You can’t believe it’s actually happened! This morning, for the first time, your toddler woke up with dry nappies. He managed to go through the night without having an accident. Hallelujah! You can finally see “Diaper Days” receding into the distance.
You really tried to do everything right. You never scolded him for night-time accidents; you knew he wasn’t doing it on purpose. You talked to him in a cheerful and positive manner about all the enjoyable things that will happen when he’s older, like going to school, learning to ride a bike, and having a dry bed so he can have sleepovers with his friends. You have never pressured him by trying to hurry what is essentially a natural developmental process just like walking, talking and learning to drink from a cup.
Now, all on his own, your toddler has surprised both you and himself by spending his first dry night. How can you acknowledge his success and show your pleasure without making him apprehensive that he may not be able to repeat the accomplishment the following night? Here are a few hints. Feel free to adapt them to your child’s temperament, because you know him better than anyone.
* Praise him for his success. Assure him he is growing up fast and that you are very proud of him. Give him a special treat to celebrate. Maybe lunch at MacDonald’s?
* Let him hear you talk proudly about his accomplishment to a close family member, maybe Grandma or his favorite aunt.
* Take him on a shopping trip and let him choose a special set of “Big Boy” pyjamas. Spiderman or Batman seem to be perennial favorites with little boys. Also buy some stickers that he likes. When you get home, put one sticker on the calendar for last night when he stayed dry all night. Place the new pyjamas on top of his dresser or somewhere in plain sight.
* After he earns stickers for three consecutive nights, he can wear the new pyjamas. Don’t expect instant success. With many children there will be good and bad nights for weeks, and that’s to be expected. His bladder and urinary system will not mature over night. Celebrate the successes and don’t fuss about the setbacks. Be patient while nature takes its course. Keep assuring your little one that you love him and are proud of him, no matter what.
* After seven successive dry nights with seven stickers in a row on the calendar, reinforce your toddler’s pride by allowing him to give away any remaining night-time nappies to a younger friend or relative. He may still have an occasional accident, if he is over-tired or drinks too much in the evening, but for the main part, your toddler is essentially trained for day and night.
You, Mom, can be very proud of him and yourself. Your guided him wisely and lovingly through an important developmental stage, and “Diaper Days” are gone forever, or at least until the next addition to the family.