Dream pee: How to potty your baby or toddler at night to keep them dry til morning.
If you don’t want to use diapers at night, want your child potty trained at night, but keep having accidents (or, in elimination communication lingo, “misses”)...look no further. The “dream pee” might just solve your nighttime woes.
Across my own 5 babies, I found that a strategically placed dream pee helped them stay dry at night, and sleep better, during certain times of their baby and toddler years.
What is a dream pee?
The definition of a dream pee, the way I see it, is:
A middle of the night pee initiated by the parent (not the child) that is done without speaking or turning on the lights, with the intention of helping a child stay dry all night.
Whether you should do a dream pee at night
Some parents worry that they’ll fully wake their child if they do the dream pee incorrectly. Others don’t want to disturb your baby’s sleep, at any cost. Still others might benefit from a dream pee.
But first, at what age do dream pees help babies and toddlers? Well, a dream pee can be done (and can be very helpful) with any age baby or toddler. If it helps your family get better sleep and/or stay close to your infant hygiene values, do it!
Typically, however, a dream pee is a useful tool when your child is having daytime success, is walking, and also is moving into a toddler bed. (I don’t recommend waking up a small baby, 0-12 months old, if you can help it!) When babies hit the age of sleeping more soundly through the night, the dream pee is effective. I usually start dream pees at around 15-18 months, and keep doing them as necessary until 24-36 months.
The difference between nighttime EC and a dream pee
There’s a difference between nighttime EC and dream pees though! Nighttime EC is baby-led - so when baby or toddler wakes up, you take them to the potty and then get them back to sleep. This is usually done from birth to 12, 14, 16, 18 months or so. It really just depends.
But when you’re doing just dream pees, you are actually consciously moving from baby-led pottying all night to a “let’s help baby keep dry and not have to wake to pee, by taking him at night in a sleepy state” kind of a thing.
You, the parent, initiate a dream pee, so that’s the main difference.
Of course, there is often a transitional piece in between, and a bunch of overlap.
You can do nighttime EC (responding to baby’s needs to pee at night every time they wake) in combination with dream pees...they can happen simultaneously and eventually, hopefully, the child will stop waking to pee altogether, switching gears to only dream pees (which can prevent night waking because of needing to pee!), followed at some point by the dream pee being completely unnecessary - yes it does happen eventually!
Again, beginning dream pees can help the baby not wake to pee, and sleep more soundly through the night. Hope all that makes sense!
Okay...so now for some...
Reasons you might want to do a dream pee
- You don’t want to use diapers at night
- If your baby or toddler wears diapers at night, and you’d like them to stay as dry as possible
- You want to support your child in being dry (and comfortable) all night
- Your child’s sleep is regularly disturbed from being wet
- Your child wets the bed each night but does not have medical bed-wetting issues
- You are tired of changing wet sheets/wet diapers all night!!
- Your baby or toddler is dry during the awake hours but not-so-much at night
- You have a deep sleeper on your hands, one who sleeps straight through peeing their bed, despite being soaked.
Okay, so if any of these are “you,” let’s learn how to do a dream pee.
How to do a dream pee
- Pick a time to do it - common times include when you, the parent, go to bed, such as within the 10pm-12am range. Other times include very early in the morning, such as 4 or 5am. I recommend doing it when you go to bed.
- Set up the night potty environment in the bedroom (if possible)
--Set up the night potty station (this is ours, below) - for a young toddler, this would be a small rug, a mini potty, a lamp with dimmer or a dim nightlight, wipes or toilet paper if they typically poop at night; for a baby who is still ECed in-arms, you’d either potty them in-arms, in the room if possible, over a top hat potty, a mini potty, or at the sink or toilet.
--Double-make the bed by layering in this order: mattress, mattress protector, fitted sheet, mattress protector, fitted sheet, top sheet, blanket or comforter. If you have a miss in the night, remove any wet bedding, remove the top fitted sheet and top mattress protector, and there will be a dry sheet below it!
--Have a fleece blanket nearby in case you don’t want to change sheets in the middle of the night if there’s been an accident - in this case just throw the fleece blanket on top of the wet area and your child can sleep on the fleece without it soaking through.
--Use a baby monitor so you can see and hear if baby is tossing and turning from either being wet or needing to pee
--Install a dimmer or nightlight in their room that is not so bright that it disturbs sleep, but that will enable you to see to potty baby at night (if their room is really dark).
--Use white noise - this gives them a sound to focus on and creates consistency in the sleep space (almost like a hypnotic state that can’t be broken even with a dream pee!).
