7 Tips for How To Help Your Child Stop Bedwetting - Baby Chick
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7 Tips for How To Help Your Child Stop Bedwetting

Understand the underlying causes of bedwetting, including genetics, immature bladder, and stress, and get tips to help stop bedwetting.

Updated March 15, 2024

by Lauren Rivera

BSN, RNC-NIC Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse

Medically reviewed by Rachel Brown

Attending Neonatologist

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Bedwetting is a common childhood issue that can be emotionally challenging for both children and their parents. Although most children will eventually outgrow wetting the bed, there are specific steps you can take to help your child achieve this sooner. If you are a parent seeking solutions for how to stop bedwetting, continue reading to learn how to help your child stay dry and ensure a more peaceful night’s sleep.

Why Do Kids Wet the Bed?

The first step in helping your child stop bedwetting is understanding any underlying causes. Nighttime accidents can be caused by various factors, including genetics (especially if a parent wet the bed as a child), an immature bladder, and even stress or other emotional factors.1

Many kids wet their beds during toilet training, but it typically takes longer for a child to stay dry at night. If children reach school age and are still wetting the bed, they probably haven’t yet developed nighttime bladder control.2

Some children sleep so soundly that they don’t wake up when their bladder signals it’s full. If the bladder signals to the brain that it’s full of urine, but the brain doesn’t send a message back to the bladder to relax and hold it, bedwetting will occur.3

Other kids may not produce enough vasopressin, the hormone that reduces urine production during sleep. This hormone is also called antidiuretic hormone, or ADH. Without enough ADH, a child may make more urine than the bladder can hold.4 Kids are also more prone to wetting the bed when they are out of their usual routine, such as when on vacation or a sleepover.

If you are concerned with your child’s bedwetting, or they are still struggling with nighttime dryness, and they are in school, consult your pediatrician to ensure there are no underlying medical issues.3

7 Bedwetting Solutions

Try these tips to help your child stop wetting the bed:

  1. Limit your child’s fluid intake about two hours before bedtime. Encourage drinking regularly in the daytime.5
  2. Avoid caffeinated or sugary drinks. These can irritate the bladder and increase the risk of peeing the bed.4.14
  3. Encourage your child to use the bathroom regularly. Every two to three hours throughout the day is recommended. This can reduce pressure on the bladder and help hold more urine at night.4,15
  4. Be consistent with bedtime. Ensuring your child gets adequate rest and has a routine at bedtime can be very helpful in preventing bedwetting.6
  5. Do not wake your child up to urinate. Randomly waking a child in the middle of the night and asking them to urinate on demand inhibits communication building between the bladder and brain and only leads to more sleeplessness and frustration.7
  6. Get constipation under control. Difficulties with constipation can present as bladder issues and lead to frequent urination and bedwetting caused by pressure placed on the bladder. About one-third of children who wet the bed are affected by constipation.8 Discussing constipation with your child’s pediatrician can provide many useful tools and strategies to help with constipation.
  7. Consider using a bedwetting alarm. These are designed to detect wetness and set an alarm to alert the child to wake up. It may take several months for the child to awaken to the alarm, especially if they are a deep sleeper, but with parent help and a little patience, it can be a helpful tool.9

Drying a Mattress After Bedwetting

If your child happens to have an accident, use these tips on how to dry a mattress after bedwetting:13

  • Remove all bedding right away
  • Blot the surface of the mattress with a dry towel to remove moisture
  • Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove urine stains and odor
  • Wet the area with a damp cloth and remove any cleaner
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress to soak up any remaining moisture
  • Vacuum the mattress after a few hours to remove the baking soda
  • Make sure the mattress is completely dry before putting any bed linens back on it

Waterproof mattress covers and pee pads for beds can protect mattresses and sheets and help make cleanup easier. You can layer multiple mattress pads with multiple fitted sheets two to three times over, so you can pull off a fitted sheet and pad and be good to go.

When Do Kids Stop Bedwetting?

Most kids stop having nighttime accidents around 5 years old. However, it is not uncommon to wet the bed until the age of 7.8 It may also take your child longer for their bladder to mature.

If your child is still wetting the bed after their 7th birthday, you may want to consider talking to your pediatrician to check for any underlying issues and discuss the best way to handle your child’s specific needs.

Does My Child Need Medication for Bedwetting?

Most children don’t require bedwetting medication, but it may be considered if wetting the bed becomes a chronic issue that causes distress as they get older. DDAVP, or desmopressin, is taken before bedtime to reduce the amount of urine produced while your child is asleep. It can help boost confidence while the child is attending a special event like sleepovers or sleep-away camp.10

Don’t allow your child to drink liquids in the evening after taking desmopressin. It causes fluid retention; too much extra liquid can cause low sodium levels.11

Is Bedwetting Serious?

Bedwetting isn’t usually serious but can be embarrassing for children and frustrating for adults. If your child continues to wet the bed after age 7 or has previously been dry at night and is now wetting the bed, talk to your pediatrician about screening for more serious health problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea, constipation, or urinary tract infection.12

Your pediatrician may ask the following questions about your child’s bedwetting:

  • Is there a family history of bedwetting?
  • How often does your child urinate during the day?
  • Have there been any changes in your child’s life, such as a new sibling, a move, or another family issue?
  • Does your child drink a lot of water before bed?
  • Is there anything unusual about how your child urinates or how the urine looks?
  • Does your child have issues with constipation?
  • Is your child eating and drinking more lately?
  • Is your child losing weight?

When addressing your child’s bedwetting, try to be positive and supportive. Punishing or shaming your child can cause stress and make matters worse. Reassure your child that wetting the bed is a phase many children go through. Bedwetting can be challenging, but these tips can help make things easier for you and your child.

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Lauren Rivera
Lauren Rivera BSN, RNC-NIC Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
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Lauren Rivera is a nationally certified neonatal intensive care nurse with over 15 years of experience. She serves as an expert offering support and educational classes for families from preconception… Read more

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