Will overnight pull-ups confuse your child while potty training?
Will moving straight to underwear at night ruin your child’s good sleep?
Can you face all the laundry?!
These are important questions to ask when deciding how you want to handle your child’s potty training and sleep. Some books recommend getting rid of diapers, day and night, right away and some suggest using an overnight disposable such as pull-ups. While both recommendations can be effective, I tend to lean towards the latter for families I’m working with and suggest starting with a pull-up until you determine if you’re child is really ready to stay dry throughout the night. I make this suggestion because, for children under 5, learning to control their bladder overnight comes with physiological development rather than being a skill that is taught. Due to this, going straight into underwear during the night generally leads to accidents, which is completely normal when a child is potty training, but several nights in a row of interrupted sleep can lead to an exhausted, irritable and even discouraged child. It can be easier on everyone to make the transition out of diapers once you have determined if your child is capable of staying dry all night or waking up to use the bathroom.
In order to stay dry overnight, your child has to be physically ready. This can happen at all different times for children, which is why some are able to stay dry much earlier than others. It is perfectly normal for a child to be fully potty trained throughout the day and not be capable of staying dry throughout the night.
Is your child ready?
In order to know if your child is ready, here are a few things to look for:
- No longer having accidents during the day.
- Waking up dry in the morning for a week.
- May occasionally wake during the night to go to the bathroom.
Tips for success!
If you are seeing the above signs and feel ready to make the transition into underwear overnight, here are some tips for success:
- No drinks for at least an hour before bedtime. You can start reducing/cutting out liquids in the week prior to starting overnight training.
- Put your child on the potty an hour before bed and then again right before bedtime to ensure their bladder is empty.
- Put a mattress protector on your child’s bed in case an accident happens.
- Keep fresh sheets and pajamas ready to make changing quick and easy if your child has an accident.
Once you get started with overnight potty training, be sure to support your child. If an accident happens, don’t scold or act disappointed, as this can be very discouraging to your child. If you find that your child is having accidents most night, don’t be afraid to go back to pull-ups in the night, as this is a signal that your child isn’t ready. Wait about one month and then try again. Keep in mind that readiness happens at all different ages, so don’t be disappointed if you try and find that your child just isn’t ready. He or she will get there in good time.