--Choose your back-up - do you want to dress baby in a diaper at night or undies only, undies and pants, or pants only? Or do you want them to feel the opposite of a diaper and sleep naked from the waist down? Choose whichever back-up most inspires your child to stay dry, enables her to sleep longer and deeper, or is the easiest to remove at night. There literally is no wrong answer here!
An example from yours truly: I’d much rather re-use the same disposable diaper night after night than clean wet sheets every day - and often I’ve observed that my babies keep a diaper dry but without it, they don’t. My 5th baby started doing great without a diaper at 17 months, so we have ended night diapers earlier with her. But the other 4? They did best with a diaper back-up until about 26 months of age, and it was usually dry (unless I didn’t use one - then they’d wet the bed!).
Tip: read your child my Night Potty Board Book before bed so they can see the night potty station in action before they experience it!
- How to do it, step-by-step. At the time you’ve selected, go to your child’s room and quietly pick them up from bed. Don’t say anything unless you want to make shushing or soothing noises. Do not turn on any lights or otherwise change the vibe of the room. Hold them close and, if possible, remove the pants and any diaper back-up while you’re standing and holding them close, with one hand (practice this during the day when you can see what you’re doing, and obviously be careful!). If you’ve just got them commando in pants-only, stand them up in front of the toilet while they lean on you and pull the pants down and/or diaper there. (TinyUps are a great cloth pull-up/cover alternative). Set baby gently on the potty and squat in front of it yourself, letting their head lay down against your knees if that helps, and gently say “pssss” or “shhhhh” or “go peepee” and relax...if they need to go they will go. (Remember, this is a “pottytunity” - an opportunity to go potty - so if they don’t go it’s not a big deal.) Then gently pull pants back up and get them back to sleep however you usually do. With a young toddler who is no longer nursing, place them back into bed quietly and quickly and leave the room without a word. It’s like it never happened. ;oP
If the dream pee doesn’t work - troubleshooting!
If the middle of the night pottytunity is not working for your baby or toddler, here are some ideas of how to make the dream pee work:
- Babies - never wake a baby to pee! If you’re waking up a 0-12 month baby to pee at night, please consider doing Nighttime EC, which is baby-led, instead.
- Try a later time - sometimes we are just offering too soon in the night, so set an alarm for 1 or 2am and see if that works
- Try early in the morning instead of late at night - some babies soak their diaper right before waking in the early morning, so you can help them stay dry by offering at 3 or 4am. I wouldn’t offer at 5 or 6am because often a baby will not go back to sleep - and we definitely don’t want that!!
- Try two dream pees instead of one - if you’re set on this working and you don’t mind disrupting your own sleep, offer once when you go to bed at 10 or 11pm and then once more at 4am or so.
- Moms: have your husband or partner potty them at night instead of you - it may be less disturbing if mama doesn’t come into the room to do this.
- Change your back-up - go back to a disposable if you find that they deter wetting more than whatever you’re using now - I recommend the biodegradable disposable diapers by Dyper if you’re going with this option, as no other diaper ever biodegrades! If moving to commando or naked at night is something you want to try - go for it! If your child is in Tiny Undies and pants during the day, and is regularly dry, try that at night, too. Often a child gets used to a backup and will prefer it day and night, but has no way to tell us about their preference. Use whatever works, no judgment.
- If they refuse the mini potty or simply won’t go on it, try in-arms for a younger baby over the sink or toilet or mini potty, or bring them to a nearby big toilet with seat reducer on it (this is not preferable, but give it a try). During the day try to train them on using the mini potty so at night it is more useful.
- If you’d rather follow your child, potty them anytime they wake up at night, if they’re willing. This is what we call “nighttime EC” and you can get my Nighttime EC 101 minicourse if you want more info on how to potty at night, or see my book Go Diaper Free for 0-18 months or The Tiny Potty Training Book for 18 months and up.
- If everyone’s sleep is ruined and/or you’re sick of wet sheets or middle-of-the-night toddler parties...or resistance...stop! Do not do any more dream pees for several months, if ever again. Use a diaper as a back-up for now and be sure to do the before-bedtime pee, limit fluids for the 2 hours before bed, and then potty immediately upon waking. You’ll eventually be out of the woods, naturally, so do not fret and just pause the night for now. :)
What next? Do we do dream pees forever???
No, you won’t have to do the dream pee forever! If your baby stops going when you offer at night, or majorly refuses, just stop and see what happens. Use the backup that works best for you both, double-make the bed if necessary, and only potty at night if it makes baby or toddler more comfortable...especially if YOU are the one initiating it!
If dream pees DO work for you, you can choose to gradually offer later and later in the night or later and later in the early morning until the dream pee is no longer necessary - the habit to stay dry will stick and your child will also outgrow this phase.
If they don’t outgrow it, and your child is wetting the bed at 5 or 6 years old, please see your pediatrician to rule out the possibility of medical bedwetting.
If you need help with sleep training that does not include cry-it-out (CIO), please visit my friends at The Baby Sleep Site and get a customized sleep plan, or pore over their comprehensive blog. We got a custom sleep plan with two of ours and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Your baby deserves sleep and so do you...and some babies are trickier than others. Trust me, everyone wins when baby deeply sleeps at the appropriate ages!!!
And that’s it. The dream pee - the parent-initiated, help-baby-stay-dry-at-night, middle-of-the-night pottytunity (or opportunity to go potty)...in a nutshell.
Now I’m eager to know:
Have you tried the dream pee? Are you gonna try it tonight? Let us know how it goes, and also if you have any other tips to share, they are always welcome - add them to the comments below!
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)
So funny that you sent this article this morning! We did our first dream pee last night. My 26 month old has been diaper free since 18 months, and was having a lot of success staying dry in a cloth diaper for months, then when he started sleeping through the night (just recently…) he’s become such a heavy sleeper that he’ll soak himself early in the night and be wet and cold until morning without waking us. It’s become an every single night thing. He takes his last pee around 9:30 (this toddler has become a pro at delaying bedtime!). My husband went in last night at 11:45 to see what would happen. He jumped up when my husband walked in, he took him to the bathroom to pee, just to keep it consistent with his usual night pee process, took a pee, went immediately back to sleep, and woke up dry!!!!! We did not expect it to go this well and we were terrified to wake up a toddler who fights bedtime so hard and is finally sleeping through the night, but it was a huge success!!
Yay!! I’m so glad it worked Jessi!
So glad I found this !!!
I have twins and potty training has not been easy but when my twin 1 started to show signs that she was ready for night time training I sceptically started using this method and she took to it so easily! I couldn’t believe it, she had maybe two accidents but within a few weeks she was completely dry every night and has been the last few months 🙌 I would recommend to anyone!
I have now just started with my twin 2 and I hoping the same for her haha fingers crossed and thankyou so much !!!!
Glad you found this as well!
Yes sometimes potty training one twin at the time is the best. Often times one will take to it more than the other, and then once they are successful it is easier to get the other one board.
I always recommend getting siblings to teach them how to use the potty. 💕
We have been doing dream pees for about 2 months (at 10:30pm) and our toddler is now fully night-trained which is great! I’m actually thinking of stopping soon and seeing what happens, because he only tinkles a tiny bit during his dream pee… I just wonder WHEN is the moment to stop dream-peeing, or what signs I look for that he doesn’t need this anymore? Is it just a trial and error process?
That’s awesome Brittany! You can go about it two ways. One, just stop the dream pee and see what happens. Two, start shifting it back later and later. Then ditch it.
Thank you for covering this topic. I have grappled with dream pee and night time EC for almost two years. At 4 wks we started day and night Ec until my son started sleeping through the night and I wanted to as well. At 16 months we were done with day time diapers. We took on night time wrap up at the same time but nothing suggested in the book worked. So, we went to pullups (love DYPER) and thought we would try later on.
Well, at 20 months we tried again bc I was told we have to get it done before 2, I don’t believe this now. We did a dream pee early on 11-12 then another around 3-4 AM. The first one was a breeze second was met with lots of resistance. Also, he still wet the bed regardless and he did pee each time I put him on the potty. So, I layered up his bed, tried commando in fleece pjs, doubled up trainers, and kept on dream peeing. One night after a dream pee he soaked the bed about 1.5 hrs later, I mean soaked, yet slept right through it (he has never been sensitive to wetness, maybe he will be a great swimmer). We bought more pull ups and will take another significant break. Not sure what to do-never thought a little guy could hold so much liquid.
Do you suggest to keep trying after taking a month break.? We limit liquids etc.
Trying not to worry about it, but looking forward to saving money on the pullups.
Hi! I’m sorry that nighttime is a struggle for you right now. I would suggest trying tiny trainers with a tiny up cover over them. That’s what did the trick for my son.
Thank you so much for this episode, I wanted to ask you about the dream pee (which Ithought I had invented 🤣) sometime ago, and here you answer it all!
