This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

After reading this post about night-time training on Yahoo’s website, I wanted to share my thoughts on how some kids just can’t be night-time trained.  Our 2 year old is already training herself and our oldest child was night-trained at 20 months, but then our other children took much longer… and that’s OK!

So, many of you (when I say “many” I mean a TON!) have asked me how to help older children that are still wetting the bed, so today I am sharing an awesome tip from my friend, Kristy’s, pediatrician.

older child wetting the bed? Try this

First, let me tell you how I was amazed at how quickly I was able to  night-train our first child to use the potty.  He was very young (almost two).    It took only a few night and that was it- he never used a diaper again.   So, I assumed that they would all be this easy.

Once our second son was born, he was potty trained in three days, as well (in the daytime).    He was not quite two and I was sure that his nights would be as easy as our first child.    I was wrong. 

He had accidents every night.

Fast forward four years…  he still wet the bed.    I wouldn’t even call them accidents, because he isn’t just going once or twice. No, it is more like every few hours.  He was soaking his diaper every night.   As often as he goes in the day,  that is how often he was going at night.

Now, I have NEVER been a pull-up person (as you know from my book, I don’t use pull-ups because I have never seen a need for them.)  I don’t buy them.  So, I use full diapers at night- they hold more, in my opinion, and you can pull them down just as easily if you put them on just a tad bit looser.

Potty Train in three days

Ok… so what did I do to stop the night-wetting?     Well, our pediatrician told us that we didn’t need to worry about it until he was 8.  She said that we could give him medicine, which I was not willing to do.   She said that they could do surgery down the road, if it is still an issue, but I am hoping to help him overcome this with without medical intervention.

That’s when I talked to my dear friend.  Her daughter is the same age and is doing the same thing.  Her daughter’s pediatrician gave her different advice and I LOVE It!

Here is what I WAS doing: 
1- no drinks after dinner.
2- carrying him to the bathroom at midnight to go (or before we went to bed).

Here is the NEW advice that we are going to try: 
1- Still no drinks after dinner
2- Instead of carrying him to the bathroom, wake him up!
Have him get out of bed, by himself.
Have him walk to the bathroom, by himself.
Have him wash his hands, by himself (well- you need to stay close to your child, because they are drowsy and could fall, but they are doing the rest.

Potty training at night

Do not carry them.
 You WANT them to remember waking up to go by themselves.  In the past, so many times I would ask our son “Do you remember Mommy taking you to the potty last night?”  and he would say “No.”
This new way is different…  You want them to know what is going on.

The reason that you are waking him?   This is causing his body to recognize that he needs to physically wake up and walk himself to the bathroom.  He is creating a habit of waking up at night.  He is telling his body: “I need to wake up and go to the bathroom.”   He  is making all of the effort on his part, so his body is learning to wake up.

The doctor also said this… “IT WILL TAKE 6-8 WEEKS FOR THIS TO HAPPEN WITHOUT YOUR HELP… 6 -8 weeks to see real results (dry diapers or sheets in the morning).”

Yes, it will take some effort, but in the end, it will be worth it.

Good luck!

So, tell me… what advice have you received?  What have you been trying?

Ps- if your child has a sleepover- here is some advice to help in that area (because accidents can be embarrassing). 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I just wondered how many times a night we should get the kids up to go (we were doing before we went to bed and 1x throughout the night)….or does it matter if when we wake them up their pull-ups are already wet (I.e. Should we try to wake them up an hour earlier if so)….

    Any help would be great!

  2. PLEASE try the the Nytone alarm!! It is a little clip that attaches to your kids underwear and an alarm goes off at the first sign of wetness. My boy was wetting every night past his 6th birthday, sometimes more than once. It was tough. First night with the Nytone (which he personalised with one of the cool stickers they send with it) and he woke up right away when the alarm went off, went to the bathroom, and all was good! After a few nights, less than a week, he was totally dry all night!! And it stayed this way with only one period of relapse so far (the week he started 1st grade). We put the alarm back on and he got right back to dry nights again in a few days. I can still not believe how well it worked for him! Please try it!!

  3. Hi all, here every person is sharing such familiarity, so it’s good to read this blog,
    and I used to pay a visit this weblog all the time.

  4. Thanks for writing this! You really know how keep someone engaged in your writing.
    I shared this on Twitter and my friends enjoyed reading it too.

  5. I don’t think you can really train a child to not wet the bed since a good portion of children don’t wet the bed. Waking up dry is just something that happens when the nerves in a child’s bladder sends signal to brain, which naturally wakes up the child.

    I’m no expert on bed wetting, nor do I have children. However, I am interested in child development, so I have read information on the subject. Other than limiting his beverage intake, I would make sure he is not constipated, which can interfere with the nerve signals in the bladder. There have even ben studies that link between vitamin B12 and folate. I encourage you to research on your own since doctors don’t always have the answers. If this continues past the age of eight his doctor should start doing more test to find out what is the medical reason behind his bed wetting.

