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Bedwetting in Young Children

Recently I had an email from one of my lovely regular readers asking me about how to handle bedwetting.  I am sure that others may be interested in a post about this so here it is!

What is Bedwetting

Bedwetting is a condition that affects children also known as nocturnal enuresis and can be the cause of ridicule amongst siblings and peers resulting in a great deal of stress to young children.  In some cases there is an underlying medical cause but in the majority of cases, it is purely a developmental issue.

 Just because your child wets the bed quite regularly (about twice a week) it doesn’t mean that they are doing it on purpose.  Some parents mistakenly see it as an attention seeking tool or a sign of a difficult child but approximately 1 in 12 children under the age of 5 will do so at least twice a week.

My Experience

I remember when one of my girls wet the bed one night.  I could hear her crying in her bedroom.  I jumped out of bed and went to her and asked her what was wrong and at first she was reluctant to reply.  When she told me I barely reacted at all apart from reassuring here it didn’t matter and then proceeding to change the sheets and giving her a quick wash so she could go back to sleep.

What you can do!

There are various measures you can take to help reduce the incidence of this happening:

1. Firstly reassure your child that if they wet the bed it isn’t the end of the world.  Punishing and shouting at children for bedwetting only serves to make the problem worse.

2. Cut down the fluid intake just before bed.

DSC017753. Make sure your little one visits the bathroom before turning in for the night.

4. Encouraging and motivating a child can be immensely beneficial.  Introduce a reward chart and have aims worth different amounts of points for the various achievements such as getting up to go to the bathroom at night, staying dry etc.

5. If they have just come out of nappies sometimes it helps to continue using nappies at night for that bit longer.  Stopping day and night use of nappies at the same time can be too much for many children to cope with.

6. It is important that a toilet is easily accessible; provide a small stool if necessary to make it as easy as possible for the child to carry out the whole process themselves.

DSC01850Make sure the path to the bathroom is suitably lit.

DSC03678DSC036967. Constipation can affect bladder emptying and increase the chances of bedwetting.  If this is an issue then simple ways to address this include making sure children eat plenty of fluid filled fruit and veg as the fibre bulks up the stool and the fluid helps for a smoother transit through the bowel.  Cut down fatty foods as these make stool sticky and harder to pass.  If the problem persists then make sure you visit your doctor.

Do your children or have your children suffered from bedwetting and if so what did you find helpful to overcome this?

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. I have to admit I wouldn’t have an idea where to start when it comes to this – so it’s really interesting to get some ideas just in case.

    1. Glad you found the post useful Sarah 😉

  2. oh I have had problems with my 6 year old for a while but I know its very common and we are getting better

    1. Glad to hear they are improving, it can be hard for little ones to deal with.

  3. This must be an incredibly hard thing to have to deal with as a parent esp if the child gets upset x

    1. It can be but it’s not forever thankfully.

  4. Yes it is tricky to deal with but I agree that screaming and shouting is not going to help, in fact it might make them worse. cutting down on fatty food is also a good point to make!

    1. It’s best to have a nice calm environment to avoid it becoming a stressful situation.

  5. One of my younger children was out of nappies at bedtime by the time they were 2. By aged 4 they started having regular nighttime accidents, but thankfully they’ve grown out of it now. We never made a big deal of it, simply changing the sheets when needed and offering reassurance.

    1. You did the right thing and I am sure that as a result the accidents only happened briefly.

  6. I wet the bed until quite late as a child. I must have been about 5 or 6. I had no issues during the day, but I was unable to walk up during the night to use the toilet- so consequently would wet myself. My older sister on the other hand never wet herself as soon as she came out of nappies after potty training. It’s something you grow out of for sure, and it just takes some children longer to wake up in the night to pop to the loo. x

    1. It is all a matter of time but we normally get there in the end.

  7. Going to potty train my kids soon so I will be bookmarking this post.

    1. Good luck, I should probably do a post for that too soon!

  8. Great tips! I imagine shouting at me when I was younger would’ve caused another bout of bedwetting haha

    1. Lol probably, it can be so stressful for children.

  9. I don’t have kids myself, but I imagine that making sure that they don’t drink too much before bed time makes a big difference.

    1. it can make a great difference and helps build up their confidence the less accidents they have.

  10. I have never had a problem with the children wetting the bed on a regular basis, occasionally one of them has had an accident, usually after a particularly busy day and they are just so tired they don’t wake up.
    Totally agree with not trying to get them dry during both the day and night, it is too much for them all at once.

    1. It can depend on how soon people decide to try and get them totally nappy free.

  11. Good, sensible advice for anyone who has a child bedwetting. I think a calm approach usually had better results.

    1. It’s best not to make a big deal as that stresses them out which further aggrivates the situation.

  12. I think I did this a lot as a child, what a great, informative post xo

    1. Thanks Tara, children vary in their development so bedwetting can persist in some that little bit longer. They all even out in the end though.

  13. Some really good tips, I will be starting bedtime toilet training soon so these will come in handy

    1. Good luck. The key is not to start too early.

  14. I don’t have any children but this is some good advice to those that do.

    1. Thanks Leanne, I’ve had three so had a little practise now.

  15. great tips, there was a great phone in a bout this on radio 2 in the week you should see if its on iplayer. they were saying its more prevelent in boys than girls and actually can follow patterns so if a parent was a bedwetter until late then the child maybe too.

    1. That’s interesting Rachel. I’m missed that but it makes sense in relation to speed of development.

  16. This is such a good post, ive never understood why you would punish someone for wetting the bed, it can happen at all ages x

    1. It’s a shame that people do but then they don’t understand why it’s happening.

  17. More common than what people think
    Great post I’d never tell anyone off for bedwetting putting fear and shame never helped anyone

    1. It is extremely common I think people just don’t talk about it.

  18. Great post – i agree with you – punishing will never help and will just make it worse 🙁

    1. There is no point stressing them out further. Reasurring them can help resolve the matter faster.

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