Tips to Help Your Child Stop Wetting at Night

Wetting at night can be an embarrassing problem for children and a nuisance for their parents, but it's actually a very common issue.
Tips to Help Your Child Stop Wetting at Night

Last update: 26 March, 2022

Wetting at night can be an embarrassing problem for children and a major nuisance for their parents, but it’s actually a very common problem. Bedwetting or nighttime incontinence is involuntary urination that can occur after 5 or 6 years of age.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 15 percent of children still wet the bed by the age of 5 and just under 5 percent still have this problem between the ages of 8 and 11. At the same time, bed-wetting tends to run in families and is more common in boys than girls.

For most children, the problem is neurological, as their brain isn’t sending signals to their bladder to hold urine in while they’re sleeping. However, it can also be a psychological problem caused by a stressful personal situation.

Although most children outgrow this phase over time, here are some tips so that you can help your child not pee in their bed without frustration and in a positive way.

An empty toilet paper roll sitting on top of a full one.

Don’t make them feel guilty

Don’t be angry with your child or punish him for wetting at night. This will only add pressure and complicate the situation. Your child has a problem and they know it. By making them feel guilty, you won’t achieve anything, as it’s not a matter of willpower or discipline.

The more importance you give to the problem, the easier it will be for your child to keep wetting at night and the more problems they’ll have with other issues. The stress that’s caused or increased by enuresis will be reflected in their behavior, their school performance, and their ability to relate to others, among other areas.

Talk to your pediatrician

Inform the pediatrician about your child’s nocturnal enuresis problem so they can follow the process and make suggestions for the child to overcome the problem. The doctor will be able to determine if there’s any type of physical or psychological problem as well as assess the neurological factor related to development.

Note that, in most cases, enuresis is only a delay in the development of bladder control, so don’t make a big deal of the issue.

Have your child go to the bathroom before going to bed

Make sure your child pees right before bed. As children grow, we give them autonomy and we forget that we still need to supervise certain tasks. If your child is wetting at night, then using the bathroom at some point during the evening won’t suffice. They need to do it just before going to sleep.

Some experts also recommend reducing their fluid intake at night, a couple of hours before bedtime. This way, along with a last-minute visit to the bathroom, the chances of your child’s bladder being full during the night will be drastically reduced.

Beware of constipation

A toy frog sitting on a toy toilet.

Constipation is a common cause of bladder problems. If the large intestine fills with stools that are difficult to expel, they put more pressure on the bladder, causing it to become unstable. This can lead to involuntary urination, even during the day.

If your child has enuresis problems, monitor their bowel movements for a few days. Your child should pass stools at least once a day, and they should be normal. If you observe difficulties or excessively hard stools, as well as pain and/or difficulties with expelling them, you should consult with your pediatrician to remedy the issue as soon as possible.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.