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Potty Training: All Through the Night

Staying dry throughout the night will not happen anywhere near as soon as daytime control. Give your child a break. After all, he's just starting to learn how to control his bowel and bladder during the day, when he's fully awake and conscious of his body's signals. It will take your toddler more time before he maintains control when he's unconscious, too. (Nighttime urination tends to occur during the deepest stages of sleep.)

Bedwetting is a nuisance and although you can't avoid it altogether, you can significantly reduce the frequency.


If accidents happen frequently, try doing a double dip: Make your child's bed with two layers of rubber sheets and fitted bottom sheets. Cleaning up will be twice as easy because you'll only have to strip off the top set; you won't have to remake the entire bed with new sheets.

Start by keeping your child in diapers (or even double diapers) at night long after he has started—and even mastered—daytime toilet training. But every night, just before he goes to bed, encourage your child to empty his bladder. Only when your toddler wakes up with a dry diaper for several nights in a row should you consider taking off the nighttime diaper. This probably won't happen until your child is three—and perhaps not until he's four.

Because accidents will still occasionally happen after you've eliminated nighttime diapers, put a plastic or rubber sheet as well as a mattress pad between the sheets and mattress of your child's bed.

If several accidents happen in the same week, ask your child what he thinks about returning to a nighttime diaper. If you handle this situation with sensitivity and avoid blaming your child, or making the return to diapers seem like a threat, or implying that he's being a baby, only good will come from this opening. Your child has two possible responses: He may realize that he's not yet ready to go without nighttime diapers and opt to try again later. Or it may strengthen your child's resolve not to need diapers anymore. Whatever your toddler decides, go along with it.

More on: Preschool


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Preschooler and Toddler, Too © 1997 by Keith M. Boyd, M.D., and Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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