Is your preschool-age child potty trained all day long, but consistently wetting the bed at night? It's a common problem, and there's no shortage of consternation among Circle of Moms members as to why their 3, 4, and 5-year-olds can exercise bladder control for 12 or more waking hours every day, then routinely wet the bed while they sleep.
The answer is often fairly simple.* When kids are in deep sleep, they often don't feel their bladders filling up, and if they don't experience the sensation of fullness, they don't wake up and know they need to go to the bathroom. There's even evidence to suggest that kids who sleep lightly don't wet the bed as often. Regular bed-wetters (who are deep sleepers) often don't wet the bed when they're at a friend or relative's house, precisely because they're unconsciously worried about this and sleeping lightly.
Circle of Moms member Jennifer, whose son wets the bed regularly, reports that her pediatrician says that nighttime bed-wetting isn't considered a problem until age seven. But even though it isn't a medical problem, neither kids nor parents enjoy it, and tend to welcome anything that might help!
Here are some great ideas for encouraging all-night dryness, all suggested by weary Circle of Moms members who got tired of midnight bedding changes.
1. Don't Withhold Liquids
While the conventional wisdom is to withhold liquids before bed (Ashley S. is among several moms who suggest no liquids for about 2 or more hours before bed), some moms proclaim the exact opposite tactic to be much more effective. (As Circle of Moms Jan G. says, "Cease holding back liquids, in fact encourage water at bed time.") With something in their bladders before sleep, the reasoning goes, kids will have more opportunities to experience fullness while they sleep and to practice getting up and going to the bathroom. RoundUp parenting expert Sharon Silver agrees; in a post about potty training regression, (, she suggests loading a child up with liquids before bed to give him the "opportunity to be successful as often as possible."
Jennifer's sister bought a blanket that beeps when it gets even slightly wet, and, over the course of about four weeks, this helped her son wake up in time to make it to the bathroom. Amy B. suggests a clip alarm as an alternative: these little gizmos attach "inside the underwear, and go off with the slightest little amount of liquid."
3. A Potty Next to the Bed
Janine H. put a potty in her son's room, right beside his bed, so that if he does wake up with a full bladder, he doesn't have far to go. She also wakes him up before she goes to bed — several hours after he's fallen asleep — to remind him to pee, and this has helped a lot in their efforts to stay dry for the rest of the night.
4. Voiding Twice Before Bed
Nicole D. also suggests what her doctor calls a "double-void" — asking her little one to pee twice in a row before bed. The bladder doesn't always empty completely the first time around, and this technique has worked wonders for her four-year-old.
Moms are also quick to remind that there's almost always a gap between daytime and nighttime dryness. It typically takes between six months and a year to fully achieve the transition. So, in addition to these three techniques, which might help speed the process, also remember to have patience. As Brandi K. says, "'When they are ready, they will stop.'"
* Note that if the problem is persistent, you should have your child evaluated by a pediatrician for underlying physical causes.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.