Dr Catherine
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2-4 years

My son recently toilet trained during the day, but is now waking up at nights, crying for the toilet. I’m thrilled that he can recognise he needs to go, but I’m less thrilled about the interruptions to my sleep. Is there anything we can do to help him through this phase? I am happy when he sleeps through (even though he sometimes wakes wet), but worry that this means he’s learning to ignore his wee signals and will end up in overnight nappies for an unnecessarily extended period (his sister is five and still in night nappies).

There are a number of reasons why children continue to wet at night. Some do so because their body produces larger than normal amounts of urine overnight and their bladder is unable to store it until morning. This usually continues until the amount of urine produced decreases or children learn to wake-up in response to a full bladder. Others do so because they are unable to wake in response to the signals that their bladder sends to their brain telling them to wake-up and go to the toilet. The fact that your son is waking is a really good sign that he is able to respond to those signals sent from his bladder. As a working mother I know how tricky it can be dealing with broken sleep however it is important that your son knows you are available at night when needed. Talk with him about what he can do if he wakes and needs to go to the toilet. Is he too scared to get up and go to the toilet at night? Something as simple as leaving on a night light or putting a potty in his room can make all the difference. All the best! Kind Regards, Dr Cathrine