Signup for our newsletter to receive pregnancy, parenting and child health updates.

ask an expert

My 5 1/2 yr old still needs pull-ups at night

My 5 1/2 year old still needs pull-ups at do I get the "overnight potty training" to be a success?

Stephanie Neuhaus | Pediatrician

Stephanie Neuhaus

Thank you for your question about overnight potty training. It is a very common concern from parents! 

First of all, it is important for you to know that you really cannot “potty train” your child overnight. Some children are just deeper sleepers than others, and those that are later bedwetters are actually sleeping through their bodies signals; full bladder. When the children are awake during the day, they are able to respond to the cues and get to the toilet on time, but at night they are literally sleeping through them. 

As these kids get older and mature, they will eventually become less deep sleepers and start responding to their bodies cues. There are some things you can do; however, to set them up for success. First, keep them well hydrated during the day, then have them stop drinking liquids at dinner time. Second, make sure they go to the bathroom and empty their bladder completely before bed. Parents may also want to get them up and have them use the bathroom later when the parents are going to bed (10 or 11 p.m.), if this is not too disruptive to the child. 

If your child continues to wet the bed, do not be alarmed. He or she is simply not ready yet. The most important thing in this situation is that the parents stay calm and patient. Never punish or shame your child for overnight accidents. Your child has no control over them. Approximately 30% of children still wet the bed at age 5.   

Read more answers by Dr. Neuhaus