37 answers

5 Year Old Still Wetting the Bed at Night

My 5 year old boy is still wetting the bed at night. My older son was potty trained at 2 1/2 and never had any accidents even at night. My second son is such a heavy sleeper that he just doesn't wake up. The last liquid he drinks is at dinner whick is usually between 5 and 6 pm. I also make him go to the bathroom right before bed at 8:30 but he still has accidents almost every night. I really don't know what to. Do I just accept this and hope he will stop sooner or later ?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all of the responses. My mail box has been full of them. I'm going to just wait it out. It's not like he is going to be 30 and still wetting the bed :~ Thanks again everyone.

Featured Answers

Try training underpants the cloth kind. I tell my son they are his special night time underpants. They'll get a little wet and not feel so good and it can give him time to get up quickly and get to the toilet. If you can't find a large enough size try two or three pairs of underpants to absorb a little pee then they have time to get up before letting loose most of the time. This is really helping my 4 1/2 yr old a good 90% of the time. He appreciates it because he doesn't want to wet himself or his bed either. Good luck

My brother was the same way don't make a big deal about it. it took my brother all the way intil he was old enough to go for sleep overs and he did;nt want to have to wet the bed. some people sleep hard and can't wake up. so get him pullups for night so he does'nt feel bad about his self and try not to give him more the a half a cup at dinner. it will take time

My son wet the bed until he was 5 1/2 and still had accidents until he was 6. It's totally normal. My doctor said he doesn't even consider it a "problem" until the boys are older than 8. Just wait it out. The vast majority of boys grow out of it.

More Answers

Approximately 8%-13% of all 5 year olds still wet the bed, depending what stats you look at. A smaller percentage of children wet the bed into later childhood. I am a potty training consultant. Here is what I usually recommend to parents.

Night Time Potty Training

Here is the way to get your child closer to dry at night. If she goes to bed between 7-8 p.m., don't let her have any dairy products after 4 p.m. At 4 p.m. serve her some high quality yogurt or kefir. That is the last dairy product for the day. Feed her normally for dinner, minus dairy. Don;t restrict liquids. Do this for about a week before you begin with the night time training.

So....when you have the no dairy/yogurt at 4 p.m. routine in place, set up her bed for easy changes. This means making the bed twice, with a waterproof layer in between. So you put on a mattress pad, then a fitted sheet, then a water proof layer, then another fitted sheet. This ensures that you can do a quick change in the night if you need to, sort of like the set up on a bed for a home birth.

Simultaneously, do a diaper countdown with your child. Tell her you will not be buying any more diapers for night time. Show her the diapers you have left. When you run out, that is the night you start. Don't have any diapers in the house at all. That will really help you get through this.

Next, get lots of rest for a few nights. You will be waking up at night to do this with your child. So it helps that you begin well rested.

So....on the first night, make sure she is well rested. In other words, make sure she has her usual nap and bedtime that day. Give her the yogurt or kefir at 4 p.m. Feed her dinner and do your usual bedtime routine. Have her pee as the very last thing before you put her in bed. Behave as though she can do this. Have confidence in her and yourself.

Get a piece of binder paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Make a chart on it. Each line represents one night. Make 5 columns on the paper. The headings are: 10 p.m., midnight, 2 a.m. 4 a.m. 6 a.m.

When you go to bed, go check on your child. Feel to see if she is wet or dry. Note this on the sheet on your bathroom mirror. Write “wet” or “dry” in each of the five columns as you go through the night.

Set your alarm or cell to ring at midnight, 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Get up each time and check if she is wet or dry. Note it on the bathroom mirror. If she is wet, change her and the bed. Check again in two hours.

At some point, she is likely to be wet....but not necessarily. Sometimes just our attention to detail gets the children through this.

So.....keep doing this for 3-4 days. Soon you will have an idea of when she is peeing. When that happens, just set your alarm for 30 minutes before when she usually pees. Get up and take her to the potty. She will be half asleep. Don't worry about that. Over three weeks' time, she will become completely dry with your help. Some children do it in the first two nights.

