Well for my youngest son it turned out to be the night just before Halloween when Daddy was away and Mummy had forgotten to buy any more nappies... literally not a nappy in the house, not even an emergency one in the car.
At this point my son had been daytime potty training since August with various degrees of success. He was great at home but had regular accidents on his nursery days. So not, you'd think, the right time to start on the nights, but we had no choice and at nearly two and a half he was probably ready to try.
What Do You Need For Night Time Potty Training?
Having, as most non-EC parents do (EC is elimination communication), trained my son from birth to wet himself into a nappy at night, I was under no illusion that this might be a hard habit to break.
- makeshift bed-mats
- and a potty with an automatic night light
"What surprised me was how after just a week, although the bed may have been wet, the day-time accidents were less frequent."
D was then having more dry days than not. Looking back it's as if I'd stopped confusing him, after all we are told "to always be consistent" in our parenting message, and saying "go ahead have a nappy its ok to wet yourself at night, but please keep your pants dry during the day" is not a consistent message at all.
To get back to the nights though, D wet the bed every night the first week, but then he started to wake up and shout for me after he had wet the bed. This was progress of sorts but it usually happened around 2am, not great when you have school runs and work the next day.
So I started to lift him around 10 - 11pm. Lifting isn't ideal, I realised, because it's just replacing an old habit with a new one and still not allowing the child to react to needing a wee.
After a few nights I started waking D up and encouraged him to get out of bed use the potty then get back into bed. This was made much easier because the potty we were using has a movement sensitive night light and goes on and off automatically, so I didn't need to put any main lights or lamps on in the room.
A few weeks in, I forgot to lift him before I retired for the night, and I awoke about 5.30am to hear a little voice calling. Bleary-eyed, I went into D's room expecting a wet bed, but it was dry, "I need a wee" D said "well the potty is there" I said and out he hopped to wee. So I stopped lifting and 2 out of 3 nights were dry with D using the potty in the early hours but then going back to bed. So then I slowly reduced his night-time milk drink by about a third and brought it forward an hour so that he had plenty of time to have a couple of wee's before bedtime.
News Years Day, I went into D's room to find a wee in the potty and a dry little boy, in a dry bed, looking at a book - great start to the year! So far no accidents day or night, although I expect we will have a few one day if he gets worried about things like starting school.
So when is the right time to night toilet train? I think perhaps when you daytime train, be consistent but give them time to break old habits.
Rachael - Mummy to boys 2 and 7 yrs
For more Toilet Training hints and Tips see the LumiPotti website