You’ve got daytime potty training cracked, now here are some ideas for a dry night
Follow our reassuring do’s and don’ts and you’ll be on the road to getting your little one dry at night. Whether this is your first dry-at-night attempt or your ninth and counting, we’ve got the answers to help minimise those midnight mishaps…
There’s no ‘right’ age to start putting your child in pants at night. While you should wait until your little one is dry in the day, for some children it can take months or even years to master night-time dryness, so don’t take away bedtime nappies until you feel your child is really ready. Also, boys are often slower than girls.
“Some children can be school age before they achieve this milestone so don’t panic,” says Dr Olwen Wilson, consultant child psychologist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
“Before you begin, your little one does need to be dry during the day,” says Maggie Fisher of the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association. “But if you start and find your toddler is soaked every morning, wait until she is getting drier nappies before you start again.”
It can also help to involve your tot in the decision. “When Hollie’s nappies were dry 50% of the time we asked her if she wanted to go without them in the night,” says Lisa, 28, mum to Hollie, 3, and Sam, 9 months.
“If there’s an accident, ignore the wet bed and instead focus on the positive,” advises Maggie.
“Praise works much better than punishment,” says Olwen. “Unfortunately, people do use punishment and then argue that it works. Fear always works in the short term but it’s not good for a child’s emotional development.”
Some children can be school age before they achieve this milestone so don’t panic.
Olwen Wilson, consultant child psychologist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital
“If you have three dry nights in a row, things are working, but if there’s no progression there’s no hurry,” says Maggie.
“Hollie managed a couple of weeks and then regressed,” says Lisa. “So we put her back into night nappies for a month. She then asked to give them up herself and the second time it was successful. My advice is, if it doesn’t work, stop for a while and then try again later on.”
There’s no need to be afraid – just take that nappy off for the first time. “If you keep putting a nappy on that means it’s OK to use it,” says Olwen. You need to be brave and leap right off that peeing precipice.
“Lifting your toddler for a late-night wee can help her to stay dry,” says Olwen. “But research shows that cutting down her fluid intake makes no difference.”
“I have a waterproof sheet protector that’s been a godsend,” says Cassandra, 36, mum to Sophie, 3. “I also keep a potty next to Sophie’s bed and I make sure she knows where it is.”
“It can be several weeks before there are dry nappies in the morning, but persevere and it starts happening,” encourages Jenny, 27, mum to Harriett, 6, and Connie, 8 months.
Day one: “I’ve decided to go for it now because Grace’s night nappies are usually dry in the morning. We go shopping today and I let her choose her own knickers so she feels in control. She’s so excited about having her special night-time knickers, she can’t wait to put them on. Before bed, I give her a small drink and get her to go to the toilet. Then, while she’s busy playing with toys, I make her bed up with some towels underneath the sheet.”
Day two: “Grace sleeps through and wakes up dry! I feel so incredibly proud and make a big fuss of her in the morning but then don’t mention it too much after that. I don’t want her to be disappointed if she doesn’t stay dry tonight. We go out shopping and I buy her a toy as a reward. At bedtime we follow the same routine and she fetches her night-time knickers saying, ‘These are what I wear for bedtime.’”
Day three: “Grace sleeps through again and is dry in the morning. I feel incredibly positive but quite prepared that things may go wrong.”
Day four: “Grace wakes me in the night as she wants to go to the toilet. She’s dry again in the morning.”
Day five: “Success again! Grace is really proud of herself too, and I think being dry at night makes her feel more grown up. I haven’t noticed too much of a saving yet as she’s keen to buy more knickers whenever we go shopping.”
Martha, 32, mum to Grace, 3
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk