Potty Training (Toilet Training)

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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When will my child stop wetting the bed at night?

As noted above, nighttime toilet training is a step along the continuum of toilet training. Studies have repeatedly shown that restriction of fluids in the evening, repeated child waking by the parents and avoidance of certain foods (other than caffeine) will not accelerate this timeline.

There are children who have not achieved nighttime dryness by 7 years of age. For these individuals, there are several programs/devices that are often helpful. Please read MedicineNet's bedwetting (enuresis) article.

My potty-trained child has regressed. What should I do?

Regression of toilet training skills are commonly encountered and generally are not a cause for alarm. Childhood illness and emotional stress (such as the birth of a new sibling, new day-care facility, a new home, or the mother returning to the work force) may all disrupt the toilet-training process. For the child who suddenly is refusing bowel movements (BMs), parents need to consider whether the child experienced a painful BM or became scared (such as from flushing to toilet while the child was still seated on the commode). Under these circumstances, the child may logically infer that avoiding the bowel movement process will guarantee avoidance of repeating such an experience. If parents notice establishment of such a pattern, they should discuss the issue with their child's pediatrician. Similarly, if the child experiences repeated daytime wetting or nighttime wetting after having been dry for more than six months, this should be brought to the pediatrician's attention. Such events are more likely associated with medical issues and not a "stage."

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2015

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