While most children achieve daytime bladder control by the age of three, nighttime control can take a bit longer. Approximately 25% of 4-year-olds and 20% of 5-year-olds frequently wet the bed, and 10% of 7-year-olds experience bedwetting more than three times a week. Most children outgrow bedwetting by age 7, with 70% becoming dry by then, and 90% achieving bladder control both day and night. Bedwetting is most common among children aged 6-17, affecting more boys than girls.

Enuresis Nocturnal: A Common Condition

When a child over five years old continues to wet the bed at night, doctors refer to this as enuresis nocturnal, or involuntary nocturnal urination. This condition is divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary enuresis means the child has never been dry at night, while secondary enuresis occurs when a child who has been dry for at least six months starts bedwetting again.

Causes of Bedwetting

The ability to control the bladder varies among children. If your child is over five and still wets the bed, it may be due to the delayed development of the necessary skills to stay dry at night. Normally, the hormone ADH reduces urine production at night. Some children do not produce enough ADH, leading to nighttime urine production at the same rate as during the day. As children grow, their ADH levels typically increase, reducing bedwetting incidents.
Bedwetting can also be influenced by psychosocial stress, physical causes like metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes), constipation, or urinary tract infections. Regardless of the cause, it’s essential to remember that each child develops at their own pace.

Coping Strategies for Parents

Bedwetting can be frustrating for both parents and children. Here are some tips to help you manage this phase:

Reassure your child that bedwetting is a part of growing up and that they are not alone. Many children experience it, and it will get better over time.
Talk to Your Child – Open communication is key. Explain to your child that bedwetting is not their fault and discuss possible reasons behind it. Use children’s books or animations to help them understand what’s happening in their body.
Create a Supportive Environment – Avoid getting angry or punishing your child for wetting the bed, as this can increase anxiety and worsen the problem. Reassure them that you are there to help and that you will get through this together.
Monitor Diet and Hydration – Constipation can contribute to bedwetting by putting pressure on the bladder. Ensure your child has a balanced diet with plenty of fluids and fibre, such as apple juice, fruits and vegetables, to ease constipation and improve bladder function.

Seek Medical Advice When Necessary. Consult your family doctor if your child:

  • Has a continuous strong odour in their urine
  • Complains of pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • Starts wetting their pants during the day
  • Urinates more frequently than usual
  • Suddenly experiences constipation or bowel control issues
  • Shows signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Is frustrated or sad about bedwetting
  • Needs guidance on managing the situation

Ensure Adequate Sleep

Ensure your child gets enough sleep, as fatigue can exacerbate bedwetting. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help them relax and prepare for a restful night.
Establish Good Bedtime Routines:

  • Relaxing Bath: A warm bath can help your child unwind before bed.
  • Limit Fluids: Encourage hydration during the day but limit fluids 1-2 hours before bedtime.
  • Toileting Before Bed: Make it a routine for your child to use the toilet before going to sleep.
  • Positive Conversations: Talk about the day’s experiences positively to help your child feel safe and happy before bed.
  • Bedtime Story: Reading a story can strengthen your bond and help your child relax.
  • Physical Contact: A gentle massage, hug, or just being present can make your child feel secure.

Use Night Pants

Consider using night pants designed for children who experience bedwetting. Products like Bambo Dreamy Night Pants are discreet, comfortable, and eco-friendly. A skin-friendly overnight pant free from harmful preservatives, perfumes, and parabens, designed with conscious parents in mind to ensure safety and comfort all night long. They help reduce anxiety around bedwetting and can provide your child with a dry, secure night’s sleep. Introduce them to your child as “night pants” rather than “nappies” to avoid any negative associations.

Handling Sleepovers

  • Sleepovers can be stressful for children who wet the bed. Here are some tips to make the experience enjoyable:
  • Inform the Host: Depending on your child’s age, decide if the supervising adult should be aware of the bedwetting issue.
  • Preparation: Discuss the sleepover routine with your child and ensure they are comfortable with it.
  • Comfort Items: Pack your child’s comforter and teach them to discreetly put on night pants.
  • Practice: Help your child practice putting on night pants quickly and discreetly.
  • Pack Essentials: Include a disposable bed mat, trash bag for used night pants, and extra pyjamas.
  • Bathroom Reminders: Encourage your child to use the toilet before bed.
  • Enjoy the Sleepover: Ensure your child feels prepared and confident to enjoy their time with friends.

Supporting Your Child

Supporting your child through bedwetting requires patience, understanding and proactive measures. Creating a positive and supportive environment, maintaining open communication, and using practical solutions like night pants can make a significant difference. Remember, bedwetting is a normal part of growing up, and with your support, your child will eventually outgrow this phase. By focusing on your child’s emotional and physical well-being, you can help them navigate this challenging time with confidence and ease.