Dr. Kim Foster: Wicked Health


7 Tips to Support Your Child Through a Bedwetting Phase

Survival Strategies To Get You Through

bedwetting phase

Does your kid wet the bed? If you’re like most parents, you've chalked it up to a normal phase your child will eventually outgrow. And you're probably right. But how do you know if it’s something more than that. How do you know if it's something to be worried about?

Bedwetting is a common issue for kids, and it can be completely normal. Most children have learned by the age of 4 to control their bladders when they’re awake, but staying dry through the night can take a lot longer. One in six children in North America between the ages of 4-12 suffers enuresis (the medical term for bedwetting). It’s more common for boys to have trouble with this than girls, and it can also run in families.

Most bedwetting usually stops on its own and doesn’t require any treatment. Although it’s usually nothing to worry about, sometimes it is a symptom of a medical issue.

It’s important to make a distinction between primary enuresis (when a child has never achieved a satisfactory period of dryness) and secondary enuresis (bedwetting that starts after a dry period of at least 6 months). The secondary type is often linked with some sort of emotional difficulty or stress, like moving to a new house or school, or a family change like divorce. If your child has suddenly started wetting the bed after a long period of dryness, you need to figure out if there’s something new that's bothering him or her.

How to support your child through a bedwetting phase

Whether there’s a medical issue, or it’s simply a developmental phase you need to work through, it can be hard on your child to be constantly wetting the bed. And—let’s face it—it can be hard on you, too. We went through this recently in our household, and it was exhausting.

While you and your doctor are tackling the underlying causes, here are some tips on how to get through this stage, from a more practical point of view:

  1. Put night-lights in the bathroom and hall to help your child can find the toilet in the night.
  2. Make sure your child urinates before going to bed. Remind him to wake up and use the toilet when he needs to.
  3. Protect the mattress with waterproof sheets.
  4. Use nighttime underwear, like GoodNites TRU-FIT, which look and feel like real underwear.
  5. When your child wets the bed at night, have him or her use the toilet before putting on dry pajamas.
  6. Make the bed in layers, alternating sheets with waterproof pads. Then, when your child wets the bed, you can just take the wet sheet off without needing to re-make the bed.
  7. Remember that children cannot help their bedwetting. You should never get angry at or punish your child for wetting the bed.

Bedwetting can be frustrating—for kids and parents alike. With attentive medical care, a few survival strategies, and a whole boatload of patience, you and your family will get through it. 

One in six children between the ages of 4-12 suffer from enuresis, also known as bedwetting.

  YMC Blogger, Kat Inokai shares her personal experience with her daughter's bedwetting and how they are winning the bedwetting war together.

  YMC Members going through or who have been through a bedwetting phase with their child share their smart strategies.

GoodNites* TRU-FIT* can help you and your child get through bedwetting.
GoodNites* TRU-FIT* are washable, cotton-blend real underwear that are durable and reusable for outstanding nighttime protection. They are accompanied by a disposable, absorbent insert designed to protect sheets and PJs all night.