Bedwetting: Causes and Solutions for Toddlers

Is your toddler wetting his bed and waking up in soggy sheets and stained pyjamas? Well, there’s no need for you or your child to be embarrassed about it. Bedwetting, also called nocturnal enuresis, is a common condition found among young children. It might trick you into thinking that your child’s potty training has failed. Rather, in such situations, understanding the causes of bedwetting and ways on how to stop bedwetting should be on your parenting agenda. So, keep reading to discover what are the causes of bedwetting along with the bedwetting solutions.

Bedwetting in Toddlers

You might be thinking that now that your little one is growing up, he will be able to pick up on the toilet habits easily. Well, the reality is that even after your pre-schooler learns to use the toilet and stays dry all day (usually between ages two and four), he may still wet the bed at night every now and then. This is normal until the age of six or seven. After this age, bedwetting is still normal, but it can be upsetting to your child and keep her from enjoying social activities such as sleepovers. You don't want to punish or criticise your child for wetting the bed. It is not intentional and not under his control.

Bedwetting Causes in toddlers

One reason a young child wets the bed is that the child hasn't yet developed the necessary skills to stay dry at night. Even kids who are potty trained during the day sometimes aren't able to achieve night-time dryness until the age of four or even older. About 40 percent of three-year-olds are bedwetters, for example. At this age, a child's body is still too immature to reliably wake her up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Here is a list of other potential bedwetting causes in toddlers:

  • Stress or change in child's life

  • Constipation

  • Minor illness or being overtired

  • Family history of bedwetting

  • An underlying medical condition

Return of bedwetting in toddlers

A child who is going through the potty-training process, and who has been able to stay dry at night for some nights or even weeks, may sometimes start to wet the bed again. When this happens, the best plan is to go back to using training pants for a while or even diapers for bedwetters can help. If your child has been consistently drying for three to six months or more and then starts to wet the bed again, consult your doctor unless the stress is obvious and resolves in a week or two.

Prolonged Bedwetting in toddlers

Several children continue bedwetting after the age of six. At this age, about 10 percent of children consistently wet their beds, and at age 12, as these kids enter adolescence, about three percent still have this problem. For these children, bedwetting is usually related to the maturation process of the brain and bladder connection. Talk to your doctor if your child is still wetting the bed at age of six or older.

Tips to Cope with Bedwetting in toddlers

Bedwetting can leave your toddler feeling embarrassed and can hamper his confidence. Thus, you as a parent need to be supportive. While most children outgrow bedwetting, for a few it can take some additional steps.

Here are few things that can help your child cope better with bedwetting and set the stage for success:

  • Don’t Play the Blame Game: Instead of blaming or shaming your child, show him love and care. Bedwetting is not your child's fault and blaming will make the situation more difficult to handle.

  • Apply A ‘No Teasing’ Rule: Make sure that siblings do not tease or make negative comments on your toddler for wetting the bed.

  • Instil Reassurance: You need to reassure your toddler that it’s not a big issue. You can even put his mind at ease by telling him that you or your spouse also had to go through this phase in life.

  • Nudge Them to Take the Charge: Encourage your toddler to take responsibility for keeping himself dry. Likewise, when accidents happen, make sure they also help you clean up the mess. It can encourage them to stop wetting their bed.

  • A Progress Chart: Set up a sticker chart to encourage your child as she makes progress, one dry morning at a time.

  • Make Cleaning Up Easy: Opt for washable sheets or layer your regular sheets with waterproof ones.

Bedwetting Solutions for toddlers

Besides being supportive, there are a couple of bedwetting solutions that can keep the problem at bay. Here’s how to stop bedwetting:

  • Restrict the number of fluids as bedtime approaches: Before bedtime, make sure to limit the number of fluids.

  • A must bathroom visit: Make him go to the bathroom before tucking him into his bed.

  • Encourage your child to wake up in the night and use the toilet: You need to help your child understand that it’s essential for him to wake up and use the toilet in the night whenever he has the urge to use the toilet.

  • Create easy access to the toilet: Make sure that the path leading towards the toilet is clear and well-lit.

  • Give rewards: Whenever your child remains dry through the night, make sure to reward him. You can opt for a sticker chart system wherein for every night of remaining dry, your child earns a sticker and a reward. This can be one of the best bedwetting solutions after all.

When to see a doctor

If your child never wets his bed and begins bedwetting often, you should consult with the doctor. As it could be a symptom of urinary infection, signal diabetes or constipation. On the other hand, if your child's urine is pink or is very dark or smells unusual, you should alert your child’s doctor. Similarly, if the daytime wetting has increased, it should be brought to the doctor’s notice.

The Bottom Line

Bedwetting is quite common among young children. As your child is learning to take a new step towards independence such mishaps are bound to happen. All you should do is understand the bedwetting causes and find the right, largely supportive bedwetting solutions. If you are still concerned with your child’s bedwetting behaviour, consult your child’s doctor to put your mind at ease. It’s a part of your baby’s development, soon enough he will be waking up on his own to go to the toilet and you will be witnessing dry and stain-free sheets and pyjamas in the morning.