Potty Training and Sleep

Potty training is a big milestone for our children, and a time to celebrate the end of diapers and bum changes for us parents! Most children begin to show signs of being ready to potty train between 18-24 months old, although some might not be ready until even later. Boys often start later and take longer to potty train.

Here are some signs that your child may be ready to start potty training:

  • They can follow simple instructions
  • They can pull down their diapers or training pants
  • Show an interest in using the potty
  • Understand and use the word potty
  • Make the connection between the sensation to pee and poop and using the potty
  • Able to sit and get off the potty

You probably know by now that many things will affect your child’s sleep, and potty training is no different! Potty training can put a wrench in your child’s sleep. This is because it’s a huge new skill that they are learning to master.  It will disturb nap time and nighttime sleep by causing more wake ups. We are teaching our child to become aware of the new sensation in their body of having to pee and poop. This will cause them to wake up when they feel the sensation. They are also noticing how a wet and dirty diaper feels and they may no longer like that feeling and want it changed.

Daytime potty training is much easier than nighttime and often nighttime potty training doesn’t happen until age 3-4.  Let your child master daytime potty use and bladder control before you move to nighttime potty training. Some potty-training experts suggest starting nighttime potty training when your child consistently wakes up from the night with a dry diaper/pull up for a week or two.  If your child has a series of accidents, they might not be ready just yet. Over time your child will develop the mind-body connection needed to wake during the night in order to go to the potty. Be patient!

Here are some tips to make potty smoother and minimize the sleeplessness that comes with it.

  • Limit food and drinks 1 ½ to 2 hours before bedtime. This way they will have an empty bladder when they go to bed.
  • Incorporate the potty into your bedtime routine, helping them empty their bladder completely.
  • Use a bedtime routine chart and add the potty on it, give them a sticker and lots of positive reinforcement when they use the potty in the bedtime routine and when they wake with a dry diaper. If they don’t go the night dry don’t make a big deal about it, tonight is a new night.
  • Make sure your child uses the potty right away in the morning. Their bladder will be full!
  • Create and use a “potty pass” if your child is getting out of bed often and saying they need to use the potty. They get one potty pass each night.
  • Use pull ups/diaper at night.
  • Embrace the night waking – they are learning this new important skill!
  • Encourage your child to voice their need to use the potty.

Remember once your child begins to master the potty-training process their sleep patterns will also improve and you’ll be back to getting a full night’s sleep.


If sleep issues persist, we’re here to help mama. Reach out to a Mama Coach in your area or virtually for support.

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