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  • Jessica Berk

Potty Training and Sleep with Jamie Glowacki

As a toddler sleep coach, one of the biggest issues that can interfere with your child’s sleep is the potty. Potty training, nighttime accidents, potty obsession, potty stalling, all of it. But our kid is going to potty train, and it shouldn't wreck their sleep. 

Coupled together, potty training and sleep are a vital part of the toddler bedtime routine! 

That’s why my guest today is Jamie Glowacki, potty training expert and author of “Oh Crap! Potty Training,” and we talked about all things potty training and sleep. I got to ask her those big potty training questions (What age should training start? How much pottying is normal?) and you’ll definitely want to hear the answers Jamie gave.


>>Watch this blog on my Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇


What is the “perfect” age to start potty training?

Unfortunately, our kids don't come with a manual, so we don't know exactly where it is. But we know that for developmental milestones, there are age ranges in which it's best that your child learns this.


At 20 to 30 months, there's a developmental lull. They have mastered eating, they have mastered separation anxiety. Once they hit three, they hit individuation, which is where they know that they are their own person separate from you. And that is where you get a lot of the power struggles. 

So 20 to 30 months to me is the ideal range for potty training.

I feel like people don't talk about potty training necessarily the way they do about a milestone like eating, walking, talking, and that's really helpful. 

Is it true that one hormone plays a role in both potty and sleep?

Yeah, for sure. That's the ADH. It's called the antidiuretic hormone. It is released with melatonin. So as night falls and melatonin is released in the body, the ADH hormone kicks in and that is what makes us pee less at night.

What we want with a child is one pee per night. At the beginning of night training, they'll probably pee like three times a night. But when that antidiuretic hormone is released with melatonin, then you get like one pee per night. 

And a lot of times what this means (and it ties into sleep) is that we have to get our kids to bed earlier. 

We're talking about toddlers; I've got kids going to bed at 10 o'clock. And I'm like, well, no wonder they're wetting the bed. The ADH isn't being released with the melatonin when the melatonin is not being released.”

Yet another data point on why it is so important to have a toddler bedtime routine that gets our kids to bed early!

Should my kid be day and night potty trained at the same time?

“In my book, I separate it because I think it's really daunting, especially when both parents work outside the home. It's very daunting to look at nighttime training because you do have to assist your child. That's like 12 hours they're going without peeing, otherwise.

But the best sign you can get is when they start holding through naps. If they can hold through a nap without peeing, that is the best sign you're ever going to get that they're ready for night training.

Generally speaking, I like to wake a child at 10 pm and two am, assuming like a seven o'clock bedtime, maybe a six o'clock wake up, and we want to ascertain when they're peeing the most.

The {two am} is not sustainable. Nobody wants to be up at two in the morning peeing their child. So what we want to do is at least assist them at ‘last man standing,’ probably like 10 or 11 o'clock.”

Could my kid be using the potty as a bedtime stall tactic?

“I call it the bedtime potty pit. It's like when you play Candyland and in the sugar cane forest, when you get stuck in that, that’s bedtime potty pit. 

So it's always three chances and then go to bed.

They're going to figure out really quickly that it is an awesome stall. It’s like in Harry Potter when they're in the wand shop and they all get their new wands and they're blowing sh*t up. That's a potty training kid. They're like, ‘hey, if I say potty, my mom will stop the car. My mom will stop bedtime.’ It’s like they have a new wand in their hand. They have new control, and they're going to use it. 

And so at bedtime, it's just one, two, three.”

Don’t forget, you can learn more about Jamie and the work she does on her website, and on her Instagram, @jamie.glowacki.


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