How can I help my child stay dry at night?

Toilet training is a big milestone in every toddler’s (and parent’s) life

However, toilet training usually occurs in two phases — Day Training and Night Training — which are two completely different processes. Day training involves a conscious effort to go to the toilet multiple times. On the other hand, night training involves the subconscious part of your toddler’s brain, letting the conscious part know that the bladder is full and that they either need to get up to go to the toilet or hold on.

This is a far more complex process, which takes longer to develop than learning to go to the toilet during the day, and explains why night training often takes longer than day training.

How do I know if my child is ready for night time toilet training?

Similar to day toilet training, there are signs that your child is ready to tackle night time toilet training. These include:

  • Waking up with a dry nappy in the morning
  • Your child not wanting to wear a nappy at night
  • Waking up to go to the toilet or asking for help during the night.

If your child wakes up every morning with a wet nappy, they may not be ready for night time training and your child is likely to wet the bed. However, if your child wets their nappy shortly before they wake (the nappy will be soaked and their urine warm), this may be a sign that they’re ready, so you might want to give night time training a try.

When should my child be dry at night?

Every child is different so there are no hard and fast rules about when a child should be dry at night. Children who are toilet trained during the day can take years to become dry at night. In fact, it’s quite normal for a child under the age of five to wee in their sleep, with around 10% of younger primary school children needing to use some form of protection during the night.

Huggies DryNites Pyjama Pants are excellent for helping to manage this stage. Available in a range of sizes, suitable for boys and girls, these are a discreet, comfortable and absorbent form of night time protection, which will give everyone concerned some peace of mind.

young toddler rests head at sleepover

How can I help my child stay dry at night?

When your child is ready for night time toilet training, there are many things you can do to help your child stay dry at night. These include:

  • Making sure your child can get in and out of bed on their own, and easily remove their pyjamas and their DryNite Pyjama Pants. It’s a great idea for your child to practice pulling them up and down.
  • Talking about what going to the toilet at night means and what the process will be. Will they wake you up so you can help them? Or will they do it on their own?
  • Ensuring that your child has easy access to the toilet in the night, and that there is enough light for them to see. Installing motion sensor night lights can be helpful.
  • Encouraging your child to go to the toilet before they go to bed.
  • Asking your child if they need to go to the toilet, if they wake in the middle of the night.
  • Giving your child praise if they’re dry in the morning.
  • Not getting upset, frustrated or punishing your child if they wet the bed, as this is all part of the process.
  • Using a waterproof mattress cover can also be very handy during this phase. No one wants to scrub a wee-soaked mattress in the middle of the night!

Don’t put undue pressure on your child. If they become anxious or frustrated about the process, take the pressure off and forget about night time toilet training for a while.

Where to get help?

Remember, every child will eventually learn to stay dry at night. Some children may only have a handful of accidents before ‘getting it’ while others may take years. However, if you’re concerned about your child’s progress with night toilet training, there is help available. Speak to your GP or maternal and child health nurse.

Looking for more children’s health advice? 

Check out our wide range of health articles, support resources and information.

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