Our two and a half year old daughter was potty trained fairly early just before she became two. This went quite smoothly, and after a few weeks she had almost no accidents. During her afternoon naps however, she still wears a diaper and she also consistently pees, even when she went on her pottie right beforehand.

In a few weeks she will go to preschool, where she can still have her afternoon nap, but can't wear a diaper anymore. So she will have to be 'clean' also during her nap. I know for certain she is able to physically hold it up for the time her nap normally lasts. She just has to make this mental click that she shouldn't relax this during her sleep.

How can we help her do this? We've already switched back to cloth diapers and we are making her aware (just before her nap) of the fact that from now on she should be able to hold her pee up during her nap.

4 Answers 4


Not many toddlers that age stay totally dry when sleeping. If she has the potty routine down during her waking hours, she probably just isn't physically developed enough to hold it during sleep. There's a big difference between conscious urine retention and what happens during sleep. Most toddlers are just beginning to use the toilet around 2.5, and many kids have nighttime wetness, at least occasionally, through their early primary school years.

Were I in your place, I'd talk to the preschool about having more realistic expectations of two-year-olds rather than pressuring your daughter on something she likely cannot control.

  • 1
    Hi, I'm indeed particularly nervous about pressuring her too much. Especially because she almost never stays dry during her naps.
    – Tim H
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 7:25
  • Do you have her try going right before nap time in order to help her with this? I agree with Hedgemage, but if you're having her try before nap and then she is still frequently having accidents she might not be letting all of "it" out which can cause health problems later. The preschool is likely to be on board with making sure prenap potty time is offered. If it is a responsible preschool it is probably a part of the routine already for all the kids. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 18:04

I'm not sure if you mean childcare or nursery school? Kindergarten in most countries I know is around 5,6,7 years of age (as confirmed by this wikipedia article).

If it is just childcare then you have picked a very unsupportive one if you are made to worry about this. Do they really force your child not to wear a nappy at age 2.5? This sounds unnatural and just plain stupid. Toilet training takes time and wherever you take your child should actually be supporting you in this process.

My son's childcare verbally encourages, reads stories to the children and works with parents to develop a good routine. There is no forcing children off of nappies at such a young age.

Some children get anxious and even embarrassed with toilet training. This is why I would suggest not to force a child to stop wearing nappies if it is not the right time or put them in a situation where they could become upset or uncomfortable.

My son has already gone through this phase, but I would suggest if possible change the place you are going to take her to somewhere more supportive and reasonable.

The way I got my son through training was by:

  • Reducing the amount of water he drank up to 30 minutes before sleeping
  • If I woke up during the night I would wake him and take him to the toilet
  • Discussing with him the aim and not putting too much pressure on him

This process takes time, and not just a week or two. You may find an 80% success rate in the first two weeks, but it may take a couple of months before you are getting close to 95%.

I remember we were washing his sheets almost every morning before work at least for a month.

  • Best word for it is probably 'preschool', I think. (I edited the question.) It's definitely not childcare anymore, although we were expecting a bit more support on the 'care'-side.
    – Tim H
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 7:35
  • In the US, childcare and day cares are just that. A place to play for your child where he/she is cared for while you are away. Preschools are generally for 3 and 4, but sometimes include 2 year olds and have a specific curricula and objectives to help kids learn basics like colors and numbers as well as social skills, play and just generally have lots of cool experiences. Kindergarten is actually the first year of truly formal schooling and is generally filled with kids who are five and might turn six during the school year. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 18:06

I'd like to add my experiences of the last weeks as an answer to my own question.

What we did: We just went with it and would see what would come out of it. The answers on this question helped us to put the responsability for this situation with the school, and not with us and especially not our child.

A real tip to make it easier for a toddler to keep herself dry during her nap is not to put her to bed directly after lunch but to wait an hour or so. Apparently digestion helps to empty the blatter. The schedule of our preschool is designed just for this effect.

Another element is that the children at our school only sleep for an hour, they are awoken after that time. This is something I do not like, but it has the positive result that there's less chance for an accident.

Until now, she hasn't wet her bed at school once. At home she sleeps longer (sometimes to make up for the sleeping time she missed at school), she still wears her diaper which sometimes stays dry, but not always. We try to make her notice when she stays dry but that's the only 'pressure' we put on her now.


I can tell you my experience going through potty-training with 5 kids. Just make the cut-over to underwear and don't look back. When you put your child in diapers sometimes and not others it confuses them. Our oldest would specifically tell us that he didn't know whether he had on a diaper or underwear. That's when we decided to quit diapers cold turkey. We've had luck with this strategy with all our other kids.

They may wet themselves in bed a few times, but after a few times they usually stop. Get a plastic bed liner so the mattress doesn't get ruined.

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