Bedwetting is fairly common in children but it’s often an issue that both parents and
children become too embarrassed to talk about which can result in many families not
getting the help they need to overcome this. Parents can feel uncomfortable admitting that
their child wets the bed because other people often think that there is bound to be some
sort of underlying problem that causes this. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes,
bedwetting can be a symptom of other problems being experienced by the child, but in
most cases it’s simply that the child has still not conquered the ability to wake for a “wee” in
The medicinal name for bed wetting is nocturnal enuresis and it’s common in young
children. It’s reported that in the UK roughly 1 in 12 children wet the bed on a regular basis
at the age of four and a half (regularly here means twice a week) and 1 in 40 children wet
the bed regularly at the age of seven. Bedwetting is more common in boys than in girls and
it should only be considered a problem if the bedwetting upsets the child or bothers the
parents. In children under the age of five, bedwetting is not deemed to be a problem at all
and medical treatment is not considered appropriate.
The first thing to do is not to worry – your child will sense your distress and this could only
serve to exacerbate the problem and turn it into an issue. If your child only wets the bed on
the odd occasion, then this is quite normal and you’ll just have to deal with it. Make sure
you let your child know that this is something that happens to everybody at some point and
that it’s nothing to be concerned about.
However, if the bed wetting is frequent you’ll need to discuss this with your GP. Most
parent decide to ask for help when if the bedwetting begins to affect the child socially.
Going on a sleepover at a friend’s house can be a real nightmare for a child who’s worried
about wetting the bed – this may be the first time that he shows signs of embarrassment
about this issue. It’s generally recommended that you try some self help techniques to start
with such as limiting the amount of liquid your child has to drink towards the end of the day.
There are moisture sensitive pads available that the child wears on their pyjamas which will
sound an alarm if the child begins to wee. These can, over time, train the child to wake
when his bladder is full.
If these techniques don’t work, then medication may be recommended by your GP. If
bedwetting is becoming a problem for your child, then there is plenty of information
available online from ERIC which is a UK based charity. You’ll also find some useful advice
on the NHS website which has a webpage dedicated to this problem.
Rest assured that only 1% of people carry on wetting the bed into adulthood. In the
meantime, invest in a waterproof mattress protector, buy some extra sheets and be ready to get up in the night and whip on a new set of sheets. Have the spare sheets ready in the child’s room so that the bed changing causes minimum disruption. As you change the bed,
keep calm, reassure your child that it’s not a problem for you (smiling all the while) and tuck
him back in, telling him that you love him and that the bed wetting won’t continue forever.