How to handle bedwetting in older children and teens

How to handle bedwetting in older children and teens

. 3 min read

Nappies for older children can help with bedwetting

Bedwetting in older children aged 5 and over is called nocturnal enuresis. And it’s more common than you might think.

Around 20% of children have nocturnal enuresis at age 5. By the age of 7, half of these children will have grown out of it, but in some cases, it can continue into the teens.

Nocturnal enuresis is not usually serious, but it can be distressing for your child and needs to be handled sensitively.

Nappies for older children can help support your child through this phase until they’re managing to sleep through the night.

The two types of nocturnal enuresis

There are two types of nocturnal enuresis and it’s important to know which one your child has.

Primary enuresis

Primary enuresis is when your child has never had bladder control and has always wet the bed at night. This is the most common form of enuresis.

Secondary enuresis

Secondary enuresis is when your child has had bladder control for 6+ months, but has then gone back to bedwetting again. This could be a sign of an infection, so you should see your doctor.

What causes bedwetting in older children?

Nocturnal enuresis has a number of possible causes. These are three of the most common:

  • Producing too much pee at night
  • Not feeling the urge to pee while asleep
  • Stress or anxiety

How is nocturnal enuresis treated?

Treatment varies according to the cause of the enuresis. If the underlying cause is stress or a psychological issue, this will need to be dealt with first.

Otherwise, your doctor may recommend a bedwetting alarm or a course of medication.

What is a bedwetting alarm?

A bedwetting alarm has a moisture sensor that fits inside your child’s pyjamas. When your child starts to pee, the sensor triggers a bell, buzzer or vibration.

This is designed to wake your child up, so they can get up and finish peeing on the toilet.

For the first few weeks of nightly use, you may find the alarm wakes you first and you have to wake your child. But within 4–6 weeks your child should start responding to the alarm by themselves.

And after 12 weeks they should be going to the toilet by themselves, or holding their pee until morning.

What medication might be prescribed?

If your doctor decides that medication is needed, this is usually a medicine that stops your child producing so much pee at night. This is said to work in 40–60% of cases.

Simple steps you can take at home

There are some simple steps advised by child sleep expert, Andrea Grace that you can implement to help manage bedwetting in older children.

Make sure your child is drinking enough water

Children over 5 years should be drinking at least 6–8 glasses of water a day. Each glass should contain 250–300ml of water.

Avoid drinks containing caffeine

Caffeinated drinks like coke, coffee and tea can make your child pee more.

Make sure your child is going to the toilet regularly during the day

Children who are having the recommended amount to drink should be peeing between 4 and 7 times a day.

Make sure your child goes to the toilet before bed

This will reduce the likelihood of them needing to pee during the night. You could try offering rewards for this if it helps.

Make sure your child can get to the toilet safely and easily

It may help to leave the doors open and have night-lights to guide the way.

Don’t punish your child

Getting annoyed or removing privileges won’t help and could increase stress, which will only make things worse.

Don’t wake your child, unless you’re using a bedwetting alarm

Routinely waking your child to see if they need the toilet won’t help them in the long term.

Use waterproof bedding

Waterproof mattress and duvet covers will help minimise stress and mess.

Do you need nappies for older children?

Bother sells a range of nappies and nappy changing products for children of all ages.

Our nappies for older children are designed to help you through the bedwetting phase more easily and with minimal embarrassment for your child.

For children aged 5+ we sell Pampers, size 8. These are the largest nappies in our Pampers range. They give 12 hours of breathable dryness and are designed for a secure and comfortable fit to help prevent leaks.

For children aged 8-15, we have DryNites Pyjama Pants. These are soft, comfortable and look just like regular underwear. They’re made to be worn under pyjamas and use quiet materials that don’t rustle as much, so only your child will know they’re wearing them. They also offer protection where it’s most needed, with designs for boys and girls.