Potty Training and Sleep
Parents often have a lot of questions about potty training and how it interacts with sleep. The key is to not let potty training interfere with sleep whether you are just beginning to potty train or your kid's had it down for a while! I don't see any problem doing sleep training and daytime potty training simultaneously as long as the child is ready, able, and reasonably enthusiastic.
Here are some techniques to make this transition go smoothly without interfering with sleep:
- Start with potty training during the day and don't worry about your kid staying dry during naps or nights initially.
- At naptime give him a diaper or training pants until he stays dry for several naps (if not 7-10 days) in a row.
- Leave nighttime potty training for last. In fact, as far as I'm concerned you can leave a diaper or sleep pants such as GoodNites® underpants (undies that keep your kid dry but can be worn discretely under pjs) on at night all the way up to age four or five if that's what it takes. Many children learn to stay dry at night on their own in time, and it makes no sense to expend all this energy teaching a child to sleep all night and then confusing him by waking him up to go pee!
- Encourage your kid to use the potty right before going to bed and before naps but don't get into a struggle over this.
- When a child is in bed and says he has to "go potty" you are of course going to let him get out and go potty—but do it once and only once.
- Keep it boring. No talking, no games, no show and tell or this will be his favorite stall tactic. Just potty. Then put him in a diaper or a training pants, reassure him it's fine to use the diaper at night and get him back to bed.
- Some parents decide to escort their older kids to the bathroom and then stand in the hallway facing away from their child silently waiting until he is done.
- If he says he has to go potty again five minutes later, tell him that he's out of luck, it's too soon to go again, he can wait until morning, and make sure he knows there is nothing wrong with using a diaper or a training pants overnight.
- Some parents who feel uncomfortable with this stance will tell their children to go to the potty on their own this time if the kid is old enough. I've even had parents put a portable potty in a child's room so they can go independently. Just hope they don't knock it over!
Does your kid use the potty as a bedtime stalling tactic? What's been you biggest potty training challenge? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
More sleep advice articles:
- Commit to Getting Your Kid to Sleep
- Educate Yourself About Your Childs Sleep
- Start a Sleep Log
- The Importance of Consistency When Sleep Coaching
- Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
- Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
- The Importance of Putting Your Kid to Sleep "Drowsy but Awake"
- The Sleep Lady Shuffle: What It Is and How To Do It
- Do Step 1 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 2 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 3 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Be Your Kid's Nap Coach
- Check Off Your Sleep Coaching Checklist
- Create a Solid Sleep Plan
- Nightmares and Night Terrors (And How to Tell the Difference)
- End Early Rising
- The Sleep Lady on Transitioning Your Kid from a Crib to a Big-Kid Bed
- Ending Bedtime Stalling