8 Tips to Stop a Baby From Peeing Through Diapers at Night

Updated on February 18, 2018
Wolfy profile image

Kate is a mother of two and a former registered nurse (RN). She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Sonoma State University.

As parents, we work hard to make our babies comfortable with the hope they will sleep peacefully through the night. We make sure our babies have full tummies, they’re warm, and have a clean diaper.

It can be frustrating when we do all of this only to have our little one wake up a couple of hours later because he or she has peed through their diaper and they’re now wet, cold, uncomfortable, and wide awake.

If this happens during sleep training, it’s even more frustrating for the parents and the baby. Luckily there are some steps you can take to stop nighttime diaper leaks.

The 8 Best Methods

1 - Limit Liquids at Night.
5 - Double Up on the Diapers.
2 - Change Diapers at the Right Time.
6 - Use Cloth Diapers.
3 - Use Overnight Diapers.
7 - Use Diaper Liners.
4 - Use a Larger Diaper for Nighttime.
8 - Double Stack Your Baby's Bedding.

Tip 1 - Limit Liquids at Night

This tip applies only to toddlers, and not to nursing or formula fed babies. If your toddler is leaking through diapers at night, try to limit liquids a few hours before bed.

We would never recommend keeping water away from a child but if they are thirsty they should drink only water for at least 3 hours before bed. This means no juice, flavored water, or sports drinks.

If a drink tastes good a child is more likely to drink it for its flavor and not to quench their thirst. Sugar drinks also act as a diuretic, increasing the production of urine. If you only offer water in the evening they will likely only drink if they are thirsty reducing the chances of nighttime wetting.

Tip 2 - Change Diapers at the Right Time

Change their diaper right before they go down for the night. The feeling of a fresh diaper will also help them get to sleep easier. If they are a toddler that has started potty training, make sitting on the potty a part of your night time routine. Your child might not always go pee but if they get used to this process each night, they may be more likely to empty their bladder right before going to sleep in the future.

If your baby is a heavy sleeper and you can change them without waking them, consider changing them once more before you go to bed.

If you are still nursing or bottle feeding during the night use this time as an opportunity to change their diaper if needed. Always change the diaper first then feed them, this way they are still drowsy from the feeding when you put them back down.

Tip 3 - Use Overnight Diapers

Most diaper brands offer an overnight specific diaper. You may eliminate nighttime leaking simply by switching to one of these specialized diapers.

Every parent has a preferred diaper brand they swear by. If you talk to five different moms you very likely will get five different diaper recommendations. The fact is every baby is different therefore diapers fit differently on each baby. So finding the right diaper for your baby may require some trial and error.

I recommend starting with the brand you already use during the day and buy a smaller pack of their nighttime diapers to test them out. For my son, we found Huggies OverNites Diapers work the best. They fit his extra chunky thighs great and seemed to be (by far) the most absorbent, which of course really helped to prevent any nighttime leaking.

A baby with a dry diaper makes all the difference for a restful night's sleep.
A baby with a dry diaper makes all the difference for a restful night's sleep. | Source

Tip 4 - Use a Larger Diaper for Nighttime

Sometimes a bigger diaper at night can help prevent leaking. For example; if your baby is wearing a size 3 diaper during the day but is peeing through these diapers at night, try going up to a size 4.

Keep your baby in their size 3 during the day, but get a box of size 4 diapers for nighttime. The bigger diaper needs to still be snug around the waist and thighs. If it’s not, go back down a size.

Tip 5 - Double Up on the Diapers

Doubling up on the diapers at night could be the key that stops the nighttime leaking. Put your baby’s diaper on then go ahead and put another diaper right on top of that.

It might help to get one size bigger for the second diaper. If your baby wears size 2 diapers, put that diaper on and then put a size 3 on over top of that. If your baby is only occasionally leaking through their diapers, then the second diaper might often still be dry in the morning so you can reuse that one the next night.

Tip 6 - Use Cloth Diapers

If you are a disposable diaper using parent then the thought of cloth diapers might seem a bit odd. It also might sound like a lot of work. But it just might be the key to stopping those leaks.

Try using cloth diapers only at night and stick with disposable diapers during the day.

Cloth diapers are great for night leaking because you can easily adjust the absorbency. If your baby is peeing through them, use a thicker insert. You can also double up the inserts for more absorbency.

There are many types of cloth diapers, but for overnight leaking purposes I recommend a pocket diaper like Mama Koala One Size Baby Cloth Pocket Diaper. These diapers have a waterproof exterior and inside pocket where you place absorbent inserts. The inserts allow you to adjust the absorbency for your baby’s needs. I have also discovered that these cloth diapers can fit two inserts in their pockets quite well.

Another bonus to cloth diapers is while they are a bigger purchase upfront you will save money in the long run.

Tip 7 - Use Diaper Liners

Diaper liners are simply a padded liner you put inside your baby’s diaper. You can adjust the placement of the liner for boy or girl needs. They hold about 8 fluid ounces and keep your baby feeling dry all night.

One of my personal favorite items to help prevent nighttime leaks is a diaper liner like Sposie Booster Pads Diaper Doublers.

These are also disposable so you can just toss it out with the diaper in the morning. These worked great for my babies and if used every night they actually increased my diaper budget by about $10/month. Not bad considering I was also getting more restful nights and less sheet changing.

Tip 8 - Double Stack Your Baby's Bedding

If you’re still figuring out what works for your baby, and might have some frustrating late night wet bed sheets in the process, then this tip is for you. When making your baby’s bed, put the mattress pad and sheet in followed by another mattress pad and sheet on top of that.

If your baby leaks through their diaper, pajamas, and sheet in the middle of the night you can quickly take off the top sheet and mattress pad, change the baby and put your baby right back down. No fumbling through drawers looking for a new sheet and mattress pad then changing them while baby is on the floor crying.

I had a couple stressful nights before I figured this one out. Nothing worse than trying to keep your newly sleep trained baby tired while changing the crib’s sheets.

Every baby is different and figuring out what works best for your little one might take some trial and error. If you think your baby is peeing an excessive amount talk to your pediatrician to ensure there are no underlying medical issues. Remember, the less your baby is disturbed at night due to dampness or diaper changes, the more likely he or she is to sleep soundly.

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    • Wolfy profile image

      Kate Daily 3 months ago from California

      Thank you Bill!

    • Wolfy profile image

      Kate Daily 3 months ago from California

      That really does help, a lot. Sometimes it can be a pain to stock two different sizes at home (one size for daytime and one size for nighttime) but once I tried it, it was well worth it!

    • Liztalton profile image

      Liztalton 3 months ago from Washington

      Great article. I swear by using a bigger size diaper at night to stop leaks. When my son was in size 2 diapers, I used size three at night.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am absolutely certain I will never have to worry about diapers again, but it's always nice reading your work. Have a great weekend ahead.