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Ask a bed-wetting advisor

JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
edited April 9 in Guest blogs
Hi All! I'm JayneM and myself and my colleague Sharron will be bedwetting advisers here at the Scope online community for one week. We work for ERIC (Education & Resources for Improving Childhood Continence) so if your child wets at night and you'd like to know why this might be and what could help to resolve it, then post your question and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. We're not around on Friday or over the week end but be sure we'll get back to you on Monday!


  • RALRAL Member Posts: 2
    edited October 2014
    My son is 9 soon and I'm struggling with keeping the bed dry. I've tried lots of different things, but he still wets a great amount during the night and the nappies / pull-ups just leak. Any suggestions?
    Thank You.
  • budgiemillinsbudgiemillins Member Posts: 4 Connected
    Hello I have a nephew of 5 that wont go for a wee in the night on his own unless someone takes him the same in the morning we have tried everything to get him to go on his own sticker charts treats bed wetting alarms I refuse to put him in a pull up I know this is not the real answer do you have any suggestions I could try
  • Claire_HClaire_H Member Posts: 1
    Hi my son is 6 almost 7 and he wets the bed but it doesn't seem to bother him as we don't always know he's wet the bed till the next day. He takes off the mattress cover as he says it's uncomfortable, I'm at a loss so if you have any suggestions that would be great!
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    edited October 2014
    Hi @Claire_H, Lots of children aren't bothered by their bed wetting - if they've always wet the bed, then this is their 'norm' so to speak and if something is normal to us, we're not too bothered by it. There are some really good bedding protection products around that your Son might find more comfortable. Follow the link for more information about these - There are reasons why children wet at night - happy to explain these in detail if you'd like - but good fluid intake is something that can help. Try to get your Son to drink well during the day - water based drinks are best, 6-8 glasses throughout the day stopping a couple of hours before bed. This helps the bladder stretch and hold more and so go for longer before it needs to empty. Hope this is useful! JayneM
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    edited October 2014
    Hi @budgiemillins, Some children can be reluctant to get up and go to the toilet on their own during the night as it can be a bit scary for them. It's really good that he's waking up when he needs a wee though - no wet beds if I'm understanding you correctly. Good call on the pull ups - he doesn't need them as he's waking up. You could try leaving a potty/plastic bucket in his room perhaps, near a night light to help him feel a bit more secure. Or, leave the way to the toilet & the toilet itself well lit. Let us know how it goes. JayneM
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    edited October 2014
    Hi @RAL, If children produce a lot of wee during the night, soaking through pull ups/nappies like your Son, then they may have a low level of a hormone called Vasopressin which concentrates our urine production at night. This means that they make a lot of wee at night so their bladder fills up and then when it signals to the brain that it needs to empty, the brain doesn't rouse the body from sleep and so the child ends up wetting the bed. You can't test for this hormone but indicators are that a child will wet within 2-3 hrs of going to sleep, produce a lot of wee that isn't very strong in colour or smell and that their first wee after waking will be quite light in colour. There are other reason why children bed wet but these two things combined are a common reason why children wet at night. There are some companies that sell high absorbency pull ups/nappies but there some really good bedding protection products on the market that make changing a bed at night quick and easy. Hope this helps. JayneM
  • RALRAL Member Posts: 2
    Thank You. Is there anything that can help with a low level of Vasopressin? Is he likely to grow out of it/body changed? I'll also try the 6-8 glasses of water advise too. Bed at home is very well protected!
  • lynngreenlynngreen Member Posts: 1
    Hi my daughter is 10 years old and has down syndrome,she has been out of pullups completly now for two and a half years,but for the last six weeks she has been having ocassional wet beds at night,and in the last two weeks this has increased to twice a night,we have been to our GP .A urine sample has come back clear,she takes movical once daily which has now been increased to two a day with the thought that her bowel may be putting pressure on her bladder ,this has had no effect and her bowels are fine at the moment,everything is constant in her life ,there are no worries or concerns or changes that might effect her emotionally.But we are all struggleing now with the stress of constant sleepless nights ,she is becoming increasingly upset with being wet ,I am reluctant to put her back in pullups at night and dont know where to go next ,any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated,thankyou,
  • LounarchLounarch Member Posts: 2
    My son is 6 past may, never been dry at night. Trying the lots of fluids during day, cut everything out other than water/milk, restrict fluids 30 mins before bed only. He is wetting the bed every night, often 2-3 times a night, wakes up and strips off and wants to come into my bed. As he has been wetting this also have been discouraging and getting him to help getting changed and settle back in own bed. Using kylies, bed pads etc but sometimes duvets and pillows soaked too as he moves about a lot. Advisor at clinic said no pull ups, honestly tho they leaked anyway but his skin not great and am concerned he is lying in urine. He is helping change the sheets in morning as clinic suggested this. No change - what next? Thanks.
  • joannewilloughbyjoannewilloughby Member Posts: 1
    Hi. I have a 7 year old with ASD (high functioning) who has never had a dry night. He too can wet thro pull ups etc and I was interested in what u were saying bout hormone levels etc. He doesn't seem to wee much during day then LOADS at night. Doesn't feel it (possible sensory issues?)...
    I was going to buy an alarm over oct half term to try. Do u think it's worth it?
  • LounarchLounarch Member Posts: 2
    I should have said, when my son wakes it is usually anytime from midnight onwards and says he has no awareness of having passed urine. He doesn't wake up having been just wet, he has lain in urine I think as he is saturated and when he has been in bed with me it is sometimes not til are getting up do we discover that he's been wet and it's soaked in a bit or to me and we are cold & damp and not noticed either. Thanks.
  • EllywellieEllywellie Member Posts: 1
    My daughter is 7.5 and still wets the bed almost every night. I've tried 'bribes' taking her to the toilet before I go to bed, no drinking after 7pm and nappies and nothing has worked. Should I seek medical help or will she grow out of it?
