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Going to the Potty to Delay Bedtime?

Kids are the best at making up stuff they really need at bedtime. It’s no coincidence that they are suddenly starving for toast and peanut butter or dying of thirst as soon as you say lights out. They definitely have an agenda, and that agenda is to stay up longer. And to make you fetch things for them, which is pretty fun for them. Even watching you lose your cool is better than ACTUALLY having to go to sleep…

You might be able to argue with them that they just ate their apple and raisins so they can’t be hungry, or argue that they just had a glass of water before they brushed their teeth, but what if they holler at you from their toddler bed that they really, really have to pee? Like, NOW.

This is a tricky one. Toddlers are still learning to have control over their bodily functions, and as we know, that control is pretty shaky sometimes. If they wet the bed it’s you who gets to do the extra laundry when you want to be watching your detective show with a bowl of chips and a glass of wine after a long day.

So do you just ignore them when they say they have to go to the potty? Or do you let them get up every time they say they have to pee? Many toddlers will soon learn that if they linger on their potty seat they can stretch their bedtime for a good ten minutes or more. This can get frustrating, fast.

Luckily, there are ways you can figure out if they are just employing their super-slick delaying tactics on you. One way you can tell is just by using your well-honed parenting instincts. If you suspect your child is lying about having to go, most likely you’re right. But it’s not exactly something you can have down to a science, and chances are sometimes you’ll be wrong.

Here are my tips for how to deal with those nighttime potty trips:

1. Reduce liquids before bed
This is a no-brainier, I know. But if you’re used to catering to your child’s thirst whenever she says she needs a drink, you may be loading her up on juice and milk and water too close to bed. If you are, then you can guarantee those requests to go pee are for real.

2. Personally, I like to create a “hall pass” that can be used once and only once after the child is tucked into bed. Hopefully this will teach your child to think it through, and not to make excuses to delay bedtime. If they get up a second time, give them a consequence.

Of course, neither of these tips is truly foolproof, and you will end up with accidents from time to time. But reducing liquids at night and making sure you stand your ground after that first pass will help, and your child will figure out pretty soon that he can’t use the bathroom as his new bedtime hangout to avoid going to sleep.

Also, if you’re looking for a complete, step-by-step guide that will help you get your baby or toddler sleeping 11+ hours straight through the night check out The Sleep Sense Program.

Learn more here.


Certified Sleep Sense Consultant Tip

Ronee Welch, one of our Certified Sleep Sense Consultants was featured on WFMZ-TV News to share some sleep tips. Click the video below to see what she had to say:

Ronee W Media WFMZ-TV


To contact Ronee for individualized help, she can be reached via the information below:

Ronee Welch
Sleeptastic Solutions
(484) 951-0902



Interested in learning more about becoming a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant and earning a great income on a flexible schedule that fits with your family?

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Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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