4 Year Old Peeing in the Bed

Updated on January 31, 2010
J.S. asks from Pacoima, CA
25 answers

My daughter is very beautiful, independent, intelligent and has brat tendancies (my fault) but what concerns me is the fact that she has been potty trained for two years and still has to wear a pull up at night because she pees on herself. I have tried the making sure she doesn't drink anything a couple of hours prior to bed, the making sure she uses the potty before bed, I've talked to her, videos, books and at what point I even removed the pull-ups and was waking her up every two or three hours to take her to the bathroom. But the lack of sleep (Im a single working mom of 3) was starting to get to me and out of fustration I was starting to yell at her every time she had an accident. I felt so bad so I decided to go back to pull-ups. I'm starting to think I may have to take her to her doctor.

Any thoughts?

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answers from New London on

I would just leave her alone and put a pull-up on her. Kids don't potty train at night. It is something that they have to grow out of. Both my husband and I wore diapers at night at 4 years old. It isn't uncommon. Don't stress her out. She will outgrow this. It is a lot more common that you think.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

As others have said, it's totally normal! My daughter will be 6 in March and is still wetting the bed about 25% of the time. It's not their fault so it's best to just go back to the pull up and when she keeps it dry for a week straight then try without it. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with Liz. My son is 4 and is still in a pull-up. He is just a heavy sleeper. His twin brother? Totally trained for the last year. They are just different. My pediatrician said that kids tend to outgrow it around age 5, and they don't really worry until 7.

Good luck!

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answers from Madison on

It is very common to be in a pull-up at night at that age. I have a daughter who turns 4 next week. She wears a pull-up to bed. Sometimes she wakes up dry sometimes not.

Please don't yell at your daughter. It is not her fault that she has night-time accidents. Her body is still maturing and she is not able to A)make it all night and B) realize when she needs to go during the night. It will come in time as her body matures. Have her wear a pull-up and leave it at that. You are causing yourself much unnecessary stress!!

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answers from Boston on

Hi, J.~

So, I guess you got the message not to yell anymore. What's done is done. You can't do anything about it now. You live, do your best and you learn. Try not to waste time feeling guilty about it. Not many know what it's like to be a sleepless single working mom of three.

anyway, someone posted the same question earlier today or yesterday about a 4yo girl. You may want to search for that post to see the other answers. I responded with the following.

My daughter was trained through the night for about a month between 3-4 yo. We went away for the weekend and she started peeing in her sleeping bag. We went back to pull-ups and kept trying to train her but to no avail. At her annual appts., the doctor just kept telling me that she wasn't ready. (This didn't make any sense since she had been trained for a month.) Finally, at 6yo he recommended that we try a wetness alarm. As soon as any liquid touches the alarm, it buzzes to wake the child. Happy to say that it worked in 1-2 weeks!

Here's the link to the alarm. The website has lots of valuable information on bedwetting.

One more thing: They recommend when the child wets the bed that s/he get out of bed, go to the bathroom, change their underclothes if necessary and put on new sheets. The plan is to make wetting the bed a chore. If the parents change the sheets, etc., it won't matter to the child if s/he continues to pee in bed or not as it's not totally inconveniencing them.

Best wishes for success all around.

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Honolulu on

Night-time dryness.... is not attained until even 7 years old... and this is normal. And per our Pediatrician.

Our daughter, was fully potty trained at 2 years old. She was 5 when she was able to stay dry all night without accidents. BUT, there are still some accidents here and there... and if she sleeps very deeply.
She even had a dream once that she WAS on the toilet, until she felt herself wet. We just laughed about it.
When my daughter has accidents, we don't use "methods" to get her to stop... she just changes her jammies, washes off and back to bed. I used a water-proof bed pad under her to make clean up easier for ME.

Its all biological.
Daytime dryness potty training is SEPARATE from Night-time dryness. 2 DIFFERENT time-lines.
MANY MANY Kindergarten children also have accidents, as does even older kids. Its all normal... even my daughter's Teachers have said that. But the parents won't go around announcing that their child wears night-time diapers.

