We’ve had Emmy potty-trained since she was about 2 1/2 years old. She’s always been a huge water-drinker and we figured we’d just save sleep potty-training for later. Her diapers were always so full in the morning that we couldn’t imagine her making it through the night dry.
As our due date draws closer I feel like we need to check some milestones off our list that we may not feel like giving attention to once we’re busy with THREE kids. One of those things was finally doing away with all the night/nap time pull-ups. I put her birthday in my mind as the goal and we set off on this lovely journey of teaching a four year old how to wake themselves up to go to the bathroom throughout the night.
I was shocked to find little to no advice on how to accomplish such a task. I got a few suggestions from blogs but there really wasn’t one sure-fire method like I was hoping to find. Here’s a few of the tips we were offered..
- Limit drinking water after a certain time of night.
- Wake them up to potty late at night when you’re heading to bed.
- Use a mattress pad and hope for the best.
She was thrilled at the idea of sleeping in her panties and being a “big girl”. We offered treats for staying dry and encouraged her to use the potty anytime she needed to. I changed A LOT of wet sheets. I woke up A LOT throughout the night. I started regretting our ambitious goals and reminiscing on the days of pull-ups and sweet sleep. Raising people is hard.
I kept praying that with every accident we were one step closer to things “clicking” for her. I tried my best to remain positive and not shame her in any way. I truly felt bad for her because teaching a child to wake themselves up is kind of a ridiculous ask. Her body may not have been developmentally ready for such a thing anyway. We quickly realized we’d have to do more to set her up for success.
We started really watching her water intake in the evening. This is so hard but we’d encourage her to take the world’s tiniest sip only if she absolutely had to have a drink before bed. We’d take her to potty at least twice before bed. We made a sticker chart with an ice cream trip to Chick-fil-A as prize for ten dry nights. Matt would take her to the potty around 10:30pm when we were heading to bed. Then, if he woke in the middle of the night (1 or 2 am) he’d bring her to the potty again. Her birthday came and went and we were still plugging away. We had so many successful nights but failures too. I was just telling Matt how burnt out I was getting on waking up throughout the night. Pregnancy is supposed to be spent soaking up sleep, knowing full well the impending lack of rest you’re about to endure. Then, out of nowhere we’ve had this glorious, GLORIOUS 6 night stretch of dryness. Please, don’t let me jinx it with this post. Regardless, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are making HUGE progress.
So, if you’re like me- looking for a “Potty-Training for Nighttime Sleep Only”, here’s what I figured out…
- You’re going to have to sacrifice some sleep and clean up a lot of pee.
- Do all the little tips I mentioned above and try to hang in there until something clicks with your child.
- Invest in a few great mattress pads that you can rotate.
- Stock up on your toddler friendly detergent because it’s about to go down in your laundry room.
I’m glad I’m writing you from the other side because it’s rough! But, now, I’m so thankful we’ve got one less kid using diapers and she’s so proud of herself too.
Now, onto getting rid of Tucker’s pacifiers… ayayay. We tried putting him down without one for the first time last night and he was still singing and talking away at 10:30 pm. It sounds like this “adventure” might be just as much fun as sleep-potty-training Emmy.
Wish us luck and send your best advice my way!