Helping your child
If your child starts wetting the bed after previously being dry for more than 6 months you should seek advice from your doctor.
If your child has always wet the bed, there are a number of things that you can do to try to help things improve.
A good winding down routine each night may help, for example, a bath or shower and then some relaxed quiet time, perhaps reading, before sleeping. The release of vasopressin is part of the winding down process at night. Change in light helps this process, it is important that the child sleep in a darkened bedroom and doesn’t fall asleep with the TV on.
Ensuring your child drinks sufficiently during the day will not only help reduce the risk of constipation developing but will also help improve bladder capacity.
- Ensure your child drinks at least 6 water based drinks spread evenly throughout the day
- Ensure that the last drink of the day is at least an hour before bed
- Drinks containing caffeine (such as tea, coffee, cola etc.) may contribute to bedwetting; however, this link is unclear and doesn’t seem to affect everybody in the same way
- Some children find that certain drinks make them want to go to the toilet more, it may be useful to a keep a note of what your child is drinking and compare that with how much they are wetting
Adapted from CG111 Nocturnal enuresis - the management of bedwetting in children and young people: understanding NICE guidance. October 2010
- Ensure your child goes to the toilet regularly throughout the day
- Children should go to the toilet as soon as they feel the need
- Ensure your child goes to the toilet before bed and can get to the toilet easily in the night. A night light or leaving the hall light on can help. Keep bedroom and bathroom doors open
- Placing a potty in your child’s room may help if they are worried about leaving their room at night
- Check that your child is opening their bowel regularly
- It is important to remember that the bedwetting is not the child's fault and they are not doing it on purpose
- Many children need some encouragement to help themselves become dry and the use of reward charts or stickers has been found to be helpful in these circumstances
- Rewards may be given for:
– Drinking recommended levels of fluid before sleep
– Using the toilet before sleep
– Helping to change the bed sheet
Rewards should NOT be used purely for outcomes such as a dry bed.
Common dos and don'ts
Encourage your child to drink normally throughout the day. It is important that they recognise the feeling of a full bladder.
Get cross with your child, it's not their fault.
Seeking further help
If the above measures do not lead to any improvement then you can seek further advice from your healthcare professional such as your GP, School Nurse or Pharmacist.
Some areas have bedwetting clinics that allow direct referral without having to see your GP first. Contact your school nurse to see what help and support is available in your local area.