BUT it is normal. Some 7 year olds still may have accidents too.

My daughter is now 7. She's accident free 98-100% of the time. BUT, once in a blue moon, an accident may occur. No biggie. Scolding/lecturing/punishing/withholding/rewarding her for it, to me... is not applicable. It is a BIOLOGICAL occurrence. She does not do it on purpose... nor do we wake her up during the night just to pee. But on my end, I just use the water-proof bed pads (which you can get on Amazon), and it is no hassle for me, because all I have to do is wash the bedpad and not the entire bedding. Then I have like 4 of them that I rotate and then just switch them out as needed.

Your daughter is normal.
If they get stressed about it...it may even make it worse.... and they will get hang ups.

All the best,

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answers from Tulsa on

I made my daughters life heall on earth due to her wetting the bed.

She is 30 now and I can say truthfully we went through every thing people recommended. No fluids after 8pm, none after 6pm, none after 5 then after 4. The poor child was getting so dehydrated she couldn't poop. Nothing worked, back then pull ups didn't exist. I can't tell you how many times I had to wash sheets and dry out mattresses. I did the waking her up too, all that does is make eveyone tired.

Children body parts develop at different rates. Her bladder/UT parts just aren't developed yet. If you have the means to take her to a Urologist and have her checked then do so, they might find something and they mgiht just put your mind to rest. Be sure and monitor her bowel movemnets before because they think constipation is a big reason kids pee the bed, the pressure on the bladder from the full insides....

My grand daughter that is 6 occassionaly has a dry night and she makes a big deal out of it. My grandson, now 11, still has accidents, his Urologist says he's still developing the signal between the full bladder and the part of the brain that wakes a person up to go.

I can honestly say the problem is "yours" and not hers. I say keep the pull ups and your sanity (lack of sleep drives me crazy).

I recommend the night time pull-ups that have the Disney Princesses on them. The package is a dark burgandy/maroon...K can pee several times in them several times throughout the night and there are no leaks. We just use several wipes in the morning to clean the area and it's off to school. We don't have time for morning baths.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

J.- Boy do I understand your situation and frustration. My son wears Good Nites. I respectfully disagree with putting back in diapers. Enuresis, for the most part, is not something that a kid can help so putting a child back in diapers (affiliated with babies) whether it is punitive or not will be perceived by your darling daughter as being punishment. Honestly, put her back in pull ups, good nites and say good night. With my son he is responsible for the disposal and any mess he makes. He's older than your daughter but he started taking care of it about age 5.

Also, it's important to know that if your daughter was a preemie that this could be the cause. I was told by my pediatrician that there is a higher incidence in preemies.

Here's a link to another similar question

Good Luck, relax and don't stress about this.

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answers from Los Angeles on

She is fine. Many, many kids (girls specifically) can take up to 7 years old to either wake themselves up or hold it in their blatter. It's not uncommon. If you are really concerned, you can see a urologist - but there's a reason why they have "goodnight" pull ups for bigger kids.
Some kids are just hard sleepers. Lucky them!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Try to not make a big deal when it happens. A lot of times it is an immature bladder. It is still very common at 4. Some children don't have the capacity to hold urine the entire night. I did by a night pad that goes OVER the sheet. Across like a saddle. They have it at Target.com. (around $14). If they do pee, it absorbs it and doesn't go on the sheet. You can pull it off and the sheets are fine. It goes right in the wash. This has been very helpful. Make sure she pees right before bed. My daughter would pee if she had a pullup, but wouldn't if she didn't so sometimes the pullup will keep them used to peeing overnight in their "diaper". Speak with your pediatrician. She may not be ready, but they may have some ideas to help her. I don't recommend waking her up. That is not good for anyone. Sleep deprivation can cause a host of other problems. She sounds like a wonderful child, try not to make her feel bad about it even if you are frustrated. It will hurt her self-esteem and make her feel like a failure. I'm sure you are a great mom and sound like you are trying very hard. Hang in there. It is difficult.



