Help Kids Have Dry Nights

Dry nights - simple tips for helping kids stay dry at night and for deciding when it is the right time for them to try

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Dry nights - simple tips for helping kids stay dry at night and for deciding when it is the right time for them to tryOh no!

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 … πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚
  • 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.

14 thoughts on “Help Kids Have Dry Nights”

  1. Great tips, Mum!
    There is a history of bed-wetting in our family. Not fun.
    You’ve summed up both camps nicely, and listed out the most practical tips. Thanks!
    I have found with my heaviest sleepers, taking them just after they drop into deep sleep, before REM sleep I believe, is the best time to get the up to use the loo.

  2. Great tips!! The thing we found that worked best was leaving on a pair of underwear instead of the pull up. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  3. These are great tips! I have a 2.5 year old boy…I add in BOY because they seem to usually be a little late on the scale compared to girls and my boy is even a late bloomer compared to most boys. Going by this post and several others I’ve read as well, he is no where NEAR ready. I’d rather do it when he’s completely ready rather than go thru the hassle of doing it too soon. Thanks so much for sharing! I found your blog thru the blog hop πŸ™‚

  4. Great tips! My little girl was just recently potty trained at 18 months and I know I still have a way to go before she’s dry at night, but I’m so glad to have found these tips. Thanks so much!

  5. These are some wonderful tips and thanks so much for sharing with the pin it party. I was considering this with my 2.5 yr old this summer but with a new baby to cope with I am not sure the timing will be great. I have pinned to our main board and to my parenting tips board too as this will come in very useful!

  6. My little boy of three and a half has been potty trained for a year now but still wets the bed sometimes. He’ll throw a fit when I try to put a diaper on before bed so I just wait till he’s asleep to put one on. Saves me a bunch of washing!

  7. Thanks so much for the tips! My son is 4 1/2 and I sometimes I feel like he’s never going to be ready. He is a super heavy sleeper and was still wetting even when I would get him up in the middle of the night, so we are doing pull ups for now and hoping he’ll start showing signs of being ready soon. I popped over from Tatertots and Jello–thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

    1. Hi Abby – Think there may be some parental karma where all those parents of light sleepers have finally got something to be relieved about! A friend with a 3 year old who has been rubbish at sleeping since the beginning has sailed through it with no lifting, no wetting at all. My daughter can sleep like a log – like her mother – and then there’s no chance of her waking, Alice x

  8. Thanks for these tips, I’m struggling with this with my almost 4 year old, but I’ve come to the conclusion he is just not ready yet to go without diapers at night.

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