How to cope with your child’s bedwetting

Seasoned parents
Aug 27, 2020

25% of all children worldwide experience bedwetting. It is a normal part of growing up, but it can be a challenging time for both you and your child. Get our best advice on how to cope with bedwetting as well as some tips and tricks to support your child through this phase.

For a lot of children, bedwetting is associated with shame and a feeling of being different and alone in the world. The situation can lead to low self-esteem, and in severe cases, lack of treatment and support can have consequences for the child’s psychological and social development.

If bedwetting is part of your family life, the best thing you can do is to keep supporting your child and remain positive. Be patient and understanding, and try not to overdramatize the problem. Sometimes we cannot control how we react, but getting angry with your child or punishing them for wetting the bed is no solution. This will only make the problem worse and put even more pressure on your child to stay dry.

If you are frustrated about the problem, imagine how your child must be feeling? Help your child by speaking freely about the problem, let them know that you love and support them, and that you will get over this phase together. It is important to let your child know that they are not alone in this, and that they did not wet the bed on purpose. This will help your child feel less stressed and concerned.

Talk to your child

Talk to your child about the reasons behind bedwetting. Explain that other children experience it too, and let them know that it will get better, but that the situation is beyond their control right now. Try finding some children's books or animations online that explain bedwetting. These might help your child understand what is going on in their body and feel less alone with the problem.

Your child’s diet is important

The causes of bedwetting can sometimes be related to your child’s diet. Constipation is a common cause of bladder problems. If your child is constipated, pressure on the bladder increases, which can lead to bedwetting, or even problems controlling urination during the day. If you notice that your child is not having daily bowel movements, or shows signs of being constipated, try increasing their fluids and fiber intake. Apple juice, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all good options to help ease constipation and get the system going again.

When to react?

  • if you notice a continuous strong odor in your child's urine
  • if your child is in pain or complains about a burning sensation when peeing
  • if your child starts to wet his/her pants during the day
  • if your child urinates more often than usual during the day and night
  • if your child suddenly starts to get constipated or cannot control his/her bowel movement
  • if you suspect that your child has contracted an UTI
  • if your child is frustrated or sad
  • if you are in doubt about how to handle the situation
  • if you are in doubt about whether or not your child needs treatment
  • if you are worried, and you think there is something out of the ordinary

If you are in doubt, always consult your family doctor.

Sleep, sleep and more sleep

If your child does not get enough sleep they can become irritated, have problems concentrating, experience mood swings, and be less eager to learn new things. Sleep is immensely important to all humans. It enables us to re-charge our batteries and be ready for the new day to come. Too little sleep can be stressful for your child and will usually lead to more nighttime accidents. Therefore, it is very important to help your child get the best conditions for a good night's sleep.

Good bedtime routines

To establish good bedtime routines can help your child to relax before falling asleep. Here are some good tips for your bedtime routines:

  • A relaxing bath: A nice warm bath after a busy day can help your child feel calm, relaxed, and ready for a good night’s sleep.
  • Avoid too many fluids: Always make sure that your child is hydrated and that their fluid needs are covered during the day. Encourage your child to drink 1 or 2 extra glasses of water in the morning or at lunchtime. In the evening, your child should only drink to quench their thirst. Try not to give your child anything to drink 1-2 hours before bedtime.
  • Toileting before bedtime: Make sure that your child goes to the toilet before bedtime to have their bladder emptied. Make this a matter of routine –for your child and for your child’s bladder. Over time, this will help prevent bedwetting.
  • Be open and positive: Talk to your child about today's experiences in a positive way with laughter and smiles so that your child goes to sleep feeling safe and happy.
  • A bedtime story: Read a book together or tell your child a story before bedtime. This will help you create an even stronger bond between you and your child.
  • Physical contact: A massage, a long hug, or just plain old presence can make your child feel calm, safe, and relaxed before falling asleep.
  • Be prepared: Always put an extra pair of night pants and pajamas in your child’s room to be prepared for a nighttime accident.

Try using night pants

Give your child a dry, secure, and comfortable night’s sleep by using night pants specially designed for children who experience bedwetting. The use of night pants can take away some of the stress and anxiety around bedwetting. When introducing the night pants to your child, make sure to actively use the word “night pants” instead of the word “diaper”. Especially older children will link diapers with something that only smaller children wear.

Sleepovers

Some children may have a tendency to isolate themselves from family and friends. One of the dreaded scenarios can be sleepovers with friends or family. To spend the night at a friend’s house should not be associated with fear, insecurity, and concerns. Therefore, we have listed some good advice to make sleepovers the fun experience they should be.

Sleepover tips and tricks:

  • Depending on how old your child is, ask them whether or not the adult present should be involved in the bedwetting situation. By doing so, the adult will not be surprised if your child has an accident and will be better prepared to help your child.
  • Talk to your child about the sleepover to make sure he/she is prepared, ready and remembers the different routines.
  • Bring the child’s own comforter and teach your child how to discreetly put on night pants under the comforter (if necessary).
  • Practice with your child to make sure he/she feels comfortable and is able to put on the night pants quickly and discreetly.
  • Pack a disposable bed mat and a trash bag for the used night pants .
  • Bring a pajamas (and an extra pair for safety reasons) that can be worn over the night pants for discretion.
  • Remind your child to go to the bathroom just before bedtime.
  • Enjoy the sleepover!

Want to know more on bedwetting – see our blog on true or false about bedwetting or check out these useful videos together with your child:

What is bedwetting and how common is it?

Animated video about bedwetting for older children

Animated video about bedwetting for younger children