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My boy has been potty trained for a while. He’ll be 4 next month and his previous daycare started potty training him before he was 3. (Note that I didn’t mention WE started potty training him.) Someone else totally led the way, and for that I’m forever grateful. I helped by working hard to not break his new habits at home.
Nighttime was a challenge for us. I didn’t have a daycare provider to do that part for me and I was terrified to let him wear real underwear instead of diapers for the longest time. I wasn’t sure he could make it 10 hours and what if he didn’t wake up? I may have been a little lazy, too. I didn’t want to wake in the middle of the night to clean up accidents. We overcame those worries and I have some tips for other parents dealing with the potty training battles.
1. Ask your child every 20-30 minutes if they need to use the potty. Make it fun, but also top of mind. My son still has moments where he runs to the bathroom at top speed yelling “I need to use the potty!” It’s not always top of mind for the children, especially when they get deep into playing with their favorite toys.
2. Don’t shame. There will be accidents. We still have accidents. Accidents happen, and there’s no sense in shaming the child. Who is that going to benefit? The last time my son had an accident, he didn’t even realize what he had done. I changed his clothes, cleaned him up and we moved on.
3. I let my boy pick his own underwear. We have a LOT of underwear because some weeks he wants to wear monsters, while other weeks he wants to wear stripes. He thinks this is fun and I will not discourage that. GoodNites TruFit underwear blend in with his other underwear, giving him confidence and me security for a good night’s sleep.
4. Incorporate “real” underwear into nighttime sleeping. This was the hardest part for me. What if he had an accident overnight? Who really wants to be out of bed at 2 a.m. stripping their child and the bed so everyone get back into their dry beds? (I speak from personal experience.) Thankfully there are GoodNites TruFit underwear which have absorbent liners and are washable. They look like regular underwear, so my boy doesn’t know the difference. I found the starter pack at CVS recently and I love that the pack comes with a solid and striped pair.
5. Limit fluids in the evening. We have a cut-off time of one hour before bedtime, and then my boy uses the bathroom right after he brushes his teeth, and again after we read stories and are almost getting into bed. Sometimes (most nights) he will come out of his room one more time to use the bathroom. I have to limit the “one more time” moments because he will come out of his room for hours if I allowed it.
What nighttime potty training tips do you have to share? How do you encourage self-esteem and confidence in your kids?