Some parents eventually morph this into the last parent who goes to bed takes the child potty (somewhere between 10 p.m. and midnight) and it works.

You will see what works for you. Trust your intuition.

1 mom found this helpful

One of 2 thing He has a badder control prblem
or it could be sycolgical.

Hunny try not to worry. both of my old boy wet the be till they
12 13 years old. he will grow outt of it i promise. Even me as a child wet the bed till i was 12 or 13.

One of my boy slept so hevily he just wouldn't wack up everytime.
send love to your family and may god send your family safe and happy ness.

i hope that i have been helpful.
Give your son a hug and kiss and let him know everything will be fine its going to be ok.

love from a friend V.

My brother was the same way don't make a big deal about it. it took my brother all the way intil he was old enough to go for sleep overs and he did;nt want to have to wet the bed. some people sleep hard and can't wake up. so get him pullups for night so he does'nt feel bad about his self and try not to give him more the a half a cup at dinner. it will take time

I know how frustrating this is; I have a 5 year old (6 in March) stepson that still wets the bed. We also have a 3 year old and a 2 year old that occasionally wet the bed. So instead of us going crazy by changing wet sheets all of the time we put all of the boys in pull ups. We have tried everything as well; no drinks past a certain time, peeing before bed, rewards for not wetting the bed, etc. and nothing has helped. Sorry that I don't have any words of wisdom but I have heard from numerous people that boys are worse at bedwetting than girls and you have to be patient.

Hi N.,
take heart. All children are individual and meet their various milestones and development levels when they are ready.

You may wish to discuss the issue with your son's MD when next you see them (no need to make an appointment though if they accept email don't hesitate to open a conversation now). The MD can ask a few questions to rule out the likely hood of an underlying medical condition.

My very nearly 8 year old son still has nightime wetting issues. We have taken several approaches while always trying to be very supportive. It is not uncommon and usually not something the child can control.

I do recommend www.bedwettingstore.com which have some great tools to make life a little easier and if needed to help with the transition to dryness. They have several books on the subject as well. Waking Up Dry by Dr Howard Bennett is fairly friendly and straight forward book with sections for parents and sections for kids. It helps everyone understand what is going on and provides some concrete exercises to try as well as discussing various approaches.

From a personal perspective I would hesitate to start a young child on an alarm. We allowed our very enthusiastic to try this 6 year old (at the time) to choose and alarm and try it. He really did not like it so we stopped and are waiting to try again soonish now that he has matured somewhat.

There are pros and cons to any approach. I would recommend a low key/no stress approach without blame.

Often there is a familial component though it need not be one of the parents who had this problem. I discovered my mother had night time wetting issues until she was about 10. We are hoping that by providing support and understanding and helping him develope a plan when he is ready that our son will transition to dry nights within another year.

He has a camping trip with school approaching in May. This is such a common problem that the school deals with it every year and makes sure it does not become an embarresment for any kid. Most simply use night time pull ups under their pj's and have plastic bags available to wrap and dispose properly.

It may be necessary for you to speak with your older son and make sure no teasing and no disclosure to others is accepted.

I wish you well and hope you can relax and accept each of the differences your three children are bound to exhibit. :)

K. H.

I have 3 boys. They are 15, 7 and 6. I can honestly say the last two I have not pressured into night time potty training. They both wear goodnights at night, although the younger one rarely wets his diaper. My seven year old is autistic and takes meds that sedate him so I didn't push him too much. But my oldest......he was 12 before he stopped wetting the bed. We took him to doctors over and over again, tried meds, tried everything. Eventually we were just told to wait it out and that he wouldn't be in high school still wetting the bed. Well, he barely made it, but he did. He's not wet the bed in three years now. Whew. I can totally relate to the frustration as a parent but I just let them work it out them self now. I figure eventually they will either figure it out for themselves or it will physically click and start working where they CAN stop at night time and have control over it. The doctors told me some boys, especially boys, don't have control over it, or sleep too deeply and no matter if they don't have water past noon they'll still wet the bed at night. That's when I decided to stop pushing the issue.

