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We’ve just hit another one of those whopping great decisions of motherhood!
When exactly is the right time for your child to go pull-up / diaper free at night?
And just what – if anything at all – can you do to help them be dry at night?
Now when I say decision what I really mean is I’ve agonised for ages and we’ve now stumbled into it by accident as I forgot to put my 3 year old’s pull ups on one night and there was then no way she would put them on again!
So now we’re muddling our way through … and learning an awful lot as we go …
First off I’ve learnt there’s very heated debates about when children are typically ready. I’ve outlined the views of the two camps below so you can make up your own mind … as with most of these things I seem to end up falling somewhere between the two extremes … 🙂
In retrospect my daughter wasn’t quite ready – I wish I’d spent more time preparing her but once the pull ups were dropped that one night there was no way back without a major fight so we are soldiering on.
She is by no means dry every night – though some of her friends the same age are – but we’ve found a whole load of tips that do help.
When Are Children Ready for Dry Nights?
Wait Until They’re 4 or 5 …
- If children don’t wake in night by themselves means not biologically ready
- Waste of time lifting if they don’t wake by themselves
- Children who aren’t ready can end up traumatised by trying too early
- There’s nothing you can do to motivate children not to wet the bed
- It’s a lot easier to change pull-ups / diapers than strip the bed
Help Them Along at 2 or 3 …
- In previous generations pre-disposable diapers most children were dry-ish at 3
- By adapting drink & toilet routines most children’s accidents are greatly reduced
- Be planet friendly – an extra year or more of disposables is a lot of landfill space
- Can save a fortune on pull-ups & diapers by going dry early
- Gently lifting children in their sleep & putting them on the loo at times most likely to wet themselves gets their body used to half waking & using the loo
- Waterproof sheets are now really easy to wash & tumble dry
Tips to Help Children Go Dry at Night
- Give child last drink an hour before bedtime
- Make going to toilet the absolute last thing in bedtime routine
- Make sure child drinks plenty during day so not thirsty at bedtime
- If it’s a trek to the bathroom put potty in bedroom
- Encourage child to use bathroom/potty if they wake up in night
- If they wake you in night always encourage them to go
- Encourage child to go as as soon as wake up in morning
- Adopt drink & toilet routine a month before ditching pull-ups
- If dry most nights after adapting routine they’re ready to ditch diapers
- If not dry try to work out when in night they are wetting themselves
- Lift child in sleep & put on toilet at times most likely to wet themselves
- Buy waterproof fitted sheets rather than waste money on ordinary ones
- Buy mattress protector for your own bed in case they come in
- Lighter sleepers & night wanderers are often dry earlier 🙂
- If child very sick & needs lots of fluid let them wear pull-ups if want to
- Put one waterproof sheet on top of another so can just whip off wet one
- Be very, very patient …don’t blame or get angry
- Don’t worry if child still not dry at 4 or even 5 – some just aren’t
I do hope these help – if you’ve got your own tips and advice, please do share.
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists. She has written about all aspects of organising family life for ten years. Her main areas of expertise are family finance and budgeting, simplifying housekeeping and family admin and kids’ party planning. Read more.