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Nighttime Potty Training {& a DIY Mattress Pad Cover}: When Parenting Gets Tough {a series}

When Parenting Gets Tough

Today I'm tackling one of the toughest parts of parenting a toddler – Potty Training.  Well, specifically Nighttime Potty Training.


I would almost guarantee that every parent would list Potty Training on a list of Tough Parts of Parenting {well, that is until they reach the teenage years} and although there are a ton of methods of Potty Training out there – one doesn't work for everybody.

Luckily, Sophia started potty training very early.  She was wearing panties at 18 months, but still had occasional accidents and actually still does.  It's really hard for a 2.5 year old to pause in play to take a potty break.  But now we're dealing with Nighttime Potty Training.

Nighttime Potty Training

Nighttime Potty Training isn't quite as predictable as day potty training {is any of it predictable, though?}.  Training at nighttime is all about waiting for your child to be physically ready to be able to hold their bladder for the entire night, rather than cognitively knowing how to use the potty.

This is exactly where we're at.  We've tried panties two different sets of times and with some success.  BUT I simply think Sophia's little bladder isn't ready.  She does pretty well from 2-7 am, but she's always wet at 2 if I don't wake her up to go around 12.  I was getting up in the middle of the night, at least twice, taking her, but it exhausted us both.  And then when she had accidents, I felt like it was in vain.  So, we've put nighttime potty training on hold for now.

While we were still trying panties at night, I would double layer her bed.

Nighttime Potty Training

Under the bottom fitted sheet would go a mattress protector {the pad type that they use in hospitals}, then a fitted sheet, then a full waterproof mattress cover {bought at Walmart} then another fitted sheet. This works great because if the top sheet is wet in the middle of the night, you just take it off and there's a dry sheet underneath.

The only problem?  The mattress protector I bought from Walmart didn't last 2 months.  We washed it – a lot and the material was flimsy and began ripping.  So – I decided to DIY!

Since I've been enjoying my sewing machine lately, I decided to make Sophia her own Mattress Pad Covers.

Waterproof Mattress Cover

You could easily do this diy project with upcycled materials or all new.  Mine was a mixture of both.  I had a set of flannel sheets that had seen better days and a brand new vinyl tablecloth that had been in our garage for forever {a camping purchase}.  I had the idea of topping the cover with fleece.  Because of my experience with cloth diapers, I know that fleece repels liquids, so instead of Sophia laying on a sheet that will be saturated with urine, she'll be laying on pretty, dry Princesses.

The idea of the Princess fleece works for a few different reasons – including the "You don't want to pee pee on the Princesses."  :)

You can use the pad on top of your child's sheets or underneath – either works fine!

DIY Waterproof Mattress Pad Cover

Materials Needed:

  • Sewing Machine
  • Vinyl Tablecloth with Felt/Flannel backing {the vinyl backing is what keeps the pad waterproof}
  • Flannel/Terry Cloth material for extra absorbency {optional}
  • Flannel/Fleece material for top layer

This is in no way a tutorial as in do it this way.  This is a tutorial as in If I did it, you can do itI'm just a beginner at sewing, so I threw this together after I bought a yard of fleece.  I simply cut it in half and cut my other materials to match the size of the fleece that I had.

Cut Layers

Cut all of your layers to the same size.

Pin Layers

Pin layers in this order – your Top and Bottom Layer {fleece and tablecloth} right sides together and the flannel middle layer on top.

I sewed all the layers together, leaving about 3 inches so that I could turn the cover inside out.  Once I did that, I went around and closed the opening, as well as the entire project, with a more decorative stitch.

Mattress Cover

I ended up making 2 Mattress Covers and one I decided to put extra stitches in to see if it makes a difference in bunching.  So far, it seems like my materials are heavy enough so neither will have bunching issues.


Since it has the layer of vinyl, I'd recommend washing on a low temperature setting and line drying.

Although the cover won't exactly solve nighttime potty training issues – it DOES make the life of a mother a lot easier – less sheet changing in the middle of the night, protected mattresses, and dry-er pajamas for the little ones.


I love that the cover is small enough that I can fold it up and take it on trips with us too!  This will alleviate my fears of accidents on hotel beds for sure!

Next week I'll be sharing my favorite Tips for Nighttime Potty Training – Do you have any you'd like to share!?


