Wetting the bed is for many one of the most embarrassing experiences they will have in their adult lives. And even if it is more common, involuntary bed-wetting can be extremely troubling for children, whose self-esteem becomes increasingly more vulnerable as they grow up. Before we give you some advice on how to deal with your child’s bed-wetting, it is important to realise what counts as normal versus abnormal bed-wetting. Generally, bed-wetting before the age 7 should not be cause of concern. Although most children are toilet trained by 5, complete bladder control might take some more time. However, after 7 the number of children who continue to regularly wet the bed does drop dramatically.
If your child is someone for whom the problem persists, these tips are for you.
1. Act with patience and understanding
This should go without saying, but when tackling this problem, you should always act in an empathetic, compassionate manner. If you sense you are becoming frustrated, remember that your child isn’t choosing to wet the bed. This is an involuntary act.
2. Make sure your child goes to the toilet regularly during the day
Your child is far more likely to wet the bed if they go to sleep bursting for a pee. Aim for them to go to the bathroom 4 to 7 times a day, including just before they go to bed.
3. Make sure they have easy access to a toilet at night
You don’t want to compound your child’s embarrassment with a difficult walk in the dark to the toilet. You may even want to change the organisation of your home so that they are next door to the nearest loo.
4. Reward positive behaviour
Positive feedback for positive actions is extremely effective for the learning of a behaviour. So put a sticker on your child’s bed, or allow them ten more minutes playing outside, every time they use the toilet before bed. Before long this will become an inbuilt habit that will enormously reduce the frequency of their bed-wetting.
5. Use waterproof covers on their mattress and duvet
If your child is deeply ashamed of wetting the bed, imagine their relief when they wake up to dry sheets. This may seem a bit sly, but, trust us, your kid will be beaming in the morning. That confidence massively reduces the severity of the problem in their head.
6. See a doctor
If you have tried all the above to no avail, it might be time to take your kid to the GP. You should also speak to the doctor if your child has started wetting the bed after being dry for 6 months prior.