How To Minimize Sleep Disruptions During Potty Training

Is it time for your little one to graduate from diapers? While potty training may make life easier once it’s over, the process can be tough on parents. It often goes hand in hand with overnight wakings, bedwetting, bedtime resistance, and general sleep challenges. Sleep struggles are difficult for the whole family- nobody likes the feeling of being exhausted. So today, I’m covering how to minimize sleep disruptions during potty training.

Minimize Sleep Disruptions During Potty Training

How To Minimize Sleep Disruptions During Potty Training

There are many ways to help keep the sleep disruptions at bay while potty training. While the occasional sleep disruption is bound to happen, keeping the occurrences as low as possible is the goal. 

Potty training is a big developmental milestone for toddlers. It signifies a new level of independence and is a huge learning curve. However, several sleep struggles often arise in the wake of potty training that are likely to set back your little one’s sleep training. 

For things to go as smoothly as possible, ensuring your kiddo is ready to take this step is crucial. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until they’re at least 2 years of age and reports that signs of developmental readiness typically occur between 18 months and 2.5 years. However, every child is different- age isn’t the end-all-be-all. To know whether or not it’s the right time, take these factors into consideration before deciding to start potty training:

Signs of Readiness for Potty Training in Children

Signs of readiness for potty training in children

It’s the Right Time for Everyone 

Potty training is not for the faint of heart. You will likely have to dedicate extra time to take care of accidents and sleep disruptions. If you’re bringing home a new sibling, moving houses, or going through other major life changes, it may be a good idea to hold off. This way, you can wait until you have the bandwidth to deal with all that comes with potty training. 

Along the same lines, waiting until you are ready is so important. In trying times, having a network of support can make a world of difference. Make sure you’re in the right mental headspace before embarking on the journey. All children are different- if yours misses the “normal” age window so that you can give potty training the attention it requires, it’s completely okay. 

Sleep Habits are In Check 

Although potty training will likely disrupt sleep, having a solid foundation before beginning the process will make it much easier to get back on track. Additionally, being well-rested is crucial for their health and will allow them to learn potty training skills more easily. Sleep training is an amazing way for your little one to transform into a solid sleeper, which translates to better rest, energy levels, and improved mental health for the whole family. 

Your Child Displays Signs of Readiness 

Age is just a number. If your toddler has reached the recommended age range for potty training but they’re not yet developmentally ready, hold off on potty training. Every child is unique, and if they’re not yet ready, it shouldn’t be cause for concern. 

Developmental skills that indicate readiness to take the next step are basic gross motor and communication skills, the ability to follow simple directions, seeking approval and wanting to please others, and displaying a sense of accomplishment in their achievements. 

Additionally, there are potty training-related signs that may indicate their readiness to ditch the diapers. Some of these signs could be that they ask for clean diapers, show interest in potty training, stay dry for longer, hide when going to the bathroom, communicate once they’ve gone, or resist diaper changes. 

It’s important to remember that every child is different. Don’t fret if potty training isn’t going as expected. It may require a little bit of extra patience, or even pausing and coming back to it another time when they’re more ready. 

Once your little one is ready to start potty training, there are a few common sleep disruptions that you can expect to experience at one point or another. 

Common Sleep Disruptions During Potty Training

Common Sleep Disruptions During Potty Training

Sleep disruptions during potty training are normal- so don’t worry. However, that doesn’t make them less frustrating in the moment. Here are the most common sleep struggles we see during the potty training stages: 

Sleep Regression

Potty training is a common catalyst for sleep regressions, which are developmental progressions that typically occur around big milestones and create extra sleep issues. Although it’s called a sleep regression, it’s an indicator that your little one is progressing and picking up new skills. While this concept may be exciting, sleep regressions can be pretty brutal. The good news is that they typically only last for a few weeks- hang in there! If you’re going through one right now, my blog is full of sleep regression resources to help your family sleep better. I have entire posts dedicated to the 4-month, 6-month, 12-month, 18-month, 2-year, and 3-year sleep regressions

Bedwetting

Accidents happen. This is totally normal, so don’t worry. It’s important to comfort your little one if this happens to prevent them from feeling shame, as bedwetting is unfortunately par for the course during the potty training stage.  

Overnight Wakeups

Waking through the night to use the potty can disrupt sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall back asleep. Trips to the bathroom are a great excuse to not just wake up in the middle of the night, but can also become a negotiating tool for your toddler to delay bedtime. Where toddlers even learn to negotiate is beyond me, but somehow, bedtime resistance is second nature at this age.

Potty Training How to Minimize Sleep Disruptions 

How to Minimize Sleep Disruptions 

The key to minimizing sleep disruptions is to make nights as easy as possible. Potty training often interrupts sleep when it includes trips to the bathroom, bedwetting, and excuses to delay bedtime. Focus on potty training during the daytime first and then work your way towards diaper-free nights once you’ve nailed it.

To make bedtime easier, limit the liquids right before bedtime to ensure that they’re good to go once they’re in bed to minimize interruptions. To support good sleep habits, have a consistent bedtime routine to make the entire process easier. This will also make a big difference in the long run- bedtime routines encourage positive sleep hygiene and can drastically improve sleep habits. 

Once they’re potty training during the night, add a potty chair to their room to eliminate nighttime trips and help them make the transition to avoid accidents. Additionally, using training pants or overnight diapers at first can help them to adjust. 

Like anything else in parenting, potty training requires major patience. Allow room for error and be a safe space for your child to rely on to avoid shame or embarrassment. Our kids are just trying to figure the world out for the first time!

Looking for more potty training and sleep tips? Check out 10 Steps to Better Sleep While Potty Training. If you need sleep help in general, Sleep Shore offers one-on-one sleep consultations for newborns, infants, and toddlers. Check out what this mama had to say about our sleep services: 

“Sleep has always been an issue for my 2.5-year-old daughter. Naps had gotten harder in the past few months and bedtime was taking longer and longer, so I was searching online for help. Molly happened to be doing a Facebook live session so I submitted my questions. In just a few minutes she had given me such helpful information. I decided that I wanted to work with Molly and within a week my daughter was consistently taking naps and having a much easier time at bedtime. Molly was always available to me, even on weekends, and was always willing to tweak things so that my daughter’s needs were met. I would highly recommend Molly if you are having sleep issues with your child. Thank you, Molly!”

-MOM OF A 2.5-YEAR-OLD

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