Seven tips to tackle night-time toilet training

Kinderling News & Features

So you've got your little one happily skipping to the loo each day, but you're still wary of whipping off that night-time nappy. You’re imagining piles of wee-soaked sheets in the laundry and waking up to make multiple trips to the bathroom.

But don’t fret, help is at hand. If you’re ready to take the plunge, dear parents, here’s some great advice from our resident childcare expert Chris Minogue to get past the big wet.

Listen to Chris' interview with Kinderling Conversation:

1. Adopt the '10 dry nappies' rule

“Generally it takes up to six months of daytime toilet training for your child to sleep through the night and not wet their nappy. But be aware that some kids take longer. Once your child’s fully into the rhythm of daytime toilet-going, they’ll be able to hold their bladder much longer at night. If they’ve been dry for ten nights, you’re probably safe to take their nappy off at bedtime.

2. Let them initiate things

“If your toddler’s saying ‘I don’t want to wear a nappy’, it’s a good sign you can start night-time training. Lay out a few nappies on their bedside table and say 'let’s try getting a dry nappy for this many nights and then we can take your nappy off completely'. Be aware your child can have an accident even if they’re fully toilet-trained. One accident in ten is not a big deal and they’re probably still good to go, especially if your child is saying they want to do it.

3. Invest in ‘brolly’ sheets

“Set their bed up with umbrella (aka ‘brolly’) sheets to avoid changing sheets in the middle of the night [these are sheets with a special waterproof layer]. Layer two ‘brolly’ sheets on top of each other, so if there’s a spill, you can just whip the top brolly sheet off, slip your child into clean PJs and put them straight back into bed.”

4. Add a 10pm toilet stop

“There are lots of different theories on night-time training. Some people will get up at 10pm and take their child to the toilet. I’m not against the idea of a night-time toilet trip if it helps your child and makes them feel good about their ability to sleep without a nappy.

5. Let them find their own way there

“It’s a good idea to leave a soft light on in the bathroom so your child can go to the toilet on their own. Otherwise they’re likely to call out for you to come and help them.”

6. Be aware that history may repeat itself

“Some children, mostly boys, tend to night wet for a long time. Interestingly, a boy’s ability to hold his bladder during the night is often connected to how his father slept through the night when he was little. Dads, if you were a bed-wetter as a child, one of your children may also be a bed-wetter for a while.”

7. Don’t offer rewards

“If your child has a dry night, just say ‘That’s really good! I’m very proud of you!’ and move on. If you start saying things like ‘Every time you have a dry night I’ll give you a red frog’, you’ll end up stressing your child out."

Hear Kinderling Conversation every weekday at 12pm or grab the podcast


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Photo: Mario Trejo /