I get a variety of questions about potty training, but they often follow a few specific themes. One of these themes is that of night training – when to start it, how long it takes, and what to expect.
First of all, know that it is perfectly normal for night training to take longer than day training. Yes, there are children who will do both around the same time, or one right after the other, but there are also many who may need longer to develop the bladder control while they sleep.
This is especially true for heavy sleepers, who may be in such deep slumber they don’t feel their body’s signals and thus wake up wet.
Also be aware that some night wetting is considered common right up until about age 6. No, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a couple of more years of bed-wetting, but if by chance this does occur, it is still considered biologically normal. Of course, if there is ever any concern, please check with your pediatrician.
There are a few things you can do to try to ease the transition:
Make sure your child is going potty just before going to sleep.
You may also want to limit liquids in the hour or so leading up to bedtime.
Some parents elect to wake a child late at night for a quick trip to the potty. This works well for some, and in others can actually just encourage energetic night waking, which nobody wants. The trick is just to know your kid on that one!
You can also try a rewards system for dry mornings – but do not scold or punish for accidents.
Keep extra sheets and clean pajamas handy so they are easy to access in the middle of the night or early morning.
Finally, know that in time this too shall pass.For more information on night training visit our TIPS page!
Even though it’s been a long time since I’ve had to train anyone in my house, I am helping to train a little girl that I work with, so I sympathize with what you are going through. One thing you do have to do that I did not is to decide what your child will wear while learning. Continue reading →
Fans of Sesame Street will recognize the author of this story, Bob McGrath, who has spent 38 years on the show to date. This isn’t a Sesame Street book though – it’s one of his own creations.
Each page shows a different child up to something involving the potty, some making it just in time, others being a little creative with what they do with it, and of course the one who has the accident (it’s okay!). This book really showcases the creative and fun personalities of the potty training toddler, as well as children from many different ethnic backgrounds.
A really fun bonus in the back is a special page where your child can glue in their own picture and become a part of the story.
Like all the other “for boys” and “for girls” books reviewed thus far, this is the same book, just switching out the gender. Told in ongoing rhyme, it tells the story of a child who loves to play and is ready to try a newly gifted potty.
Parents will get a chuckle out of the opening pages, which shows a very squirmy toddler getting a diaper change, and young children will identify with the main character who isn’t quite sure it’s time to give up that trusty diaper. After trying, and a few accidents, there is success and lots of happy pride. In the closing pages, the young reader is invited along to try too – a nice way to put ideas into action in this little book.
My Big Girl Potty and My Big Boy Potty By Joanna Cole
These two books are pretty much the same story, swapping out Michael in the boy book for Ashley in the girl book. The story is especially engaging as the young reader is introduced to the character and asked some questions. I used the boy book with my own son when we potty trained and he loved answering the questions and finding similarities between himself and Michael in the book.
In this story, the child is given a potty chair. They go through the steps of trying out the potty but not being ready, to having success, to still wearing a diaper at night, to celebrating with the purchase of some big kid undies. The books give a nod to accidents, assuring the child it is okay. At the end of the book, the young reader is assured they will use the potty to, and “won’t you be so proud!”
To read some of our other potty training books, look HERE!
Here’s another anecdotal account of early potty training, this one involving a mom who had personal interest in early training, both to avoid messy diapers and to help the planet. What are your thoughts?
This bright colorful lift-the-flap book follows a child, along with a very patient Mommy, through the potty training process. At first the child is hesitant to use the potty, then tries but has an accident and finally goes and gets to wear “big kid pants.” The child is nondescript and could be seen as a boy or girl. Parents will like the opportunity to discuss accidents and opportunity to “try again.” The book has a sing-songy rhyming rhythm that flows easily, and the sense of pride the child feels at the end brings a smile to your face.
I have used this book for years in my Signing Classes. I loved the vocabulary (potty, try, diaper, big kid, accident, proud) and emphasis on children trying rather than the pressure to succeed. The author’s focus on child readiness and use of emotion vocabulary (happy, proud) was also a big draw for me.
With the release of the Potty Time board book, “Hopkins Uses the Potty”, I now use both. They work well together and give the parents in my signing classes an opportunity to practice vocabulary while reading a book to a toddler. When parent go home and sign during the potty routine, or sign another book, they have shared with me that the additional practice helps them feel more confident and comfortable with signing. Signing with your child is good not only for potty training, but early literacy skills too!