Keep the bed dry by waking your little one up for potty breaks.

How to Get Your Child to Have Dry Panties at Night

by Kay Ireland

Even if your little one is completely potty trained during the night, there's no guarantee that her success will extend into the long nighttime hours. Nighttime potty training can be difficult, especially if your child is a deep sleeper and doesn't wake up when nature calls. By helping your little one empty her bladder at night, you can get a better chance at dry underwear -- and less stress -- come morning time.

Give your little one easy access to the potty so getting to the toilet is easier in the night. A bed that's low to the ground, pajamas that are easy to pull down and night lights to light the way can make it easier for your child to go from bed to potty safely and easily. She might be staying put because she's scared of the dark or can't get her pajamas off in time.

Ask your child to go to the bathroom before bed and then wake her up in the night to have her go again. In an article for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, John Kryger, MD, a pediatric urologist with American Family Children’s Hospital notes that "Practically every bed-wetter I see is a deep sleeper, and when children go into a deep sleep, brain patterns change and affect bladder control." Waking your child up at regular intervals through the night can break that deep sleep pattern and help her get used to going to the bathroom in the night.

Limit the amount of liquids you give your child before bed, suggests the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Giving water and milk can fill up her bladder and she might not empty it fully when she uses the bathroom before bed.

Ask your child to hold her urine for longer periods during the day. suggests that this can help stretch her bladder to become larger and improve its ability to hold liquid. While you should always allow your child to go to the potty when she asks, try asking her if she needs to go fewer times throughout the day to see if it helps her nighttime training.

Keep a positive attitude surrounding nighttime potty training. It's never OK to berate or punish your child for wetting the bed at night -- she's not doing it on purpose and might not even realize that she's wet the bed. Instead, encourage her to use the bathroom at night and celebrate small successes, like staying dry through naps or not wetting the bed as much as usual. That way, nighttime doesn't become a struggle for both of you.

Items you will need

  • Night lights

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images