    Thank you
  • mulverjmulverj Member Posts: 1
    Hi my son is 7 and wets the bed most nights, his doctor prescribed him with desmopressin which had no effect on him at all. I am now in the process of using a bed wetting alarm, it's been a week now and my son sleeps straight through the alarm and wets at least twice a night. .. do you think the alarm will eventually work if I persevere? I have stopped drinks from 6.30 pm.
  • SamuelSamuel Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2014
    My boy is 6 he wets through pull-ups in the night. He refuses to drink during the day and generally drinks more after 4 in the afternoon. Samuel is dx with ASD and SPD. He always wait till the last moment to go to the toilet for a wee and he has to be constantly reminded to go. Generally this results in a accident. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi Ral
    Vasopressin is a natural hormone produced at night time, it's a sort of a nature thing that it'll kick in fully when it's ready. Yes just use lots of bedding protection at the moment. When Vasopressin starts working children will become much drier.
    Sharron (Eric)
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi Lynngreen
    sometimes when children wet the bed after a good spell of being dry you have to look at perhaps has there been any change to their drinking habits, or type of drink or any change in their lifestyle that's upsetting the night time routine. No easy answer to this one sorry Lynn, hopefully things will get better again.
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi Lounarch
    Because your son is producing so much wee at night it sounds as if his natural hormone Vasopressin hasn't kicked in for him yet. Vasopressin reduces the amount of wee that we produce at night time. It will kick in when it's ready I'm afraid. Also another problem that children struggle with is waking up at night to that full bladder feeling, so unfortunately your son he has two things against him at the moment. To be honest it wont make any difference to your son whether he wears pull ups or not as bed-wetting is out of their conscious control. If he's still struggling with this then perhaps look into getting a bed-wetting alarm for him, we had a good variety on our ERIC web shop. The alarm goes off when wee hits the sensor, helping them to wake to that full bladder feeling. kind regards Sharron (ERIC)
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi Ellywellie, many children struggle to be dry at night time is very common it's just something no one really ever discusses!
    If your daughter could wake up at night on her own when her bladder is telling her brain to do so then she would get up and do a wee and stay dry. Children find it so hard to wake up in the middle of the night, as the signal to wake just isn't strong enough for them so they wet. Another reason could be that we all produce a natural hormone at night that reduces the amount of wee we make, this hormone is called Vasopressin, if this has not kicked in either, children may produce quite a lot of wee in the night as well, but please remember bedwetting is out of their conscious control. Use lots of good quality bedding protection & if your daughter really has the want to use a bedwetting alarm, have a look on our ERIC website, we have a good variety of them in stock.
    Kind regards Sharron(ERIC)
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi Mulverj
    When you think about it your son has never woken up at night on his own to do a wee. When you set your bed-wetting alarm up for him the last thing you need to talk to him about is waking up as soon as he hears it going off. When he's asleep that's all he needs to think about. If you hear his alarm and you know he's not woken up then go to him and wake him but let him switch the alarm off his self and then help him to the bathroom. Yes keep persisting and reward him when he eventually wakes to keep the motivation going, even if he wakes but he's wet that's a start. Sometimes if the bed wetting alarm doesn't work for the child it might mean that they really are not interested in using it in the first place, then it's probably best to pop it away and wait for him to come to you when he really wants to try the alarm again.
    regards Sharron (ERIC)
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi Samuel
    it's hard to get children to drink more as they don't know the importance of drinking well, as it fills the bladder to it's top capacity and gives them a good strong signal that they need a wee. Unfortunately children that drink very little are never filling the bladder as well as they should be, thus receiving weak signals & this can then result in the child not getting the timing right & end up having accidents. Keeping in place a regular toileting time and regular drinking time and lots of rewards that you know he loves when you can see him trying. At night-time it sounds as if he's still producing quite a lot of wee which can mean either his natural hormone at night hasn't fully kicked in for him yet, or he's drinking around the wrong time of the day.
    regards Sharron (ERIC)
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hello Joannewilloughby, Think your question got lost in the flurry of questions we had yesterday! I hope some of the info posted already about the hormone Vasopressin has been helpful - for the majority of children whose levels are low, it kicks in for 99% of them by age 16, but no one can predict when that will be for any given child and you can't test for it unfortunately. The older a child, the less the incidence of wetting at night. Have a word with your Son about how he feels about working with a bed wetting alarm as you need a child to be on board with this as it's a big ask of them. They have to wake up to the alarm, switch it off, get themselves to the toilet, reset the alarm etc., in order for the alarm to do its job - which is helping the brain to wake a child up when it gets the full signal from the bladder and for the child to start to make a connection between the alarm sound and the feeling of a full bladder. It's a long term treatment for most children - 6-12 weeks - so you may not see results in just the half term week. Try to get him to drink more during the day - 6-8 glasses, water based drinks are best. It's because he's asleep that he's not feeling it - no concious awareness, like they have during the day. Good Luck! JayneM
  • NicFNicF Member Posts: 1
    hello Jayne. My daughter is 10 yo with severe autism. She has been continent day and night since about 4.5 yo. In the last 6 to 8 months she started wetting the bed. This started off once or twice a week, then went to every night. She then started doing to toilet (both types) on her bedroom floor (the carpet is ruined!). She's also done it in her sister's bed. This abated a bit when we went on holiday in August. I've discussed with my paediatrician and we've seen a specialist nurse who suggested a full evacuation with Movicol and to keep toileting charts. We've upped her water in take during the day and before 5pm.

