Bedwetting - Better Lives Healthy Futures


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Half a million children and young people suffer from bedwetting.

Bedwetting in young children is normal. It can take some time for a child to learn to stay dry throughout the night. Although it can be upsetting and worrying for you and your child, most children and young people will grow out of it.

Bedwetting occurs in:
1 in 2 – 3 ½ year olds,
1 in 5 – 5 year olds
1 in 20 – 8 year olds
1 in 50 – 15 year olds


How you can help

Drinking fluids is important – if a child does not drink enough, then urinary tract infections can occur. Children who wet the bed should not drink less! Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids during the day and to go to the toilet regularly (4-7 times a day), including just before bedtime.

Avoid rinks containing caffeine – such as cola, tea and coffee which can make children pee more.

Use waterproof covers on your child’s mattress and duvet.

Be patient, try to avoid criticism and give your child lots of support and encouragement.

Don’t punish your child – it is not their fault and could make the bedwetting worse.

Don’t regularly wake your child or carry them to use the toilet in the night.

Agree rewards or use a star chart for positive actions – such as giving a sticker for every time they use the toilet before bed, or for helping you to change their wet clothes or bedding, put wet things in the linen basket or washing machine, or getting washed/bathed/showered without being asked several times to do so!

When to seek support

If your child keeps wetting the bed or has started again after being dry for more than six months, make an appointment with your GP or the school nurse for advice. They will carry out a detailed assessment and follow up and, if necessary, refer your child to a specialist such as the paediatric continence team.

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Further information

ERIC's guide to night time wetting

ERIC is the children's bowel and bladder cancer charity. Their useful leaflet explains how the body works and why bed wetting happens. This is one of a series of helpful leaflets on their website

Children's specialist continence advice

Bladder And Bowel UK offers advice and information on all bladder and bowel issues in children and young people including those with additional needs. They have a range of resources and a confidential help line.

Related topics

Toilet training

Whether you teach your child to use a potty or a toilet, it’s a new skill for them to learn. It takes patience and it’s important to work with your child.
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