It is normal for children to wet the bed while sleeping up to the age of 5. It usually stops as your child gets older without the need for any treatment.1
Causes of bedwetting 1-4
- Bedwetting is often related to deep sleep: Normally, as our bladder fills with urine, it sends signals to the brain, and we become aware that we need to go to the bathroom. Bedwetting happens when the child has not yet learned to respond to these signals.
- Some children have an overactive bladder, i.e. it can only hold a small amount of urine.
- Some children produce more urine than their bladder can hold.
- Constipation- the bowel presses on the bladder, causing bedwetting.
- Events like relocating or starting nursery can be very stressful for a child and cause bedwetting.
Things you can do help your child 1,2,5
- Reduce fluid intake: Ensure that your child doesn’t drink too much fluid before bedtime.
- Bathroom breaks: Encourage your child to go to the bathroom every 2-3 hours and right before bedtime.
- Don’t give your child drinks that contain caffeine (such as chocolate milk, cola etc.)
- Use a night light in the hall or in the bathroom to ensure that your child can easily reach the bathroom.
- Don’t wake your child up to go the washroom to pee: It doesn’t help with bedwetting and will just disturb your child’s sleep.
- Don’t resort to reward or punishment: Rewarding your child for a dry night or punishing them for wetting the bed isn’t a good idea as bedwetting is not something they can control once they're asleep.
- Cutting back on screen time, especially before bedtime. improves sleep hygiene and can help your child sleep better.
- Stay calm and don’t blame them-your child isn’t wetting the bed deliberately.
- Use a waterproof cover to protect your child’s mattress
- You can keep a supply of clean bedding handy for changing the sheets in the night.
What is normal:
- Occasional bedwetting for children over the age of 5 is not uncommon but if it happens more often than 2-3 times per month, parents should consult the pediatrician.2
Talk to your paediatrician if 2,3
- Your child has been dry overnight for at least 6 months and suddenly starts bedwetting.
- Has other symptoms, such as burning sensation when peeing, fever or constipation.
- Is still wetting the bed after age 7.
- National Health Service. Bedwetting in under-5s [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/bedwetting/. Accessed on Mar 4, 2020.
- Canadian Paediatric Society. Bedwetting [Internet] [Updated Nov, 2017]. Available at: https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/bedwetting. Accessed on Mar 4, 2020.
- National Health Service. Overview-Bedwetting [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bedwetting/. Accessed on Mar 4, 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic. Bedwetting [Internet]. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15075-bedwetting. Accessed on Mar 4, 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic. How to Help Your Child Stop Wetting the Bed [Internet]. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-help-your-child-stop-wetting-t.... Accessed on Mar 4, 2020.