    It's started again and she's bed wetting most nights and doing the toilet (poos and pees) on her bedroom floor. she has also done in on my bedroom floor. I can't help but think it's behavioural rather than physical. She will/can use the toilet and I do try and not react when she soiled so as not to reinforce. Other than getting rid of the carpet, not sure what to try next!! Ideas gratefully appreciated!

    Oh, and she loves swimming and started doing poos ALL the time in the pool. I bought her a specialist cossie from ERIC and she stopped!! She still has to wear the cossie though (taking no chances!).

    Thanks! Nicola
  • Archie7Archie7 Member Posts: 1
    My 5 year old girl has been dry in the day since 22 months but just cannot get dry at night. We have tried a few times for a week at a time and tried getting her up but she is such a heavy sleeper that after the novelty has worn off she gets very grumpy and upset at is waking her. Even by doing this she still would wet the bed and doesn't know either. She wears pull ups and would like to be dry but not desperately! What should we do? Keep trying every so often? Is her body just getting used to weeing in a pull-up? They are pretty heavy in the mornings. I really want to help her but not sure what to do for the best
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi NicF, Good to hear that the ERIC cossie helped with the poos in the pool! It does sound like it's more to do with her behaviour and I'm limited in what I can offer with that as it's not our area of expertise but has anything changed for your Daughter that coincides with this behaviour? I'm surmising that routines are quite important to her? Even a tiny change may have triggered this behaviour perhaps. Changes can cause anxiety for any of us sometimes and there can be a link between how we feel emotionally/psychologically and our continence e.g. job interview nerves = frequent trips to the loo! Given she was dry at night for a long time before all of this, this could be the case as secondary enuresis (wetting at night after being reliably dry for 6+ months) can often be triggered by little anxieties. Do also get her checked out for a urinary tract infection (UTI) as this can also result in continence changes and check out constipation as this can have a link to night wetting and UTIs. Hope this helps! JayneM
  • JayneMJayneM Member Posts: 13
    Hi Archie7, It's not unusual for a 5 yr old to still be wet at night. Unfortunately, you can't train them into night dryness in the same way that you can train them to be dry in the day as they are asleep have no conscious awareness or control. There are reasons why children wet at night and you might like to check out ERIC's comprehensive webpage about this -

    There are things to try which can help to resolve night wetting like drinking well throughout the day - 6-8 glasses of water based fluid as this helps the bladder to stretch and hold more and so go for longer before it needs to empty - and stop drinking a couple of hours before bed. Have a bedtime routine that encourages a wee when getting ready for bed and then another wee before settling down to sleep. Don't worry about waking her for a wee (known as 'lifting') as it is you that is waking her and not her waking herself by her brain telling her that her bladder needs to empty. Some children just take longer to develop into dry nights than others - nothing wrong with them, it's not an illness

    Depth of sleep isn't a reason - most night wetting takes place in lighter stages of sleep - but some children just don't want to wake up when they are asleep. Like some adults who get a bit grumpy if they are woken in the night before their body is ready to wake up, like me! Pull ups aren't a reason why children wet at night either but the idea of taking them away is that because they are so effective at keeping moisture away from the skin, a child might wake up more without them and become more aware of their wetting but this doesn't work for all children. Try to avoid putting her in and out of pull ups though as this gives a mixed message. You mention her nappy is heavy in the morning and making a lot of wee overnight is one of the indicators of having a low level of the hormone Vasopression which concentrates wee production overnight and there is more about this if you follow the link above. Good Luck! JayneM
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