I never know when children are meant to stop wearing nappies altogether. My son was potty trained by the time he was two, but I was worried about pressure on his bladder, so I continued putting him in nappies until very recently. At three and a half, most of his friends are dry at night, so this holiday I decided to bite the bullet. I took advice from mother, friends, and our nanny and I’m happy to say, we’ve only had two accidents in two months.
This is how I did it:
Firstly, I cut down his evening milk to a token couple of ounces to alleviate any strain on his bladder. I made sure he had a big wee just before going to bed, explaining that he’s a big boy, and that he doesn’t need a nappy anymore. I did this a few weeks before starting, so that he could get used to the idea. I bought a few little token toys and explained that every morning he was dry he would get a little toy. He was so excited at the prospect of receiving a little treasure, it was a real incentive. I still give him the odd token, whether it be a temporary tattoo or a sticker – but I’m sure this will tail off as it becomes second nature.
Just before I go to bed at 10.30pm, I lift him and take him to the loo, stand him up, supporting his weight and make a ‘psss psssss’ sound – sometimes it comes quickly, and other times it can take a minute or two. He’s always back in his bed within a few minutes having never stirred. He never remembers in the morning.
During the night, I listen out for the tiny patter of feet. At the beginning he woke a couple of times and took himself to the loo, which starts off as probably a great novelty factor. More recently, he heads to the toilet at about 6am, and then he settles back down until I come in at 7am. I try and keep quite a bright nightlight on, so that he has a clear path to the toilet, and doesn’t have to open and close doors. I find that when they take themselves, they’re in a bit of a trance like state, so I wanted to make it as easy as possible.
My nanny has a different view on nighttime potty training, and prefers to wake them before bedtime, so that they’re conscious of what they’re doing, in the hope that after a few weeks it will become second nature and will then be able to take themselves. This sounds pretty sensible to me. They are different options when it comes to sheets and nighttime training. I opted for a wet fitted sheet, (specifically for night training and available at most shops) a disposable changing mat, and another fitted sheet on top. So that when he had his accidents, I whipped off the fitted sheet and the disposable changing mat, and there was another one ready and waiting.
All in all, I think we had a pretty good run, but I can’t say I’m excited about the prospect of nighttime training my daughter! Another handy tip – I’ve started to put a couple of books by my son’s bed incase he wakes at 6am for a wee and can’t get back to sleep. He has a brilliant little Cars clock which he adores. The lights blink at 7am, so he knows it’s the right time to get up.