The Next Step: Potty Training at Night

potty training on a nightly schedule

Potty training at night is a different animal than during the day. My wife and I have tried to establish a nighttime routine for our nearly 5-year-old daughter: Around 8:30 we head upstairs and brush our teeth. We then head to her room to read some books, play quietly, and put on pajamas before going to sleep.

When we put on pajamas, we also put on her diaper. My daughter has mastered potty training during the day. She does not need a diaper, she tells us when she needs to use the bathroom and has gone more than a year since her last major accident.

That is during the day, though. At night – and naptime – she needs to wear a diaper because she will likely go to the bathroom. She complains every time we put it on, saying she hates wearing it and begs us not to wear one. We fight back because any time we’ve given in and let her try to sleep without a diaper, she ends up wetting the bed. We expect this. Our daughter is asleep, and her body is not trained to wake her up if she has to go. As a result, she still needs a diaper at night.

Preparing for Potty Training at Night

I would like to say my wife and I have a grand plan for potty training our daughter at night. Our idea is to simply keep track of her diaper at night. If it is dry several nights in a row, we would let her try to go without one for a night.

We also encourage her to go to the bathroom after brushing her teeth and tell her to go use the toilet during the night, even if she has her diaper on. Sometimes that results in her calling us out of bed at odd hours, but we want to encourage her to use the toilet as much as possible.

Potty training at night is simple and difficult at the same time. On the one hand, our proposed method makes sense. Use a diaper at night until it stays dry. On the other hand, my daughter continues to push us not to use a diaper. There is nothing, though, that we can tell her to help the process along. She likes to keep a water bottle near her bed, but outside of eliminating that there is little we can do that we are not already doing.

As a parent, you always want to have the answers for your children. At least I do. When she cries that she has to wear a diaper at night, I feel her frustration. At the same time, night potty training seems like something that will simply come with time.

My wife likes to brag that she was potty trained at one and could sleep through the night without a diaper. Her parents were actually concerned and asked their doctor about it. My daughter has done great with potty training so far, and as soon as she can make it through the night without an accident, we’ll officially be done – at least until her brother is ready.

Additional Potty Training Resources:

Developmental Milestone: Nighttime Dryness

Potty Training at Night

David Stegon

David Stegon is a writer, editor, and father of two based in Virginia. He has written for traditional and digital publications for the past 13 years. David holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Temple University and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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