The Truth About Bedwetting

By Britta Marsh on 26 Oct 2018
Categories: General Parenting, Sleep

Bedwetting beyond the age of 4 is a common problem that challenges a lot of families.

Also known as nocturnal enuresis, bedwetting can be stressful for both child and parents, particularly if it extends beyond the age of 6.

Children can become anxious or self-conscious and it can impact social elements of their life such as sleepovers or going on camp.

ParentTV expert and paediatrician Dr Megan Yap sees many parents with this concern, which is unsurprising given approximately 10% of school aged children suffer from the issue.

“Bedwetting is a really common problem in school aged children. Probably this fact alone testifies to the fact that in the vast majority of kids it’s actually developmentally normal,” says Dr Yap.

So should you see a doctor about your child’s bedwetting?

Dr Yap says you should see your doctor about bedwetting if there are other symptoms such as:

Your doctor will then rule out any underlying medical causes.

Other causes of bedwetting include:

What can parents do at home to address bedwetting?

Dr Yap suggests:

  1. Get your child to drink more water through the day to increase bladder capacity, allowing them to hold on longer overnight.
  2. Remove night nappies or pull ups as these keep your child dry at night so they don’t register they’ve wet.
  3. Use a waterproof mattress protector or special sheet such as a Brolly Sheet or Conni Bed Pad.
  4. Double make the bed so that you can remove one layer of wet sheets and have a clean, dry layer underneath ready to go.

Do bedwetting alarms work?

Bedwetting alarms have high success rates when used correctly. You can hire them or buy them online. There are ones that clip on to pyjamas and others that are mats on the bed.

Dr Yap points out the important thing about alarms is that the child must be responsible for the process for it to work effectively.

Are there other options?

There are medications, which are usually a last resort, however Dr Yap says that while medication may effectively stop bedwetting short-term, it doesn’t change the long-term outcomes and may have side effects.

Bedwetting clinics such as MARS can also help get good results for your child.

Dr Yap stresses that it is important for parents to remember they are not alone in dealing with this issue and that every child will become dry in their own time.

To view the full two-part video of Dr Yap talking about bedwetting, you can subscribe to ParentTV here.