Why is my child wetting the bed?
Bedwetting is not your child’s fault. They are not doing it on purpose so don’t let anyone say it’s from laziness or it's done to get attention. Children who wet the bed just don't have the necessary control, and don’t wake up when their bladders are full.
Many children who wet the bed seem to sleep more heavily and be harder to wake than other children. This means they’re not able to wake themselves when they have a full bladder.
Bedwetting often runs in the family. You might find that dad, mum, an uncle or aunt used to wet the bed, and might still have to get up at night to go to the toilet.
Children who wet the bed, often produce more urine at night than others. Others have bladders that just can’t hold a lot.
Sometimes children who wet the bed stay dry when sleeping in a strange place. This might be because they’re worried about sleeping in the strange place, so they sleep more lightly. When they’re at home and relaxed again, they often go back to wetting the bed.
Some children who have been dry might start wetting the bed again if something happens to make them stressed. A family break-up or starting school is stressful for a child. In this case, the bedwetting will usually stop when the child feels more secure.
In some instances, there can be medical causes, so if you’re worried, you should have your child checked by your doctor.
Your child will grow out of wetting the bed, so if it isn’t worrying you or your child, you might be happy to just ignore it. But, it does create more work for you, changing/ washing sheets, etc and many children hide their distress, so I think it is often worth looking into trying things that might help.
9 ways you can help your toddler if they are wetting the bed
Reassure your child that bedwetting is normal. Explain that it is very common, that kids in their class will be going through this and that they will grow out of it.
Try to have your child drink more fluids during the day, and less at night. Soft drinks that contain caffeine aren’t a good idea. This is because they increase the amount of urine produced, so children need to go to the toilet more often.
Remind your child to go to the toilet one final time before bedtime.
Give your child some simple explanations for bedwetting. For example, ‘When you’re asleep your brain isn’t getting the message that you need to go to the toilet, so you don’t wake up’. Or you could say, ‘Your bladder, where your wee is stored, hasn’t grown enough to hold in all the wee at night, but this will change as your body grows’.
Some parents find it helpful to take their child to the toilet two or three hours after the child goes to sleep. This doesn’t work for everyone.
Leave a soft light on so it’s easy and ‘safe’ for your child to go to the toilet.
Make sure your child has a shower in the morning to feel fresh and clean and not smelly to others, which can sometimes lead to teasing by other children.
Give your child lots of encouragement, especially after accidents. Children need to feel loved and lovable.
Alarm systems help many children who are about seven years old or more.
Check with your doctor if:
your child is still wetting in the day by school age
your child who has been dry starts wetting again for more than one or two nights
you or your child are becoming very upset by the bedwetting
you have any other concerns about bedwetting.
To help save washing:
cover the mattress with a plastic or waterproof sheet
put plastic over the bottom sheet and a piece of towelling on top of the plastic
put thick underpants or ‘pull ups’ on your child.
Older children are able to help by changing their beds and putting their wet sheets and clothes in the laundry.