How To Get Pee Out Of Crib? Toddler Potty Training Mess Cleanup Tips

The happiness I feel when I bond with other parents over our toddlers peeing on the mattress is inexplicable. I think we can all acknowledge that phase in which we wake up with our toddler’s pee on our own bed (if we are co-sleeping) or pick him up in the morning only to feel him all wet and see his crib mattress covered in pee. I cannot count the times I tried different diaper brands, the articles I read about night time potty training, and the tricks I used not to have a crib mattress covered in pee in the morning. The truth is, it’s inevitable. We’ve all been there, and this is completely normal.

But what if the mattress is now stained and you can’t seem to get urine smell off your toddler’s crib? Some children wet the bed until the age of 5 and even more, and nighttime potty training always comes with a few accidents in the beginning. Also, some diapers might not work for your little ones, and you’ll need to change brands and sizes quite often. So pee-covered cribs are something most parents need to accept. We all go crazy and start dreading the moment we need to clean it off, but thankfully, there are many ways to remove pee from a crib. From white vinegar to baking soda, detergent, or even essential oils, easy solutions are many. There are also ways to avoid getting complicated with mattress protectors and simple methods that can be used for things to get easier at night. Removing layers covered in pee and having dry ones underneath can save you the need to sob in the middle of the night.

Nighttime Potty Training and Wetting the Crib

If your child is potty trained and masters going to the toilet without accidents during the day, we all know it doesn’t mean the same for nighttime. Lots of kids who are potty trained do not master it fully until the age of 4. Nighttime bedwetting can also go on till the age of 5 or more, and it is normally no cause for concern.

But apart from it being considered normal, your child can wet his bed at night if something keeps him from reaching the toilet in time. A good reason for this would be that he is still sleeping in his crib, from which it is hard to get out without an adult. That’s why it is sometimes recommended to move from crib to toddler bed before nighttime potty training.

But what if you and your toddler are still not comfortable making the switch and everyone is more at ease with staying in the crib? What do we do with nighttime bedwetting? Well, it’s simple. Your toddler being in a “big kid’s bed” or in a crib won’t make a difference. He will need your full support with toilet training at night whether he is in his crib or bed.

How do I avoid pee getting on the mattress?

Before we get to the core subject of removing pee out of a crib’s mattress, how can you avoid it getting to the point where you’re scrubbing it in the middle of the night with a wide-awake toddler, only to wake up exhausted the next day? Like everything in parenthood, it’s all about organization. Whether it’s for bedwetting accidents or diaper leaks, or even vomiting in the middle of the night, having your toddler’s bed ready for this at night is the best way to manage it. Here are ways to do that:

  1. One technique to be ready for is to layer waterproof mattress protectors (link to Amazon) and crib sheets to remove one layer whenever there is bedwetting at night and go on with sleeping for you and your baby.
  2. Waterproof sheets are found to be very effective. You can place them under the sheet or even on top (but this would make your baby uncomfortable to sleep on) and remove them when they are wet. The mattress will also be protected from stains in the long term.
  3. If your baby or toddler is still wearing diapers to sleep, and there are diaper leaks every day, it’s time to look up other brands that absorb better, which is more flexible for sleep. Sometimes, it all comes down to changing the brand of a product we are attached to as parents. Find the right diaper for your toddler to avoid those frustrating leaks.

So how do you get pee out of a crib mattress?

But then, sometimes, it’s inevitable. We will all end up with pee on the mattress. Whether it’s because we forgot to plan for it, or whether our toddler drank too many liquids before sleeping, or simply because he is sick and it happened, a mattress full of pee is part of a parent’s life. Luckily, there are many ways to remove pee from a crib, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work.

  1. Catch the pee stains at their freshest! Leaving the pee to dry will only give you more work later as there will also be urine smell to remove. So start with sucking up the moisture as much as you can with a dry towel.
  2. One way to clean it up is to dilute laundry detergent in water and pour it on the stain, dabbing it gently until it is all covered and clean.
  3. For more efficient cleaning, using vinegar and baking soda, and detergent was found very effective by parents worldwide. One way to do that is to start by spraying with a mix of 3 Tbps of detergent with 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water, then adding baking soda on the stain, and then vacuum the dry baking soda.
  4. Dry the pee with a hairdryer, then spray it with lavender essential oil diluted in water.
  5. This article’s infographic below summarizes the supplies you’ll need and the steps to take to have a clean pee-free mattress.
How to clean urine from a mattress

What about pee stains? How do I remove them off the mattress?

It’s a sinking feeling you get when you’re changing the bedsheets, and you notice that huge pee stain that has taken a permanent mark on your toddlers’ bed, or even yours (if you co-sleep, like me). So if the pee stain is already dry, you can do the same without the baking soda step. Instead, soak up the stain with the vinegar solution and let the mattress air dry.


Why do older children wet the bed?

Why do older children wet the bed?

Children wetting the bed at night is very common while growing up. There are many causes for it, ranging from having too many liquids before sleep and not having the habit of getting up to pee at night yet, or medical problems such as UTI and stress.

Will urine ruin the bed?

If left to dry alone, urine can ruin a mattress. It is important to clean it off well and let the mattress air dry. If you do that, you don’t need to worry about your mattress getting ruined by pee.

How long does it take for the pee to dry off a mattress?

If treated immediately, the mattress won’t suck up too much pee and can air dry in 2 to 4 hours. You can use a fan or hair dryer to dry it quicker.


A clean mattress is important for a night of healthy and peaceful sleep. When a pee stain washes over it, it’s important to act fast to clean it and to use the appropriate cleaning products to remove the pee. Vinegar and baking soda were proven the most effective.

You can also use lavender essential oil mixed with water or even laundry detergent diluted in water to remove the pee out of the crib. The organization is key. Mattress protectors and lots of sheets to change are your best friends.

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Lynn is a 30-something writer for 1happykiddo and mom of a 4 year-old little girl. When she’s not busy taking care of her daughter or writing, she likes to relax with a book, meditate and connect with loved ones. Oh, and cooking good food too!

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