Should You Wake Your Child to Pee at Night?

Should You Wake Your Child to Pee at Night?

Should you wake your child to pee at night? This is the most frequently asked question by parents wondering whether they should let them use the bathroom at night or wait until the outgrow bed wetting on their own. It’s advisable to take a day at a time and let the transition happen naturally without stressing the child or undergoing too much pressure.

However, just like everything else about children, what works for one may not necessarily work for the other. There’s no standard procedure for stopping bed wetting in children. Here are some thoughts that may help those considering trying out the dream wee make informed decisions.

You can start off by potty training the child during the day using the OCPT (Oh Crap Potty Training) method by one Jamie Glowacki. Employ the same guidelines when you are ready to stop using diapers at night. Consider using the sleep pee technique if needed even when you are not sure if it will work well.

About Dream Wee

Dream wee is the late-night pee usually initiated by parents and not children themselves often done fast and quietly. It’s almost similar to dream feed for the younger ones. Lifting the child from the bed in the middle of the night and shuffling them to use the bathroom is what is referred to as a dream wee, otherwise known as sleep or dream pee. This therefore means, if the child goes to bed at around 8, and you do the same at 11, then that’s the dream wee time. It’s more of a light off sleepy pee.

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Trying tossing it around, whether to do the lift or the dream wee especially if you were successful with the OCPT method. Waking up the child to pee at night may sometimes seem like an insurmountable and crazy feat. Ultimately, you can decide to wait a little longer until the brain-body connection is established but would be forced to use it if the child can’t make it through the night without bedwetting at the age of 4.

The Oh Crap Potty Training method is flexible. It’s highly recommended that you take only that which works and use it as you deem fit since all children are unique and nothing is impossible to change. You can also set a time limit if you are worried about missed opportunities.

Physical Challenges That Come with Lifting the Child to Pee at Night

Most parents who choose not to try the lifting method mainly talk about physical challenges. This is especially for those with heavier children and deep sleepers. See, it’s quite hard to do the shuffle to the bathroom quickly and quietly when your child is a deep sleeper or is a bit heavy that you can’t comfortably lift them out of bed.

If you are lucky enough, your child can refuse using diapers at night by the age of 4 which will work in your favor. In this case, always remind them to call out for help when they need to use the bathroom at night. However, if your child is tired yet beyond 4 years, you can resort to trying the sleepy pee.

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Jamie Glowacki recommends not going beyond the age of 4 when it comes to night training since the bladder muscles can atrophy especially when not trained enough to hold pee all night long. Besides, the OCPT method works well during the day.

Always keep in mind that there are several options to choose from depending on your flexibility in thinking. If one method is working for your child, don’t interfere or change anything. If not, you can explore other different avenues. Remember, day time potty training and night time are not the same.

Why Day Time Potty Training is Different From Night-Time

Nighttime potty training is another different level compared to the day time one. What doesn’t work for one child can work for the other and vice versa as explained by experts. However, the main factor is typically neurological readiness. For the most part, it all narrows down to science.

It’s about the ability of the child to hold and consolidation. Nighttime potty training is how capable the child is to hold in pee throughout the night to avoid wetting the bed. It, therefore, means that children can manage to stay dry during the day but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll do the same for the night. They might not be developmentally ready. This is why there’s no standard age for kids to make it through the night without bedwetting because there’s a wide range.

child sitting on potty

There’s more to it than just chronological age but more of the child’s physical development which is quite unique. Consider potty training during the day since most children can hold the pee for longer with some only using the bathroom up to three times in just an hour. Parents should let their children’s bladder fully develop. There are kids who still wet the bed even at 7 years or beyond and it’s quite normal and associated with different reasons including an underlying medical condition.

When Is the Right Time to Try it Out?

You know it’s the right time when the child is fully potty trained during the day but wears a diaper or pull up at night but consistently stays dry for about 5 nights. Also, if the child keeps dry for longer during the day. These are some promising factors that indicate the bladder is developed enough to hold and consolidate pee.

If you don’t go through this stage or leave the diaper on, the child might start wetting the bed at night again. If they know they have the diaper on, they will certainly use it. Sometimes they even pee in the diaper when they wake up after making it through the night dry. You will know because when you take the diaper or pull-up off, it’ll still be warm.

Tips on How to Potty Train Using the OCPT Method

Here are some tips to get you started on the OCPT method.

  • Monitoring fluids – Reduce intake of fluids before bedtime. Encourage the child to drink more earlier in the day and reduce as the day progresses to avoid dehydration. During the day, let the kid drink as much as he/she wants but don’t be too tough if they are genuinely thirsty at night.
  • Ask the child to empty the bladder completely – When using the bathroom before retiring to bed, always tell the child to stay a little longer so all the urine comes out. Children won’t squeeze out all the drops especially when potty training is still new to them.
  • Try layering up the waterproof cover – You can put the waterproof mattress cover then layer it up with fitted sheets and add on a pee pad. This way, you can always change the sheets and the child’s pyjamas when cleaning the mess instead of stripping and remaking the whole bed. Always have extra sheets and blanket in the room for such emergencies.

Try Night Time Potty Training After the Little One Transitions from The Crib

Nighttime potty training would be much easier when the kids have their own beds. It makes no huge difference whether you decide to wake your child to pee at night or try the dream pee. Potty training is usually about setting up the child for independence and success in future. They should be independent of using diapers, especially if they are sleeping on their own beds as they will eventually learn to wake up and use the bathroom without any help. This will make the child proud.

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Heavy Sleepers

Also known as the deep sleepers.  These children can comfortably sleep through even the loudest of noises. If you want to try night time potty training on a heavy sleeper, get a very loud potty alarm. Invest in a potty alarm that goes off at any sign of wetness as it helps teach children autonomy. Even if the child fails to hear it, at least the parent will.

You can see the best bedwetting alarms here.


I hope the insights above come in handy when trying the night time potty training. Waking up the child to pee at night typically narrows down to personal preference just like using other alternative methods. Go for what works well with the entire family.

Remember, all kids are unique in their own ways. Always be attentive to any signs and most importantly, when your child consistently stays dry for three to five nights, consider that your window! Follow the child’s lead and if you are lucky enough, you’ll never have to use diapers again. Keep going, you’ll eventually get there!

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