Bedtime and Daytime Wetting

Daytime and bedtime wetting (enuresis) is best described as delays or difficulties in bladder control resulting in wetting accidents at day or night beyond the age at which you would expect your child to be dry. A child wetting themselves during the day is very common: one in seven children aged four and one in 20 children aged nine are affected. Daytime wetting is anything from damp patches in your child’s underwear to a full-blown wee accident.

It is important to know that you and your family are not alone in dealing with this issue, and that we are here to offer help and support.

The Healthy Family Service can support you in relation to toilet training your child or in assessing and managing daytime and bedtime wetting. This may involve referral on to a specialist service.

Guidance and helpful information

Here are some things to think about that might help with keeping your child dry during the day/at night:

Daytime wetting

  1. The most important thing to tackle wetting accidents is to get your child to have plenty to drink. Children should try to drink six to eight glasses of water-based drinks per day (one glass is approximately 250ml) – this is important even though you are worried about them not being dry
  2. Avoid fizzy drinks, blackcurrant, orange and drinks containing artificial colourings, flavours or sweeteners as these can cause problems for the bladder
  3. Could your child be constipated? It’s always best to exclude this first. See our information on constipation
  4. Does he/she get so engrossed in their activities that they are then too late to go? You could try prompting your child at regular intervals to go to the toilet (ideally every 90 minutes).  This can also exercise the bladder to fill and empty properly
  5. Is he/she rushing in and out of the toilet? Your child may need incentives to stay in the bathroom a bit longer, such as a book or a game
  6. Is he/she comfortable sitting on the toilet? Your child may need a child’s toilet seat and a stool or step

Bed wetting (nocturnal enuresis)

  1. Is your child drinking enough during the day? Children should try to drink six to eight glasses of water-based drinks per day (one glass is approximately 250ml) – this is important even though you are worried about them not being dry
  2. Could your child be constipated? It’s always best to exclude this first. See our information on constipation
  3. Avoid blackcurrant, caffeinated and fizzy drinks as these can irritate the bladder
  4. Try and make sure your child’s last drink is about an hour/an hour and half before bed
  5. Make sure they go to the toilet before bedtime – but we don’t recommend you wake them in the night and get them up to go
  6. Try to avoid going in and out of pull-ups as this can become confusing for your child. Decide what is best for you all for the moment, but help your child to understand why he/she is wetting the bed and the tips he/she can follow to get dry
  7. Waking in a wet bed can raise awareness of wetting and prompt some children to be dry. However, for others it may make no difference and make them feel even worse

Please also take a look at the website links to the right for advice and helpful suggestions about how to manage wetting

How we can help

Your Healthy Family Team can support children and young people in the assessment and management of daytime and night time wetting.

We may also work with nurseries and schools to support your child’s access to drinks and the toilet during their time there.

What happens next?

If your child has a problem with wetting, you should initially speak to your school nurse or health visitor to assess if they can assist your child with their symptoms. This will involve an assessment appointment and support with good toileting routines and fluid intake.