20 answers

Help My 6 Year Old Is Wetting the Bed Every Night!

My 6 year old son has been potty trained for years now, night and day. He has over the last couple of months has started wetting the bed, almost every night. I don't allow and drinks after dinner time and make him go to the bathroom right before bed. Still he is wetting the bed. I don't want to punish him, he doesnt ever remember doing it, but I do want it to stop.

I am looking for any creative ideas that have worked for you other moms.

Please help!
Sam

1 mom found this helpful

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When my son was about 7 or 8 we had a similar problem. My older son was a heavy sleeper and it was determined that he did not feel his full bladder well enough to wake up at night. So we did the opposite as you - we had him drink a glass of water or milk just before bed. Then when he needed to pee, his bladder was full enough that he felt it and woke up. There were a few accidents at first, but it really did work.

Hi,
Mine is 2 1/2 & just newly potty trained. He goes the night most of the time. But what I do is put him to bed around 8:30pm & before I go to bed at around 11pm I wake him to see if he has to go. I have a friend that can't do this cause her daughter freeks when you wake her mid sleep , but I am lucky he will wake up and either say he has to go or "i'm ok mama" good luck. M.

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Hi S.,
At the age of 4 1/2 my son suddenly started wetting the bed. It was almost every night, and I know it can wear on you after a while, but he most likely has no control over this so please do not make him feel bad about it.
I tried no drinks in the evening, going to the bathroom before bed, and waking him up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Nothing worked long term. It was getting to the point where it was too much trouble having to give him a bath every morning before he went to school.
I ended up putting him in pull ups at night which we call "special undies" so he didn't feel like a baby wearing diapers. If he wakes up in the morning dry for a couple of days then I will 'forget' (on purpose) to have him wear them the next night. If he stays dry that night I 'forget' again the next night to have him wear them. Sometimes he can go weeks without wetting the bed, and sometimes he can't. As soon as he wets once, it's back into the pull ups until he starts waking up dry again - but he knows it isn't a punishment, and I NEVER get mad when he wets the bed.
At this point it is something that we just don't talk about, because it doesn't do anything but make him feel bad. The less we made it an issue, the less of an issue it became. My son is now 6 years old. At this point he has been dry for a few months now, but I won't be surprised if it starts up again. This to shall pass. Hang in there!

When my son was about 7 or 8 we had a similar problem. My older son was a heavy sleeper and it was determined that he did not feel his full bladder well enough to wake up at night. So we did the opposite as you - we had him drink a glass of water or milk just before bed. Then when he needed to pee, his bladder was full enough that he felt it and woke up. There were a few accidents at first, but it really did work.

I just stumbled onto this thread through pure desperation! My little girl (4 years old) got a UTI a few months back and ever since she has not stopped peeing in her bed at night. I feel HORRIBLE after reading this thread because I am guilty of with holding special treats, tv time, and dinner drinks for the fear she will be all over herself in her sleep. She has gotten to the point where she doesn't want to tell me the truth and she will even wake up earlier than me, sneak clean underwear and put them on being sure to hide her pee pee underwear. I feel so disappointed in myself for getting atitated with her after reading this and I am going to try setting this right! I already scheduled another appt with her doctor because her urine smells kinda gross and I think maybe i will take her out to do something special tonight!! Thanks so much!!!!

This seems to be a recurring problem. I have a 7 yo boy and sometimes he still goes through phases like this. Usually it is caused by some change or disruption in his life/schedule or if he is not feeling well.

We usually do the following:
1) Threaten pull-ups! I keep some in the bathroom cabinet which probably don't even fit him anymore, but he HATES the idea of having to use them. Last time, it took 1 night in pull-ups and no more wetting. I explain to him, it's not 'cuz he's a baby (in his eyes only babies wear pull-ups) or doing anything wrong, but he can't be wetting the bed every night for his own sake (rashes, etc) so until the bed-wetting stops, this is the deal.
2) When he wets the bed, we have him take off the sheets and put them in the laundry. Not necessarily as a walk of shame (cuz it's really not his fault he's wetting, poor kid), but to make sure we're all aware there's a problem that needs to be addressed -- and to make sure he has clean sheets before he goes to bed again!
3) You could try doing the wake-up method, but it's hit or miss depending on your timing. Bathroom before his bedtime. Wake him before you go to bed to go again. If you wake up early or your husband is a night-owl, wake him up to go again. It's tiring.

