23 answers

Night Time Potty Training

My son is 3years old and fully potty trained since he was 2 1/2. My questions is at night time/nap time he still wears a pull up and sometimes he wakes up dry and other he wakes up soaking wet, I try to watch him fulid intake when after 7pm and have him go potty before bed and it still happens, I tell him before bed if you have to go in the night time get up and go potty there is a night light in there for him. Any advice for me.

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Thank you all for the great advice! I will try some of the great Ideas I got. I also think since he is 3 yrs old he will come out of it he is still little and sleeps so hard at night.Thank you!!!

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I'm in the same situation except a girl. I still use pull ups at nap and overnight. I'm not sweating it yet as I'[ve been told by many that their bladdars just aren't big enough to hold overnight potty. My daught does on occasion hold it through a nap, but no way overnight!!!

Good luck as we have to patiently wait...I'm on board with you!

My oldest was not fully potty trained untill 5 and he still has night time accidents about once a month mostly when we,ve not watched his liquid intake one thing that has helped is monthly chiropractic visits. We go to Horizon Family Chiropratic in River Falls Dr Schriner has specilized in kid care and after two months we noticed a difference. Plus it has helped with a lot of other issues. It's worth a try very non invasive

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I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. LOL. I am right there with ya. My son is 4 and has been trained since a month before his 3rd birthday. He has yet to stay dry at night. I have even been getting up in the night to take him potty and he still wakes up soaked sometimes. We have been giving him stickers on the nights he stays dry and he also gets to pick something to do special one on one with mom or dad. He loves to play board games. I have been told this is normal till they are 5 and then its still not of concern until they are 6 or 7 and then you take them to the doctor. Some kids even wet the bed until they are 8!! I have been told that some kids are deeper sleepers than others and don't even realize they have to pee until they are wet. I have a friend who wakes her son at least 3 times in the night and he stays dry. But she works Night shift during the weekends so she is normally up at night anyways most of the week. he is going on 7 now, and just sleeps to Hard. I have to say you are lucky to still be able to put him in training pants. My husband saw the price of them and said NO WAY! He refuses. So I change bedding ALOT. Its tiring. I did pick up some waterproof pads that protect the sheets but sometimes he rolls off them as they are crib size and he is in a twin bed. I also have a vinyl mattress cover under the sheets that cover the entire mattress so it is not ruined. that helps a ton. I just wish I could find bigger mattress pads than the crib size. Well talk laterz. J.

Hi, I seem to remember my older daughter having night-time issues wetting at that age that I discovered were related to what she'd eaten that day. I actually started food-journaling, and I think the main culprits were dairy (even Organic), especially ice cream, and any sort of candy eaten after noon. I don't know if that helps you or not though. I'm sure it will pass though, either way. My older daughter is 5 now and I think she grew out of the dairy/candy-night-wetting reaction at least over a year ago.

All the best,

Hi! My son is 10 and still he has trouble with this! Boys are sometimes a little slower than girls. I sure wouldn't worry about it yet. Be patient with him,...I'm sure you are. Bed wetting is often hereditary. I was a bedwetter also and finally outgrew it around age 11. My son now sets his own alarm in the middle of the night. Deep sleepers often wet also. My advice to you is keep him in pull-ups for as long as you can. I made the mistake of never wanting to go backwards so not to hurt his feelings...in the many years that have followed, I've changed ALOT of sheets! This probably made me more frustrated than anything. So make it easy on yourself. Gabe was sure able to pick up on my agony over changing so many sheets and I hurt his feelings and he misinterpreted as me being angry with him...
We also bought the alarm system for bedwetting...it worked but again,...they'll go back to it until their body is ready. Good luck to you!

He's just not ready to stay dry all night. I would just stick with putting pull ups on at night. It is VERY normal for kids to not be able to make it through the night until age 5-7. Most pediatricians don't even consider it a problem until age 6-8. Just be patient. Both of my boys wore pull ups at night until kindergarten.

I just read most of your responses because I'm in the same boat right now. My 3 year old boy is potty trained, but wetting at night. For about a month he was staying dry for nap, but now he's back to wetting then, too. I just ordered these bed pads from One Step Ahead that are suppose to be really great and easy to change. They hold up to 6 cups of liquid. Might be worth checking out.


Night time bedwetting is unconscious because it is a Blood Sugar issue. Let me explain:

In all of us, it is when our blood sugar drops that we find ourselves having the urge to pee. This is the message our brain gets when our blood sugar drops that gets sent to the bladder. In young children, the untrained bladder sphincter releases automatically when the brain gets this message. The answer is this:

1. Give him a high fat snack before bed (low sugar): Peanut butter toast (sugar-free peanut butter), grilled cheese sandwich, cheese and crackers, cheese and apples... the higher fat the better and the MORE he can eat the better.
2. Let him drink plenty of water (not juice) until he isn't thirsty any more. Dehydration causes the body to take as much water out of the residual food in the colon as possible, which is why when you deny water the problem gets worse. To the brain, dehydration is just a different kind of hunger.

