I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


Find Me Here!

Tag cloud
10 month old sleep 11 month old 2 year old can't fall asleep 2 year old nap 3 year old stops napping 4 month old 45 minute naps 8 month old adults adults sleep alarm clock babies baby baby bedtime baby doesn't nap baby fall back baby nursing to sleep baby rolling at night baby short naps baby sleep baby sleep positioners baby sleep routine bad bedtimes bedroom too loud bedsharing bedtime bedtime baby bedtime books bedtime child bedtime for teens bedtime problem bedtime routine bedtime snacks bedtimes bedwetting best bedtime stories for kids big boy bed blackout curtains boost breastfed baby sleep through the night bsby cosleeping bumpers caffeine child child bedtime child can't sleep child sleeping in a tent childcare childhood fears and sleep children cosleeping cover story creativity crib cry it out cultural intelligence daycare daylight savings time Daylight Savings Time kid bedtime daylight savings time sleep DHA does exercise help kids sleep dropping a nap DST early waker early waking ebook education energy equality equally shared parenting exercise and kids exercise and sleep fall back falling back families family five month old naps five month old short naps five month old sleep five year old bedtime food getting baby to bed getting dad to help with bedtime Getting kids to bed getting kids to bed during the summer getting kids to bed when it's light out getting rid of the pacifier giveaway green Harvey Karp Hawaii health heart health tips help helping kids adjust to daylight savings time helping kids get to sleep after vacation Helping kids sleep in the summer helping kids sleep through the night helping twins sleep holiday how long should babies nap how long should bedtime take how much sleep do adults need how to get rid of nightmares how to help a preschooler nap how to stop nightmares humor immune system infant sleep insomnia kids kids always get sick kids and daylight savings time kids sharing bedrooms kids sleep questions Kindle king 5 large family late bedtime learning leg cramps light math Moms moving child to his own bedroom nap nap routine napping in arms naps new sibling newborn news night terror night waking nightlights nightmare nightmares nighttime dryness nurse to sleep association nutrition one year old overtied kids overtired overtired child overtiredness pacifier pajamas nightmares parenting parentmap pediatric restless legs syndrome potty training pregnancy and newborn preschool Preschooler problem problem solving product productivity pull ups putting kids to bed questions raising a boy robotic safety safey separation anxiety setting a bedtime for kids shared bedroom shared bedrooms Shopping short naps short sleeper six month old sleep skipped naps sleep sleep and learning sleep coach sleep coaching sleep consulting sleep expert sleep for moms sleep gadgets sleep help sleep hygiene sleep pregnancy sleep questions sleep regression sleep through the night sleeping during the summer sleeping well during pregnancy sleeping while camping soundproof spring forward standing and screaming in crib stress sugar summer summer bedtime swaddle teen teen bedtime Teenage brains television time change time zone adjustment toddler toddler 4 am toddler bed toddler leg cramps toddler naps toddler sleep toddlers toilet transition transition to one nap travel with kids tryptophan twins undertired up all night violence and kids violent video games and children waking warm bedroom hurts sleep weaning the swaddle winter women heart health won't fall asleep work worries
« Helping Kids Sleep When You're Camping | Main | Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: Sleeping Cool When It's Sizzling »

Ask Malia: When Will My Preschooler Stay Dry At Night?

My four-year-old has been potty trained for ages, but still wets at night. We've tried to put him in underwear at night, but we end up changing sheets all night long. We're tired of the broken sleep! How long will this go on?


First, some good news: the sleep interruption won't last forever. While it's highly common for a 4-year-old to wear a diaper to bed, 88 percent of kids achieve nighttime dryness by age six. Until then, parents can help pave the way for dry nights (and fewer nighttime laundry emergencies) with these tips:

  • Start with realistic expectations. Doctors don't define "bedwetting" until six years of age. In fact, nighttime dryness often lags behind daytime dryness by months or years. Boys typically train more slowly than girls, and kids who are exceptionally deep sleepers and those with developmental delays may have more difficulty with nighttime wetting as well.
  • Don't automatically assume your daytime-dry child is ready to ditch diapers at night. If she is wetting the bed most nights, she may lack the developmental maturity to stay dry all night — this is normal. Contrary to what you may have heard, putting her to bed in underwear before she's ready won't speed this maturational process. Using training pants at night can help save everyone's sleep, and it won't compromise daytime potty training success.
  • Chips, pretzels, soda, and chocolate aren't great choices for bedtime snacks. Salty foods and caffeine have been shown to increase nighttime urination.
  • Line your child's mattress with several layers of fitted sheets and waterproof mattress pads. When a sheet gets wet, simply strip it off along with the mattress pad, and your child will have a fresh, dry sheet (and you can deal with the laundry in the morning).

My article Potty Training After Dark: The Road to Clean, Dry Nights (appearing here in the May 2012 issue of Our Kids San Antonio magazine) tackles this issue more thoroughly.



This post orignally appeared at ParentingSquad.com, where I'm the resident sleep expert.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>