Children become dry at night at different ages, but if wetting at nighttime is carrying on for longer than you’d hoped it can be distressing for your child and add to an already overburdened laundry load! We’ve asked the experts at ERIC for their advice and top tips to stop bedwetting….
1. Poo Check!
Check your child’s poo and pooing habits. If they aren’t passing soft poos at least four times a week, they might be constipated. Constipation can cause the bowel to press against the bladder, preventing the bladder from stretching and filling properly and causing wetting problems. If this is the case, the constipation needs to be treated before the bedwetting. To find out more read ERIC’s Constipation pages.
2. Daytime habits
Think about what happens in the daytime – if the child sometimes has to run to the toilet in a hurry or has to go more often that their friends, they may have a problem with their bladder that needs to be sorted before the bedwetting.
3. Drink up!
The bladder needs to learn to fill and empty so that it can hold in the wee that is produced over night. This means children need to drink enough during the day to train their bladder. Children should drink six to eight cups of water or water-based fluid at regular intervals throughout the day.
4. No fizz
Avoid fizzy drinks and caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee and coca cola.
5. What are they drinking?
Monitor the types of drinks as some may increase how much wee is made, for example fizzy drinks, blackcurrant squash, tea, coffee and drinking chocolate. This varies from one individual to another but it is worth experimenting.
6. Drinks before bed?
Most drinks should be drunk during the day and the child can have a small cup if thirsty no later than an hour before bed. There is no evidence that stopping drinks later in the day will reduce the wetting.
7. Routine and reminders
Establish a regular routine for going to the toilet during the day. A vibrating watch to remind when to go to the toilet might help.
8. Empty bladder
Ensure the bladder is fully emptied after every wee.
9. Pre-bedtime wee
A good time to try having a wee before bed is when brushing teeth and again just before getting into bed to make sure the bladder is as empty as possible before going to sleep.
10. Light the way
Leave the hall light on at night, or leave a torch by the bed so the toilet can be found, or consider leaving a potty beside the bed.
11. Avoid lifting
Try to resist the temptation to lift your child out of bed to take them to the toilet. This doesn’t cure bedwetting, it just allows the child to wee in their sleep into the toilet. If you do lift, make sure your child is fully awake.
12. Ditch the nappies
Try without nappies or pull ups at night. Some children may not get dry as long as they are wearing some protection. Try without nappies or pull-ups for a week – longer if you can manage it – before deciding your child is a bed wetter.
13. Little helper
Allow your child to help change and wash the bed and night clothes. It helps if they are actively involved in overcoming the problem.
14. Reward and encourage
Use rewards to encourage your child to become dry at night. Give rewards for drinking the right amount, using the toilet before bed, and helping to change the bedsheets.
15. Get advice
If bedwetting persists, seek advice from your GP, pharmacist or school nurse so they can recommend the appropriate treatment.