Kids wetting the bed

Let’s yarn about this

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Kids wetting the bed

About 1 out of every 6 kids who are aged 5 wet the bed.

Kids under 5 years old often wet the bed. This is okay when they are little, because they are still learning to be dry. If your child is over 5 years then you could start to get help.

Kids who wet the bed a lot are not lazy or naughty. Try not to growl at your child.

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What does the bladder (wee bag) do?

The bladder (wee bag) stores wee like a water tank stores water.

When the bladder is full, it sends a message up to the brain to tell the brain the bladder needs to wee.

If the brain is asleep sometimes your child does not hear the message and the wee sneaks out.

Some kids wet the bed because:

  • they can’t wake from their sleep to get up to wee
  • they make too much wee during the night, or
  • the bladder gets upset and wants to empty more often than it should.
Children's wee bag
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How you can help your child

If your child is about 6 it might be a good time to start getting help with bed-wetting.

Take your child to your health worker, nurse or doctor to check your child’s health. They may:

  • check for constipation
  • check for a germ in the bladder
  • want to know how much your child drinks and wees over the day and night to see what their bladder holds, or
  • want to talk to you about bed wetting alarms.
Help your child
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Other things to think about

  • Sometimes bed-wetting can be made worse if your child has constipation (hard poo). Keep poo soft by: healthy eating and drinking. Try to encourage your child to eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains and drink plenty of fluid throughout the day (try not to have fizzy drinks).
  • Encourage your child to go to the toilet as soon as they feel like they need to do a poo.
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  • Your child should sit on the toilet, relax and take time to empty their bladder and bowel properly.
  • Talk to your child about how their body works.
  • Kids should try to have a wee before they go to sleep.
  • Check your child is comfortable getting up at night – they might need a night light.
  • Try not to put nappies on your child at night – protect the bed with a waterproof bed pad.
  • Tell your child they are doing a good job and give them lots of love and help
Child using the toilet
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Personal alarms and bed alarms

These are a good way to train the child to wake up when they start to wet the bed.

There are two types of alarms:

  • A personal alarm can be worn by the child between two pairs of firm fitting undies where the wee comes out at night. When wet, it makes a noise to wake up the child. It’s small and easy to carry around and cheaper to hire than the mat alarm.
  • A mat alarm is in a mat that fits under the sheet the child sleeps on. When the mat gets wet, it makes a noise to wake up the child.
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After a while, the child learns to wake up when their bladder is full, before the bed is wet, so they can go to the toilet.

Take your child to your health worker, nurse or doctor to check your child’s health. They may:

It can take 2 to 3 months before the child becomes dry at night.

Alarms work best for kids who:

  • really want to be dry
  • are usually 6 or older
  • will wake up with the noise and then go to the toilet for a wee, and
  • will wake up when their parent hears the alarm and gets the child up to turn the alarm off themselves, and then go to the toilet for a wee.
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How you can help your child

It can be hard to borrow these alarms for free. Talk to your health worker, nurse or doctor to find out how to get one.

Get some help to use these alarms.

At night, get up and help your child every time it goes off.

Your child will need your help and understanding with this program.

Undies alarm

Bed wetting alarm
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It’s important to get help from a health worker, nurse or doctor if:

  • your child has been dry for a while and starts wetting the bed again
  • the wetting upsets your child and makes them angry or sad, or
  • they have stinging, smelly or painful wee.
  • If the alarm does not work the doctor may give your child medication.

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Talk to your health worker, nurse or doctor

Who can help?

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service
  • Health workers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • National Continence Helpline Freecall™ 1800 33 00 66
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This series of brochures has been developed by the Continence Foundation of Australia and funded under
the Australian Government’s National Continence Management Strategy.

Indigenous artwork created by Georgina Altona and Warwick Keen.
Other illustrations by JAT Illustrational and Fusebox Design.

© 2010

www.health.gov.au

All information in this publication is correct as at August 2012