Hi N.,
We had the same problem with our son until he was about 11 years old. We took him to doctor's, and got xrays of his bladder to make sure everything was O.K. The explanation from our pediatrician was that his bladder is just not large enough to hold the liquid that his body produces. He'll have to grow out of it. Trust me, I had a nephew with the same problem. We tried the bed wetter buzzer, no liquids after a certain time, waking him up in the middle of the night (that got old very fast, no sleep). Our son couldn't do sleepovers, it lowered his self-esteem. You just deal with it. They will eventually grow out of it, Praise God. And when they do, you'll see a change in them and you'll forget that it ever happened.

Good Luck,
J.D.

Try training underpants the cloth kind. I tell my son they are his special night time underpants. They'll get a little wet and not feel so good and it can give him time to get up quickly and get to the toilet. If you can't find a large enough size try two or three pairs of underpants to absorb a little pee then they have time to get up before letting loose most of the time. This is really helping my 4 1/2 yr old a good 90% of the time. He appreciates it because he doesn't want to wet himself or his bed either. Good luck

Hi N.,

I would highly recommend getting him checked for interstitial cystitis. This is also known as chronic irritation of the bladder. In children symptoms include bed wetting just has you have described with little fluids and using the restroom before bed. Good luck - and you can check out www.ichelp.org

K. :)

Hi there. My 6, almost 7, year old has just started staying dry at night. He too is a very heavy sleeper and wouldn't wake to the urge. I believe, and have been told, that it can be a combination of body development and genetics. My husband and his brother were both well into primary school before they stopped wetting the bed. We just used nighttime big kid diapers and didn't try to make a big deal about it.

My girlfriend has this problem with her daughter. They get her up one hour after she goes to sleep and take her for a "sleepy pee", since she pretty much sleeps so hard she sleeps through the potty break. They have also started putting a diaper on her again at bedtime. The daily laundering and bedmaking was just too much. Even with the potty break an hour after she goes to bed, she will invariably wet at some other time during the night, sleeping through in her pee.

My girlfriend went to the pediatrician, and her daughter has a "lazy bladder" which means she could be ten before her bladder matures along with her body. Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure. This is when they decided the diaper was okay.

N.-

Having a 5 year old myself I can relate to your problem. We did everything you have done and had the same results. The only other suggestion would be, unfortunately, is to wake him up in the middle of the night and have him use the potty. I know it is an interruption in sleep but if you do this for a few weeks his body will get used to waking up and he hopefully will go to the bathroom on his own.

Good luck!

B.

Don't pressure him. Let him wear a pull-up. You're doing everything right. I wouldn't draw attention to it. It will resolve with time.

I have a 5 1/2 year old who wets every night, so I've looked into this quite a lot. Here's what I have found. It is perfectly normal for kids to wet the bed until 8. Only after that is it considered a problem. The best advice is to wait it out for now. Children stop nighttime wetting at different ages, and this is primarily biological (i.e., inherited from you and his Dad). Most people produce a hormone that slows or stops urine production at nighttime, which is why very young children and even some babies stay dry at night. If your elder son does not produce this hormone (or enough of it to stay dry)-- many don't -- he will continue to produce urine during the night and wet his bed. There are lots of products that you can buy to help you get through this period. I've tried alarms (two top rated ones), but find they were not effective for very sound sleepers like my son. I use the mattress covers that cover the middle of the bed and tuck in on the sides. I also use nighttime washable underpants for bedwetters (you can buy both of these at Leaps and Bounds-- not a perfect solution, but the combination works for us). One final word, my husband and I were both late bedwetters and some of our worst childhood memories are over the spankings and humiliation that our mothers put us through to try to get us to stop wetting the bed at night. Please remember this is out of your son's control, and take it easy on him.

