Let's Go Potty

Let's Go Potty is dedicated to supporting families and anyone working with young children with every stage of the potty training journey from nappies to pants.

Look out for signs of readiness 

Signs that your child may be ready to start becoming dry at night include: 

Waking up dry or having just a damp/lighter nappy than the usual full one.   

Two or three dry nights in a row. 

Asking not to wear bedtime nappies or take it off during the night. 

Waking in the night to use the toilet or waking you up to ask to help them go.  

Do some preparation together   

Explain to your child what they’ll need to do in the night once they’re no longer wearing a nappy.  

Put a potty in their bedroom and encourage them to practice getting from their bed to the potty or toilet. 

Protect their bed with a waterproof sheet.  

Put a gentle night light by the bed which will make it easier for them to find the potty or way to the loo. This should also help children who feel frightened of the dark and don’t want to get out of bed.  

Make sure they can pull their pyjamas up and down easily. 

Have fresh pyjamas and bedding ready in case of accidents.  

Move them to the bottom bunk if they are sharing with siblings.   

Have a trial period without nappies 

Some children will never be dry as long as they are wearing some protection – they go to sleep knowing it doesn’t matter if they wee in their sleep and that is just what happens! They’re not being lazy – they just don’t have any control when they’re sleeping.  

Be brave: try without nappies or pull-ups for at least a week to see if it makes any difference. If accidents keep happening every night, or more than once a night and you’re finding it stressful coping with washing, it's better to go back to nappies and try again after a few weeks. Keep going with the good toileting and drinking habits in the meantime.  

Encourage good drinking habits 

Make sure they stop drinking at least an hour before bedtime. A few sips of water if they’re thirsty is fine, but if they’ve kept well hydrated during the day they shouldn’t need large amounts of fluid before bed.  

Avoid the temptation to restrict daytime fluids thinking this will help to stay dry at night - it definitely won’t! Make sure they're having between  6 – 8 drinks of water based fluid throughout the day.   

Drinking milk just before bedtime can make bedwetting worse as milk is high in protein so we make more wee after having it. Encourage your child to have their milk at teatime instead.  

Also watch out for drinks like hot chocolate which contains caffeine and anything fizzy especially before bed as they are more likely to make your child wet at night. 

Read ERIC’s  wee and poo children's pages  to your little one to help them understand why they need to drink well.  

And good toileting habits too!  

Make doing a wee when they first wake up and just before they go to sleep part of their everyday routine. Encourage little boys to sit down for this last wee of the day. Boys empty their bladders better when they sit and may even discover they need to push a poo out at the same time!  

Explain to your child why it's important not to keep your bladder waiting to be emptied - if it's used to being ignored all day how you can expect it to wake you up at night?!  

Keep a close eye on their pooing habits  

Is your child pooing at least 4 times a week and doing nice soft, pain free poos which they don’t have to strain to push out? If not they might be constipated and this needs treating. Signpost to ERIC’s bowel leaflet.  

A bowel full of poo can have a big affect on the bladder causing day and night time accidents as the poo bumps into the bladder and stops it being able to fill and empty as it usually should.  

Make lifting/‘dream wees’ more effective  

Lifting your child can be useful in the first few days without nappies, but make sure the light is on and help your child to wake up. In the long term, taking your drowsy child to the toilet won't stop their bedwetting as it just allows the child to wee in their sleep into the toilet.  

Cut back on screen time before bedtime 

Instead of letting your child watch TV or play on a tablet in the hour before bed, get them used to a relaxed wind down with no screen time. Let them choose a book or two instead! 

Research into sleep shows that the blue light emitted by electronic devices can trick our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime and stop us from entering ‘sleep mode’ when we should.    


Try to make it a calm, positive experience for both of you. Offer your child lots of encouragement and reassurance.   

Reward and praise them for the efforts they are making (drinking well for example) rather than saving rewards for a dry bed only. This can have a demotivating effect on children as they can’t control bedwetting when they’re asleep.  

And finally, try not to worry!  

Remember bedwetting is very common and perfectly normal in children, especially those under the age of 5. It’s nobody’s fault and isn’t something you can ‘train’ children out of like potty training.  

Try to avoid putting too much pressure on them to be a ‘big boy/girl’ and don’t  make a fuss out of accidents - it's all part of the process just like with potty training.