One of the most common questions I receive from parents after their child is potty trained is, “What do I do at night? Do I use a diaper, pull up, or nothing?” Potty training a child should be done only after the child has developed bladder control. The average age ranges from 2-4 years old. If your child stays dry throughout the day for 2-3 hours at a time then they more than likely have developed bladder control. What most parents do not realize is the other component to potty training; the central nervous system. The central nervous system plays a key role in night time training. The bladder is a large reflexic organ, spontaneously voiding throughout the day when distended. The central nervous system has an effect on the bladder by creating a non reflexic bladder by producing an anti diuretic hormone that decreases the volume of urine produced during the night allowing a toddler to sleep through the night without the need to go to the potty. If your child is still filling a diaper at night after he is potty trained this simply could be the central nervous system has yet to fully mature. Remember this happens in each child at different times, usually between 2-5 years old.
In my experience, 85-90% of children start staying dry throughout the night a week after they are accident free during the day. Remember, potty training is actually training a healthy bladder that voids spontaneously since birth whenever it is descended, to learning how to relax the bladder so we can hold the pee in until we get to a potty chair. In 99.9% of toddlers that holding period is the very, very, very, very last minute where the child cannot even walk to the potty and has an accident. With practice the child gets used to voiding on a schedule throughout the day which promotes healthy voiding habits. Once a child develops bladder control during the day, night time training just falls into place. As long as a child is not holding the poo or pee in all day just waiting for a night time diaper to be put on to release, then go ahead and continue to use one for the night. Your child will start waking up with a dry diaper or better yet, refuse to even put one on and demands underwear.
If your child is over the age of 5 and still wetting the bed, consult your pediatrician. Bedwetting over the age of 5 has been said to be hereditary. Children that have one parent who wet the bed into later years have around a 44% chance of being a bed wetter and a child with both parents who wet the bed have a 77% chance of being a bed wetter after the age of 5. If this is the case, talk to your pediatrician who will give you many options available to get the situation under control such as limited fluid intake before bed time, moisture detector alarms for the bed that will wake a child up at the first sign on moisture, and a healthy voiding schedule. I stress the importance of speaking to your medical provider if you feel this is an issue in your family because as a parent you want to be cautious that there are not other causes of bedwetting such as a UTI.
In closing, potty training is just that, teaching a child with patience and support, a life skill that will give them gratification, self esteem and pride. Potty training may just “happen” for some children but the majority has to be shown and taught how to react to their body. Night training is where I always say, “The children will night train on their own”. The body is amazing, it knows that our babies need their sleep so let the central nervous system do its job and be patient in allowing it time to fully mature.
If your child is between the ages of 2-5 years old and you would like to sign up for potty training school located in Boca Raton, FL please visit our facebook page for a complete class description or contact Melissa at 949-306-6938 for class availability.
Happy Potty Training-