I had been doing a dream pee around 6 weeks ago with my 18-months old. For the first week or so it worked very well, she stayed dry for the rest of the night. I did mostly as you said, she is in undies and pajamas day and night, I tried not to wake her, used only a dim light, no talking, and we went to the bathroom over the sink. Then for a few nights in a row she did not want to go and struggled with me, which made me stop and begin night time EC. But I’d rather use a dream pee again and not have to get up in the middle of the night 😅 so I might try again. Perhaps with a mini potty in her room, even if in the daytime she refuses to go in the potty and wants the toilet seat reducer.
I had a question to ask my EC friends: how do you cover your toddler with at night? We use undies and pajamas with a sleeping bag as it is quite cold in her room. The sleeping bag is not very practical for a dream pee, nor for passing the baton, but she moves a lot before going to sleep and I want her to be warm enough 😊. Any ideas?
And finally you for speaking more slowly 🙏🏻😊😍, I did not need to try reducing the speed as you suggested last time 😆
We have the same problem of putting our 13 month old in a sleep sack to keep her warm so it makes.it difficult to dream pee. I just go for it and she sometimes wakes up more than I would like but generally settles down by herself when.i put her back to bed.
We are not at the passing the baton stage with her, but not are we with our three year old at night time. We still do a dream pee with her and she sometimes wakes in the middle of the night crying and we take her then as well. She is not able to take herself yet because she is just too sleepy and disoriented.
I think it is a good idea to have a potty in her room Suzanne. Anything you can do to minimize waking too much. Keep fiddling with it, you’ll get a good night EC routine in no time. For dressing warmly, go for layers. Long socks or leg warmers under warm pants, and a few layers for tops. If you use separates it makes it easy to get them on the potty. xx Andrea
Really excited to give dream-pees a go! We’ve been mostly dry during the day for 2+ months now (she just hit 21 months) and I’ve been uncertain how to approach nighttime (I attempted nighttime EC for two nights before I gave up, lol!). Such great timing! My little one bed-shares and nurses a handful of times still, so I’ll be curious how we do with dream pees! About a week ago, she woke in the morning with a DRY diaper and I was just floored.. .so I think there’s hope!
Thank YOU! <3
Hi Jen! It sounds like this is the perfect time to ditch night diapers and start dream pees. You’ve got this! xx Andrea
Much success for us with dream pees lately, my son is 25 months old. He has been diaper free since 19 months (part time EC since 5 months). I stopped using nighttime diapers shortly after taking away day time diapers as he kept waking up dry. Dream lees only recently began working for us, we were doing the occasional pee when he would wake in the middle of the night but he would wake up and be really mad if I tried to initiate. Anyways, we still nurse at night and so the dream pee is a great way to ensure I’ll get those last minutes of sleep in the morning and not stress that a full bladder will wake him up in the 5 o’clock hour when it’s too late to go back to sleep. Thank you for all you do! It’s been such a stress relief for us that our son is gaining more potty independence every day!
Way to go Mary!! It sounds like you have done an amazing job wrapping up EC. Congratulations on being diaper free!! xx Andrea
We do a 10pm dream pee with my 2.5yo son. The first two nights went great, he led, went back to sleep fine. Now he cries every time I take him (though still pees). He definitely wakes more than I would like. We use a pull-up backup, because he is still wet in the morning even with a 10pm pee, and I’m not mentally prepared to take him in the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully the one dream pee will eventually result in a dry morning (and hopefully he will stop crying!)
Hi Rebekah! I would ditch the pull up. It isn’t helping him learn at all, they are too absorbent. If you want a back up I would go with training pants and a pull on cover like a Tiny Up. That’s what did the trick for my son. It helped increase his awareness. xx Andrea
I started EC full time around 5M and we started only doing it during the day. She used to sleep through a wet cloth diaper. However, at around 7M my baby has been waking up dry daily between 5:30-6AM. Since it’s so late in the morning, she often doesn’t go back to sleep after pottying and nursing. I’ve been trying to get her to sleep until 7AM again by experimenting with her naps and changing her back up. I switched to disposables a couple weeks ago to see if she could pee without noticing, but she still wakes up and needs to pee. I know you don’t recommend waking a baby less than 12M to pee, but since she’s waking up early anyway, I was wondering if it would be worth trying a 4AM dream pee or if this is something that just needs to be waited out.
