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Overnight Potty Training: What Can I Do To Help?

February 16, 2015 2 min read

 "Our son is 4 years old and has been dry in the daytime since he turned 3. His disposable pant is soaked every morning. I know this can be normal but I wonder if there are some things I can be doing now to help him become dry at night.

Nighttime dryness can follow daytime dryness by months or even years. How to help with this transition is a common parental concern.

Here are a few things that you can do now to help him become dry overnight.

Establish daytime dryness first.

Make sure he is reliably dry in the daytime, knows when he needs to use the bathroom and has soft, regular bowel movements.

Urinate twice before bed.

This means making sure he tries to go potty 30 minutes before bedtime, then once more as lights go out.

Encourage drinking and frequent toileting during the daytime.

Fluids after dinner should be water, not milk or juice, in a small quantity.

Don't allow disposable pants to be worn while he is awake.

Put it on last thing before lights out and take it off first thing in the morning. Some children will wet the pant as they are waking up in the morning, just because they know it is there.

Trial of no disposables.

Especially if you have noticed that his pull-ons are less wet or dry in the morning, try having him wear underwear to bed. Protect the bed with a waterproof cover and protect his sheets with washable, waterproof overlay pads. The ones with the tuck-in sides are the best.

If a couple weeks pass with no sign of progress toward dry nights, restart the pull-ons and know that there will be a better time to try this later on.

Remind your son if he wakes up for any reason or if he comes to your room in the night, he should use the bathroom at this time, even if he doesn't feel he needs to.

Walking your son to the bathroom when you go to bed probably does not speed up the spontaneous development of dry nights, but does allow one more voiding to be in the toilet.

If your son gets to 6 and is still having nighttime accidents, you can introduce a bedwetting alarm to help him develop that brain-bladder connection more quickly.

Bedwetting alarms sense the first drop of wetness and sound to alert him and you that wetting is occurring. Over time, his body will learn to connect waking up before wetting happens. In most cases, children do not have control over their overnight wetting and they are not wetting because they are lazy or belligerent.

There is no need to feel parental guilt; being kind and supportive is much better. Punishment is not warranted and may even delay the development of dry nights. Be patient and know that each child develops at a different rate.

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