Is Potty Training Ruining Your Child’s Sleep?
Community Question of The Week: Potty Training and Sleep
“Help! My 2.5 year old who is newly daytime potty trained is stalling at bedtime and waking up in the middle of the night to say he has to poop on the potty. Naturally, we are torn between risking a dirty diaper and letting him get out of bed only to sit on the potty for a while and declare, “I’ll poop later”. Sometimes he will poop on the second curtain call, sometimes not. How should we approach this problem? He is getting less and less sleep with these shenanigans. I have not seen this potty training problem addressed anywhere and would love some advice. Thanks, Mary”
Balancing Sleep and Potty Training
With a newly daytime potty trained child, the potty can itself become yet another bedtime stalling tactic. At the same time, I understand your worry about encouraging them to go in their diaper. It’s a tricky balance! You have a few options:
Pre-Nap and Bedtime Potty Rituals
Ask your child to sit on the potty before naps and bedtime. If your child starts saying “I need to go potty” as a stalling tactic at bedtime, bring him to the bathroom. The trick to stopping this stalling tactic is to keep it boring, really uneventful, as the engagement with you is what your child is after. No talking, no games, no show and tell.
First, walk with your child to the bathroom; do not carry him there. The goal is for him to do everything as independently as he can, making it feel like a chore, not parent fun time.
As much as possible, have him do the pants pulling, getting on the potty, lifting the seat, washing and drying his hands, pulling his pants back up and so. Some parents graduate to not even entering the bathroom with the child, standing in the doorway with their back facing the hallway.
Do the same thing during the night.
You don’t want to turn lights on, as that will disrupt the winding down you have achieved so keep a night light on in the bathroom at all times.
Addressing Persistent Bedtime Stalling
Want to learn more about how to help prevent power struggles with potty training? Read on.
Portable Potty Options for Independent Potty Use
I have even had parents put a portable potty in a child’s room so they can go independently. Just hope they don’t knock it over! Here is my whole list of the best products we recommend for potty training, including that portable potty.
Remember, that this is a transitional phase. With these tips, you can manage it effectively without sacrificing quality sleep for your child.