I would definitely give it a try Jess! If she is waking anyway, that is a great time to offer the potty. xx Andrea
Thanks for this post Andrea! We have been doing dream pees since our 33 month old was about 13 months. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t seem to be able to hold much pee in his bladder. We don’t give him any liquids after 6pm when we finish dinner, and he pees before bath and after bath and sometimes one more time before cloth diaper goes on for the night. We take him to do a dream pee around 9:30pm, 11pm, and then at least one more time during the night (I also have a 7 month old so I’m up anyway nursing). If I do a 1:30/2am pee, he is still unable to go until morning and will wake with a wet diaper. It’s only if I do a 4th dream pee around 3:30/4am that he is able to stay dry until morning. It’s pretty exhausting!! He’s very good at staying dry during the day (out of daytime diapers since 20 months) and we stopped diapers during nap times a few weeks ago, and he stays dry about 50/50 during naps. I don’t want to deprive him of liquids during dinner, but I don’t know if there’s anything else we can do to help him stay dry longer during the night. My husband isn’t ready to deal with wet clothes and sheets during the night time more than we already are, but I am wondering if taking nighttime diapers off is the only way for him to learn to hold it longer. I also wonder if maybe he just doesn’t produce enough ADH and that’s why he pees so much at night, so maybe taking off nighttime diapers will only cause more headaches and not actually help. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks again for bringing this topic up! xoxo
Hi Angie! I would definitely change how he is dressed. Diapers just don’t help them build any awareness. If you use something like a Pea Pod mat, you won’t have to change sheets. Then you can have him naked bottom to start, after that commando. One thing to keep in mind, if there is a family history of bedwetting into school age it might be an issue for a while. xx Andrea
Thank you so much for what you do. It has been awesome to go through the EC process. It’s not just about potty training for us. It’s about having a better relationship and communication with our son. We feel like it has contributed to his confidence and independence as a person.
Our son is 24 months old and thriving. We have been doing EC with our son since he was 8 months old. He was fully trained for daytime pee and poop by 14 months. He stopped needing diapers for nighttime around 18 months. He has been solid ever since and now just wears regular underwear. Then, in the past eight days or so, he started wetting himself again at night. We have tried getting him up as soon as we see him wiggle (around 5) but we usually miss it, only caught it once. Last night, we got him up around 3:30 (because newborn was crying and woke him up) and took him to potty. He was dry, pee’d in the potty and went back to sleep. Unfortunately, he was wet again by 6:30 when he woke up and this time, it was a lot of pee.
We had a new baby 8 weeks ago and the bed wetting doesn’t seem related to the change because he hasn’t had an issue until now. However, it’s always a possibility that the newborn is waking him up and adding to the problem. She’s definitely waking is up… :-)
We also have noticed a cognitive leap recently in our son. He is able to do more things physically each day and is increasing his vocabulary drastically. We wondered if his leap could also be a new factor that will also pass? What things lead to new wetting?
He eats dinner at six and goes to bed at eight. We try to limit drinking past 6:30, but we give him water when he asks, and that’s often around 7:30. But he goes down super fast at 8pm… Not sure if the proximity to bed is the problem because he’s dry until around 5am, it seems.
One last thing, we introduced peeing into a bottle when we were on a hike. We did this because he doesn’t fit portable potties anymore and we didn’t want to carry something heavy. Could this experience have also contributed? The nighttime wetting started that night.
We are wondering what to try and if you have any ideas for why this happened in the first place?
Hi Mary! Kids can have a regression/negative reaction to a new sibling any time in that first year. I would say it is likely the cause of the regression. Giving him focused time in (no baby involved) for 10-15 minutes here and there throughout the day will help feed his meter. Limiting fluids is a good idea, you can use a tiny cup like a shot glass with just a sip for when he asks for a drink. Then do a dream pee or two, one around 2 hours after he’s asleep and again around 2-3am is a good starting place. You can also change how he is dressed, if he’s in undies try commando or naked bottom. It may help to read him the Night Potty book so he can learn what to do at night when he needs to go. Hopefully he’s doing better soon! xx Andrea
I have tried this a couple of nights now. Is it best to stick with the same time every night? I have gone in around 10-10:15, but tonight I checked and my son was dry. Do I still offer if he’s dry? Or, try for early morning time?
Hi Samantha! You can move around until you find the best time for him. It’s okay to offer if he is dry and he actually goes potty, the idea is to get to them before they go. He may need an additional dream pee around 2-3am if he is waking wet. You just need to play around with it to find what works best. xx Andrea
I’m really keen to try this with my 32mo daughter. She’s refusing to wear any form of nappy to bed and I want to respect that but is clearly not ready to be nappy free. She’s wetting bed most nights and sometimes twice. Main problem is the fact she’s associating the nappy with poo. She’s been using them in the day to do a poo but is now in full blown poo refusal and constipated.