The only thing I can add is to not make too big a deal out of it for your son. Anxiety about the issue will not help him. He will outgrow it and he is still really young.

Accepting it and being prepared will make it a non issue for all. Use the overnight pullups for him and buy some crib mattress liners that are flat, not that wrap around the mattress. We use these for our 3 year old. We place them on top of the bottom sheet, cross wise, so they are under his midsection only. If the pull up leaks, we can just whip that off, lay another down and no need to strip the bed. Easy, quick and embarrassment free. Keep lots of clean jammies on hand too. Also, if our son wakes in the night with a bad dream we take him to the bathroom to pee. We don't wake him, but if he wakes we take advantage of the situation!

My husband, a heavy sleeper, was a bed wetter until about age 12 and he was traumatized by it. I think his parents made too big a deal of it. He was so ashamed. He would wash his sheets at night so his parents wouldn't know. So try keep a light attitude about it.

It will probably take a few more years but he'll outgrow it. My now 18 yr old wet the bed until he was about 11. He was potty trained at 2, except for night time. It's not something they can control. Don't be surprise if he doesn't want to go to sleepovers. At the time it was frustrating but looking back it's not that big of a deal. Be patient.

I am also a mother of a 5 year old boy who wets too. We have a good routine. He goes potty before bed, then I get him up before I go to bed and 99% of the time he makes it til morning. We have a mattress protector on the mattress and then a cotton pad about 2 feet by 2 feet ( You can find them at medical supply stores.. its actually from the hospital but made of cotton, not gauze. ) Just remember he isn't doing it on purpose and don't show your frustration towards him. He won't go to college still wetting the bed.

my 5 year old son is doing the same thing. I have tried even waking him up at 12am when I go to bed and still between 12 and 6 when he gets up he wets the bed. I hope it will stop also but I don't know? I am help less at this point as well

Oh N., I know what you are going through all too well. Two of my kids (son & daughter) wet the bed until they were about 7 or 8. My third son never did wet his bed. First I took them to the Dr. to make sure there was not a physical/medical problem...there was not. Being a young Mom at the time I tried everything, including treatment that I should have not done. Nothing worked. They grew out of it and so will your little guy. Just hang in there and try not to loose patience with him. Believe me, he doesn't want to be wetting his bed either. P.

Hi N.,

You know, my brother had the same issue when he was that age. He eventually grew out of it. It did take some time and a lot of patience and understanding on my parent's part. You might try getting him night guard undergarments that are made for older kids who have this issue. You can get them any place that sells diapers. I think if you research it a little, you will find it is more common then you think. I have read that for some children, the cause is from there bladder not growing as fast as they do. As they grow bigger, they need to take in more fluids for their bodies, but there bladder has not grown to compensate for fluid they are taking in. I would not reduce the amount of healthy fluids you are giving him. His body still needs it. Hang in there, and let him know that you are supporting him, and that it is not his fault. He should grow out of it. If you are still concerned, you can always take him to your pediatrician.

I have a 5 year old boy who does the same thing. Not that this is a cure, but I have been setting my alarm at midnight and 3 am to wake him up to go to the bathroom. It is a fight but it seems to be working, (so far). We've been doing this for 4 months and the last week he has woken up on his own and gone to the bathroom during the middle of the night and NO ACCIDENTS!!!!

Hi N.. My son went through the whole bed wetting thing too. Like you despite all my best efforts, it continued. In our case, I just came to the point continue what I was doing, with alot less of cajoling. I'd just put the offer out there like, you wanna go potty before you go to bed so you won't wet it? If he said no, I let it go at that. No, come one please,,,just try. lol I'm sure you know! Also, I stopped thinking of HIM wetting EVERY night and started thinking how I was going to protect the mattress. The solution I came up with, worked. Better yet, within just a couple of weeks or so, my son also quit wetting the bed. On top of the mattress, I placed a small blue plastic tarp, folded in half, then atop that, a thin {cheap} flannel blanket, then made the bed as usual. The first night he hated it and I guess he hated it enough to understand that if he didn't wet the bed, we would get rid of the plastic.

