Parents say: How to deal with bed-wetting

Parents say: How to deal with bed-wetting

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Daytime and nighttime dryness are separate potty training milestones. Being able to stay dry through the night may not happen for months, or even years, after a child is potty trained during the day. This is normal and common.

We asked our site parents how they deal with bed-wetting. Here are their tips and advice for making it through this stage.

Emotional support for kids who wet the bed

"At first we'd get frustrated and ask our son about it each morning. But, that didn't seem to serve any purpose other than to make him feel bad. One night recently he didn't pee in the bed, and he was proud to report it to me. I said I was proud of him, too, and that I was proud of him regardless."
Mom of a boy, age 5 1/2

"I never get angry when it happens. I just talk to him and help him hop into a quick bath. I think the biggest thing is not treating it like it's something to worry about. Instead we have an 'All right, let's clean it up' attitude. He doesn't get embarrassed. He just lets me know it happened."
Mom of a boy, age 7

"My 6 1/2-year-old has accidents nightly, while my 4-year-old is usually dry in the morning. The older one feels bad about it, but I think he's just a super-deep sleeper and sleeps through the urge. I tell him it's okay and his body will eventually learn how to wake up."
Mom of two boys, ages 6 ½ and 4

"We try to be very kind and supportive, as she gets pretty upset about the accidents. I've told her that her body pees while she's asleep. I've made light of it to her by saying 'that silly body' in a funny voice, which she laughs at every time. Yet I feel like I've failed somehow."
Mom of a girl, age 4

Survival tactics

"We make sure he uses the toilet right before going to bed and leaves the bathroom light on so it's easy to get there in the night. If he wakes up wet, we change his pajamas and he moves into his sleeping bag on the floor to minimize the disruption for everyone. It doesn't bother him or us. He'll outgrow this when it's time. My older son was almost 6 before he stopped wearing training pants at night."
Mom of a boy, age 5

"We tried getting our son up around midnight to go, but that was awful for all parties involved. We had to carry him into the bathroom and encourage him to try and aim. We came to the conclusion that it's something that he'll grow out of eventually, so it's best not to stress him and ourselves out over it. He helps us clean up and picks out his new clothing. He has gotten the hang of doing laundry with us. It's almost no big thing, but he still feels bad when it happens. Poor little man."
Mom of a boy, age 5

"Most of the time I convince my son to wear training pants or 'nighttime undies,' as we call them. They help keep him and bedding cleaner. We explain that nighttime accidents are perfectly fine and happen to a lot of people. We tell him that one day his body will start waking him up at night if he has to pee."
Mom of a boy, age 6

"Invest in a waterproof mattress pad and, if you forget to use it, baking soda is your friend."
Mom of a boy

"Calmly help kids do the laundry until they can do it themselves. Don't be surprised if you have to remind them every time. It's a natural reaction to try to pretend this isn't happening, to save embarrassment. Stock up on OxiClean and move on with the good things in life. This too shall pass.
– Mom of a girl, age 13

Sound the bed-wetting alarm

"My most important advice is to wait until your child is ready before trying any methods to change his or her behavior. The bed-wetting alarm is for children who are 5 and over, but not all 5-year-olds are ready to use it. The alarm worked for one of my twins but not the other. Conditioning also takes a full 12-week commitment, so it's in your best interest to start it after your child expresses interest."
– Mom of twin boys, age 5

"I swear by the bed-wetting alarm. After we finished with it, we passed it on a friend, who passed it on to another friend. My son was in training pants until just after his sixth birthday, when we got the alarm. Ironically, it woke us up, not him, but somehow it worked."
Mom of a boy

What did the doctor say?

"The doctor advised against putting pressure on my son. He's just not able to regulate his body in this way yet. When he's ready, he's ready and not before."
Mom of a boy, age 5 1/2

"I have a 5-year-old who still has accidents three or four times a month. He stopped wearing training pants before his fifth birthday, but the accidents have lingered. His pediatrician says you can't night train – the body does it when it's ready."
Mom of a boy, age 5

"We've explained, based on the doctor's advice, that her body doesn't yet wake her up to go to the bathroom and that when it's ready, it will be able to send a signal so she can go at night if she needs to. If she's dry, she lets us know and we usually say, 'That's great!' and let it go at that. She doesn’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about it at this point."
Mom of a girl, age 7

Wait it out

"It's especially frustrating when the 'magic cures' that help other kids don't help yours. Sometimes there's no answer other than to wait, so just accept it. It just stopped for my daughter, who's 13. Bed-wetting will eventually end – and then on reflection it won't all seem so bad. The most important thing for parents to remember is not to shame your kids, because they really can’t control it. This is much easier said than done."
– Mom of a girl, age 13

When bed-wetting runs in the family

"There's a big misconception that kids who wet the bed at night are too lazy to get up and use the bathroom. That couldn't be further from the truth. I wet the bed until I was 10 years old. I hated waking up wet. If I had woken up when I had to pee at night, I would have gladly gone to the bathroom. But I never woke up. I'm not worried. I know from my own experience that I can't train my son to stay dry at night."
Mom of a boy, age 4 1/2

"My husband wet the bed, and our three kids do too. Staying dry at night is a physical ability that will come with time, not something they can control. But bed-wetting is not discussed in my circle of friends. There's a stigma that comes with it. I've heard jokes about bed-wetting and insinuations that it's an intelligence or socioeconomic problem, which is not the case."
– Mom of twin boys, age 4, and a girl, age 6

"Our son has had maybe five dry nighttime diapers in the past year. He just isn't ready. His 6-year-old brother goes without a diaper, but wets the bed two or three times a week. Both his dad and I wet the bed into our teenage years. My father wet the bed until age 19."
Mom of two boys, ages 5 and 6

"Our daughter gets upset. We tell her it happens at her age and it's okay – just come tell us and we'll do clean-up together. I was shamed as a child when I wet the bed. I didn't like the feeling, nor did it help one bit. I felt like a freak. I'm 29 and still remember the feeling. Awful."
Mom of a girl, age 5 1/2

More tips

Four families with kids who wet the bed share their stories about what worked and what didn't.

Watch the video: 6 Tips To Help Kids Avoid NightTime BedWetting (May 2022).

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