She’s now refusing to even do a wee on the toilet before bed which is frustrating as it’s been per of the routine for so long.
I’m worried the dream pee will fail as she’s so desperate to poo it will hinder the pee if that makes sense
Hi Laura! At this age the best thing to do is stop using all diapers and potty train. Working on daytime dryness will help with nights as well. You will want to make sure she is hydrated and fill her up on foods like prunes, pears, peaches to make it easier to go/harder to hold. She is holding because right now she thinks a diaper is the correct place to potty. Once you start working on potty learning this will improve. xx Andrea
My 12 month old daughter had been dry overnight at least 80% of the time since about 10 months. Recently she’s started waking super early in the morning, 4:30-5 am, when she usually sleeps until 6/6:30. If she sleeps later, she has a wet diaper, but early wake equals dry. She will not go back to sleep after she wakes even when I put her on the potty. She screams and refuses to pee until she’s nursed. She’s very young, but should we test the dream pee with her at night? Is it possible there is a connection or is it more likely sleep schedule/brain development related? I’m terrified of messing up her sleep even more.
Hi Christina! You can try nursing her over the potty in the morning, she may go back to sleep after. If that doesn’t work, give the dream pee a trial run. Just try it for a couple of nights and see what happens. xx Andrea
My son is 17 months and we did the tiny potty training book last month. He is still very dependent on us to take him to the toilet- he will initiate in public all the time and sometimes at home or he reverts to his EC signal. We are ok with that for now and don’t mind on working on independence later. For naps I was putting him in a diaper and then when he was waking up dry I stopped. Now it can be hit and miss on whether he’s dry (tried commando, underwear, underwear with diaper over).
Once he got a taste of what it felt like with no diaper he decided he no longer wanted them at night either which I eventually was ok with. We started limiting late liquids, continued the final pee that we always did, and tried different ways to dress. We figured out when he moved/makes a bunch of noise that he needs to pee- so we take him. The first couple days it was only 12 and 5. Then it turned to 12,3, and 5. Then it was 11:30,3:30,5 and last night he had an accident sometime before 12- I took him then. He started fussin again at 12:30 and I went back in there- another accident so I took him pee again. Then 3 and 7 this morning.
I see no pattern other than he SOMETIMES follows the 12,3,5 but mostly it’s all over the place. Is he just not ready?
Hi Casey! It is great that you are working on night training!! There is definitely a learning curve. I would recommend having him naked bottom or commando, give it a week or two before changing up how he is dressed. Limiting fluids 2 hours before bed is great! Pay attention to high water foods as well, grapes, cucumber, watermelon, soup, ice cream, etc. That will effect his night as well. If after a few weeks it’s not coming together, go back to diapers for a few weeks then try again. Kids change so quickly at this age, a reset can do the trick. xx Andrea
Hi, my almost 13 month old has been keeping her diaper dry at night for the past week if we take her potty once in the middle of the night. Problem is, that she will not go back to sleep for hours after the pee, no matter what I or my husband do. We have been taking her around 4-5am (any earlier and she doesn’t pee), we have a baby potty right next to the bed and try to keep lights low, no talking. This last time I nursed her while holding her over it like a top hat potty, and that seemed to keep her calmer than usual but she still wouldn’t go back to sleep and was awake for the day at 5:30am. I was so excited that she initiated being dry at night, but I really can’t keep doing this if it loses us this much sleep. She still wets her cloth diapers frequently during the day and isn’t walking yet. Any advice on getting her back to sleep or what I should do?
Hi Rachel! I would maybe try to see if you can get a dream pee around 2 hours after she’s asleep. If that doesn’t work, I wouldn’t do a dream pee so close to waking. You can just stop the dream pees for a while, see what happens. She may stay dry until her usual waking time. xx Andrea
I’ve tried a few times to do a dream pee with my 21mo son. He absolutely refuses! He is very upset about being moved. If I try to cure with a “pssss” he starts to get angry. I’ve tried a potty and a cup (though not to a toilet as I foresee that going poorly). I have also tried multiple times. 10pm he was dry, no go. 1am he was wet, no go. I had hoped to keep him a little drier at night (his pj’s are often damp in the morning) and also get him used to holding his pee at night (his 3yo brother still has a TON of pee at night, and doesn’t wake to pee at all, so I’m trying to prevent that). Any suggestions or should I just stop and try again later.
Sounds like you aren’t catching the timing of when he needs to go. Once you find out that he is wet, like 1am, try going in at 12:55am and see if he is dry.
