How to lose night-time nappies
Your little one has mastered staying dry in the day, what an achievement. First of all, give yourself and your little one a pat on the back, you have both put in a lot of hard work and they have mastered a very tricky life skill. Well done.
Now it’s time to go dry at night so you never have to buy a nappy again (think of all the money you can save!) or you never have to wash a cloth nappy again (imagine all that spare time you’ll have back!)
Going dry at night needs to be more child led than going dry in the day. Children usually start showing signs between 3.5 and 4years, some children are younger, some older. Children with medical conditions may take longer. It is also important to bear in mind that children of all ages can have accidents, both during the day and at night.
Signs your child is ready to go nappy free at night are;
- They ask not to wear a nappy at night or they take it off themselves.
- Their nappy is only slightly damp or is dry in the morning a few nights in a row.
- Your child wakes in the night to take themselves to the toilet.
Just as with day time potty training, there is preparation to be done with night time training. Invest in a few good quality, waterproof mattress protectors which can be machine washed. You can use disposable sheet protectors too.
I like to have the bed set up in layers as follows;
- On the mattress I have a waterproof mattress protector.
- Then a bedsheet
- Next another mattress protector
- Followed by another bedsheet
- On the top layer I like to use a disposable protector sheet
- I then like to have a spare duvet and pillow made up to one side.
Setting the bed up as above makes for easy bed changing in the case of accidents. If there is a small accident on the disposable sheet that is easy to change. If there is a larger accident it’s quick and easy to remove one layer of bedding and replace the duvet with the spare. This limits the level of disruption to your and your child’s sleep.
Spend time talking to your child during the day about going to bed with no nappy and what to do if they find they need the toilet.
Restricting water intake in the evening isn’t necessary for night time training if your child is showing signs that they’re ready. If you do decide to restrict fluid intake this is only to be done so long as the child has had plenty of water throughout the day as you don’t want them to be dehydrated. It’s important to monitor water intake of any child to ensure they aren’t at risk of becoming dehydrated.
Some parents like to lift their children to the toilet when they go to bed themselves. This can reduce the chance of accidents because the bladder is emptied. However some experts suggest this can cause more accidents because the child is urinating whilst half asleep and perhaps unaware of their surroundings. This is a personal preference.
It is important not to push this stage. Your child is ready when they show signs. If your child is having a number of accidents per week it might be worth stopping and trying again a few weeks later.
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