Solving night terrors lickety-split

Dr. Alan Greene explains how to solve night terrors in children

Dr. Greene talks about a cleve solution to night terrors in kidsWe’ve come upon a great solution for night terrors in my house (OK, my wife actually came up with it :) that worked with our son and thousands of others. If you’ve ever run in to this with your child, you’ve probably noticed that your kids are stuck in a state of unfamiliarity, making it not only scary for them, but for you as well.

One night when this was happening to our son, it occurred to Cheryl (whom may of you have chatted with in the comments – she’s ‘MsGreene’) that the issue may be related to potty training. The two often occur in toddlers at around the same age, there was certainly a decent chance they were related.

So we ran a little test, and of course she was right. Her idea solved our son’s night terrors instantly. It was pretty awesome. Watch the video below for our ‘secret’ solution to night terrors!

If your kids are experiencing night terrors, give this a try. It’s an easy, effective solution to night terrors without incident.

Has this tip helped you? Let us know in the comments. If your kids are having other sleep issues, feel free to drop us a question about those as well.

Until next week!

Dr. Alan Greene

Article written by

Dr. Greene is the founder of (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.



  • Julie Tremblay

    That’s exactly what we discovered with our oldest daughter – starting when she was around 4 yo, she would begin to be agitated and cry and trash in the bed every night around midnight. She had been potty trained for a long time already (we practiced Elimination Communication), but still, I found out that if I could get her to the toilet, she would pee, go back to bed and fall sound asleep immediately. It was a struggle usually – she would kick us away, scream when we tried to touch her, answer no if we asked her if she needed to go pee and be totally incoherent. Sometimes we had to wait a while, and at some point we would be able to carry her, sometimes struggling a bit with her, or have her walk to the bathroom. Very rarely would she wake up and tell us she needed to go pee. Now she is 6 and since a few months, she usually sleeps very calmly all night long, or wakes up and goes to the bathroom by herself – it is so nice!

    • Alan Greene

      Ahhhhh! Julie, great you have made it though this stage – and powerful that you could get your daughter back to sleep by peeing, even though she had been potty trained and protested that she didn’t need to go.

  • Dawn Winkelmann

    Your videos are fantastic! I have had night terrors since I was a kid, and STILL have them a couple times a year. But, if I am encouraged to get up, and go to the bathroom I won’t have another night terror that night. If I don’t get up, I will have several night terrors in a row in one night. Not fun! :(

    • Alan Greene

      Thanks, Dawn! Not fun, but really appreciate your sharing. Valuable insight from your experience.

  • Danika @ Your Organic Life

    Very interesting. My daughter only had night terrors a few times but I don’t think it was related to potty training for her. She had been nighttime dry since before her 1st birthday. She has just never peed at night. Now that she’s 7 she does occasionally get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom but she’s only ever wet the bed once.

    For my daughter I learned to predict when she would have them after noticing it would be on nights where she was over tired and over stimulated, such as when she may have stayed up late running around with kids when we had company. Almost inevitably she would have a night terror as she came out of her 1st sleep cycle.

    I had read that since night terrors are not nightmares, therefore kids usually don’t remember having the night terror. The first night terror was pretty scary for all of us. Now that I know what it is I usually just hold her (if she’ll let me), rub her back or her head while whispering quietly “Mommy’s here.” Trying to fight the night terror or wake her up was usually worse. The night terror would either be longer, or she’d wake up in the middle and be scared because she didn’t know why she was crying and screaming. Once I realized it wasn’t a nightmare, and is just a miss-fire in the brain as she transitioned from 1 sleep cycle to another it was easier to wait it out. Then it usually didn’t last more than 20-30 minutes… husband, of course, slept through it :)

    • Alan Greene

      That makes sense! Night terrors come from the clutch slipping (figure of speech) between the gears (cycles) of sleep – and several things can cause it. Potty issues seem to be huge, but being overtired or over stimulated can do it too.

      Realizing that this is the issue – rather than a scary nightmare – makes it so much easier to handle.

      Now, if we could just figure out a solution for husbands :) …

  • Julie

    We solved the night terrors by getting rid of Yellow 5 and 6 in our daughter’s diet. And thank goodness, because night terrors are awful for both the child and the parent!

    • Cheryl Greene

      Julie, I agree. Night terrors are traumatic for everyone. Thanks so much for
      sharing your solution.

      What great advice! Has anyone else tried getting food colors out of your child’s diet to solve night terrors? If so, please let us know.

    • Danika @ Your Organic Life

      That’s really interesting. I’d like to know if anyone else had similar success as well.

  • Erica Clark

    We found your web page by chance after trying to figure out if it was night terrors or nightmares we were dealing with, with our 2y9mths son. We had tried numerous techniques over the five months we had been dealing with constant night waking every two hours for most of the night beginning around 9.30pm. We had started toilet training in earnest six months ago. We thought we’d give your wife’s idea a go as nothing else had worked and we had no other ideas, and were physically and mentally drained.
    All we can say is – thank you, thank you, thank you! Our night terrors have started to stop recurring all night long, he settles back to sleep after going to the toilet. We wake to a happy little boy again who isn’t tired and irritable. We are slowly getting our little man back and feels wonderful! We now think your wife should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize :)