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Bedwetting in children - reasons and how to prevent it

Although its an inconvenience for parents, bedwetting is a very common problem in children. Statistically, approximately 15% of children wet the bed until the age of 5, and males are twice as likely than females to wet the bed! Bedwetting does decrease with age, occurring in only approximately 2% of children aged 14 and older.

Images may be subject to copyright. This image was obtained via https://www.theschoolrun.com/bedwetting-school-age-children, 2023.


The most common cause of childhood bedwetting is solely down to a lack of bladder control - which is learnt by children between the ages of 2 to 4. However, for older children, if bedwetting still occurs it's likely caused by either: developmental delays, or emotional or behavioural difficulties, and you should seek out medical advice, in regards to treating this.


If it also common for some children to struggle to stay dry throughout the night from the day they are born - while others are able to control themselves for months, or years, only to begin wetting the bed again. Again, this is normal and should pass once your child is over the age of 4. Now we are aware of the statistics, let's look into the causes!

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Causes of childhood bedwetting

There are many reasons, which include:

  • Not feeling the need to pee while sleeping

  • Making too much pee at night

  • Stress at home or at school

  • An underlying health condition such as diabetes or constipation

Things to do to help prevent bedwetting

  • Give your child water to drink during the day

  • Promote your child goes to the toilet regularly, around 4-7 times a day, and right before bedtime

  • Use waterproof covers on their mattress and duvet if they are bedwetting

  • Make sure your child can easily access the toilet at night

  • Introduce and use a rewards chart for your child, to reward their positive actions (A sticker for every time they use the toilet before bed etc.)

Things NOT to do to help prevent bedwetting

  • Do not shout at your child - it's not their fault, and causing stress to your child regarding bedwetting may make it even worse

  • Do not give your child drinks which contain caffeine, as these can make your child need to pee more (No cola, tea, or coffee etc.)

  • Do not wake up your child throughout the night to make them pee - as this won't help in the long term, as your child needs to naturally learn when they need to pee.

Free resource: Toilet sticker guide: https://www.ducklingspreschool.co.uk/at-home


The NHS recommends you visit your local GP if;

  • you've tried things you can do at home and your child keeps wetting the bed

  • your child has started wetting the bed again after being dry for more than 6 months.

If you do need medical advice, your GP can prescribe medicine which will reduce how much urine your child makes during the night, or could even provide you with a bedwetting alarm.


For more information please feel free to check out these resources;


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