Why do older kids wet the bed?
There are many reasons why children wet the bed past their toddler years, and it is not always easy to pinpoint what causes bedwetting in your child. Bedwetting can come from stress at school or big changes at home to sleep apnoea or a urinary tract infection, it could also simply be a phase.
Is it normal for school age kids to wet the bed?
However, we understand that it can become more difficult to manage once they start school. Tired from broken nights, reluctant to have sleepovers, or just anxious about their night-time accidents, it’s worth getting some coping strategies under your belt to help them out.
Top tips to help your school-age child with night-time accidents
We looked at what the experts say and asked parents for advice on how to help school-age children stop wetting the bed.
“Make sure the grandparents don’t ruin your plan!” Douglas
Ensure every caregiver is clued up and on-board with how you are managing routines. So that means you, your partner, grandparents, childminders – everyone in the family. Make sure they know the ways you support your child through bedwetting and ensure they will follow them even if you’re not there.
“It’s hard not to be irritated when you are up in the night as well, but being kind was more effective than being cross,” Vicky
The older your child is, the more self-aware, self-conscious, and sensitive to criticism they may be. So, it’s even more important to let them know little accidents are ok. Praise them for dry nights but don’t be angry or punish them for wet nights. What you need is positive reinforcement, patience and understanding.
“Huggies® DryNites worked for us because it meant he slept properly without worrying. And remember, it’s only a phase, it doesn’t last long!” Rebecca
Tiredness will make everything seem worse, so do what you can to help your child get the sleep they need. Use Huggies® DryNites to help your child sleep worry-free. Protect the bed with Huggies® Bed Mats and have lots of clean laundry and a fresh set of PJs beside the bed each night so that changes can be swift and stress-free.
“Getting into the habit of going for ‘a last wee’ before bed.” Jon
Make going to the loo a regular occurrence in the daytime and encourage your child to use the bathroom before bed. Insist they go after they have put their pyjamas on and just before story time, and then go one more time before they go to sleep, even if they say they don’t need to. Make it as much a part of their routine as cleaning their teeth.
“We upped her water intake in the day but reined it in after 5pm.” Gareth
Make sure your child is drinking enough fluids during the day but limit drinks before bed, especially caffeinated drinks, as these are diuretics – things that make you want to pee even more. So, it’s a no to tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and any soda containing caffeine.
“We tried to normalise it. He had a chart on the wall in the kitchen and we would chat about it at breakfast.” Rachel
During this time, it’s important to keep talking to your child about what’s going on and to explain to them you are not angry with them and that having little accidents is ok. Keeping lines of communication open is vital to ensure they don’t hide their incontinence from you. They need to know you are on their side, you’ve got their back and you’re in it together.
7. Easy access
“Our daughter was miles away from the bathroom, so she swapped rooms with her older sister,” Chris
Make sure their route to the loo is clear. Don’t underestimate how scary a dark corridor is in the middle of the night! Use night lights and keep the bathroom light on if possible. Make it safe and easy!
“We found praising our son for taking control of his bedtime routine was empowering for him.” Danielle
A bedtime routine may encourage your child to take ownership of their nights. Some children are old enough to want to take responsibility for brushing their teeth, putting on their PJs, and then changing their own PJs if necessary, and even bedclothes, within reason. Supporting them with this and praising them for their routine can have a positive effect.
“We just sat it out. This too will pass.” Annie
It’s ok to remind yourself that it is just a phase, but if you have tried several routes and can’t see an end to the bedwetting, it might be time to visit the GP. They can order tests to check to see if there is a physical reason your child can’t hold their wee overnight, or if there is an underlying medical condition.