Night-time toilet training

Night-time toilet training can sometimes take a lot longer than staying dry during the day.  Most children under the age of 5 will still wee in their sleep. It is a good idea not to rush things if you think your child isn’t ready. There is nothing worse than changing wet beds in the middle of the night.

If you do think your child might be ready to lose the night nappy, here are some tips to make the transition easier for everyone:


1. The 10 dry nappies rule: It can take up to around six months of daytime toilet training for your child to sleep through the night and not wet their nappy. But this can be longer for some kids. Once your child’s fully into the rhythm of daytime toilet-going, they’ll be able to hold their bladder much longer at night. If you can get 10 nights in a row with a dry nappy, then it is probably a good time to try without one.


2. Let them tell you when they are ready: If your toddler is refusing to wear a nappy then it could be a sign that you can start night-time training. You can let them decide if they want to try for the first few nights to see if they stay dry and then stop using nappies altogether. Children can still have accidents even when they are trained. The odd accident is not a big deal and they’re probably still good to go, especially if they are saying they want to.


3. Buy some ‘brolly’ sheets: Make their bed up with ‘brolly’ sheets to avoid changing sheets in the middle of the night. These are waterproof sheets. You can also put two ‘brolly’ sheets on top of each other, so if there is an accident you can just whip the top brolly sheet off, slip your child into clean PJs and put them straight back into bed.


4. Make a 10pm toilet stop: It can help with the transition to being completely dry overnight, if you take your child to the loo around 10pm at night (before you go to bed). You don’t have to wake them up completely, just carry them to the loo and ask them to do a wee. This will often help them get through the night.


5. Gender and genetics do make a difference: Boys tend to take longer to get into night training. Interestingly, a boy’s ability to hold his bladder during the night is often connected to how his father slept through the night when he was little.


6. Don’t offer rewards: If your child has a dry night, just say ‘That’s really good! I’m very proud of you!’ and move on. If you start rewarding them or telling them they will get something if the stay dry, it can end up stressing your child out.


Article by Wattle Health resident expert, Paediatric Nurse, Jo Ryan.