Your problems will all-but disappear right from the get-go, however you may have some accidents in the future, so be cautious about diapers.

Once the bladder sphincter starts to go all night without releasing, it will start to strengthen and he will wake up because his bladder is full in the morning - the way we all do.

I implemented this with my daughter at the age of seven! I wish I had found this information when she was three - it would have saved me four years of diapers and sheets.

I would suggest you get a little potty chair (or a porcelain pot like they used long ago) to put next to his bed. With my girls I could always lift them out of bed and sit them on the potty and they would instinctively go, but I am thinking that with a nighttime potty-training 3 year-old boy it may take more effort. I don't know why he couldn't go potty sitting down, I guess. It sounds like he is just too busy sleeping to pay attention to needing to pee...so his onesie is getting all wet. Three is pretty young still so I think just keep doing what you're doing and perhaps try the potty-next-to-the-bed concept because it really worked for us. If you are interested, basically the idea is ultimately to get him to use the potty in the bathroom. In order to do this, you have to move the potty bit by bit, each move separated by three months' time, and show the little guy where you have moved the potty in relation to his bed (example:three months from now, when he is in the swing of things using the port-o-potty, say, "Bradin, the potty used to be next to your bed but now it is going to be right next to your bedroom door. When you need to go potty, here is a nightlight right next to your potty so you can see it.") and eventually your sneakiness will not be detected by him, resulting in him getting up and going potty in the bathroom on the regular toilet before he knows what's up. This totally worked like a charm for all my kids. Good luck!

Hi A.,
I can relate to your concern! My oldest boy followed almost this exact same schedule that you are currently dealing with. We tried the same types of things, hoping he would stay dry during the night (limiting fluids, getting him up during the night to pee, but nothing worked). However, it was right about his 4th birthday that he actually decided for himself that he wanted to stop wearing pull-ups at night. And now he has stayed dry (in his underwear or pajama bottoms) during the night almost every night since (he is now almost 4 1/2 now). He also hasn't ever gotten up at night to go to the bathroom, just holds it all night. We did have some friends tell us that sometimes their little bladders just aren't ready to hold it for that long of a time span (overnight) until they are a bit older.
I would recommend you hang in there, give him some more time and not get too set on a certain age he should "get it"- hope this helps :-)

Wow...way to go on having him potty trained already! My 2.5 yr old is just starting to recognize that he can go on the potty, but still wants his diaper! My 6.5 yr old was compeletely potty trained by 3 yrs like your little guy, but we still did the pull up "undies" as night. We told him they were undies and that he shouldn't get them wet!! I wouldn't be too concerned since he's only 3. Just really praise and reward him on the dry nights, and maybe that will inspire him:)

My mom used to tell me that the kids will stop night time wetting when they are ready. I come from a family that my mom wet the bed till she was 12 years old, I wet the bed until I was 12 years old, and both my kids had that problem. Don't fret, your son will out grow it.

He's too young to expect him to be trained at night. Some kids take years more before they stop wetting during the night. Don't stress,and just let it happen when it happens!

It happened to me... I have 4 kids (2 daughters, 6 1/2 yr and 5 yr, and 2 boys 3 yr and 1 1/2 yr). The girls were potty trained by 2 yr 2 months, the older boy 2 1/2 years. Our oldest daughter and oldest son virtually stayed dry over night at about 18 months, maybe a wet morning half a dozen times after that. However, our youngest daughter was 4 before we confidently let her wear underwear to bed. We believe she slept so hard, that it she would wet her bed before she even woke up to know it was too late for her to get to the bathroom. She would wet her bed once every 3 or 4 nights. We wouldn't let her drink anything after supper (we eat between 6-7pm and bedtime is between 8-9pm) and she would use the bathroom before going to sleep. The one thing I had read that seemed to help, was to push a lot of vegetabels to help keep her bowels cleaned out. The bladder has more room to hold urine if bowels movements are more frequent. All of my kids really like broccoli and that seemed to help - it didn't solve it. She still wakes up most mornings around 6am to use the bathroom, and she'll go back to bed for another 30-60 minutes.

It was hard when our oldest son stayed dry more often than his sister that was 2 years older than him. I'm hoping our youngest will be like the other 2 kids. We just started training him! Wish us luck~

children sleep pretty heavily! This is pretty normal,I wouldnt worry until he's 4 or 5 years old and still having acccidents. You have a few options...no fluids a few hours before bed,keep the pull ups on at night,or wake him to go potty. Good luck! Hope this helps or at least makes you feel better.

