The tricky thing with potty training is that daytime potty training and overnight potty training are not the same thing…and they don’t occur at the same time. In fact, your child may be daytime potty trained for months—or years—before they can stay dry overnight! The best way to set your tot up for overnight potty training success is to know what to expect. Here’s everything you need to know about nighttime potty training.

What is the best age to potty train?

While most kids show signs of bladder and bowel control between 18 and 24 months, parents usually don’t introduce the toilet until their child is between 2 and 3 years old, and by age 4, most children are potty trained, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The kicker, however, is that the AAP is referring to daytime potty training, not overnight potty training, which is an entirely different ball game. Experts agree that it’s important to focus on getting your child potty trained during the day before you start having them go diaper-free at night.

What is the best age to potty train at night?

Most children learn how to stay dry at night between the ages of 3 and 5. By 5 years old, about 8 out of 10 children can stay dry overnight. But if your bub is 5 or older and doesn’t stay dry at night, it may mean they never developed nighttime bladder control, and you may want to have a chat with your child’s healthcare provider about nighttime potty training. 

Why do potty trained children wet the bed?

Nighttime bladder and bowel control develops more slowly than daytime control. Many children under the age of 6 simply are not physiologically capable of remaining dry at night, reports the AAP. For one, their body’s wake-to-pee signal may not consistently work yet. In fact, 40% of American children continue to wet the bed after they’ve been fully day trained. Other factors that contribute to bedwetting, post-potty training, include:

  • Producing more urine at night than expected

  • Limited bladder capacity

  • Early potty training (Research shows potty training before age 2 is linked to increased risk of later wetting problems.)

  • Constipation

  • Genetic predisposition to accidents

  • Stress or life changes

  •  Medical issue, such as a urinary tract infection or Type 1 diabetes

Learn more about why potty-trained children have nighttime accidents.

Signs Your Child Is Ready to Potty Train at Night

While there’s no “best age” for nighttime potty training, your tot must be out of the crib and in a bed before you can even entertain the idea of nighttime potty training! In addition, there are signs that reveal if your tot is ready to ditch the diapers overnight, including…

  • Dry mornings: For several days in a row, your child’s diaper is dry, or only a teeny bit damp.

  • Resisting diapers: Your child refuses to wear diapers or pull-ups at night.

  • Taking off pull-ups: Your bub removes their diaper or training pants during the night.

  • Asking to use the potty: Your kiddo visits you for help using the toilet at night.

How to Start Potty Training at Night

The general vibe of potty training at night should be understated and supportive. Remember, potty training at night is a process, no child ever wets the bed on purpose, and tensions over nighttime accidents can very easily lead to potty resistance during the day. That’s why the AAP recommends downplaying night training through the toddler and even perhaps the preschool years. That said, when you and your child are both ready to start potty training at night, here’s what to do:

  • Get accident-ready. Ensure your tot’s mattress is fitted with a waterproof protector and have a spare set of bedding and pajamas at the ready for easy-peasy nighttime cleanups.

  • Limit bedtime drinks. Starting an hour or two before bedtime, your child should only drink if they’re actually thirsty. Also, ditch caffeinated and carbonated beverages—they can produce extra urine.

  • Place the potty nearby. Figure out the best place to set up the potty in relation to your child’s room. If there’s no bathroom close by, consider creating a potty station in their room or the hallway during nighttime training.

  • Schedule potty time. Integrate toileting into your child’s bedtime routine to ensure they use the potty last thing before bed. (Do the same thing as soon as they wake in the morning.)

  • Set up SNOObie. It’s important to have a well-lit path to the bathroom—and to have a nightlight in your child’s room—to keep nighttime visits to the potty safe. SNOObie, a customizable nightlight, is cord-free and portable, making it a handy potty-training companion!

  • Pair the potty with all wakeups. Let your kiddo know that they should use the potty anytime they wake during the night—and assure them that they can always wake you if they need help with the potty.

  • Stay calm. No matter how frustrating the process, never scold, discipline, or shame your child for an accident! Instead, bank a few positive and reassuring phrases, like, “Your body didn’t wake you this time! It’s okay!” to pull out when your child inevitably has an overnight accident.

  • Manage expectations. Even when children stay dry at night for a few days or weeks, they may start having accidents at night again. This is normal! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going back to nighttime training pants and giving overnight potty training another go later.

  • Consider a “dream pee.” A “dream pee” is when you wake up your child just enough to take them to the bathroom to pee, but not all the way so they struggle to go back to dreamland. While there’s no official recommendation for doing this with younger children, the AAP notes that if your child is over 5 it can be helpful to wake them once during the night to pee, but not more than that.

Should I worry if my potty-trained child wets the bed?

Bedwetting before age 7 usually isn’t a medical concern. That said, you should reach out to your healthcare provider about nighttime accidents if…

  • Bedwetting continues past the age of 7.

  • Your child starts wetting the bed after about 6 months of being dry at night.

  • Bedwetting occurs alongside painful urination, hard stools, pink or red urine, unusual thirst, or snoring.

More on Potty Training & Bedwetting:




  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): The Right Age to Potty Train
  • NHS: How to potty train
  • AAP: Stages of Toilet Training: Different Skills, Different Schedules
  • UC Davis Health Children’s Hospital: Bedwetting solutions: Expert pediatrician offers help for kids
  • The association of age of toilet training and dysfunctional voiding. Research and Reports in Urology. October 2014
  • Nationwide Children’s: Bedwetting: 5 Common Reasons Why Children Wet the Bed
  • The National Childbirth Trust (NCT): Potty training at night
  • Helping your child with potty training. June 2019
  • AAP: Bedwetting: 3 Common Reasons & What Families Can Do
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine: Toilet Training
  • Urology Care Foundation: Bedwetting to Potty Training – What You Need to Know
  • AAP: Bedwetting in Children & Teens: Nocturnal Enuresis
  • Mayo Clinic: Bed-wetting

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.