  1. I just had the brilliant idea if making one of these for the couch my daughter keeps peeing on. Or maybe adding a waterproof layer on the inside of the cushions to protect the foam cushion. Thanks for the epiphany!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Hi again! So I’m ready to sew my first attempt at this, and realized that maybe adding a long length of fabric to the short sides, I can just tuck those under the mattress to hold it in place…. If it gets wet I can carefully pull it out from under the blankets and put in another one without having to re-make the entire bed. It will be a few more days before it’s done (short naps = short sewing times) but I will let you know how that works out. :)

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Any thoughts on how this could be easily attached to the bed a bit? Our Little One is super active in her sleep and up know this pad would end up scrunched under her or shoved way down under the sheets. A fantastic tutorial and I due plan to use and old crib mattress pad and back it with some on-hand PUL. Any ideas on how to make it stay in place would be much appreciated!

  4. Jessica says:

    I know this is SO late but PALCO is the only thing that worked for me (As a child) and the only thing that worked for my son. It has a new name now but worked like a charm on me (As a child) and my son. Please look it up. It may seem pricey and it is, but man as a child it helped me with my self confidence BIG time!

  5. I love this! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams , starts on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.
    Shanice recently posted…DIY Wedding Feature – Framed Wedding DateMy Profile

  6. That is a great–and discreet–way to handle bed wetting!

  7. This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing. I cannot stand the usual unsightly bed protectors.
    Chloe recently posted…Term One – Week Eight – Day FiveMy Profile

  8. Marcia Lee

    These would make excellent birthday gifts or a celebration gift for moving from a crib to a “big” bed. Thank you for your tutorial.

  9. I love this idea although I am not a big fan of vinyl because it contains plasticizers. Maybe I could use some PUL?

    I will definitely have to try this when our second starts potty training because he has an organic cotton mattress. It was expensive and I don't want him to ruin it. Thanks so much for this tutorial! :)

  10. Bailey Layne Mayfield

    Awesome tutorial! Found you on Pinterest (of course) because I was trying to come up with a DIY Puppy Pad. I was brainstorming but wasn’t sure how well the vinyl table cloths do in a washer?
    Anyway, idk why I didn’t think of this for a nighttime pad for my daughter! We are currently trying to cut out night time pull ups. She is 3 & 1/2 and has been potty trained since her 2nd birthday, but we just can’t knock the nighttime accidents. This pad is perfect! I was fighting myself on whether or not to buy the Brolly Sheets but couldn’t pay this price. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thank you! It’s not a pad that could take a LOT of abuse. I think if you plan on washing it a lot – say every day or so – then you’ll want to use a sturdier PUL fabric. The vinyl is holding up nicely, but I do line dry {which I would do with any type of waterproof fabric to make it last longer}, but the design has faded so I realize it’s taking some abuse.
      Even using a PUL fabric would still keep this project at a great price!
      Lindsey recently posted…Homemade Easter GiftsMy Profile

  11. I don’t have any night-time training tips because we’re not quite there yet, but I do appreciate the tutorial for the DIY mattress pad cover! I’ll have to bookmark this for when we get to that point.

  12. This is definitely an amazing idea! My youngest still has some accidents, and if we can keep at least the mattress dry, that would save tons of money!

  13. This is an awesome idea! My boys love cars so princesses wouldn’t be ideal but we will def use this!

  14. Oh I so hear you – I do take both, the 3 and 5 yo at midnight just to avoid the morning nighmare

  15. This is such a great idea! We are on hold with potty training right now. Our son is 29 months old but he’s just not ready yet. When he is ready, I’d like to make some of these, for sure!

  16. What a cute idea! How much liquid can those mattress pads hold?

  17. This looks super easy = I literally slapped my head and was like “why didn’t I think of that?”

  18. I am so making a few of these up. I have mattress covers and we dread putting them on. We always double and sometimes triple sheet our beds and it can get tight getting them all on. With the pads that will take an extra layer off the sides and make it easier to get them on. Thank you for the tutorial.

  19. Robyn Lucas says:

    Awesome idea! This is a tutorial I will actually make!!

  20. I am potty training my 28 month old now. He is finally getting it and going regularly on the potty but for naps and nights he still soaks through pull ups so I am waiting until he can start making it through the night without peeing to start nighttime training.

  21. Love this idea! We are struggling with night time accidents as well and we have been spending money on goodnights pull up diapers and we’ve been cleaning our share of sheets. I just received my first sewing machine (I used to sew a lot back in the day but it’s been a very long time) so this seems easy enough that I can pull it off and sounds like its going to save me time and money!

    Thanks for sharing!


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