How to stop bed wetting

It's not something most parents really think about until it happens. It's also not something your child would do on purpose. But what do you do if your preschooler keeps wetting the bed? This mother asks for some advice.

Hi Doctor

My 5 year old has started wetting his bed recently. It happens about twice a month. I don't detect any unhappiness, anxiety or change in attitude. He's still his happy go getter self.

What could be the cause?


Development and learning expert, Dr Melodie de Jager, offers her opinion on the matter.

Hi Linda

To wet the bed occasionally is normal. Here are a couple of useful hints if it continues: Get your child to sleep with no pants but a comfortable oversized t-shirt (like dad's t-shirt). The elastic on the pants can sometimes trigger the reflex to empty the bladder. The following Mind Moves can also help if done before he goes to bed to stay dry. 

Homolateral walk

Move the left arm and leg together, then the right arm and leg. Follow with a Bilateral walk, touching the left hand to the right knee, alternating with the right hand and left knee.

Trunk rotator

Lie flat on the back, spreading the arms wide and raising the knees to hip level. Slowly rock the knees to the left until the left knee touches the floor, and then to the right until the right knee touches the floor. The shoulders and lower back should stay glued to the floor. The Trunk rotator forms the basis for crossing the lateral midline.

Spine walk

Lie on the back and ‘walk’ with the hips and shoulders while the back stays glued to the floor.


Anne Cawood, registered social worker and parenting expert, offers these handy tips.

Some children have a problem with night-time bed-wetting for a long time. A check-up with a paediatrician would be advisable, just to make sure there is no physical problem.

Never punish the child or make them feel bad. It is totally out of your child's control. It is a complicated process to wake oneself at night (i.e. to realise that there is a full bladder), the message must be sent to the brain which in turn sends a message to the muscles which control the bladder to hold on. The message must then be sent to wake the child and the child must hold on until he can get to the toilet. Many children take a long time to develop this control.

It's usually not helpful to wake the child - because he is still not developing the control to wake up and go when he needs to. Simply put a waterproof on the bed and use an old sheet over him - so the whole duvet doesn't get wet. Assure your child that it's only an accident and will come right soon. Help your child change out of the wet pyjamas and the sheet - but never make them feel like they have to hide it.

The key to it is to take undue attention away from the whole business. The more pressured and anxious your child feels, the more likely he is to have an accident.

How did you deal with a bed wetting preschooler?
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