Bedwetting is a frequent issue that parents face when their children being potty training at night. Indeed, it disrupts sleep patterns and necessitates the changing of bedding in the middle of the night, which can leave both parents and children exhausted. In an attempt to avoid bed wetting, some parents wake up their children and take them to the toilet once or several times during the night. However, while this may offer a short-term advantage, it's not a tactic that is effective in the long term for bedwetting. Read on to find out why. 

The Problem With Waking Your Child For Nighttime Potty Training

The long-term aim of nighttime potty training is for your child to be able to stay dry during the night. This means they will need to build the habit of waking when they have a full bladder so they can use the toilet. Unfortunately, if you initiate waking them up, they may not learn to have control over their bladders. Instead, it's you who is dictating whether they use the toilet or not, and this can leave them in poor stead over the long term. 

Indeed, by imposing toilet time during the night upon them, your child will not get to build the mental connection between a full bladder and getting up to use the toilet. This means as soon as you stop waking them to use the toilet they may go back to sleeping through and wetting the bed once again. Remember that for long-term success with nighttime potty training, you will need to encourage self-directed behaviour in the long term.  

Waking Your Child To Go To The Toilet In The Night Interferes With Their Sleep Patterns 

While it's true that waking your child during the night and taking them to the toilet can help keep their bed dry in the short term, it's not going to do much for their sleep patterns. For instance, if you need to wake your child during the night twice, you will be disrupting their natural sleep rhythms and stages, which can result in exhaustion, grumpiness and additional stress for both you and them. 

Add this to the fact that waking your child in the night is only a short-term solution to nighttime potty training, and the benefits do not outweigh the disadvantages. 

What Do I Do Instead Of Waking My Child Up To Wee?

If you are currently practicing the waking your child up at night method and want to switch you’ll be pleased to know there are other alternatives.

Use a Comfy Mattress Pad like Hygge Sheets

Using a mattress pad can serve as an excellent alternative to waking your child at night during potty training. A mattress pad is bed wetting protection in the form of a soft waterproof pad that your child can sleep directly on. 

The lining of the waterproof bed pad will catch any wee if they have an accident, and you can whip the old pad off and replace it with a new one very quickly during the night. In this way, you can protect the bed, bedding, and mattress against leaks without having to wake your child up during the night. 

Return to using night time nappies or pull-ups

It might be also that your child just isn't ready to be out of night time nappies yet. Night time dryness can come months or even years after a child has been potty trained in the day because often we need to wait for a child's body to be developmentally ready. Hormones play a big part as well as the size of the bladder, the ability to hold onto wee in the night and the ability to also wake up when the bladder is full. 

You can find other things that might help here

Get a medical check-up to rule out any underlying health issues

Lastly, you may wish to take your child to their healthcare provider and get them checked out if a child is over the age of 5. This will help you establish whether there are any underlying reasons for their bedwetting, including things like urine infections, bladder size issues, stress, or even constipation. 

In the UK, the NICE guidelines suggest that children over 5 years of age can visit the GP for support. It might be that in your area, a school nurse may also be offered to you as support.

Seeing a medical professional can help you with your child becoming dry at night because once the issue that is causing bedwetting is identified you can tailor your solution more effectively towards it. For example, if your child is bed-wetting because of constipation you can include more fibre and water in their diet or medication.

Medical professionals may also be able to provide you with access to a bedwetting (enuresis) clinic, and in some cases offer medication that can help minimise the instances of bedwetting. 

Final thoughts 

In the short term waking your child up to go to the toilet at night might seem like the best option. However, it does not foster the mental habit of being able to get themselves up and go to the toilet which is the long term goal of potty training. Indeed, in some cases it may delay this connection. With that in mind, choosing alternative nighttime potty training strategies is usually the best approach. 

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As a mum of 2 children, Hygge Sheets® have been designed with parents and kids in mind. Our products are both practical for parents and fun for kids. Described as a "Game Changer" by parents this is a must have product!