Remember bedwetting is a medical condition

Bedwetting is a medical condition. It is not caused by anything you, or your child are doing wrong. It is not the result of laziness or naughtiness. If you are finding it difficult to deal with bedwetting speak to your healthcare professional and ask for advice and support to make it easier to cope.

What can I do to make the bedwetting less likely to happen?

  • Encourage your child to drink six to eight cups or glasses of water-based drinks a day, spread evenly throughout the day, from waking up until an hour before bed.
  • Avoid letting your child have fizzy drinks, except as an occasional treat.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine in them: tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cola and many energy drinks contain caffeine.
  • Avoid your child having anything to drink in the hour before bed.
  • Avoid your child having any food in the hour before bed, particularly food that is high in salt or protein.
  • Make sure your child goes to the toilet just before they go to sleep.
  • Try to stick to a good bedtime routine. Avoid computer games, television and other screens in the hour before bed.
  • Try to make sure your child’s bedroom is dark.
  • Try to make sure that your child can get to the toilet easily if they wake up during the night: you could try a potty or bucket in their room, leaving a light on in the bathroom, or giving them a torch to have by their bed.

How can I protect the bed?

There are lots of options available for mattress protectors. These are sold online and in shops that sell bedding. Some cover the whole mattress; others are smaller and are usually called bed pads. Bed pads sit on top of the sheet, and some have wings to tuck under the mattress to hold them in place. They are designed to absorb fluids and can be washed in the washing machine.

Disposable bed pads are also an option and can be thrown away when wet. 

Some people chose to use washable or disposable pants or nappies. These are all designed to contain the urine and help keep the bed dry.

How can we manage trips away from home?

Many families worry about sleeping away from home if their child wets the bed. However, there are things you can do to help:

  • Take a waterproof mattress cover with you to protect the bed.
  • Use washable or disposable bed mats.
  • Use disposable pull ups or a nappy while away from home.
  • Take extra bedding and pyjamas with you.
  • If you are using sleeping bags, you could take a waterproof sleeping bag liner.
  • Ask your healthcare professional about a trial of medication (Desmopressin) to help reduce the amount of urine produced at night.  Desmopressin needs to be prescribed and should be tried before the trip away, if possible.

For overnight trips with school or other groups, you could consider:

  • Discussing options for discretely managing the wetting with the leader of the group.  They may suggest that your child is woken earlier than the others, to give them a chance to remove any wet clothing and shower in private. They may also be able to make sure that there is a bin in the toilet for disposal of used products.
  • Putting a disposable nappy or pants inside your child’s sleeping bag, so that they can pull these on when in their sleeping bag. They can also take them off in the sleeping bag and leave them there, if only away for one night.
  • Putting a disposable nappy or pants into a large washbag. When it is time for bed your child can ask to go and do their teeth and put on the nappy or pants in the privacy of the toilet.
  • Make sure your child takes a water bottle with them.  If their night clothes are wet, they can pretend they have spilled the drink.

Where can I get more help?

Your healthcare professional should be able to provide some initial advice and support. They will also be able to refer you onto a specialist for treatment, if needed.

Bedwetting is a common medical condition in childhood and can be treated from the age of five years old. However, it can affect people of any age. There is more than one cause for bedwetting and these are outlined in other information on the Bladder and Bowel UK website. For adults information is here – For children it is here –


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