Nighttime bedwetting can occur long after potty training. Here’s what you need to know about it.
Nighttime Bedwetting Is Normal Through Age Five
The Mayo Clinic says not to worry about bedwetting before age six or seven. So if your child is age five or less and not night-trained, don’t worry. My own second child was not fully night-trained until age five.
Just because a child wets the bed after age five doesn’t mean the child has a problem. Most older children who wet the bed just take a little longer to control their bladders at night.
Use Your Tools
Both training pants and mattress liners are available. Use them to avoid a wet bed, even if your child doesn’t wet every night.
Disposable training pants are great for traveling and come in sizes for older children as well as smaller children. Four- and five-year-olds may appreciate the underwear-style disposable training pants.
Cloth/re-usable training pants are also available. You can find both waterproof styles and simple thick cotton training pants. Waterproof training pants will keep the bed dry, but some parents prefer plain cotton training pants because they will feel wet and possibly wake the child so he or she can finish up in the bathroom.
One type of mattress liner is a simple waterproof layer to keep the mattress from getting wet. You can also get an absorbent pad with waterproof backing. The absorbent pad is helpful if your child only occasionally wets the bed and you want him or her to sleep in regular underwear.
Limit Fluids at Night
Don’t dehydrate your child. If the weather is hot, let him or her drink all the water she wants. But in general, try to avoid that bedtime drink of water, and especially avoid sugary drinks and juices after 6 pm.
Schedule a Potty Break
Make a potty break part of your child’s bedtime routine. Some people recommend waking your child for a potty break one more time when you go to bed. Your mileage may vary on this. With my children, I preferred not to wake them, because they would then have trouble getting back to sleep, which meant I didn’t get to sleep until much later.
This may or may not work; if your child is just not physically capable of staying dry at night, rewards will be useless. But for some children, a star chart may help. Give a star for each dry night, and a larger reward (candy, a book, a special outing, etc.) for getting five stars. Never berate your child for slip-ups. Just say, “Well, maybe you’ll get a star tonight,” and keep on going. And if the star chart isn’t working, just discontinue it until your child is ready.
Mayo Clinic staff, “Bed-Wetting,” MayoClinic.com.