Toilet training is a complex process that varies from child to child and should not be confused with bed wetting.
Night Time Toilet Training...
The recommended age to start toilet training is 2 years of age. It can begin earlier or a little later. Ideally, night and daytime toilet training should start at the same time.
Once you have begun, consistency is the key. Removing the disposable nappy or pull-up is an excellent way to encourage toilet training as it allows the child to realise when they are weeing.
Going to the toilet before bed is a good nightly habit. It is not recommended you wake your child during the night to toilet, when the child is not fully/naturally awake they are in effect still weeing in their sleep. It is crucial for children to learn to hold larger amounts of urine in their bladder.
Use lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Don't be put off by little accidents. A negative response can prolong the process. Try using a star chart or other reward system to record and reward dry nights.
Keep up water intake and avoid fizzy or caffeinated drinks. If the process is taking longer than expected, resist putting your child back into nappies or pull-ups. Instead, protect their bedding with a waterproof bed pad. A child who wakes up during or after wetting the bed is developing the bladder to brain co-ordination needed for total bladder control. Simply remove the wet pad and put them back into bed. If you have two pads, replace the soiled with a clean one. If your child does not wake up, the pad will absorb the urine and they can sleep comfortably until morning.
If your child is still wetting the bed by around 4 years of age, you are dealing with a different issue. Bed wetting is a common problem in Australia, affecting an estimated 300,000 children over the age of 5.
There are a number of possible causes. Some children haven't yet learnt to respond to cues from the bladder in their sleep. Other children haven't developed the hormone that slows urine production at night. Slight bladder instability can also cause leakage and constipation can sometimes be a factor.
Bed wetting is generally a family disorder. Almost half the children with this problem have a close relative who wet the bed. If there is a history on both sides of the family, children have a 70 per cent chance of becoming bed wetters.
Some events may trigger a re-occurrence of bed wetting after the child has been dry for some time, such as the arrival of a new baby, a trauma or even simple changes to normal routines.
While it may be frustrating, remember: children do not wet the bed deliberately.
Some children may continue to have problems into their teens. Older children find wearing nappies or pull-ups distressing and embarrassing. Using a bed pad is an excellent way to manage bed wetting. A bed pad protects expensive mattresses and enables your child to have sleepovers and attend camps with less anxiety. You may also consider waterproof protectors for extra security. (Please check our on line shop for our full range of continence assistance products.)
Always give plenty of positive re-enforcement when dealing with bed wetting. Never reprimand your child. This is not a controllable condition.
If bed wetting continues beyond the age of 6 or 7, we recommend you consult your family GP or a continence nurse located at most public hospitals or community health centres. Your health professional will ensure there is no medical reason for the bed wetting. For further information phone:
Continence Foundation National Helpline 1800 330 066
Prevalence of Bed wetting...
- 15-20% of 5 year olds (1 in 6)
- 7% of 7 year olds (1 in 14)
- 5% of 10 year olds (1 in 20)
- 2-3% of 12-14 year olds (1 in 30)
- 1-2% of 15 year o