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answers from Los Angeles on

I have a 6yr old that was potty trained since age 1 1/2 and at age 3 started to pee at night, and yes it was so frustrating. She still has accidents and after all the frustration my pediatrician sent me to a urologist and there were so many factors to look at. First the urologist asked about how she was doing with her bowel movements and it turned out that her poops were a little hard so that put pressure on her bladder.Second she was drinking alot of apple juice which goes right through them. Finally, we put her on an alarm clock at night, she went pee twice before bedtime and then i put her alarm for 3hrs and then when i got up to go to the bathroom i get her up and in the morning she was dry and in the morning i didnt feel like i had not slept for days. She still has accidents but if you explain that these things contribute to her accidents your also training her about her needs. Its been a long road but we are getting some sleep around here and we are not changing pee pads 3 times a night. Believe i praise you for being a single mom and asking for advice and yes we all " scream " at our children out of frustration sometimes but it doesnt mean we dont love our children any less. Who ever has not yelled at their child once have them cast the first stone.
I hope all goes well on your journey to continence.

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answers from Los Angeles on

my daughter is almost 4 is still does it once or twice a month at night only. i don't make a big deal of it. and you shouldn't. but i would get rid of the pull ups. buy one of the bed pads from babies' r us. i forgot what they're called. but i have two..so that if she does pee, then i just remove it and put the other on. and do laundry the next morning. quick and easy...you don't waste so much time losing any sleep having to change bedsheets on top of changing her clothes.

your daughter will be fine. but i know that the pull-ups won't help her grow out of it faster..so let her get wet in her undies.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have 3 friends who take their kids to a local pediatric chiropractor, as do I. Myself and 3 of us get amazing results with just the adjustments. My 3.5 year old son wets the bed about 2-3 times a year and it's when his L2 is out of alignment. Then, he gets adjusted and we are good to go. One of my other friends only needed to get her son adjusted once and he's been fine ever since. Another friend gets him adjusted AND has him take a homeopathic remedy called Noctural Enueresis. NONE of us have the problems like we did before getting our kids adjusted.

Here's some research on it:

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answers from Los Angeles on

You've gotten plenty of responses but just a vote of confidence for you, some kids just take longer to make that connection. :)
I like the idea of trying the chiropractor, if you can afford that luxury.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

so you know yelling doesnt help, but hurts. Why would she not pee if you yell ! ? It scares them but doesnt stop them from doing somethin natural as pee....
She is obviously not ready .... just keep using diaper at night who cares. I have a great pediatrician for my daughter and he says not to worry when they are ready you will know dont push it you will make more damage and be frustrated. :)
make sure to tell your girl you are Sorry for yelling at her and give her big hug !:)



answers from San Luis Obispo on

I have a 4 1/2 year son who wears a pullup at night as well. I have read things about growing into there the bladders. I would not worry. I am sure she will grow out of it. I wet the bed too when I was little tell I think 8-10. Your body just needs to catch up. Nothing to worrie about.



answers from Los Angeles on

if I were you I'd stop waking up all night and let her pee in a pull up. Call the ped office and just ask what age do kids stop wetting the bed/when do I need to DO something about it. And go from there. One of my sons wore goodnights until he was 7. I ended up using a miren alarm. After seeing a urologist, and having a bladder function test done. He was physically just fine. At 4, I think she's pretty normal. But, call the ped to make sure.



answers from Los Angeles on

4 years old is young enough that bed-wetting is pretty normal. She'll probably grow out of it soon, but some kids wet the bed until they are much older. Often, it runs (pun intended) in families, so it may be that some aunt or uncle wet the bed. In any case, MANY children are not dry through the night at 4. She's normal.

Pull ups are a good idea because they take away some of the embarrassment and let you get your sleep. She'll get there! Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

As most have said, 4 is way too early to have an expectation of holding urine through the night. Most doctors won't even consider it something to start dealing with as an issue until age 6. It is usually genetically and biologically determined depending on the physiology of the individual. Children need to start producing the hormone Vasopressin -- which limits and slows production of urine at night. This hormone begins being produced by the body at different ages, and with it, bladder control at night. Until it kicks in -- there's nothing an individual can do.