    Just remember this to shall pass, and remind him that every one is different, and every thing happens in its own time. Remind him of all his the things he’s is able to do to improve his self esteem. Praise him for how he is handling the situation even if he feels ashamed. Teach him about problems that other children have, like motion sickness. Just like a child can’t help it if a car ride upsets his stomach, he can’t help if his bladder isn’t sending the signal to his brain.

  6. Having 3 bedwetters has presented its challenges to us. We’ve tried alarms, night waking, lifting everything but medications as we feel its not a good idea to medicate. After spending a lot on disposable pants for all 3 we finally settled on a good cloth diaper with a cover. This has worked so well for us meaning virtually no leaks ever and the kids getting a good nights uninterrupted sleep. Our oldest stopped wetting at night 3 1/2 months ago and has stayed dry since. So now we have 2 wetters still wetting the bed every night. The diaper and cover insuring them a good nights sleep and a brighter happier kid waking up.

  7. I don’t give my six year old anything to drink after dinner but I can’t get him to stop opening his mouth in the shower/bath. He wets the bed almost every night. I get him up at night and make him walk to the bathroom but he won’t go, just cries. He’s a really deep sleeper. He has a development delay but has been training during the day since three. I don’t know what else to try.

    1. I hope you’ve had some “luck”/ seen improvement in Thebes wetting arena! My 6 yo. child also has developmental delays and she is wetting the bed at night – also happens to cry and get upset about getting up to go but I think also hates sitting in her urine. She’s been way better at going during the day- but for some reason she’s been going through phases of absolutely refusing to keep on any pants and will wake up upset that she wet the bed again. I think she is so tired she doesn’t want to get up but also doesn’t want to be wet and has a hard time understanding the need to give a little- (prioritizing being dry over laying down). I wish I could figure out how to get her to understand it’s worth it. So far rewards only work for short times and there’s only so much we can afford to offer- especially when she won’t really communicate to us to barter!

  8. My daughter is almost 7 and autistic and has adhd We have to make her drink water- and no other liquids after 5 so I know it’s not that. She still will pee a lot in bed. Lately she’s been great at using the toilet during the day but at night refuses to wear diapers and will move towels (I don’t know if we would have hope of the disposable mats staying put). I try to get her to the toilet at night- have found her without pants and tell her to get up and half the time she will urinate right there just looking at me and she get’s mad as I tell her to get up. (I literally can’t get her out of bed). I felt bad putting wet diapers back on her when that happens and for the next week we are out of diapers, blankets, sheets, and money (to replace/do laundry..wish we had or own w/d) Her room smells like vinegar and urine (since I’m not going to treat her bed in the middle of the night). We only give her melatonin which hardly seems to help her sleep. Problem is she will be super tired and almost asleep- wake herself up peeing and not want to move. I find her awake and wet and angry, but she’s either peed in her diaper and thrown it off or worse had taken it off after I had assumed she was asleep. (I swear she does take it off in her sleep). There’s no way I could keep one on her without restraining her hips/hands and I don’t want to do that in any way. We also literally can’t afford to have this reoccurring problem. Let alone it’s got to be unhealthy for her to end up lying in her urine almost every night. We were considering medication for her adhd because it’s pretty bad but I wouldn’t want to make this problem worse and deal with side effects!!!

    1. We ordered a bed-wetting alarm for one of our kids & it worked SO well.

  9. We have had issues with my step children bed wetting because at their moms they wear pull ups to bed (7 and 6 years old) when they are here for 5 days we have one or two nights of wetting, the rest are dry and we do not use pull ups. They are extremely embarrassed to talk about it but they also hide it from us which then leads to them sleeping in soiled sheets. We have tried to communicate with mom about the issue but she didn’t respond, months later mom took both kids to the Dr and the Dr put them on desmopressin which father argued was not a good idea and that mother need only to stop putting them in pull ups.
    I 100% agree with your post that it takes a little bit of work and some nights will have accidents and some won’t but you have to let their body become aware of what is happening, bladder control is learned not given.
    Mother is lazy and only wants to do what is easiest for her. At our home we wake them before we head to bed and make them go to the bathroom, this has helped tremendously. When asked, both kids say mom doesn’t wake them at her home because she is sleeping, yet she thinks putting them on a medication that basically shuts down the kidney is the answer. Oi

  10. Our daughter is 13 and going thru puberty that is causing her to bedwet. I did some research and found that it is ‘normal’ for some girls to wet the bed during puberty as their bodies change.Her doctor told me that there is really nothing that can be done about it,that she will out grow in in time. She has been wearing cloth diapers and plastic pants[aka-rubberpants] to bed since her bedwetting started and she is fine with them.She understands that we are not polluting the landfill with disposable diapers or goodnites.I use regular diaper pins with her cloth diapers and also baby powder and lotion when i do her diapering.Her rubberpants are adult size and fit her blousy for comfort and being a ‘girly’ girl her rubberpants are in pastel colors and some with babyprints on them.