Ditching night-time nappies

Ways to encourage your child to be dry through the night.


However quickly your child grasped the essentials of potty training, it is perfectly normal for night-time dryness to take longer.


There are ways to help it along, but patience on your part is essential.

The vast majority of mums start potty training their children during the day but carry on using a pull-up at night. Using a pull-up rather than a nappy, may help your toddler feel he has moved on from babyhood while still having some protection from wetness at night.

When you are ready to ditch the overnight nappies completely, you need to take the same approach that you took for daytime potty training.

First, look for signs that he is ready to drop the night-time nappy:

  • Is your child’s nappy often dry in the morning?
  • Does your child call out for help in the night or try to get up to have a wee?
  • Is your child’s nappy often dry after a nap?
  • Is he reliably dry during the day?
  • Does your child wet his nappy just before he wakes?

Many parents stick by the golden rule: seven nights with a dry nappy, before attempting to go without.

Once you’re ready to give it a go, stock up on extra pyjamas or nighties, spare bed linen and a mattress protector.

Have a low-key chat with your child about not wearing nappies at night. They may be keen to give it a go.

If they seem worried about what happens if they have an accident, tell them about your plans to protect the mattress, the fact you’ve got spare night clothes and sheets, and that you’ll be on hand to help if they have an accident.

Make it clear it’s a step to becoming a really ‘big boy’ and that you won’t be cross if they do wet the bed.

Some children go through a transition period of waking in the night for a wee. This is a phase and it will pass.

You can either leave a potty and wipes in his room beside a nightlight, or leave a nightlight on in the hallway so he can get to the toilet by himself.

Initially, you will probably have to accompany your child, so be prepared for some broken nights.

Some parents lift their chidlren in the evening before they go to bed, to pre-empt any night-time need for a wee. This means you lift your sleeping child out of bed and put them on the toilet in the hope they’ll pee then rather than later in the night.

The key to using this method is that your child should be sufficiently awake to realise they are emptying their bladder on the toilet. The downside is that they may have trouble getting back to sleep.

It may be best to save this option until your child has wet the bed on successive nights in the hope that lifting solves the problem.

If after a week or so, you are getting wet sheets every night, it may be best to wait and try again later.


For more information, see ‘ Successful potty training’, published by teach yourself, £6.99.

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