My three year old is well on her way to being potty trained. She rarely has any accidents, , at least during the day. My wife and I put her in pull ups to sleep at night.

My question is, whats the best way to transition her out of the pull ups and have her fully potty trained?


3 Answers 3


Our kids were "night trained" by the time they were about 4. If you can figure out when they are having their accidents, it makes it easier to help them. Here are my recommendations:

First, get a plastic sheet; there are going to be accidents.

Second, don't use pull-ups. Help her feel like a big girl so the accidents matter.

Then, make the last drink at dinnertime. Be sure they go to the bathroom before bed. And get them to use the toilet before you go to bed and first thing as soon as you get up.

  • 2
    "And get them to use the toilet before you go to bed" ... Are you saying to wake her up and have her go before I go to bed?
    – Jason
    Mar 30, 2011 at 14:13
  • 5
    Yes. They are usually pretty groggy, but we sit them on the toilet and say something like "go pee!" or "use the toilet!". One child was quick to comply. The other resisted, initially. We told them that as soon as they went they could go back to bed. Within a week as soon as they were on the toilet, they would go and it was very quick. They went right back to sleep. Try using a night-light in the bathroom so they aren't shocked by the brightness. That got us the most resistance.
    – nGinius
    Mar 30, 2011 at 14:48

We're dealing with pretty regular bedwetting right now with our four-year-old sons, who we switched to underwear all at once (daytime and nighttime together) around a year and a half ago. Our pediatrician assured us that the best thing is to just let them wet the bed, and that pull-ups at night actually delay the process of them learning to get up to use the bathroom at night. The same goes for waking them up in the middle of the night for a "bathroom break" (something we considered) and anything else that might act as a crutch to simply learning to recognize their own body cues and to deal with them appropriately on their own.

So I'd say that if your child is already out of diapers completely during the day, then your best bet is to just stop using pull-ups at night at the same time. You may end up dealing with a lot of late-night changes of pajamas and/or bed sheets, but your child will likely learn fastest that way.

Another thing to try that can help your child avoid wetting the bed (without interfering with their learning to recognize body cues) is to limit the amount of liquid near bedtime -- though do be sure they're drinking enough during the day, since adequate liquid intake is still very important.

We have a lot of talks with our boys about bedwetting (just to gently remind them that they should try to wake up to go in the middle of the night, and to explain why they can't have one last drink of water immediately before going to sleep -- NOT to shame them or blame them for wetting the bed) and the biggest obstacle we're facing currently is convincing them that when they pee in their sleep, that they really are peeing in real life. They're convinced that somehow their beds are just getting wet on their own, since (as they put it) when they pee in their sleep "that's just pretend pee, daddy."

  • "That's just pretend pee, Daddy"! I LOVE it! Totally something my 4-year-old would say! Does my son know yours? :-D
    – Meg Coates
    Mar 3, 2012 at 3:54
  • If you're dealing with "pretty regular bedwetting", are you sure your method works? ;) I do agree though, that pull-ups at night might delay the process.
    – SQB
    Dec 24, 2013 at 13:35

I agree with Bill's answer but my wife only swears by using bedwetting alarm (such as this one at Amazon.) The alarm rings as soon as the child starts wetting his bed. This wakes him (and us) up and he can then finish in the toilet. After a few days/weeks the child gets used to waking up when he needs it and you don't need the alarm any more.


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