Bedwetting in children: how do you deal with this?

It sometimes drives parents to despair and children are ashamed of it: bedwetting. Yet it is common. About 12% of the 4-year-old children still have to sleep in bed and of the 5 and 6-year olds, 1 in 7 does not always dry at night. But what is the cause of bedwetting? What does it do to your child? And how can you best deal with this as a parent?

What is the cause?

Your child has been housed for a while now. But suddenly your shoot will not dry it at night. And that turns out not to be a one-off: several times a week you are busy changing sheets and underwear in the middle of the night. That can be very frustrating, but you also worry. Because where does this sudden bedwetting come from?

Sometimes, as a parent, you tend to think that your child is in bed at night from laziness or even on purpose, for example to attract attention. Put this out of your head: this is rarely the case. Your child is probably ashamed of bed-wetting and does not like it as much as you do. Possible causes for nocturnal bedwetting may be:

  • Your child does not wake up to urinate because he or she is in deep sleep.
  • Your child keeps his or her pee too long during the day. Some children postpone their visit as long as possible because they are busy with other things, such as reading, playing outside or watching television.
  • Your child does not wake up to urinate because he or she is in deep sleep.
  • Tensions. For example, your child may be tense because it is bullied at school, a brother or sister is coming, his or her birthday is coming or because you and your partner are in divorce.
  • Your child does not wake up to urinate because he or she is in deep sleep.
  • Bedwetting is more common in some families. There may be heredity. Did you or your partner still stay in bed as a child until later? Then your child has a greater chance of doing so.

What now?

Bedwetting does not point in the direction of an abnormality in the bladder or kidneys. In some rare cases, bed wetting may be a symptom of an underlying disease, such as a starting diabetes mellitus. Go to the doctor if your child has to urinate abnormally often, suffers from constipation, has to urinate or has had little problems before.

Tips & Tricks

Of course you want your child to get rid of the nocturnal problem. In any case, do not get angry, do not give your child a punishment and let any frustrations as little as possible notice. This can also cause tension again, as a result of which your child starts to urinate more.


Instead, try to stimulate positive, desirable behavior. Do not put your child in bed overnight? That is quite an achievement, there may well be a reward against it. Make it clear that you are proud of the fact that your child has remained dry. Did your child not keep it dry?
Do not make a drama of it and do not punish it. Say it is not bad, but you regret that it did not work this night.

Older than 5 years?

Is your child older than 5 years? Do not do it any more at night. He or she will go to bed rather than see it as a matter of course, and of course you want to prevent that.
Put a part of the responsibility with your child. Wrapped in bed at night? Let him or her (if big enough) then take a clean pajama and wear it yourself. This way your child also learns that there are consequences to bedwetting.

Bedwetting alarm

When bedwetting persists, you might consider using a bedwetting alarm. There are puddles of many brands available, but basically they all do the same. It is a handy system that consists of a bottom that feels moisture and passes a signal to the alarm clock. The alarm of the bedwetting alarm then awakens your child as soon as he or she is in bed.

Do not wake up

The first few times it may be that your child does not wake up from the alarm. This will come naturally. Your child will eventually associate the sound of the alarm of the bedwetting alarm with a full bladder and the urge to urinate. He or she must also turn off the bedwetting alarm and get up to urinate. Many bedwetting alarms are supplied with a training schedule. Do not stop using the alarm clock before your baby stays dry for 14 days at night.


Do not let the bed sheet dilemma drive you to despair: at any given time almost every child becomes clean at night. Some children are simply late-bloomers. With them it takes a bit longer. Can you use some help or advice? Then present your problem to the health center or the school health care of the Youth Health Care. The youth doctor works together with the family doctor in the treatment of bedwetting.

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