Ah, yes. You’ve come to the point where your little one is sleeping well, but it’s time to potty train at night. No more diapers, no more training pants, we’re talking about how to sleep train a baby to get through the nighttime potty training phase. Don’t panic, we’ll get through this together.
If you’re just at the beginning of the potty training journey, look away, focus on the days, and come back and read this in six months or so. Both you and your little one have enough to handle with the daytime milestone, so you want your baby to become a daytime potty pro before even thinking about tackling nights. For now, nights are business as usual. Carry on.
How to sleep train a baby
If your baby is still, indeed, a baby and is not yet sleeping through the night, throwing potty training into the mix will make the hurdles even higher to jump over. Focus on one thing at a time. You really shouldn’t be wondering how to sleep train a baby while tackling nighttime potty training, the two don’t mix.
Expect sleep disruptions
I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again, with my many years as a Philadelphia sleep coach for baby, whenever your little one reaches a milestone — such as toilet training — they’ll likely experience disrupted sleep. When you’re at the potty training stage, you’ve probably already had the pleasure of physical, cognitive, and language milestones wreaking havoc on sleep routines. It happens, you just need to be patient and consistent, and you’ll get through it.
If you have mastered sleep training your toddler and they’ve been using the toilet during the day for at least six months, now may be the right time to try mastering nights. However, if your little one has a disrupted sleep routine, there’s no harm in waiting. In fact, many children aren’t physically able to master nighttime potty training until the age of five or so. Begin the process by restricting liquids an hour or so before bedtime.
With anything new in life, you never know until you try, and it applies perfectly when potty and sleep training toddler intersect. You don’t know if your little one is physically able to go through the night without using the bathroom until you try it. Go diaper-free at night and see how it works. After a few days of accidents, you’ll know that your little one needs more time.
If your little one remains dry but is up throughout the night, this can also pose issues. First, make sure that the path to the bathroom is a safe one, leaving the hallway light on or having nightlights to avoid accidents. Redirect your toddler and be firm, consistently telling them that they need to return and remain in bed. Remember, it can take up to two weeks for your little one to bypass the sleep disruption because of their toilet milestone, so be patient.
If night-waking remains an issue beyond 2-3 weeks, it may be time to ask for help from a sleep coach for baby. I offer a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to determine if a sleep coach is right for your family