Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Nighttime Potty Training

Question: My daughter was daytime potty trained before she turned 3 years old. We still always put a diaper on her for naps and bedtime. She's now almost 4 years old. When should we try nighttime potty training? - Cathy

Answer: Being dry at night occurs when YOU and YOUR CHILD are ready! Does your daughter wake up dry from naps or is she ever dry in the morning? Is she showing any interest in not wearing diapers? Does she want to be "grown up"?

Just as it was important to have her be in control of daytime potty training, it is equally important during this phase. Encourage her by using positive reinforcement. Accidents may happen. Negative reinforcement (punishment) will cause setbacks. Self esteem will diminish. I like using positive reinforcement charts, so progress can be seen. A chart with stickers for waking up dry or even requesting that diapers be removed is a great motivation.

You may want to use plastic to protect the mattress during this training period. The restriction of fluids a couple hours before bedtime, as well as emptying the bladder before bed will help.

There are also many things on the market such as alarms, buzzers and medicines that are used for nighttime training.

I suggest starting out with the basics first. If your daughter shows any signs of disinterest in this phase of potty training, wait for signs of readiness. Forcing her to accomplish something she's not ready for will discourage all!

Dr. Betti

Also see:

  • Tips on potty training
  • My 10 year old daughter is incredibly prone to insect bites. Even when no one else is getting bitten, they seem to go for her! Any suggestions?
  • My 12 year old daughter experiences difficulty sleeping due to fear of the dark and being alone. Is this normal?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.