Nighttime Toilet Training

Laura Markham's picture

Question

I have a six-year-old daughter. She is using the toilet during the day but soaking a Pull-Up® at night. We limit fluids after dinner, but that doesn't help. We've even tried bribing her with girl scout camp. She says she just doesn't feel like she has to go when sleeping. I can sense she is frustrated.

I have four other children, from 8 years to 6 months. She shares a room with our toddler. Her pediatrician says to not worry, but...I am envisioning a ten-year-old in Pull-Ups® for some reason. Where do I begin with night training?

Answer

Your pediatrician is right. It is very common for a six-year-old to still be soaking a Pull-Up® at night.

Has your daughter ever had night terrors? I know that is an odd question, but sometimes kids who sleep very soundly won't wake to use the bathroom. Your six-year-old also has a lot of competition in diapers.

The way to begin night training is exactly what you are doing -- limiting fluids. Then you'll have to wake her up to pee every two hours (which I can not imagine when you have a baby). And you don't want to wake the toddler.

Honestly I would just let her wear the pull-ups a little longer. Her body will mature over the next year and make training a lot easier. It's very common for six-year-olds to wear Pull-Up®; not so common for eight-year-old. Eight-year-olds will still wet the bed sometimes. I think in a year you can tackle this. You'll have to wake her for a month, but then she will train easily.

Enjoy your children!
Dr. Laura