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Toilet Training at Night

It’s best to address daytime toilet training first and then move on to nighttime toilet training. Before beginning nighttime toilet training, you should wait until the child is having few or no instances of wetting and soiling of clothes in the daytime. Once your child develops some success with daytime toileting, he is more likely to be ready for nighttime training. Some children may be able to stay dry through the night on their own. Other children will continue to require some adult support.


Some suggestions for helping your child stay dry at night are:

  • Reduce or limit the amount of liquids or food consumed several hours before bedtime
  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine
  • Have a regular time for going to bed at night
  • Toilet immediately before going to bed at night
  • Toilet anytime the child is awakened during the night
  • Toilet immediately upon waking in the morning

Some children sleep 10-12 hours each night which is a very long time to go without toileting and staying dry. To help your child make it through the night with dry pants, some programs recommend waking him for a toilet trip just before parents go to bed or very early in the morning. If you do choose to awaken your child it is helpful to do so at a scheduled time each night that works for your normal routine. Others suggest attaching an alarm to the child’s underwear that detects the slightest amount of moisture. But, the use of such devices may be too difficult or upsetting for the child and may interfere with his ability to return to sleep. The goal of most mechanical devices and alarms is to teach your child to wake up when he needs to eliminate. For more information on alarms, we recommend visiting the website www.bedwettingstore.com.

If a child does not have the urge to eliminate or does not have the muscle control to “hold it”, then you may consider scheduling a nighttime toilet trip. Usually one nighttime trip can help the child remain dry for the remainder of the night. As with daytime toilet training, you may have to begin with several night time trips before you are able to identify the best time to wake your child.

If your child already has issues with sleeping through the night, you may not want to use an alarm or wake him for a toilet trip. To help him stay dry through the night, limit eating and drinking within two hours of bedtime and include a toilet trip right before your child goes to bed. If your child awakens on his own during the night, you may want to include a toilet trip then as well.

If your child continues to struggle with nighttime toilet training, it is okay to take a break, stop the process, and wait another month or so. Your child may not have the physical skills to prevent elimination from occurring at night at this time. Continue your efforts with daytime toilet training and try nighttime later.

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