I have a 3 yr old son, will be 4 this May and he has an accident about once a month. Don't worry, bladder is still inmature, it will happen. My brothers were 6yr before they stopped all together. He might be a heavy sleeper and doesn't know when he had to go. I have a liner under his sheets still. Just be patient with him and his bladder will catch up to him. You need to go ahead and take him out of the pull ups though. He may still be using it as a crutch so he doesn't have to get up.

My oldest was not fully potty trained untill 5 and he still has night time accidents about once a month mostly when we,ve not watched his liquid intake one thing that has helped is monthly chiropractic visits. We go to Horizon Family Chiropratic in River Falls Dr Schriner has specilized in kid care and after two months we noticed a difference. Plus it has helped with a lot of other issues. It's worth a try very non invasive

If your son sleeps around 10-12 hours at night that is a loooong time to expect him to stay dry...especially if he sleeps like my two sons, I could tap dance on their heads and they wouldn't wake up:) So the little sensation of having to go pee probably won't fully wake him up most nights until he is older. One thing I found that is simple and works well..although not every night, is to take my 3 yr old to go pee before I go to bed...say around 11pm. I get him out of bed and he usually will go pee for me even tho he is pretty much asleep when I make him go. It wakes him up enough to pee and then he crawls back into bed, making it only 7 -8 hours until he will wake up. If he does pee in his pull up its much less than he would have had I not woken him up later in the evening. If its not a huge amount of pee you could also try the cloth pull ups, I bought mine at Target...they have cloth insides and plastic on the outside....I am not currently using those for my 3 yr old b.c he just wets too much so ends up wetting his clothes and the bed but if your son has less urine then the cloth will really help him feel when he is wet vs the nightime pullups. They are inexpensive, 3 for about $6 and as long as you don't have to worry about BM's they are really easy to clean (vinegar or essential oil and hot water in the washing machine) and more environmentally friendly as well...
K. H.

Do not stress it so much! A 2 1/2 year old boy can be very active and not take the time to fully expell all the contents of his bladder. When they are asleep their bodies finally relax enough to fully empty his bladder. If he has trouble with bladder or urinary tract infections, then you may want to have it checked out, until then, make sure he takes his time when on the potty to allow for him to completely empty his bladder. Read him a book or put a small TV in the bathroom to keep him interested.
I have a 7 year old daughter with the same trouble. She has a funnel shaped urethra, so to completely empty she has to really relax. It is taking her a little longer to learn how to relax on the toilet, but with time she is learning and her accidents are only a couple a month.

Hi A.,
I think sometimes, we just need to go for the gusto. Even pull ups these days are so absorbant that it isn't too uncomfortable for them to wet. Our son has Down syndrome, and we are working on this. We recently got rid of daipers at naptime and are going to work on nights next. What we did was put a pair of underwear on him and then the pull up so that if he went, he would definitely feel it. We did this for a couple of months (I would guess that this would be a shorter time-frame with a kid with no developmental delays). As soon as I noticed that he was dry a couple of days in a row, we went for it - no pull up. It's amazing how your kid surprises you. He's been in just underwear at naps for 3 months now with only 1 accident. We just had to trust him and deal with the mess if we had to. Nights are the next step for us.

I think potty training is harder on the parent than the kids - ha ha!

Good luck,

I'm in the same situation except a girl. I still use pull ups at nap and overnight. I'm not sweating it yet as I'[ve been told by many that their bladdars just aren't big enough to hold overnight potty. My daught does on occasion hold it through a nap, but no way overnight!!!

Good luck as we have to patiently wait...I'm on board with you!

At that age I wouldn't do anything unless you want to try waking him in the middle of the night. It is unlikely that at age three he will wake up by himself to go. Some people limit fluid intake after dinner, make sure they pee right before going to sleep and other things. But frankly, I find that kids just grow into being night dry, some sooner than others. He sounds like he is on track age wise.

My just turned 3 year old daughter is going through the same thing. She can drink and drink all evening and wake up dry or we try and limit intake and she will be soaked. I have finally given up and decided that she will get there in her own time. As long as she is trained during the day I am okay.

Relax... the more stressed and pressure you feel the more pressure he will feel. Boys have two valves that need to be controled where as girls only have one. This is why it can take them longer... it might be that he is a very sound sleeper which is good for his health.
S. 53 mother of two grown sons

My 5-year-old still has a hard time waking up enough to get himself to the bathroom in the middle of the night. He very rarely has accidents; he'll usually yell for one of us or we'll hear him crying as he tries to find his way, even though we also have a night light.
To avoid any potential problems, we make sure he goes before bedtime, and then my husband takes him again before we go to bed.
There are some fantastic waterproof pads you can get to put on his mattress, just in case. I get the flat crib pads in the baby aisle at Walmart. Two work nicely on a twin size bed and they are small enough to easily throw in the washer if they get soiled.

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