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Bedwetting Toddler – When to Worry

So you’ve made it to the other side of potty training relatively unscathed, and it’s time to celebrate. You can finally see the diaper freedom you’ve been craving as your child becomes more independent, and it’s a new exciting world. 

And then you wake up to find your child and the bed soaked. 

Bedwetting is more common than you realize, and although it can be disheartening, it’s not all bad, and most kids grow out of it. There could be several reasons why your child is wetting the bed, even though they are potty trained. 

But the good news is that there are numerous tips and tricks you can try to help your child get back on the potty training straight and narrow.

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Why is my Potty-Trained Child Wetting the Bed?

When your potty-trained child becomes a bedwetting toddler, it can feel like all the hard work and long hours you’ve put in have gone to waste. 

But that’s not true, and many children are bedwetters even after being potty trained. Some children only stay dry at night between the ages of four and five, and bedwetting before 7 is not a concern.

I’m sure you’re thinking, I don’t understand. I did everything right, and we were on track. It’s nothing that you did or didn’t do. Some children just aren’t at the developmental stage where they can detect when their bladder is full. But that is only one reason, and you need to discover the cause for your toddler wetting their bed at night.

  • You often remind your child to head to the bathroom during the day, but that’s not the case at night. If they haven’t fully developed the ability to detect the sensation of a full bladder, they could wet their beds.
  • Bedwetting is more common among boys than girls. So, if you have a potty-trained son who has started wetting the bed, take heart because it might take him a bit longer to develop the skill of noticing when his bladder is full.
  • If your child is being disturbed by a sibling or if they are very deep sleepers, then bedwetting can be more common. 
  • If your child has been potty trained and is a new bedwetter, then chat with them and find out if they are feeling stressed or anxious. Often if there is a new sibling, a disruption in the family, or daycare anxiety, you might find that your previously potty-trained child will start bedwetting.
  • If your child can go for long periods during the day without going to the toilet, they may miss the cues of a full bladder at night.
  • Were you or your partner bedwetters? Your child might be wetting the bed if there is a family history.
  • Children with ADHD are also more prone to wet their beds.
Girl sleeping with her teddy

Bedwetting Treatments and Solutions

Having a bedwetting toddler is normal up to the age of 5 and as late as 7. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but there are some strategies you can try to help your child learn to control their bladder.

  • Avoid liquids before bedtime, particularly stimulants that irritate your child’s bladder. Fruit juices and fizzy drinks are not a great idea before bedtime; ideally, your child shouldn’t be drinking anything up to half an hour before bed.
  • Make sure that your child has gone to the toilet before bedtime. If you read a bedtime story, maybe make them pee before you read and then again when the story is finished to ensure their bladder is completely empty.
  • Encourage your child to use the potty if they wake up at night, even if they don’t feel like they need it.
  • Try a regular bedtime routine, as this can help train your child’s body for what to expect at night. You’ll also find that your child sleeps better with a regular nighttime routine which can affect bladder control.
  • Minimize any disturbance in their room, and try to put them on the toilet before you go to bed. This works well if they are deep sleepers because they can fall asleep again quickly, or they might not even wake up.
  • Be sure to let your child know that it is not their fault and that you are not upset with them. Often children who wet the bed at night feel guilt and shame, and even embarrassment. So, take their bedwetting in your stride. Strip the linen, and your child, get them dry and get them back to sleep.
  • If your child is at daycare, you might not know how often they use the bathroom, and it’s worth chatting with their teacher. Going more regularly during the day will help them be more aware of the full bladder sensation.
  • Consider using cloth training pants. Many bedwetting toddlers make it through the night dry and only wet their beds in the early morning hours. It can be helpful to wear cloth training pants to minimize the mess and help your child until they are at a developmental stage where they can make it through the night.
Washing machine full of bedsheets

When Should I Be Concerned About Bedwetting?

If your child is 7 years or older or they have been potty trained for six months accident-free and has started bedwetting, consider consulting your doctor. 

Your child may have a hormone imbalance causing their body to produce more urine at night than their bladder can handle. They might also have a UTI or be constipated. Some children also suffer from sleep apnea which can disturb their sleep and exacerbate bedwetting.

Having a Bedwetting Potty Trained Toddler is Normal

There is no need to panic, although it can be incredibly frustrating. Just empathize with your child and try a few strategies to help them overcome their bedwetting. 

Potty training takes time, so give yourself (and your child) grace as you figure it out together.

Boy sleeping on a white pillow with white bedsheets

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