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Potty Training & Impacts on Sleep!

Like all development milestones, potty training can have a knock on effect on your little one's sleep. There are so many cognitive changes and learning going on, that their minds are often in overdrive!

Not only that - but there is also the recognition of the feeling that they "need to go", and the feeling of being soggy if wearing night nappies - so there will be heightened awareness around this as their awareness of their own body increases - and there may be more night awakenings, early rises or even an impact on naps.

Even though before all of the "potty training" they'd have likely slept in a damp nappy no problem - this feeling is much stronger now and they may be waking in discomfort from feeling soggy or a fuller night nappy (they tend to hold less too!).

Of course, these will be temporary sleep challenges, and they won't last forever.

Top Tips for managing Potty Training & Sleep

  1. Try to avoid making big changes in their sleep habits/routine right in the middle of potty training. This can muddy the waters of what is causing the night awakenings and the developmental changes. It may be a bit much for their little brains to cope with. If possible, I'd focus on the sleep rhythms first where you are seeing consistently good sleep - then you know any changes are potty training led.

  2. Keep Consistent in your settles! Help them in the night, and keep consistent in how you settle them so not to make it a big awakening. Bringing new settle methods in at this stage will likely prolong the sleep challenges.

  3. Tackle the day training before the nights. It may take longer for the nights to come. Pediatricians often class this as "daytime training" and "night training" - so do separate these out. Pull up nappies (and there are ones with fun designs now too!) can work well for this. Explain these are special ones for night time and embed it into your routine. In time, these will start to become drier then have the confidence to let them go!

  4. Many kids use this as an opportunity to delay sleep and stall bedtime! Set limits on how many toilet trips ahead of bedtime. It's ok to make a balance between responding to their needs, and keeping healthy boundaries for your bedtime settle.

  5. On that note - make sure to add that "last pee" into your rewards/bedtime routine chart and tick it off together!

  6. Be prepared - for when the night nappies come off know there may be the odd accident. You can safely layer on sheets underneath including a waterproof cover over the mattress. Puppy training pads can be great for any leaks and absorptions too!

  7. Dream Pee! Like the old fashion "dream feed" in the new-born days - but before you head to bed yourself, lift them gently and guide them to the toilet for a super sleepy pee and lay back down to bed after. This can work really well!

  8. Limit large amounts of liquids before bed where possible! And this of course will be true for night awakenings, small sips if needed.

Some kids may transition quicker than others - but don't compare. Your child will get it in their own time. Did you know that there is a Potty Training Module in the Toddler Sleep Course? From Potty Training to Bedtime Battles - it has everything you need for a full nights sleep! As always - I'm here if you need me.

Jade Sleep Nanny

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