At what age should my child stop wetting the bed?
There is no magic age for determining when bedwetting is a problem. Many refer to 6-7 years of age as when a parent needs to address the problem. After this age often concerns begin to arise.
Around 70% of children stop wetting the bed at night by the time they reach 5-6 yrs of age. By around age 7-8 there are around 8-15% of children who still wet their bed. If your child is over the age of 5 ½ and is still wetting the bed at night, they may well grow out of it in time, however if your child complains about wetting the bed, feels uncomfortable about it or begins to show embarrassment or self-esteem issues, then now is the time to help your child become dry at night.
Why does my child still wet the bed?
Bedwetting is often hereditary. Children whose parents were bedwetters have a 40% chance of bedwetting and if both parents were bedwetters then the chances increase to 75%. Other factors may include:
- Too much urine production at night: not enough anti-diuretic hormone being produced (ADH)
- Small bladder size
- Sleep disorders or deep sleepers
- Poor daytime toilet habits
- Medical problems
Will it help if I lift my child to the toilet before I go to bed?
Probably not. It is common to wake children up to take them to the toilet several hours after they go to sleep. However, this lifting is of little use, and may even prolong the problem. Your child has to get used to waking up when their bladder is full. Children often do not remember being lifted, and it usually does not help to achieve their own bladder control.
Should I restrict fluids?
Restricting drinks sounds sensible, but it does not help to cure bedwetting. The bladder has to get used to filling up and holding on to urine. If you limit drinks all day then the bladder cannot be trained to hold on to larger amounts of urine. A sensible plan is only to give drinks to your child if he or she is thirsty in the 2-3 hours before bedtime. Do not restrict drinks for the rest of the day. Most children should drink about 6-8 cups of fluid a day.
What can I do about bedwetting?
There are treatment plans available to cure bedwetting. For a treatment plan to be successful, you and your child need to be motivated. Bedwetting alarms are the most commonly used and successful option available to you. Bedwetting alarms aim to help your child wake when recognizing the sensation to urinate. Using the alarm every day will eventually ‘condition’ your child to waking up prior to wetting. For more information on alarms CLICK HERE.
Should I visit my doctor?
If you believe your child has an underlying medical problem causing bedwetting then it is a good idea to visit your doctor. Once you rule out any medical conditions then you can either deal with the problem yourself or if your child is around 7 years of age or over, your doctor may refer you to a continence nurse. There is usually a long waiting list to see a continence nurse and usually a wait for an alarm to become available. Often priority is given to older children who are still wet at night.
Could my child stop wetting the bed if he really wanted to?
If your child could stop wetting the bed, then he would. Up to a certain age there are some children who could not care less about wearing nappies or wetting the bed at night, but once a child reaches a certain maturity they would certainly prefer to stop wetting the bed.
No incentive or threat is likely to make a difference. Bedwetting is not your child’s fault.
Try to remain calm, supportive and patient. The more you learn about bedwetting, the more you will understand how difficult it is for some children to remain dry at night.
How does a bedwetting alarm work?
Bedwetting alarms aim to help your child wake when recognizing the sensation to urinate. When exposed to wetness (urine) the alarm makes a loud noise (and often vibrates) to wake your child. When beginning your child will wet and the alarm will sound. Your child (and you) will wake up and you will need to take him/her to the toilet to completely empty his/her bladder of any “left over” urine. Initially your child is likely to empty his bladder before reaching the toilet, but with practice this should improve. Using the alarm for days or weeks and waking up just after wetting should eventually “condition” your child to wake up prior to wetting. Once your child establishes a consistent pattern of waking during the night prior to wetting then you will no longer need the alarm. For more information on alarms CLICK HERE.
What about medication?
Most professionals agree that prescribed medication should be an absolute last resort. Medication is sometimes used for a short-term solution, but not a permanent fix. There are more non-invasive solutions to curing bedwetting including the use of a bedwetting alarm and professional bedwetting programmes. If you wish to learn about medication as a short-term solution (eg school camp) then discuss this with your doctor.
What can I do about my child wetting during the day?
Many paediatric urologists would agree that children who have problems with daytime toilet habits will most often have problems with bedwetting and vice-versa (those that wet the bed will often have problem during the day). A good place to begin tackling both issues is to improve daytime toilet habits. To improve bladder health, encourage your child to do the following:
- Start a diary and keep a record of accidents. Try and work out if there is a pattern to when wetting occurs.
- Use a vibrating reminder watch to set up a routine of regular visits to the toilet throughout the day. Use the diary as a guide to when you need to set the alarm.
- Encourage your child to drink water regularly throughout out day.
- Encourage your child to take their time on the toilet in order to make sure the bladder their bladder is completely empty.
- Avoid fizzy or caffeinated drinks.
How does a vibrating reminder watch work?
Vibrating Reminder Watches are programmed to alert the wearer either at specific times (for example, at 10:30am, 12:20pm, and 3:00pm) or at pre-set intervals (for example, every three hours) that it's time to go to the toilet.
The watches can be used with younger children during the ‘toilet training’ stage or with school age children who are having daytime continence issues. They are particularly effective for ‘busy’ children who ‘don’t want to miss out’ because of needing to visit the toilet.
The number of alarms that the user can set varies, so make sure and look at all vibrating watches' descriptions carefully before purchasing. The vibrating alert lasts between 5 and 20 seconds, depending on model. Visit our PRODUCTS page to purchase a Vibrating Reminder Watch.
Which vibrating watch watch is right for my child?
My child wants to go on school camp or for a sleep over. What can we do?
Bedwetting can be particularly challenging when your child is away from home. To reduce your child's embarrassment and to make things easier on the host, teachers or relatives, make sure your child's overnight bag is packed with these essentials:
- Protective waterproof pants: These look just like regular underwear and can be worn over disposable pull-ups for added protection and privacy.
- Sleeping bag liners: These reusable waterproof liners fit right into your child's sleeping bag. Place one inside the sleeping bag before rolling it up and sending it off with your child and no one will know that it's there.
- Disposable underwear: These highly-absorbent undergarments help protect bedding and clothes and can be thrown away discreetly.
- Plastic bags: Pack plenty of these in case your child has a nighttime accident and needs to change his underwear, pyjamas, or an overlay or underpad. These will ensure sanitary storage and help to isolate the odor for discretion.
Some children have short-term success with the use of medication and this is something you can discuss with your doctor.