8 min read

My child still wets themself

- Some practical tips to manage the situation and help you know when to seek help

Illustration of a child looking sad and being comforted

Things you can try

  1. Don’t blame, punish or tease your child

    Remember that lots of children wet themselves and wetting the bed is even more common. Learning to use the toilet usually takes until your child is four years old. Bedwetting can carry on after this.

    Punishing or teasing children for wetting is not going to help wetting stop.

    Remember it’s nothing to feel ashamed about – for you or your child. Some children take longer than others to stop – that's totally normal.

  2. Know when to take your child to see a doctor

    If your child takes a little bit longer than others to stay dry – don't worry – it won’t usually need a doctor’s visit.

    Your child needs to see a doctor if:

    • They have pain when they wee or their wee stains or smells bad.

    You might decide to take them if:

    • They're older than 5 years old and you want help to find out if there is a reason they aren’t dry yet.
  3. Help your child learn what their body is telling them

    The best way to do this is to talk about it, in the right way.

    Talk to your child simply and directly about how all bodies need to do wees regularly. Explain that they’ll have to learn to recognise when their body is ready.

    Support them. Let them know there’s no need to feel shame if they wet themselves or the bed.

    Reassure them “Don’t worry about it, you’ll get the hang of this soon” and “Lots of children have accidents”

    The longer accidents happen for your child, the more effort you’ll need to put in to make sure it doesn’t affect their self-esteem.

  4. Practical tactics to reduce bedwetting and make it easier to deal with

    Having some simple plans in place can make coping with the rest of your day easier if your child is wetting the bed often.

    • Try to get them to drink plenty of liquid earlier in the day, and don’t have bedtime drinks
    • For younger children, see if they like wearing night-time nappy pants
    • For older children, put a plastic sheet on the bed and keep clean sheets and spare night-clothes ready to change

    If your child is distressed or embarrassed, comfort them and deal with the issue practically and without fuss. Use straightforward language such as ‘Don’t worry...Let’s get you clean and dry again’

  5. Set up support for you and your child

    It’s really easy to slip into shame or frustration since dealing with accidents can take up so much time - so try to have some support set up in advance

    • Get support from your child’s teacher – send a change of clothes along and ask them in advance to be understanding.
    • Be kind to yourself. It can be exhausting to look after children that wet themselves, especially if you need to get up to help them at night.
    • Talk to other parents. You might be surprised to find out how many parents are in the same boat - it can really help lift feelings of shame and pressure!

    For more things to try, look at the Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity’s advice on bedwetting.

    Your child is unique and we hope there are some takeaways here that work for you. If you’re looking for help parenting children with additional needs, you can get specific advice from specialist organisations. Check out our list of support that we can recommend.

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