Most likely this phase will pass on its own.

Hi,
Mine is 2 1/2 & just newly potty trained. He goes the night most of the time. But what I do is put him to bed around 8:30pm & before I go to bed at around 11pm I wake him to see if he has to go. I have a friend that can't do this cause her daughter freeks when you wake her mid sleep , but I am lucky he will wake up and either say he has to go or "i'm ok mama" good luck. M.

Hi Sam,
First, I would make an appointment with your pediatrician and consult with him/her about the situation. There could be an underlying problem, like a bladder or kidney infection, given this is so unlike him. Don't be alarmed, as this is extremely unlikely, but out-of-the-ordinary bedwetting led my friend to discover that her son was having seizures while he was sleeping at night.
My 5 1/2-year-old son has the same problem, as my husband did until he was 11, so his condition appears to be inherited.
I don't withhold drinks in the evening because I don't want to interfere with his natural inclinations to take in enough fluids. I also do not want to bring it to his attention and make him feel naughty in any way.
We take a pre-preemptive approach, as totally unpleasant as it is, and take him to the bathroom two times in the night, at midnight and 3a.m. - he's usually really cooperative about it, poor little guy, but to quiet him if he cries a little I whisper this old-fashioned saying into his ear: Who took me from my warm, warm spot and put me on this cold, cold pot?
If I don't get him up twice during the night he'll wet the bed. Sometimes when I'm super exhausted I forget to set the 2nd alarm or I don't catch him in time; dealing with the wet jammies and wet bedding in the wee hours (no pun intended!) is a real drag!! And the laundry piles up...by the way, I don't know if you've stumbled upon a solution for getting the urine smell out of fabric, but I swear by soaking in rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and washing in very hot water with an extra rinse.
I so empathize with you - it can get really discouraging and it seems unfair to have sleep interrupted as though you have an infant - hang in there! The end result will be a well-adjusted boy with no traumatic memories.
Take care,
D.

I respectfully and strongly disagree with authors of posts below, Angela and Rachel K.
Using pull-ups as a"threat"; requiring children to change their own sheets; withholding allowance money and making them feel burdened by the cost of laundry detergent??? These are all tactics that will cause the child to feel shame and could lead to serious emotional harm. If you TRULY suspect bedwetting is intentional, especially if the child has experienced a traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one or a divorce, seek the help of a counselor who specializes in the treatment of young people. CHILDREN DO NOT WET THEIR BEDS OUT OF LAZINESS OR SPITE.

Has something happened or a change in schedule? My 7.5 year old did this for along time turned out to be his asthma med causing it so they changed it and he stopped. Then last summer he started again after his great grandpa passed away and it stopped on its own. Then this summer is started after his dad left his gf and it stopped about a week later and then its started again now that his dad got back w/ her again.
When it was the result of my grandpa passing I really didn't push it. This last time around I made him strip and wash his bed, put the dirty blankets in the wash and stopped giving him a weekly allowance bc I explained to him that when he wets the bed it costs money laundry detergent, water, electricity, so to make up for it he couldn't get his allowance that week by that following weekend he stopped wetting and when he started again this fall after his dad got back w/ his gf I told him again no allowance and he remembered why I didn't have to explain it this time.

Edited: Its one thing when they do it because they can't help it but when they are just plain to lazy to get out of a warm cozy bed. Our son is fully capable of not wetting he does it out of spite whenever there is a change he doesn't like. You need to figure out the reason for his wetting. Did you move, did he start kindergarten or new school this year, is he nervous about something, afraid to get up by himself during the night,etc and then develop a plan of action. For us when we discovered that it was out of spite to show he anger about the change w/ his dad and dad's gf then we didn't give allowance there was no way I was going to reward him w/ allowance for giving us stress bc he was angry w/ his dad.

hi S., i don't know if this helps but i was like that also and so was my oldest daughter. my mami(that what i call her)was too poor back then to afford a doctor. but when my oldest starting doing it, thank goodness for masshealth, i took her in for an exam and they just said she has a weak bladder, and told me to stop giving her drinks after a certain time, bit i don't think that's the problem. with boys it could be a urinary trach infection that the hospital can help him with, i am not saying that that's what's wrong with your son, but look into it with his pedi, just in case. i hope this helps, i don't really know what else to say except with me and my daughter it went away with time, in the mean time u should buy him kids pull-ups to wear at night, just a suggestion.