Hi N. J,

Some boys do not develop the muscle control it takes to respond to the bladder sending signals to the brain while asleep. I had a son who wet the bed until almost 10 and my little brother wet until 12 on rare occasions. There are medications, I would speak to your pediatrician about these. I have tried them and they work. Or, you can just put pull-ups on them with a plastic mattress cover until he is able to control his urges. It is not his fault, it truely is accident. Good luck ~ Jo

My Seven year old is still wetting the bed as well. He gets very upset and embarassed. I do not show him the frustration I feel. I clean him and the bed, get him changed and back to bed as though it is just another thing to do. Every night I give him the choice of wearing a pull up or not. We talk, matter of factly, about remembering to think about whether or not he has to go and to get up and go. He is now dry more nights than wet. He proudly announces when he had a dry night. When the bed is wet in the morning we both take it apart and put it in the wash. We do use the water proof matress pads to protect the matress. Please, never show your frustration with his bed wetting, that will only make it worse. The boys in my family have all taken what seems like an extra long time to be dry at night. Just love him and talk to him if he wants to about things he thinks would help. He will grow out of it, all kids are different. My 4 year old is about at the same stage my 7 year old is. :)

my son is 5, and he does it too. we use the special nighttime pull-ups and the mattress stays dry. we talked to the doctor at his 5-year checkup, and the doctor wasn't concerned. he said it's pretty normal, and that they don't really look into trying to treat it until the child is at least 6, unless they are extremely motivated. we don't even really talk about it at home. i know he doesn't do it on purpose, and that he really does just sleep heavily, so i don't see a need to try to get him to change it. he'll grow out of it eventually :).

Many kids still wet at night after being potty trained for daytime, well beyond 5 yrs. of age. I suggest you read, "Getting to Dry" by Max Maizels, MD & Judith Rosenbaum. It's VERY readable and full of basic education about the reasons kids wet at night (both biological and dietary and sleep-related). The biggest thing is: SUPPORT your kid, let him know it's okay, LOTS of kids have this issue. Do everything you can to not make him feel ashamed about it. Don't deprive him of all liquid after dinner, it's not the reason kids wet at night (of course, try to not to let him load lots of it just before bed, either).

I do think you should just accept it. My son who is 9 just stopped this in the last year. He is similar to your son in that he is just a really heavy sleeper -- he's out like a light 5 minutes after he goes to bed and doesn't wake up till 7 the next morning. We did the things you describe -- limiting liquids after a certain time, having him go before bed -- we even would go in at 10 or 11 and have him go when he was only half awake, but he would still wet his pull-up before he got up in the morning. We never made a big deal about it to him, though, or made him feel bad about it. Eventually, this past spring, he decided it was important to him to stop, and he was able to do so, and that was it. I really think their bodies have to mature more and they can't help it, and it's frustrating but there's not a lot you can do about it.

I have three kids, all older now, and they weren't dry at night until ages 8, 5, and 9. The first two were my girls and they finally started being dry at night on their own. With my son (who was 9 when he stopped wetting at night), we used a bedwetting alarm, and I HIGHLY recommend it. You can find out more about them at www.bedwettingstore.com (though I bought a used one for a lot less money on eBay - we got a Malem). After 3 days with the alarm my son was dry forever! And there are a lot of people who report the same success. One tip - they say to have the child wear underwear with the alarm. We had him wear underwear inside a pull-up. That way, he felt the wetness, but his bed didn't get wet. Good luck!

If you haven't done so already you may want to have him checked out by your pediatrician. I had a cousin who was still a chronic bed wetter by the age of 10 my aunt finally brought it up to his doctor they ran some tests and found out he had a bladder problem. It wasn't an issue during waking hours cause he was awake to go to the bathroom but at night he had no control and would wet the bed.

If it's not a medical problem then he just may not be ready to be fully potty trained. I know it's hard especially now that he's 5 and it's expected but you may just have to follow his lead and when he's ready it'll happen.

