I don't know one parent who's enjoyed potty training. The piles of urine-soaked, cartoon-printed underwear in the laundry room. The mysterious stench behind the potted plant in the hallway. The decision to ruin all of your hard work by strapping your child into a diaper, or risking a pee-pee accident in your $300 car seat while waiting in your older child's after school pick-up line. It's a long list of struggles that take time to overcome. Then, when you finally succeed at having fully dry days, you have to help your toddler potty train while sleeping, which is a whole new type of obsticle.
Overnight and nap time potty training can be even more difficult than day training, because there really is no way to insist that a sleeping toddler wake himself up to use the toilet. It can be slightly easier for a child to stay dry through a midday nap, especially if it's on the shorter side. But, when you have a deep sleeper, it can take them months or even years to learn how to stay dry throughout the night.
Thankfully, there are some ways that parents can help their toddlers avoid (or at least limit) wetting the bed while they sleep.
1. Make Sure Waking Hours Are Dry First
Make sure that your toddler is staying dry during the day before attempting to potty train them during sleeping hours. Learning the bodily cues for potty training takes some time, and you should not expect a child who still has day accidents to stay dry overnight. Tackle one thing at a time.
2. Limit Drinks Before Bed
Baby Sleep Site recommends a ban all all drinks one and a half to two hours before bedtime. Additionally, your toddler should only drink small amounts of water (no juice or milk) after dinner time, according to Bedwetting Store.
3. Visit The Potty 30 Minutes Before Bed
Incorporate a visit to the potty during your toddler's bedtime routine so that it becomes a habit. Forgetting to potty before bed will almost guarantee bedwetting.
4. Visit The Potty Once More At Lights Out
Bedwetting Store also recommended "double voiding," or visiting the potty right before lights out. This will make sure your toddler's bladder is completely empty to help avoid nighttime accidents.
5. Don't Be Ashamed To Use Training Pants Or Diapers Overnight
You aren't failing at potty training if your toddler needs to sleep in a diaper or training pants. Many children are very deep sleepers. As Baby Sleep Site noted, "you can’t 'teach' your toddler how to not pee or poop while she’s unconscious."
6. Visit The Potty Anytime Toddler Wakes In The Night
If your toddler wakes in the night, use that opportunity to walk them to the potty. It's a challenge, but the urge to pee may be what is waking your child up. Encouraging them to go potty will help teach them how to listen to their bodily cues.
7. Try Underwear Overnight After Several Dry Nights
If you see that your toddler is waking up completely dry for a several days, try letting them sleep in underwear. Make sure to prepare the bed with a waterproof mattress cover, just in case. It's perfectly normal for potty trained children to have occasional accidents up until age 7 according to Baby Center. This can be caused by a growth spurt or a disruption to their normal routine.
8. Set Your Alarm
Some toddlers stay dry all night, and only wet the bed upon waking up. Alpha Mom suggested setting an alarm to wake up 10 to 15 minutes before your child to escort them to the potty.
9. Children's Bodies Develop Differently
Sometimes, no matter what you try, your child will still wet the bed. Not all children are physically able to hold their bladder for the entire night. According to Very Well, bedwetting can be caused by having a smaller than typical bladder capacity or secreting less of the hormone vasopressin, which regulates urine production at night. Or, you might just have a very deep sleeper. Genetics (parents also wet the bed) and constipation can also be a cause for bedwetting. These concerns should be addressed with your child's pediatrician, but be prepared to hear that you may just have to wait it out a little longer.
Very Well also noted that 15 percent of children still regularly wet the bed at age five, seven to 10 percent of children still wet the bed at age seven, three percent of boys and two percent of girls still wet the bed at age 10, and one percent of boys and very few girls still wet the bed at age 18.