I couldn't find a question that fits this particular scenario. My 3 year old can use the potty during daytime. Occasionally he needs a reminder, but he is generally quite good at it. During the night he will wet himself. We have recently decided it is time for him to stop using diapers. I suspect that his bladder doesn't have the capacity to get him through an entire night. My approach is to put him on the potty after about 4 hours. This works well. As far as I can tell he doesn't even wake up during this and he stays dry.

I am wondering if this is good practice and he'll learn to rely on me putting him on the potty at night? Would it be better to just let nature run its course to make him learn to stay dry all by himself?

Edit: Thank you for the feedback. I can see from the answers so far that our approach may not be the best practice. One of the answers in this question actually proposes the "lifting" approach for a limited amount of time ( Night time potty training for four years old ).

I am also open to a completely different approach. However, I would like to induce some sort of motivation for him to stay dry.

  • 2
    > We have recently decided it is time for him to stop using diapers. I > suspect that his bladder doesn't have the capacity to get him through > an entire night. I don't understand why the second sentence doesn't show that it is not time yet. What's so bad about diapers only at night for a few more months?
    – swbarnes2
    Aug 5, 2020 at 16:07
  • @swbarnes2 interesting point. Is this something that happens by itself without some external input? My motivation is partly that one of his peers is dry at night who is an entire year younger, so I figured it is time. Also his kindergarten teachers told us we should start to train him to stay dry.
    – Karlokick
    Aug 11, 2020 at 7:05
  • It's time for that kid, you really can't accept that it might not be time for yours? You can't train a kid to have a bigger bladder, neither are you training him to wake up when his body tells him to. You are training him not to adapt to a full bladder at night, because he's always being prompted to empty it on some else's schedule.
    – swbarnes2
    Aug 11, 2020 at 18:38

3 Answers 3


This is something I and a lot of parents I know have done. Religiously every night at 10pm we would wake our young children and take them to the toilet, and then a dry night would follow.

The nights we did not wake ours, he would usually wet the bed. We did start waking him later and later and then not at all. For us this lasted around 2 years until he was dry all night without being woken.

A little research bought up this page: https://bedwettingstore.com/blogs/bedwetting-blog/should-i-wake-my-child-to-pee-at-night-to-train-him (amongst others) that suggests it's not a good idea to do this.

So although many parents swear by it as it keeps the bed dry, whether it's good practise is debatable.

UPDATE BASED ON QUESTION UPDATE: Our 2nd child is completely different, which may help with you. She at 2 has just started being completely dry 24/7 but she is also a very light sleeper and wakes shouting that she needs the toilet. She reacts very well to lots of praise for staying dry and now announces it every morning and we are still giving her a clap and cheer and making a very big deal out of it!!

Our older child was not completely potty trained day time until around 4 and still had occasional accidents at night until he was 6 or 7 but sleeps so soundly you could put a brass band in his room and he'd sleep through it, so there is no wonder he didn't wake to go to the toilet!


Night-time dryness requires a particular hormone to be produced which slows urine production while sleeping. This isn't something you can train for. If you went to a doctor they would just tell you to come back if he is still wetting at 8 years old. He can use pullups until he is dry on his own. Rewarding or punishing based on something he has no control over will get you nowhere, and only serve to upset him.

  • Thank you for the input. Do you have a reference for these claims? I hear independently from several different people who went through the effort of using cloth diapers that it can speed up the entire process of toilet training. Also I have several accounts of younger siblings being dry at a younger age. Granted, this is not a representative survey, but if this would be based on hormones alone, there shouldn't be a difference.
    – Karlokick
    Aug 14, 2020 at 22:32
  • 1
    The hormone is called Vasopressin, or ADH (anti-diruetic hormone).
    – Erin
    Aug 16, 2020 at 6:40

Thank you for the helpful answers. For anyone who is wondering about this for themselves, I post how this worked out for us.

I stopped lifting based on the feedback I received here and put him back on diapers at night. Also, I didn't proactively encourage him to stay dry by any other method. Around the age of four he started to stay dry at nights on his own. So patience worked.

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