Hi Sam, you are right - the WORST thing you could do would be to punish your son. Although he was already trained it is common enough for his age to have this happen. My son had this issue for a while as well. We chose to go with a bed wetting alarm (we chose the one with sound and vibration because his issue was that he was such a deep sleeper) It worked for us (occasionally will have an accident - not even 1x month and usually when he gets off schedule). My advice would be to figure out if something is going on - did he just start first grade? - any concerns with it? - also talk to your pediatrician, I'm sure they will be able to help guide you through this. In the meantime, I would also suggest buying a plastic cover from Walmart or Target ($5) that covers the entire mattress/zips - this was such a "find" when I had heard about it!

Good luck - most importantly let your son know you want to work WITH him to help figure out why its happening - last thing you need is for him to lose confidence in himself.

It is probably a phase and just needs gentle encouragement like washing sheets, etc. The other poster had great suggestions. But if it continues, talk to your pedi, or just mention it at the next well-child. It is quite surprising, but *many* boys, even into adulthood have issues with peeing at night without waking. One of those unspoken medical things in our society. There's medication available.

Hi Sam,
I would suggest consulting your pediatrician and/or a urologist to rule out a medical issue. I know of a few people who needed surgery to correct an issue as children.
Hope this helps.

I believe it is common for boys' bodies to outgrow their bladders at some point. My brother also wet frequently when growing up, usually coinciding with growth spurts. They do sell "pull ups" specifically for older boys with bedwetting issues. I've seen them advertised for sleepovers. They look like underwear. I think it would be important to allow him this choice rather than require him to wear them. If he can manage the situation himself, it might make him feel more responsible and less at the mercy of his problem. I also agree w/previous posters that waking him to use the toilet before you go to bed might help :D Good Luck!

It sounds like you are doing everything right. :) DEFINITELY DO NOT punish him- at all. I think witholding allowance or forcing him to clean up is really sad. :( He is a child and is not doing it intentionally.

My husband is a physician and our son who is 6 has this issue as well. We have covered all of the bases with doc visits, trials of no drinks before bed, etc. The bottom line is that it is very normal behavior and quite common among boys. I have read medical journals that explain it is normal for boys not to be night trained fully until approximately age NINE. Most doc won't bat an eye at a 6yo boy wetting the bed- and parents shouldn't either. They cannot control it.

I have noticed that it is definitely common with changes in routine for my son. He just started full day kindergarten and wet EVERY SINGLE night- often 2x per night- for the first 2 weeks. He has now been dry at night for 4 days so I hope it's evening out for him. He was SO tired from the new school schedule that his body shut down at night. ANd he potty trained very early- at just age 2. He has never once woken at night to take himself to the bathroom- either stays dry or wets. In time, he'll get there.

We also limit beverages before bed and he goes potty before he goes to bed. We also take him potty before we go to bed. That is usually between 11-midnight, but lately we know that if we don't get to him by 10pm he'll be wet already-so we take him around 10 and again at 12 if we are still awake. If we ever skip takign him, he will wet for sure.

All kids are different as well. My 3.5 year old is fully trained night and day and has never wet the bed from the first day he was trained. He wakes at night on his own every night and takes himself to the potty in the middle of the night. He's just wired differently from my older son, that's all.

Hang in there and be patient with him. Keep an extra set of sheets right under his bed for quick changes. Take him potty in his sleep before you go to bed. Make sure you have a fabric waterproof mattress pad and on top of that a simple square waterproof pad. If you have those 2 layers of protection you can just take the top wet layer off and still have the mattress protector in place below. Don't shame him or discipline him. Just comfort him if he gets upset. My son also barely remembers it and often just asks why he is in new PJs in the morning. :)

Hang in there... it's a phase that will pass. At least we're all becoming record holders in how fast we can change a bed in the middle of the night! ;)

C.

