Interrupted sleep, piles of extra laundry, an embarrassed child – bed-wetting is common but can be stressful for the whole family. It’s normal to feel frustrated, even when you’re trying to be understanding and reassuring.
Your child will probably stop wetting the bed as soon as her body is physically ready to handle nighttime dryness. Until then, here are some ways to minimize stress for both of you.
How can I make nighttime bed changes easier?
If your child wets the bed more than a couple of times a week, it’s probably easiest for everyone involved if he keeps using overnight diapers or training pants, if they still fit and don't leak. Another option is washable or disposable underwear designed for kids who wet the bed. Some come with insertable absorbent pads. Some kids are extremely deep sleepers and won’t wake up even if they are lying in a puddle.
If your child only occasionally wets the bed and prefers to wear underwear, make life simpler for yourself by protecting his sheets and mattress with a waterproof mattress pad and a washable or disposable waterproof pad. If you opt for washable pads, having a few disposable ones on hand can give you a break from constant laundry.
Save laundry until morning. If you change your child's bed at night, just toss the wet bedding and pajamas in the bathtub. Even quicker: simply change your child into dry pajamas and lay a towel or waterproof pad over the wet part of the bed.
Another option is to make the bed with a few layers of sheets and waterproof pads. That way you can quickly remove the wet layer on top, and you won't have to remake the bed every time.
Share the responsibility of dealing with wet sheets with your partner, if possible. If your child wants to help with laundry, encourage him. Don't treat it as a punishment, though. Thank him for helping you, and let him know that you don't blame him for wetting the bed.
I don’t want to take out my frustration on my child. What can I do?
Punishing or blaming your child for bed-wetting will not help. Remind yourself bed-wetting is involuntary. Kids who wet the bed are not lazy or misbehaving. (Read more about bed-wetting myths.)
Try not to blame yourself. While bed-wetting isn't your child's fault, it isn't yours either. It isn't a result of how you potty-trained your child, or anything else you did. In most cases, it's a normal part of physical development, which can't be rushed. Overnight diapers, training pants, or washable or disposable underwear designed for kids who wet the bed may be the easiest option until her body is ready for nighttime dryness.
If you find yourself getting upset regularly, see if you can take a break. Perhaps your child could stay with a close family member or friend for a night, or your partner or a babysitter can stay home while you head to a friend's house or hotel for a good night's sleep.
If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your child's doctor about the situation and what help is available for you and your child who wets the bed. She can suggest ways to manage bed-wetting that could reduce stress. She may also recommend treatments, such as a bed-wetting alarm or medication that can be used for temporary situations such as trips, sleepovers, or summer camps.
How do other parents cope with bed-wetting?
our site members share their best advice for dealing with bed-wetting.
Read the stories of four parents whose kids wet the bed.