My 4.5 year old step son, uses the toilet during the day for number 1 and 2, but still wets the bed. He is consequently still sleeping in diapers. This allows for a small time in the morning where he is awake, and in a diaper. If he needs to use the toilet during this time, he will make no effort to go to the toilet and just go in his diaper (poo or pee). We try to be as kind and understanding with night time accidents, but it seems he is understanding this "no big deal" attitude to mean that using a diaper if he has it on is perfectly fine. How can we encourage him to use the toilet rather than his diaper at all times? We already have "take your diaper off immediately when you wake up" kind of rules in place but they often fall to the wayside if he gets distracted.

2 Answers 2


I have to sympathize with your 4 year old. It takes a lot of self-discipline, likely more than he has available, to go to the bathroom when there's a much more convenient option. 😆

Have you considered trying to night-train him yet? That would solve your morning problem, and most four year old children are capable of staying dry at night.

Here are a couple of resources on night training.

Best of luck!




Stop using diapers and get ready to do lots of laundry.

Honestly, there's not much reason for him not to use a diaper. You are right in that it should be no big deal, but if it's no big deal, then why change? The "change" and "big deal" can come from his own discomfort. There is nothing "dangerous" about a kid wetting his pants or the bed (if cleaned up in a timely matter). It's just messy and a general pain.

So take a three step approach:

  1. Perpair for extra laundry. If that means more loads at home or more laundry trips, repair what you need for that. Make sure he is a part of the prep. "We're going to try to not need diapers anymore. I know there will be mistakes, so we're going to get ready for them."

  2. Stop buying diapers.

  3. Clean up the mess; make him a part of that, too. Ohhh, you wet the bed. No biggie. Let's get the sheets to the laundry.

And remember, we all went through it. Just take a deep breath, and remember to get mattress protectors or whatever you need. (Chances are, with him taking an active role, you are looking at 2-3 first-night accidents and then 1-2 accidents a week for a short term, then 1 a month or two or so for "quite a while".)

  • Yup, my 5yo still wets the bed if she doesn't go to the bathroom before bed. She's 6 in May. Some kids just take a while. We just have lots of mattress protectors and spare linen, and do lots of laundry.
    – stan
    Feb 8 at 15:27

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