Potty Training and Sleep Troubles

Updated on September 13, 2010
S.B. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
7 answers

Hi mamas,

We are potty training our almost 2 & 1/2 year old son and the potty training itself is going very well. The problem is that we are having so much trouble getting him to go to sleep at night because the potty has become a major stalling technique. First he wants to try to use the potty a dozen times before bed. Then when we FINALLY get him into bed (sometimes an hour or more after we've started) he'll call for us to use the potty again. and squeeze out like a teaspoon of pee.

We try to tell him that he did a good job getting out his pee and now it's time to sleep and that we're done with the potty but he completely freaks out. Now we have a situation where it's like the boy who cried wolf because today we told him he was done using the potty (after like an hour of sitting on it) and then he ended up peeing on his bed. Between naptime and bedtime, we have had about four hours of struggle today alone and he never did take a nap. Does anyone have any advice on how to make this easier?? We want to keep the potty a positive thing and not have it be the cause of such stress in our house.

We've also thought about converting his crib into a junior bed so he can get up by himself, but I think that would just open up a whole other can of worms for us to deal with. Any thoughts, ladies?? Anyone been through this and NOT gone completely crazy? :)

Thank you.

Just to add - we don't indulge the stuffed animal thing or blankets, and we only let him use the potty in his room or in the bathroom next door, it's just that the requests for these things go on and on until he gets hysterical. Usually he'll give up on asking for water or blankets because we don't give in, but we are afraid to not allow him to use the potty because the one time we did, he actually had to go!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks mamas and thanks to everyone who read my stupidly long post. I had a gentle talk with him about how it makes mommy and daddy upset when asks for lots of things at night and doesn't go to sleep and that it's important to sleep so we can feel good and play and do fun things. I told him that at naptime he would get to use the potty one last time before getting tucked in. I let him sit on it for awhile and then said I'd count to 10 and when I was done potty time would be over. When I got to 8, he jumped up with a big grin on his face like it was a game!

He went to bed, let me tuck him in, and went to sleep 20 minutes later after talking to himself for a little bit but not getting upset!! My husband followed the same procedure at bedtime, telling him he'd have one last time to use the potty, etc., and he went right to bed! I can hear him still talking to himself a little bit, but normally he'd be asking for something by now so I think it really worked.

I think I just really had to put the doubts out of my mind about messing up his potty training and just do the same thing with the potty that I do about the other stalling behaviors. Thanks to the poster who mentioned Super Nanny - I don't really watch the show but I do like her loving no-nonsense approach and I have been doing all the things you said about the other nighttime behaviors, just not potty training. Some people act like if you make a mistake with potty training your kid is going to be screwed for life and I think it was really messing with my head.

More Answers



answers from Portland on

I agree. Put a diaper on him for naps and night time. Tell him that it's OK to wet his diaper. Give him lots of reassurance that he's doing well using the potty during the day but it's to early to have to use it at night.

You can have him go potty but then put on a diaper and in a calm and loving tone tell him training is over until tomorrow or until the afternoon. It may take him awhile to be able to accept this change. Just stick with it for a week or two.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

If he's determined to "have to go" after putting him to bed, you have to let him. You're right about him using it as a tactic to stall bedtime, but he knows you have to let him, or he will pee in his bed to make his case. (They also use this tactic when you're out and about to check out bathrooms in restaurants, gas stations, and stores.) I think your best option is to let him handle it by himself---then the novelty will wear off on its own. Go to the toddler bed and put his potty next to it, and wait him out. Yeah, he'll get up a bunch of times, maybe pee, maybe not. He's not getting any interaction from you, which is the reason for all the requests. When he realizes that he's doing it alone and without fuss, he'll go back to sleeping. If he's not wet in the morning, why stress him by using pullups?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

My suggestion would be to try cutting out his liquid intake late at night so that way you will know he doesn't have to go the potty. Plus with my daughter we put night time Pullups on her when she sleeps. They hold more if she does wet. Just keep telling him like you are...if you have a accident its ok. We can clean it up and it will be good as new. These two things might help and just stay firm. If he says he has to potty then let him go to the closest potty. Let him sit there no more than ten minutes and then back to bed. No more one stuffed animal then no animals. One animal and that is that.. just stand you ground.

As for the bed situation it seems like a good idea so he can get up by himself to go to the potty. However I think that might cause more problems. He may want to get up all the time for potty breaks end playing. But you know you child better than anyone else.

Good luck with the whole situation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

It sounds like he's stressed out about having a pee accident. Some kids can night train at 2 1/2, but the vast majority don't do this to much much later. Let him potty train during the day and still wear a diaper or pull-up at night. He'll either wake up to pee on his own at night or he'll be able to eventually stay dry all night and not have an accident.

My son (now 5) night trained himself at 2 1/2 by waking up on his own. His body was not ready to hold it all night. My daughter who is 6 1/2 only recently was able to (consistently) wake up dry. She is a really deep sleeper and has NEVER woken up in the night to go pee. She sleeps right through peeing her bed, and wakes up when she gets cold.

Ease up on the nap time and bedtime training. Even if he is physically ready, he's so freaked out about an accident he doesn't want to go to sleep.

Good luck~

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Night time/nap time and Day time pottying are 2 DIFFERENT things and processes.
They do NOT attain sleep dryness.... at the same time as day time dryness.
Night time dryness is not even attained until even 7 years old and is normal.Until then, night time diapers are used.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

It seems like you feel the issue isn't accidents or anything potty-related, but that he is using the situation to delay going to bed, and I think I agree with you. Just the fact that he's running through a laundry list of things he needs or wants is enough to make me think that. My son's tried it too. The reality is, for these things to stop, you will have to endure some hysterics, but eventually, he will understand that the behavior is unacceptable and that the hysterics are not going to control everyone. Bedtime is the hardest time to deal with I think. Everyone is tired. If he were in a toddler bed or even just a regular bed, you could have the potty set up in his room, and when he has to go he could get out of bed on his own, and go, and get back in bed. And, if in a big boy bed, you could just put a waterproof mattress cover on it. If he has an accident, just change the sheets, no problem. It sounds like the bigger issue is bedtime routine and boundaries. You may or may not like Supernanny, but in essence, she suggests that once a child is in bed for the night, and has had the snack, the drink, the potty, the blanket, etc., then you should not go back into the room for a bunch of requests. If he would need something legit and you have to go back in, don't talk with him, so its not rewarding. Just go in, give him whatever and leave again. You might also consider using a pull-up at night for awhile, even though he's staying dry. Then, you won't feel stressed if indeed he pees a little. You don't have to call it a diaper...I just call it "another type of underwear" and my son seems cool with it. Sometimes he gets so hung up on wording of something, that if I just word it a little differently, he gets over it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

My son gets 3 times out of bed to use the potty, then the potty goes in his room and the door is shut so he can't get out again.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions