Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

What you need to know about bedwetting solutions for kids

Bedwetting is a common issue among toddlers and young children. Generally speaking, it’s not a cause for alarm. There are two types of bedwetting: Primary and secondary. Primary bedwetting is an ongoing issue. Secondary bedwetting happens seemingly out of nowhere — or after a period of significant overnight dryness. Either way, there could be a number of simple explanations: Maybe your child’s bladder is small, they could be drinking too much before bed, or perhaps they habitually hold it in throughout the day.

Sometimes, though, bedwetting can be caused by an infection, anatomical issues, or sleep disturbances. Occasionally, emotional problems may lead to bedwetting, too. The first thing you’ll want to do before trying out any DIY solution is to talk to your pediatrician; they’ll work with you to rule out any underlying conditions (i.e., diabetes). Together, if you determine that there is a simple, nonmedical explanation, there are a few products, tips, and tactics you can try.

boy sleeping in bedroom
Rido/ Shutterstock

Bedwetting solutions

Ready to help your kiddo stay dry and cozy throughout the night? Don’t expect a miracle; it will, most likely, take time and a combination of efforts. No pressure, no anxiety — bedwetters already have enough of that! It is most important to take it slow and maintain patience and loving empathy. Here are some initial steps you can take:

Go to the bathroom before bed — without fail

Does your kid fall asleep on the couch? Do they drag themselves up to bed — already half snoozing? You’re going to want to reintroduce a pre-bedtime routine.

  • Step 1: Brush teeth.
  • Step 2: Wash face.
  • Step 3: Go potty!

Be consistent and insistent about this last step — even if they say they don’t have to go, they should always at least try. Chances are, they could have a little lingering tinkle (or a big one) waiting to be released. This simple request could be the difference between a dry morning and a soggy set of jammies.

Restrict liquid intake

You certainly don’t want to punish your child and deprive them of water and other liquids, but you should try to curb the chugging habit after a certain time. If it’s within one or two hours of your kiddo’s bedtime, encourage small sips only. Better yet, it’s even more effective to ensure that your child gets plenty of fluids throughout the day; they’ll be less likely to “need” all the drinks at bedtime if they are well-hydrated.

Bladder training

The first step of bladder training is to set up a consistent bathroom schedule. Basically, your child should try every two or three hours on the dot regardless of whether they have to go or not. This shouldn’t be rushed; kids need to take their time and relax to help spur the brain-bladder connection. Some experts believe you should also wake your child up at least once or twice at night to try, too. (This is debatable, though, and others discourage this practice.)

Urinary bed alarm

If you have tried other products and bedwetting solutions with limited success, you might want to give a sensor alarm a go. In short, a pad can detect when your child just begins to urinate and sounds an immediate alarm. This will wake your child up and cue them to run to the bathroom. It sounds jarring, but, anecdotally, many parents have found almost immediate long-term success with this type of product.

This option by TheraPee is on the more expensive side — and with good reason. It gets the highest ratings from reviewers across the board who tout its effectiveness in reducing accidents and helping children overcome bedwetting for good.

Try waterproof sheets and a mattress case

If your child continues to wet the bed, you may want to invest in waterproof sheets and even a waterproof mattress cover. This will help make that middle-of-the-night wet-bed struggle a little easier on you and your exhausted child.

Get training pants

It’s simple: Your kid might not yet be capable of holding much liquid in their bladder throughout the long night at this stage of childhood. It’s common for little ones to have little bladders. In this case, extended training pants can be a simple, short-term solution.

Goodnites come in multiple sizes and offer five layers of absorbent protection, reinforced leg barriers to stop leaks in their tracks, and odor absorption so that your snoozing sweetie can stay asleep and remain comfortable after an accident occurs — or if they wake up, they can be empowered to change quickly and independently.

A little girl sleeping
fizkes/Shutterstock

Should you reward a child?

Putting bedwetting to bed isn’t always an overnight affair. Typically, it takes time and patience. Your kiddo may have success one night, then experience an accident the next. Neither you nor your child should feel like a failure if solutions don’t immediately yield results. This is a marathon, not a race — so celebrate the milestones along the way. You may consider a rewards chart; every dry night/morning could result in a prize. Perhaps going to the bathroom before bed (even if they really don’t want to!) gains them points, too.

Find a system that works for you and motivates your child. Just be sensitive; you don’t want them to feel punished for setbacks.

Bedwetting is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a natural and common occurrence among young children. Of course, in the moment, it can feel disheartening for little ones. They don’t want to wake up soaked and uncomfortable. They may not be confident enough to sleep over at a friend’s house for fear that they may wet the bed. What’s more, it can be trying on a parent; you have to get up in the middle of the night, strip the bed, clean your kid, and help get them back down again.

Despite the difficulties that come with this stage, you should both understand that this phase will pass. Don’t be afraid to broach this conversation with your child; they need to know that it’s okay. In the meantime, you can try a few nifty solutions and, when in doubt, consult with your child’s pediatrician. If bedwetting happens beyond 7 years of age (or starts around that time), you also will want to get professional help.

Editors' Recommendations

Lauren Barth
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lauren Barth is a freelance writer and digital editor with over a decade of experience creating lifestyle, parenting, travel…
Can pregnant women eat shrimp? What you need to know
How to safely eat shrimp during pregnancy
Pregnant woman on a bed

There are a lot of rules about what pregnant women should and shouldn't eat, so it's not surprising that many wonder if pregnant women can eat shrimp. After all, there are concerns about many different foods and varieties of seafood that aren't safe for pregnant women to consume, but is shrimp included in that list?

Can pregnant women eat shrimp?
You've probably heard warnings against pregnant women eating certain seafood while pregnant, including seafood high in mercury content like fresh tuna, swordfish, and shark. Fortunately, seafood like shrimp contains only low levels of mercury, making it safe for pregnant women to eat. Although shrimp is considered safe for pregnant women to eat, the FDA suggests that they limit how much seafood they eat weekly. A general guideline is no more than 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week.

Read more
What is 4-month sleep regression (and how to keep it from ruining your life)
Here's what you need to know if you're dealing with 4-month sleep regression
A mother watching her baby sleep in their crib.

A good night's sleep is hard to get when you have a baby. So, when your little one starts sleeping for longer stretches, and dare we say through the night, it is a cause for concern. Not many parents may have heard of 4-month sleep regression, even though they may be experiencing it. Four-month sleep regression is perfectly normal and happens to some little ones around the 3- to 4-month mark. Of course, when baby isn't sleeping, neither is anyone else in the house. Here's everything you need to know about 4-month sleep regression, including when your baby will start going down for the night once again.

A guide to 4-month sleep regression
By the time babies are 2 to 3 months old, they typically sleep for 5 or 6 hours stretches. By 4 months, babies can sleep through the night without being fed. Whether a baby does depends on the child. Most babies will sleep for that heavenly stretch of 7 to 8 hours by the 4-month mark. If your kiddo has been snoozing for a solid 8 hours at night and has suddenly stopped, you could be dealing with 4-month sleep regression.
What is 4-month sleep regression?
When babies around the age of 3 to 4 months start having trouble sleeping through the night again, it could be a sleep regression period. Regression means to revert or go back to a previous pattern. This is what happens with sleep regression. Babies begin to have trouble falling or staying asleep at night and during their usual naptimes, regressing to those short intervals of slumber you thought had gone by the wayside.
When can 4-month sleep regression occur?
Despite the name, 4-month sleep regression can happen at any time. This change in sleep pattern typically happens to babies at around the 3- to 4-month mark.
How long does 4-month sleep regression last?
It may seem like ages, but 4-month sleep regression doesn't usually hang around for long. Provided parents make an effort to keep baby's sleep routine consistent, 4-month sleep regression lingers for around two weeks.
What causes 4-month sleep regression?
Since most parents want to avoid any interruption in the much-needed good night's sleep in the household, it's important to understand why this sleep regression happens in the first place to babies happily sleeping through the night. As infants, babies don't have a sleep and a wake cycle. They pretty much sleep when they want and wake when they're hungry or need a diaper change. When babies reach the 4-month mark, they begin to understand the sleep/wake cycle. They snooze longer at night and take fewer naps during the daytime. It's this important developmental adjustment that can actually interrupt their newfound sleep pattern.

Read more
Baby play mat ins and outs: What age you should get one and the benefits for baby’s development
Play mats are fun for babies of all ages
Smiling baby on colorful play mat

There seems to be an endless array of baby gear available for little ones as they grow and develop, and it can be hard to determine which products are worth the investment. Play mats are a must-have item for many babies because they can provide endless fun and stimulation for your little one, not to mention allowing them to play on their own.

A play mat gives your child a comfortable spot where they can play on their back or their tummy and practice rolling over while also giving parents a nice break from holding or entertaining their baby. It's also a nice place where baby's classic toys are within easy reach for your mini human. 

Read more