How to gradually wean kids out of a night-time nappy

Posted in Development.

This is one of those posts I hope my son never reads. Sorry, buddy.

He turned five at the end of October last year and I have been putting off weaning the night-time nappy thing.

I know, it seems late. It probably is late, but there you go. It just is. That’s where we got to.

I could list the excuses, like, after the birth of our second it took so long to get our sleep back and I didn’t want to mess with that. #knowwhatimean?

Read more on five-year-olds

But anyway, there we were.

And despite assurances from friends with slightly older kids that we would “get there” – being just over a month away from starting big school, we were keen to really get this box ticked.

So what to do?

Tip #1: Don’t panic mum and dad

I reached out to Kinderling’s mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue who told me not to panic.

“Some kids just take longer than others, toilet training is a cognitive thing … Give it a try and if you’re still having wet nights, check in with your GP.”

Can’t deny my relief there.

Next, Chris advised a bit of staggered approach.

  1. Ask him if he’s ready. Something like: “Hey tonight, shall we try no nappy?” If he’s dead against it, keep asking. If he’s okay to go, don’t ask again and just fire away.
  2. Eradicate any night-time liquids (and evening too, so that means nothing really from about 5pm).
  3. Get strict on visiting the toilet before bedtime. Twice sometimes (depending on how long bedtime takes #knowwhatimean?
  4. Wait three days for the nappy to be completely dry.
  5. Head to bed without a nappy.
  6. Voila!

Here’s what really happened …

We followed steps one – four for about six weeks. Maybe eight actually, because every time we’d asked Harry to try and go to bed without a nappy, he kept saying “no”.

Keen not to rush him, we let things go a bit longer.

Then just over a week ago, we just kind of forgot to put one on and he forgot too. And even though he woke up during the night and wet the bed, the next night we just decided to go with it.

I got him up about 11pm and took him to the toilet and back to bed and there were no accidents.

I repeated this for a second and third night and when there were still no accidents on the fourth night, I was calling that a goal!  

When I checked in with Chris, she told me to keep going as a habit is really established FOR GOOD if you hit 7/10 nights with a dry bum.

And so we did.

And here we are – result. Night number nine and we are still dry.

Okay, so we have one more night to go but I think it’s important to give ourselves a pat on the back ?

And also, hopefully, assure anyone else worried about this last little step of toilet training, you can get there too.

Just be ready for some accidents along the way!


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