Your child appears to have been potty trained at 2 -- which is remarkably early (most are not until 3). As pull-ups are effective, why not let your child develop as she was meant to, and reach her biological milestones when they arrive (you won't be able to rush puberty either -- nor would you most likely want to!). It seems you are equating her lack of control of her bladder (involuntary) with the "brat" tendencies you note she has. Brattiness at this age is normal too -- as a child is asserting her independence. So give your child (and yourself) a break. You've got a huge amount of responsibility with three kids -- but you are making it harder by having expectations that are unwarranted.

Here's some info from Familydoctor.com
Enuresis (Bed-Wetting)
What is enuresis?
Enuresis (say "en-yur-ee-sis") is the medical term for bed-wetting during sleep. Bed-wetting is fairly common and is often just a developmental stage. Bed-wetting is more common among boys than girls.

What causes bed-wetting?

Some of the causes of bed-wetting include the following:

* Genetic factors (it tends to run in families)
* Difficulties waking up from sleep
* Stress
* Slower than normal development of the central nervous system (which reduces the child's ability to stop the bladder from emptying at night)
* Hormonal factors (not enough antidiuretic hormone is produced, which is the hormone that slows urine production at night)
* Urinary tract infections
* Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys
* Abnormalities in the spinal cord
* A small bladder

Bed-wetting is not a mental or behavior problem. It doesn't happen because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

When do most children achieve bladder control?
Children achieve bladder control at different ages. By the age of 6 years, most children no longer urinate in their sleep. Bed-wetting up to the age of 6 is not unusual, even though it may be frustrating to parents. Treating a child for bed-wetting before the age of 6 is not usually necessary.



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm sure you know by now NOT to yell at your poor child. You are traumatizing her! The poor thing! My daughter, age 5, is also beautiful, independent, intelligent as are all of her friends and they ALL wear pull-ups at night. I asked friends with girls aged 6-7 and they said it's TOTALLY NORMAL to wear pull-ups at night. DO NOT WAKE UP YOUR CHILD! Would you like to be woken up all night and yelled out when you're exhausted? You were frustrated due to lack of sleep which you yourself chose to wake up. You need to relax about something this since it's normal and NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. I also have three and I can tell you there are far bigger things to worry about. Let her be. She'll grow out of it in time and go back to sleep.



answers from Los Angeles on

Relax....she's only 4. I have four children and one of my daughters continued to wet the bed until she was seven. She wore a pull-up for that long. In my travels I'd met parents whose children wet the bed until they were twelve. You are worrying about this way too much, I hope you're not making it an issue for her. Some children's autonomic systems have just not developed to the place where they can wake themselves up. They are in a deep sleep. My research at that time suggested that 8 years was the cut-off and then you needed to seek assistance. Thank God for pull-ups, put her in one and go to sleep. I'm pretty confident that this will resolve itself; my daughter's did. Do talk to your pediatrician at your next visit though and they'll tell you the steps to follow if it continues past a certain age.



answers from Santa Barbara on

My son wet the bed until he was 12 years old and I tried everything. What I know is that no child would wet the bed on purpose. I discovered Educational Kinesiology when he was 14 and took him for a few sessions for reading and academic issues. It changed his life and mine, as I went on to get trained. Years latter I learned about stuck infant reflexes and discovered that was why he was wetting the bed. I now do this work to integrate those reflexes. If you want to know more you can email me at ____@____.com.



answers from Los Angeles on

Just let her wear the pull-up! My son is 6 and he still isnt reliable at night so it's just easier to not have to change the sheets a few times a week. And dont yell at her--she can't control it.



answers from New York on

My son wore pull ups till he was about 41/2. We did the same, cut out drinking a final trip to the bathroom to no avail so I waited it out. Then around that time he had been dry through the night for about 2 weeks. I told him lets give it a shot with out the pull ups. I kept the rubber sheet on the bed for another 3 months just incase and he never had an accident. He is 7 now and had maybe one accident. He can now drink right before he goes to bed and get out of bed to pee before there is an issue. His body just needed to mature just like your daughter does. don't drive yourself nuts. Pull ups till she and YOU are ready.

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