Lastly, have you talked to him about it? Just a nice normal conversation (not after he's wet the bed) with no judgement. You may be surprised by his take on the issue. My nephew would wet the bed constantly and everybody just assumed that he had some kind of medical problem. But without any medical backup I had my doubts so I sat him down and talked to him about it. It turned out that he was aware when he was wetting the bed but was so tired that he would never fully wake up enough to go to the bathroom.

Hope I was able to give you something to think about.

He will stop sooner or later. It's normal for boys to wet the bed, even until they are 9 or 10 sometimes, so I wouldn't worry that anything is wrong. I have a friend whose son was having accidents every night (til he was about 8 1/2) and she would carry him to the bathroom every night before she went to bed. Especially if your son is a heavy sleeper, he'll probably go back to sleep easily? There are also pull-ups made for older kids that are meant to be discreet, for sleep-overs and such. I don't know anything about them really, but you might check them out.

My son wet the bed until he was 5 1/2 and still had accidents until he was 6. It's totally normal. My doctor said he doesn't even consider it a "problem" until the boys are older than 8. Just wait it out. The vast majority of boys grow out of it.

Homeopathy is a great option!!!
my homeopath: ###-###-#### Sid Mojabi
He is very good!!! Love, G.. :0)

You know, it's more a matter of physiology than anything else. When his muscles mature enough he will stop. I know it's hard though. I have one child that wet the bed until he was almost 10. One that potty trained really early and no accidents. Others that were in between. The biggest thing is not to worry about it or make him feel bad. You don't want to deal with any psychological problems too.

Good luck, and keep using the nighttime pull ups!

T.

Don't worry yet!! My son was also very late in developing this ability to wake up and go if he needed to. Just buy those overnight type diapers-tell him it's just in case, and keep going.
Right before my son's 7th bday I talked to the dr about it. He gave me a hormone (I think) that wasn't being released enough from my son's own body, to cause him to wake up and go if needed. He was only on this for one month and that fixed it.
My son has had many late developmental issues. He is almost 14 and is up to 2 years behind in some ways. Hey-someone has to make up the other end of the curve!! But he is a gread kid.
Best,
L. V

Hello N.,

Continue to be patient with you child. My nephew is 9 years old and he still wets the bed. Whenever he's at my home, I'll wake him up early in the morning around 5:00 - 6:00a.m. and have him use the bathroom, then return to sleep. This has helped him not wet the bed. I believe most children wet the bed in the early morning hours, not late at night. Periodically, check on your child throughout the night for a couple of weeks to see if the bed is wet. This will help you narrow down the time the incident is occuring. Your son will soon grow out of bed wetting. Continue to love him and encourage him. When he doesn't wet the bed, make a big deal out of it, congratulate him and tell him to keep up the good work. Be sure not to make him feel like bed wetting is a bad thing. Many kids have gone through what he's going through and he'll grow out of it because he has a loving and caring Mom.

Sometimes it is muscle control. You can try putting 2-3 Cheerios in the toilet and have him aim/shoot for one and try stopping, over and over. It is a fun game for them and helps develop muscle control.

You are going to get alot of advice about this or that product that may (or may not) help your little guy but I would like to just reassure you that bed wetting is a very normal part of many childhoods and as your son's body changes eventually the bed wetting will stop. My first child, a girl, never wet the bed. My second child, also a girl wet the bed till she was 6 or 7. Third and forth children, both boys, wet the bed until they were 10 or 11. I checked into it and discovered that their uncles also did this. The most important thing is to treat this lovingly. It's not your son's fault that his body hasn't matured enough to control this at night and it will go a long way to helping his self esteem if you just patiently treat it as a fact of life each morning. This is such a common thing that they make "Pullups" for bigger kids. We got these for our boys so that when they had sleepovers they could slip into the bathroom and put these on so as to avoid an embarrassing suprise in their sleeping bag should there be an accident. Rest assured, your son's body will mature and the accidents will stop.

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