Also, make sure that you are dressing your little one properly and NOT manipulating too many clothes. Ensure that the room is warm and the lights are low.
We potty trained my 25-month-old with your method after doing EC with a cloth diaper backup since she was a baby. Potty training is going great. At night, we’ve been doing dream pees, but I’d love to work on stretching out her ability to stay dry. She’s in cotton trainers under pants, and used to be in cloth diapers before the training. She also used to sometimes wake up in the morning with a dry diaper, so I know she’s capable. How do I push the dream pee timing without having tons of accidents? Should I push it back in small, e.g. half-hour, increments? How long might it take to reach the point where she can hold it all night again? Or should I just try different clothing or back to diapers? (We bedshare, so the accidents are a real bummer…) TIA!
Great question! Around 2 years of age is when it is common for kiddos to be able to hold it through the night, so your timing is perfect. 👍
Yes, I would start in small increments. Maybe more like 5 or 10 minutes, 30 minutes might be a big jump.
Alternatively, some parents do choose to just drop the dream pee cold turkey. This method requires a lot of talking about holding it through the night, reminding before bed, etc.. And there is usually a transition period for little ones, which means a short period of accidents until they get the hang of things. To make this successful though, you really need to be there right as they are stirring awake. 😊
We started night-time EC the same time as daytime EC because my child would get upset just before peeing and we could prevent that by pottying (at around 4 months was when I realized this I think). My child is now 15 months and I’m so tired. I know everyone says, “If it affects your sleep don’t do it!” But I tried various alternatives – disposable diapers, various cloth diapers, just letting them free pee onto a soaker mat – but the problem is they are disturbed before the pee and then extra disturbed after if I don’t potty them, so it seems the best way to minimize the disturbance is to potty and not do the whole rigamarole of soothing through fussiness until they pee and then having to change a diaper. At this point we don’t even put any clothes on at night because it is easier to potty without anything. But I do have to wake up multiple times a night to potty them and even with the potty next to the bed (thank goodness, because for a bit they would only be content to be taken to the bathroom), I still don’t feel like I get good sleep. But I don’t want to limit nighttime fluids because they are already low on their growth chart and medical and anthropological literature suggests that babies with busy working mothers make up calories/nutrition through nighttime feeding. So am I at an impasse? I was doing dream feeding for awhile but lately I’ve found the only way to get enough sleep is to go to bed the same time as baby so that just leaves 3-4 or so times that they wake me up.
Yes, some kiddos are very adamant about using the potty at night and do not like the feeling of being wet. They are more sensitive in that way. Not a bad thing, just not ideal for exhausted parents.
You can try reading my night time EC book to your little one each night before bed, and see if she is motivated to use the floor potty next to her bed by herself. Do keep in mind that some kiddos are comfortably able to hold their pee through the night and feed on demand, so that may be a possibility for you and your little one. Lastly, you are so strong for all that you are doing now, and remember it is temporary. Hang in there. ❤️
Hi Andrea, I looked for some info about nightime and I have some questions. My daughter is diaper free since 19 months, now she’s 23 mo and she was out of diaper also at night. During the summer no problem, cause we’re in Italy and there’s a climate that allows us to keep her naked or commando style only at night. She used to have 70% misses, let’s say 1 or 2 nights a week with no bedwetting. I noticed that she tends to pee early in the morning…and lately she’d wake up for being wet and stay awake. So I put her again on diaper…and she eventually went back to sleep through the night. MY DILEMMA is that when it comes to go to bed, she set up the potty and all the stuff, she pees, poos…one or two times but then it’s really hard crying when it’s time to put the diaper on and the sleepsack…she keeps on saying “pee pee or poo poo again again…” So, I don’t know what to do, I’d like to follow her instinct and wear no diaper nor sleepsack but I don’t want her to “get a cold” or “wake her up” because of being wet…any suggestion is more than welcome :) Thank you
Great question… if you can be there right when she stirs awake, and take her before she goes that would be ideal. I would also try limiting fluids before bed if you haven’t already.
Generally what I find, is that there is an initial waking up early to pee, where we need to be up to take them. Harder for us, but temporary. Then after about a month or so they are able to hold it longer, and therefore can sleep in longer without having to wake us up. Just takes a little adjustment period.
