Health A-Z

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To help your child achieve his or her first dry night, try these suggestions:

  • Provide encouragement and praise for dry nights. Never punish, shame or blame.

  • Remind your child to urinate before going to bed. If he or she doesn't feel the need to urinate, tell your child to try anyway.

  • Limit liquids in the last two hours before bedtime. Also, limit foods that melt into liquids, such as ice cream and flavored gelatin (Jell-O).

  • Use cloth underwear rather than diapers or plastic pants. "Grown-up" pants help remind your child to stay dry.

  • Try waking your child once each night for a bathroom trip. Set an alarm near your child's bed or your own.

  • To make cleanup easier, place a rubber liner or large plastic bag under cloth sheets.

Even after your child has become completely toilet trained, occasional accidents will happen. It is important that you remain calm and casual as you change the bed sheets and underpants. You can do this with your child's help. Do not show disgust or disappointment.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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