After my son was potty-trained, my husband and I congratulated ourselves and agreed we’d deal with the whole nighttime potty training thing when the time came. Experts generally agree that while most kids are ready to be potty-trained during the day sometime between 2 and 4 years old, many are not able to stay dry at night until a bit later. In fact, 20 percent of 5-year-olds and 10 percent of 7-year-olds still wet the bed, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
About a year-and-a-half after he’d been successfully potty-trained and accident-free during the day, my almost 4-year-old informed us that the time had come: he was ready to ditch his Pull-Ups. At his request, we gave it a go.
The truth is, while I’d sought plenty of advice from friends and dug into tons of expert information on daytime potty training, I hadn’t given much thought to the nighttime process, seeing as my son is the hardest sleeper I know. I assumed he’d be on the later end of the age spectrum for forgoing Pull-Ups at night, as he’s more likely to sleep through a nighttime accident completely than to be woken up by the urge to use the bathroom. With this knowledge, I went into the process with the lowest of expectations (which I highly recommend) and one tip that I will now recommend to anyone and everyone.
The Dream Pee
Before you go to bed (assuming this is a few hours after you’ve put your child to bed), rouse your sleeping child to put them on the toilet one last time.
Obviously, this works best for deep sleepers who are unlikely to really wake up during the process, and thus, will get right back to sleep without having to go through the whole bedtime routine again. From our experience with dream feeding my son to help him sleep longer stretches at night back in the newborn days, I knew my son would be the perfect candidate for what we now jokingly refer to as the dream pee.
I assumed that on that first night, we’d experience something like the newborn days again, woken up at all hours (or at least once) to clean up an accident. But in reality, the first night resembled the newborn days only in the sense that my husband and I awoke in the morning with the same astonishment as the first time a baby sleeps all night. He slept through the night accident-free.
We’re still in the thick of nighttime potty training. Of course, there have been accidents, and yes, we have been woken up at night from time-to-time. That’s normal and to be expected.
Some nights, my son decides he does want to wear Pull-Ups, and that’s fine with me. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I’m not interested in rushing the process. But making it easier? You can count me in for that—and for rousing a sleeping child for one last bathroom break before bed.