I am curious what to do when our son doesn’t pee at all during the nighttime waking and is consistently sleeping soundly in a wet bed. Our son is 33 months old. We decided to do daytime and nighttime training at the same time. Three days of daytime training has been a breeze and the three nights have been consistently wet with no pee during the lifting. We’re limiting liquids before bedtime, have potty set next to bed, have left him naked or shirt on only. He’ll pee about an hour before bedtime and will sit to pee but nothing comes out right before laying down. We have done two wakings a night and have tried adjusting the times slightly. (10:30 and 2:30) (10:00 and 2:00), (11 & 3:00). He goes to bed around 8:30 but may not actually fall asleep until 9-9:30. Each time he has already peed the bed before we get there and does not pee on the potty when we get him up. He was completely dry after his last nap, not sure if that’s progress or coincidental. Curious to know how long we should continue the nighttime wakings without seeing any pee in potty or dryness in bed or if we should go back to diapers for awhile? I should also note, when he was in diapers, he would often soak through his nighttime diaper without waking, so sleeping in a wet diaper/pajamas didn’t seem to phase him.
Thanks so much in advance!
Yay to conquering night time and day time routine. Sounds like for night time you need to go in a little earlier. I wonder if he is peeing shortly after you put him down. So I suggest checking in, about 15minutes after he falls asleep. Also make sure you are reminding your little one every time before bed to hold his pee until morning or call you if he needs to go.
And Yay to waking up dry at naps!! That is great progress, and shows that what you are doing is making a difference!
I’ve been potty training my nearly 3 year old son for 8 months now. We went straight to underwear day and night. I was awaking a few times a night to get him to dream pee. Now we have been down to waking once a night to dream pee the last few months. However, I don’t think he’s putting everything together to notice he needs to pee. I tried not waking him to see what would happen. He ended up peeing the bed and not noticing. I’m exhausted and I’m not sure anymore if this is working. I feel bad that he sleeps in a puddle of urine if I don’t wake him. I put him in a pull up tonight and he was actually upset that I put it on. Do you have any recommendations? Should I just keep awaking him or throw in the towel?
If you don’t already, I recommend getting the Tiny Potty Training book. I offer more guidance and troubleshooting there.
I’ve been potty training my 18 month old now for about a month and I went cold turkey, wearing no diapers at naps or for bedtime. At night, she goes commando. I’ve tried the dream pee and had some success with it. I go in around 10 and 4 and it usually helps but sometimes she’s already wet. I have tried adjusting the timing but I haven’t been able to pinpoint when she pees because it seems to change every night. Sometimes I’ll go in and she’s dry and I’ll have her dream pee, other times I’ll go in and she’s wet but she sleeps through wetting the bed almost always. I don’t love waking her in the middle of the night and pulling off the first layer of sheets, though she usually does go back to sleep pretty quickly. I worry its still disruptive to her nighttime rest. I saw in your post here that sometimes you recommend doing a diaper for backup. If I do that now, will that confuse her and backtrack my daytime potty training?
First off, congrats on taking the plunge and going cold turkey, that takes a lot of courage! To answer your question, as long as you stay consistent with her, using a backup overnight is totally okay! Perhaps using a tiny trainer in place of a traditional diaper could help, that way she continues to feel wet.
Thank you so much for getting back to me. I might give a diaper or those tiny trainers a try if I’m not nailing the dream pee time. Glad to know it shouldn’t backtrack her though. Thanks again!! Love your book and all of your articles, podcasts, etc. Very helpful! Sending my friends and family your way when they are ready to potty train their little ones.
Thank you so much, it means so much to see that my work is helping others! You have got this and are doing great!
I’m a big fan of your book and, thanks to you, my 3.5 year old is now potty trained in the day. I just have a quick question about night toilet training…
I’ve read online that if you don’t night potty train your toddler by around 3.5 years old (e.g. by tapering liquids or waking for dream wees) then ‘their muscles may atrophy’ and they might struggle with bed wetting for years. Is this true please?
I’m really worried I might have left it too late to night toilet train my toddler. I have tried tapering liquids & waking him for dream wees but haven’t had any success.
This is why I’d be eternally grateful if you could answer my question above!
Many, many thanks in advance!
Hi Lara! I am so happy to have been able to help you though my books and blog posts.
First of all, you are doing great! As for your question regarding delayed night time training resulting in atrophied muscles, I am not a medical doctor and have no way of saying for sure that this information is accurate. Your trusted family pediatrician would be able to better answer that question.
Bed wetting is a very real struggle for some children and there could be a link with delayed night time training. However, without doing a proper scientific study it would be difficult to say there is a direct correlation between the two.
As for whether it is too late to night time train, No, it is not too late. It may take a little bit longer or it may take no time at all, but staying consistent and keeping a positive mindset is key in obtaining results. Remember EC and Potty Training is not a linear journey, there will be ups and downs, but again consistency and positivity is key.