Why do children wet the bed?
H2: Why do children wet the bed?
There are several reasons why children wet the bed at night:
They’ve drunk too much before bedtime and haven’t been to the toilet
Their bladder isn’t big enough to hold all the pee they make while they’re asleep
Their body is making too much wee during the night
They don’t feel that their bladder is full while they’re asleep
They are feeling stressed about something at home or school
How to stop bed wetting
If your child is wetting the bed, there are lots of ways you can help:
Make sure they drink enough during the day, so their bladder gets used to filling and emptying properly
Encourage them to go to the toilet regularly during the day. Four to seven times is normal
Check they’ve had a pee before bedtime. You could use a sticker chart to reward them
Use a waterproof mattress cover, duvet cover and pillow cover on their bed and have spares ready for easier changes
Make sure they can get to the toilet quickly at night
Avoid telling them off. Bed wetting is a medical condition, and if they feel stressed about it, it could make it worse
Don’t let them have drinks with caffeine in them, like tea, coffee and cola. These are known as diuretics, and they can make people pee more
Resist waking them up in the night just in case they need the toilet as this could make the problem go on for longer.
Bed wetting alarms
Bed wetting alarms work by detecting pee through a sensor, either in a pad that you place on the mattress or a smaller one in your child’s underwear. This activates the alarm that means it’s time for them to go to the toilet.
Some children get the hang of bed wetting alarms quickly and get used to going to the toilet as soon as the alarm goes off.
Others take longer and don’t wake quickly or take a while to learn what to do. If your child is young, they might need help learning the process of getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, changing their pyjamas or underwear if they’re wet, and taking the wet sheet off the bed.
Other treatments for bed wetting
A GP might recommend trying a medicine that reduces the amount of pee your child’s body makes while they’re asleep.
If this, along with a bed wetting alarm, doesn’t work, a GP may refer you to a specialist.
When to talk to a GP about bed wetting
If your child is over five and is wetting the bed, talk to a GP.
If they’re usually dry at night and have suddenly started wetting the bed, you should also talk to a GP.
- Reviewed by:
- Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi