Night Time Accidents


Potty Time tips for night training

By Sue Rouillard, MEd

Does your child always stay dry throughout the day but when night comes she’s always wet?  Fear not, she’s normal. It is a complicated process learning how to control your sphincter muscles and knowing when to nudge your brain to tell your tired slumbering body to get up and go to the bathroom.

Tai Lockspeiser, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado, says that nighttime bladder control is a maturational process that can lag behind daytime bladder control by months or years. Twenty percent of kids still have nighttime accidents at five years of age, and doctors don’t define bedwetting until children are six-years-old.

Now I know you don’t want to hear that this could go on until your child is six years old. And it very well may not. I just want to point out that, before age six, night time accidents are still considered normal and that you need to remember that they are just that, accidents. Your child is not doing this because he’s angry at you, or he thinks it’s funny.  He just does not have control yet. If he continues to have accidents after age six, consult your pediatrician for ideas.

What you may want to try is waking your child for toileting before you go to bed and maybe once more during the night. This may or may not work depending on your child. I’ve heard many parents say that they tried this for weeks without success, and then as soon as they stopped the child no longer had accidents. Maybe disturbing their sleep triggered a need to remember not to pee at night.  If you decide to try this method of waking your child, remember not to give her a drink of anything while she is up otherwise all your efforts may be for naught.

Check out our first article on Night Training for many more tips.

Always praise your child for giving it their best shot. If you like the idea of rewards for when she does awake dry, then go ahead. The reward doesn’t have to be a big item, or an expensive one. It may not even be something you can hold. It could be a series of silly kisses that only happen when your child has had success on the toilet. If you have the flexibility, the reward could be some time with you on a specific activity, like a special activity for just the two of you, or trip to a favorite playground or restaurant.

Patience, consistency, patience, commitment on your part, patience, some extra pj’s and bed sheets and more patience and everything will turn out okay (and dry) in time.

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