Contact your child's pediatrician. If this is a sudden onset it could be me
dically related. Good luck.

In the mean time until this is figured out, you could make op the bed with several layers of incontinence pad/fitted sheet. I used 3 of those layers so that in the middle of the night I could simply pull a layer off and have a dry bed. CVS sells yard-square incontinence pads that are perfect for positioning under little bums. Sorry to hear you are going through this, but not uncommon. Good luck.

Hi Samatha,

I would make an appointment with your pediatrician to make sure it is not a medical issue. When my son started suddenly to wet his bed, it ended up being type 1 diabetes. Not trying to scare you but I would rule out any medical issues. Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with weight or eating habits(it is an autoimmune disease) I don't think everyone will now be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes because my son was but bedwetting is one of the early signs. However, there are lots of other reasons for bedwetting as well as the other responses indicated.

I agree with the others, don't punish your son for wetting his bed. He is just a little guy and although it is a pain to change sheets, etc. I doubt he is doing it on purpose.

Good luck

Encourage your son to drink LOTS of water early in the day. The pediatric urologist suggested up to 24-32 oz. during school time if possible. It helps your child get the liquids he needs but earlier in the day, so there is less of a desire to drink later and he has had time to eliminate what he has drunk before bedtime.

Also, consider what foods might trigger his bladder--chocolate (anything with caffeine), sugar, wheat, citrus, acidic or spicy foods, carbonation, etc. Make sure he is not constipated which can exacerbate enuresis as well. And make sure he is getting enough sleep. Sometimes an overtired child will sleep deeper, not noticing when he wets.

Our son is 12 and still has nighttime wetness. Not as much now, but he still has it. For some kids, the alarms and medications help. The alarm worked great for my nephew. Unfortunately, neither helped our son. We've tried most techniques suggested below throughout the years and more. The ones that seemed to cut down on the floods the most were a watch timer to remind him to pee every two hours during the day and drinking more while at school.

For years, we used the large washable pads under and over his sheets. When he got wet, we just pulled off the pad. Or if it was a flood, the entire bed would be remade. (I never heard of the multiple pads and sheet layers till later--probably a great way to get dry fast at night!) We never made a big deal out of it, not punishing him for something he couldn't control. To this day, he still sleeps so deeply. However, a year or two ago, we said enough is enough. He consistently wears Pull-ups to bed. I'm not sure what we'll do when he outgrows the largest size. But I've been told, if nothing else has helped, often puberty is the final solution. Here's hoping!

Good luck!

My 6 year old daughter also has accidents from time to time now. What we do is limit the amount of drink she has for dinner, then pretty much no drinks after dinner except 1/2 dixie cup of water when she brushes her teeth. She also goes the bathroom right before bed and then either my husband or I bring her to the bathroom again 2-3 hours after she goes to bed, this has pretty much curbed the accidents. Good luck

My daughter had the same problem. We did fing out she has reflux which is a urinary problem but she also started to have day issues. For night time try the beepers!! It worked fast! Look on EBAY they are cheaper than from a direct store and I actually got mine form the same store for cheaper. I would not buy a used one. It goes on their underwear and they void on the sensor. if you need help picking one out let me know. I have looked into many options. Reward him when he does well, it will make him feel good too! He is probably embarresed and does not feel like a big boy! He will be so happy to start to fix it.

Contact me with any questions: ____@____.com

M.

Helping Moms help their families!

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You're right not to punish him. Our son wet his bed every night of his life until he was 8! His case was different from yours for that reason; it was not a sudden onset. That's why I agree that you should see his pediatrician and find out if something is going on.

In the mean time, here's what we did on our MD's advice:
- No drinks at all after 4pm except for small sips. That includes meals and snacks.
- Use the bathroom before bed.
- Put a waterproof bed protector on the matress.
- Prepare to do a lot of laundry.

And have patience because it's really not his fault. If it's just a maturity thing (which it was in our son's case) he will outgrow it almost literally overnight. Our son stopped truly from one day to the next. It's a bladder maturity issue. But you would do well to rule out any other medical issue.

One last word: We tried bed-wetting alarms and they just didn't work. He slept right through them. They woke up the whole house but him!

Good luck.

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