Last month I had the great pleasure of being invited to be a featured expert on Parent Savers national podcast on nighttime potty training (Scroll down to the bottom of the post if you’d like to listen!) . Along with two parents of young children and the host, we discussed what to expect, various tips/strategies, shared experiences, and discussed all the ‘when-tos’, and ‘how-tos’ of helping your child stay dry through the night. We also discussed some great ideas to make clean-up less painful, and had a few laughs along the way! Here are some of my tips from the podcast.

  • Readiness is KEY! Your child should have mastered daytime toileting, be dry for 2 hours at a time during the day, and be waking up in the morning with a dry pullup AT LEAST half of the time, if not MORE! Make sure your child can take pyjama bottoms ON AND OFF by themselves! DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS – SEE CHART BELOW!!!***
  • Limit Fluids 1 hour before bedtime, but make sure your child is well hydrated in the day
  • Take your child to the toilet right before bed
  • Get a plan in place for your child for when he wakes and has to go potty!  Will he go by himself? Will he wake you to help him? Will he call for you?
  • Consider placing a training potty in your child’s bedroom Some kids don’t like getting up in the dark, and walking to the bathroom. Take that out of the equation!
  • Prepare for accidents :  Use a waterproof mattress pad, and have a spare pair of pajamas and/or sheets ready to go.
  • Consider waking your child to go potty:  When starting to night time train, accidents happen, but consider your individual child –  when are they happening? right before waking in the morning? At 2am? Consider WAKING your child at defined periods in the night to take them to the potty, and to get their body used to waking up to their own cues (In my family, we woke my daughter when WE were heading to bed!)
  • Use praise carefully Since nighttime bed wetting is out of your child’s control, try not to get caught into the “good job! you woke up dry! I’m so proud of you!”‘ trap. If your child wakes up dry, and is excited, go ahead and share his enjoyment. Give him a high five, or say ‘I’m so glad you’re excited!’. But praising him specifically for doing a ‘good job’ by staying dry can lead to disappointment and a feeling of failure on the mornings he wakes up wet, and does not get the praise from you. Although you and I know it’s through no fault of his own, children can feel like they have let you down, which can affect their self-confidence. ( We discuss this more in the podcast!)
  • Other strategies to consider– e.g.
    • Underwear UNDERNEATH pull up so they feel wetness, but no mess to clean up (or waterproof training pants achieve the same effect)
    • Mattress pad with alarm (usually for older children)
    • Start ‘nap time training’ first, then move to night time training
    • Consider how much SALT is in your child’s diet, and their fluid intake– salty snacks such as ‘FISH’ crackers make kids THIRSTY and they drink MORE. Consider limiting such snacks, especially in the late afternoon/evening.
    • For OLDER children – consider waking them TO ASK THEM if they have to go potty. Let them wake up, pay attention to their body cues and MAKE THEIR OWN DECISION. This helps your child learn self-monitoring and body awareness (as well as helping their SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-CONFIDENCE!)


  • Below is a table that shows the age at which children achieve night time control.

Age of Child

% of children have achieved night time control

Under 3 years


Under 4 years


Under 5 years


Under 6 years



Parent Savers
Dr. Deb Featured on ParentSavers Blog: Potty Training: Naptime and Nighttime

Click to read Dr. Deb’s featured bio on ParentSavers
Listen to the Podcast below