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If dry nights are rare in your house, you’re not alone. Read our toddler bed-wetting solutions for ideas and support
If your toddler is out of nappies during the day but still struggles at night, don’t panic. Some children become dry in the day and at night virtually at the same time, whereas others are still wearing night-time nappies for years after they stopped needing them the rest of the time.
Hopefully your child will be potty trained by around the age of three, but they may have some time to go before they get there at night. It’s not something you can make happen because your child needs to be physically ready. The NHS estimates that a quarter of three-year-olds and one in six five-year-olds wet the bed. Boys are more likely to wet the bed than girls, up to the age of 12.
What won’t help is putting pressure on your child. If you get anxious about bed wetting, your toddler will pick up on this and may even start doing it more often. Instead, be as matter of fact and unemotional about it as you can. Accidents happen.
What you can do, as with potty training, is to support your child.
• Watch out for dry nappies in the morning. A run of three or four of these and you may be ready to ditch them at night. Give lots of praise for a dry night.
• Make it easy for your child to find the loo at night. Leave a light on, use a torch, or in extreme circumstances leave a potty by the bed.
• Consider limiting bedtime drinks. Does your child still have a bottle or a big drink of milk at bedtime? Perhaps move this to an hour or two earlier, to avoid encouraging the need to pee in the night.
• Increase drinks at other times of the day. This will encourage the bladder to function well during the day.
Top parent blogger Jacqui Patterson of Mummy’s Little Monkey has a clever tip: ‘There are some great modern waterproof sheets that look and feel just like regular bedding. But make sure you put them on their beds AND yours – Murphy’s Law says your little one will have an accident on the night they crawl into bed with you!’
You’re not alone
Parents don’t tend to talk about bed wetting a lot, so it’s easy to assume you’re alone with this issue. But you really aren’t; it’s very common.
If you need extra help, your GP or the children’s continence charity ERIC are good places to start. Doctors generally don’t consider bed wetting up to the age of seven to be a problem, and sometimes not even then. It’s only a phase – a very normal phase – and like all phases it will pass.
By Joanne Mallon, author of Toddlers: An Instruction Manual