So, your toddler has finally managed to communicate her need to pee and poo during the day. Hurray! But what next? Most parents get terrified by the very thought of night time potty training, simply because it means less sleep, more laundry and one more to the long list of woes.
Nighttime potty training is markedly different from day time training. This is simply because young children are not yet in control of their bodily functions during sleep. They can’t be expected to be woken up by their need to pee during the night.
Here then are some simple night time potty training tips to ease parental worries and make that transition from diaper to underwear a lot easier for your tot at night:
1. Limit fluid intake before bedtime
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Most experts recommend not giving the children anything to drink after dinner time. Mum-of-two Minoli Almeida says she “reduced liquid intake just before bed.”
Any fluids after dinner should be water, not milk or juice, and that too in small quantities.
2. Use the toilet right before bedtime
My daughter often says, “But I don’t feel like peeing!” when I pester her to use the toilet before bedtime. And then ends up peeing tons! Using the toilet right before bedtime helps the child to sleep better. It also reduces the chances of her waking up in the middle of the night.
3. Wear clothes that are easy to remove
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theAsianparent community (previously known as Parent town) user Pamela Pradhan recommends, “Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take off, for example, trousers with elastic waistbands, rather than full-body suits.” Also, make sure you have that spare clothes ready on hand in case of accidents.
4. Start with pull-ups, and then transition to underwear
If you are super worried about accidents, begin night time potty training with pull up diapers. Put the pull up just before bedtime. Have your child use the potty or toilet before bed, and then put on the pull-up.
Also, remove the pull up as soon as your child wakes up. As you notice the pull-ups getting drier, switch to regular underwear.
5.Wake up and take to the toilet
Mother of two boys Nalika Unantenne shares,”I would sleep-walk them to the bathroom at about midnight for a pee”, a trick that worked well for mum-of-3 Samantha Bek too.
So right before your own bedtime at around 10 or 11 p.m., gently wake your child up, making sure that he is not wide awake and the room is dimly lit. Bring him to the toilet to urinate.
The child may resist and throw a tantrum, but you would do well not to lose your cool, force or argue; gently convince him that his body wishes to pee.
6. Use the toilet first thing in the morning
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Make sure you take the child to the potty or toilet early in the morning the following day. Even if children make it through the night dry, they need to urinate first thing in the morning. Ensure that they pee in the toilet, and not in their pull-ups.
7. Reward dry nights
Mum Minoli used a simple reward system with her kids, “Every time they had a dry diaper we would give them a sticker.” It works well for some kids but make sure you don’t shame the kids when accidents do happen.
8. In case of accidents, stay calm
It isn’t easy to stay calm at 3 in the night, but stress can have a strong effect on your child’s progress. She might feel like she let you down, and will automatically lose her self esteem. Never use shame as a training technique. Just stay calm, clean up, change and move on.
While on accidents, it might be a good idea to invest in a waterproof mattress pad, so that at least the mattress gets saved. Mummy Nalika “had double layers of mattress protectors just in case!”
Also bear in mind that girls tend to train a little faster than boys. Mum Minoli says, “It was really easy with my daughter. I just let her go without her diaper and wear regular undies. The first time she had a pee accident, she hated the feeling of getting wet. My boy didn’t care if he got wet. So he took months to be fully potty trained whereas my girl was potty trained in a week or so.”
Every child is different. While it might be frustrating and time-consuming, night time potty training is an important developmental milestone in your child’s life. Enjoy your little accidents and discoveries together, this too shall pass.
Also READ: When is the right time to start night time potty training
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