to wake use both up until she was really developmentally ready.

5.  Relax!

When I began washing sheets twice a day, I started getting a little stressed out.  It seemed like, although I wasn't meaning to, I was putting extra pressure on Sophia and actually making her have more accidents in the process.  I didn't realize I was doing this until after we relaxed.  Now she's wearing pull-ups during the night and there's no pressure on it being dry, but if it is we CELEBRATE!


Potty Training is hard on both the child and the parents, especially Nighttime Potty Training.  The thing that I've taken away from this process {twice now} is that just because Sophia totally understands and can sucessfully potty during the day doesn't mean the same goes for nighttime.  Read your child's cues and go at YOUR pace – there's no right or wrong strategy or time.

What Nighttime Potty Training Tips have helped you the most?


  1. My boyfriend’s daughter is 4 going on 5 and still wakes up every single morning with a full wet pull-up. It’s not just wet, it’s full of pee. We always limit her drinks before bed (nothing to drink after dinner) and she always uses the bathroom before she lays down. Do you have any other tips we could try to maybe have an at least 1 day during the week she wakes up dry? We stopped doing this, but we used to work with her on weekends by putting her in panties and waking up with her 2 or 3 times a night. Sometimes we would have one night she stayed dry but still a lot of wet nights. We have really been relaxed about all of it and never make her feel bad about it or punish her for it either. The only thing I haven’t tired yet is the Potty Chart (which I will start for the month of Feb.). Any extra tips or advice would help. Thanks!!!!

    • Laura – I think, honestly, being relaxed about it is the best thing for her. My oldest daughter will go a week dry every morning, then a week soaked every morning. I just keep thinking that when her body can handle it, it just will. You know?

      Try the chart, but just keep your reactions positive no matter the outcome, which it sounds like you are!
      Lindsey Galvez recently posted…Our Visit to SeaWorld OrlandoMy Profile

  2. A week before my daughter’s 3rd birthday she started begging me not to put a dudu-nappy on her. The third night of finally convincing her that she still needs the nappy it was about 10mins after I put her to bed when she was by her bedroom door, flung the nappy down the hall and said “i told you i don’t need a nappy” I don’t condone being spoken to like that but I just let it slide this time and to my surprise she was completely dry the next morning. For almost 2 weeks she was dry, occasionally waking at about 2:30am calling me to go make a wee. It is now the third week and her bed is every morning :-( she doesn’t wake anymore to go to the toilet, and doesn’t stay dry. I have limited liquids, not taking it away completely cause it is simply too hot here. So for 3 nights now I have woken her to go to the toilet before I go to bed, and then again at 2:30, and then she is dry. She wakes up completely, goes back to sleep easily, and is still very happy in the mornings. I find the 5mins at 2:30am is less stressful for me than the extra load of washing and to bath her in the mornings before having to head to crèche. Now my question is this, after reading your post, if we’re all feeling calm and happy despite having to wake up in the dark of night for a potty run am I doing harm or should we just keep doing what seems to be working for us? oh, and how do I get her to wake up on her own again like she did?? Or maybe it’s just all the excitement of her birthday and now Christmas?? ps sorry for the long read…

  3. hello. not sure if you will even see this, but why not try? :) My daughter is 3.5 and has been day trained for awhile. for nights she has been in pull ups. about a month ago, she started waking up earlier and earlier in the morning. some days she would go poop (if she has on a pull up, she will pee there, no matter what). her sleep was awful, and she was always tired. so I put her in underwear and we’ve been taking her twice at night to pee. Sometimes she is wet when we go in and we just change her, but she gets more sleep. Can you give me any advice? I was in no hurry to get her out of pull ups, but her sleep was suffering, so we did it. she can go a long stretch in the morning, like 1am-6:30 or 7, but often wets once during the night. thank you.

    • Laura! I was in the SAME boat. Sophia COULD stay dry all night if I went in and woke up her to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But, it was exhausting both me and her. So, I simply left her in Pull-Ups for both of our sanity. Just these past 2 weeks she started waking up with a dry pull-up every morning. So, we’ve been doing panties again! She’s doing so well. It’s DEFINITELY important that she goes right before she lays down, but I don’t wake her up at all anymore.

      Honestly, I would say just wait until her little body is ready. I think I tried to rush Sophia in the beginning and it seems now she’s is DEFINITELY ready! Good luck!
      Lindsey recently posted…Cat Bearding Tips [with help from the Fresh Step with Plant Extracts]My Profile

  4. Good to know since we just started potty training for day time.
    candice recently posted…Chobani Banana Muffins | Tasty TuesdayMy Profile

  5. These are tried and true tips! We are still struggling with bed wetting on the nights when my boy is constipated, but we have started using the GoodNites bed mats and they have saved our mattress!

  6. We haven’t started day time training yet. Rissa was showing interest until her brother arrived. She hates diaper changes now though so maybe it will start to motivate her.
    Darcy recently posted…The Differences in Diapering Baby Boys and GirlsMy Profile

  7. We are potty trained during the day but far form it at night. We limit liquids and he wakes up dry half the time. I figure a couple more months and we will give nighttime training a trial run. Thank you for the tips.
    Brandy recently posted…Phone Dump Friday – Boxed InMy Profile

  8. These are great tips. With my 2nd son, we kept trying, and nothing worked, he just wasn’t ready. One day, he decided he wanted to do it, and zero accidents since, LOL :)
    Karen recently posted…A Luring Murder $10 Barnes & Noble GC #Giveaway (Ends 3/9)My Profile

  9. I am so glad you started by saying to wait until your child is ready. It’s so tempting to push our kids, based on a random number, yet all children are different.
    Angela recently posted…Reveal Your Best Skin Ever #DoveTruthMy Profile

  10. Yikes! My daughter is starting to show signs of readiness. However, I just said to my husband the other day, it’s the ONLY thing I dread about being a mama. Your tips will hopefully give us a good start when the time comes.

  11. Great tips. Love your sticker system. Looks like she has been doing great.

  12. My son is almost 4 and still only wakes up dry a couple of nights a week. I choose not to wake him up because he tends to have a very hard time going back down. My oldest son was 12 when I finally didn’t have to wake him up at midnight to go so he wouldn’t have an accident and I have a 9 year old daughter who still occasionally has accidents. I think sometimes it’s just in genetics. I don’t stress over it, just do more laundry and everyone has a plastic sheet to protect the bed!

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