With some effort, you can potty train your 4-year-old during the day, but what to do when they sleep? How do you get them to potty at night? Nighttime potty training for 4-year-olds is more straightforward than doing this for little kids; at this age, children are developmentally ready to hold their bladder at night or at least wake up to visit the toilet.
I suggest finishing daytime potty training first. Because if you start training altogether, your child may become overwhelmed, and you may not get the desired result.
Some kids (like mine) will eventually refuse to wear diapers at night. And that’s the goal. Potty training will be a breeze when your child makes up her mind. Of course, you can push your little one to visit the toilet when he is up during the day, but for nights, your child should be mentally ready and willing to do it.
Once you decide to potty train your 4-year-old at night, follow these steps:
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Often, parents get all the other things to potty train their kids, i.e., potty seats, big kid pants, and rewards, but they forget to get a waterproof mattress cover.
Look, accidents will still happen even if you’ve got a big kid who is potty trained (when he is awake).
It is hard (almost impossible) to remove urine from a mattress altogether. So get a good waterproof mattress protector to protect the bed mattress.
You can also choose disposable bed mats designed explicitly for bed-wetting.
Also, have your cleaning supplies in hand. Like, such as paper towels and spare pants for the kid.
2- Take him to the toilet before going to bed.
Well, this is the most obvious part. Take your child to the toilet right before bed. I don’t think I’ve to write more.
3- Do not let him drink a lot of liquid at night.
I suggest increasing liquid intake during the day so that your 4-year-old can get more chances to learn to go to the toilet, but limit the liquid intake to 3-4 hours before bed.
Remember, you only have to limit the intake, don’t cut it altogether.
4- Wake him up for a toilet break right after 1.5 to 2 hours of sleep
You will be amazed to see how predictable your 4-year-old’s peeing schedule is. Your child will want to visit the toilet after a specific time to go to bed.
My daughter would do it exactly after 2 hours. (By saying exactly, I mean EXACTLY)
Note down when your little one wants to go. Then, you have to notice when your kid starts getting uncomfortable. When he starts tossing and turning, this is the time!
Wake up the kid and take him to the toilet. Make sure to keep the environment quiet.
Put him back on the bed right after the toilet visit. Don’t forget to note that EXACTLY after how much time of going to bed, he needed to go to the toilet.
You often read, “you shouldn’t wake up a sleeping child for the toilet.” This can be true for toddlers, but you should wake up your 4-year-old for this purpose.
At this age, kids are good night sleepers; they will immediately go back to sleep.
5- Reward in the morning:
After the toilet visit at night, you don’t need to offer a treat. The child may become wide awake with excitement, or he may not be interested in anything other than going back to sleep.
When he wakes up, offer him a reward and remind him how he woke up and went to the toilet.
“You were a very good boy last night. Remember, when we woke up to go to the toilet, you didn’t wet your bed? So here’s your happy sticker. Mama loves her big boy!”
This way, your child will be happy and encouraged, and his brain will “memorize” what happened at night.
It will help with the nighttime toilet break the next night.
6- Repeat for a few days:
Just repeat this process for a few days, and you will see that your 4-year-old will learn to wake up on his own.
4-year-olds can hold their bladder, and their brain is developed enough to wake up to go to the toilet; you just need to make them practice.
7- In case of an accident, clean up and note the time.
Still, accidents happen. You can expect them anytime. So, make sure to have your cleaning supplies in hand.
What to do if a 4 year old is still wearing pull-ups at night?
Pull-ups are no different than diapers. Most 4-year-olds can easily ditch the pull-ups once they are potty trained during the day.
If your 4-year-old is still wearing pull-ups at night, you can let him wear them. Just make sure to follow the same approach; when he starts tossing and turning while asleep, pick him up and take him to the toilet, and put the pull-ups back on. Once your kid starts waking up on his own, you can stop using the pull-ups.
However, if your LO urinates while wearing the pull-up, make sure to change it immediately to break the habit of sleeping in a wet pull-up. If you don’t, you are reducing the chances of quitting pull-ups.
So this was the step-by-step process of potty training a 4-year-old during the night. Wasn’t it super simple? It’s all about timing and consistency only.
Here are a few more questions people often ask when toilet training their 4-year-olds.
1- How many times will a 4-year-old pee at night?
At the age of 4, usually, kids need only one bathroom break at night. Once they are potty trained at night, you can expect them to sleep through the night without going to the toilet for once.
Dont’ forget that every child is different. You can also expect more toilet visits at night, but that’s rare.
2- Should a 4-year-old wear diapers to bed?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your 4-year-old wearing diapers at night. However, most times, the diaper will dry in the morning, and nighttime potty training is super simple when they are potty trained during the day.
So, removing the diapers at night is best, and train your kid to use the restroom.
3- Should I wake my 4-year-old to pee?
You will often read on the internet that you shouldn’t wake up a sleeping child to potty at night as they may become wide awake or sleep will be disturbed.
However, it is not valid for most 4-year-olds. They will just go back to bed right away. And they need just 1 (or a maximum of 2) break at night, so there is no harm in waking them up to pee at night.
4-How long will it take to potty train my 4 years old at night?
It should not take more than a week to potty train your 4-year-old at night. Some kids even start to wake up on their own within 2-3 days.
This is the advantage of finishing daytime potty training first.
What to do if a child is not being potty trained at night?
If your 4-year-old is potty trained during the day but is unable to wake up at night, there can be the following reasons:
- He must be exhausted: If the child is super tired and not getting enough sleep in 24 hours, he will sleep deeply at night and be unable to wake up for the toilet. (4-year-olds need 11-13 hours of sleep in 24 hours)
- He drinks a lot of liquids at night: drinking a lot of liquid at night will cause more frequent urination, and your kid may not wake up so often during the night.
Or too full bladder is also a cause that the kid cannot hold it while asleep.
- You are not waking him up at the right time: You must notice the time when he needs to go at night. Or stay alert and see when he starts tossing and turning. “Right timing is the key to potty training at night.”
- Do not quit: Look! This is a time taking process. Your child is new to all of this. I know you are also overwhelmed but believe me, it seems impossible initially. Of course, everyone feels disappointed when a child has an accident. But with some time and patience, every kid learns to get to the toilet at night. (except for medical bedwetting).
Have patience and keep trying. Do not yell at your kid. Don’t overwhelm yourself and him. You will eventually get the results.
Start nighttime potty training when your child has learned to use the restroom during the day (when he is awake). Ok! you can also start when your kid is ready, and he doesn’t want to wear diapers at night.
Just wake him up to the toilet once he starts tossing and turning, and he seems uncomfortable. Usually, kids need to go exactly the same time after they fall asleep. You can note down what is your kid’s schedule.
Keep repeating for a few days until your kid learns to wake up alone or sleep through the night without peeing.