It is something that every child goes through – growing enough to either being able to “last all night” and not have to get up to wee or being able to wake themselves up when they need to.
Remember, it’s not a competition. The age your child becomes dry and how fast it happens is nothing to do with your child or your parenting skills. It can be the size of their bladder, how deeply they sleep, genetics, or medical.
Signs your child may be ready:
1. Is your child waking up dry several mornings a week?
2. Are they a very heavy sleeper? If they are wet evry morning and a very heavy sleeper, you may need to look into an alarm.
3. If they wake up wet, check the wee to see if it is warm. Are they weeing just before they wake up, or even when awake?
4. Is your child wanting to try?
One - Prepare your child and their bed.
Some kids think the nappy comes off and they will wake up dry. It is good to explain there may be accidents and it may take some time to achieve. Talk about how common it is and something everyone goes through. Get some Brolly Sheets to lessen your laundry load. Brolly Sheets are an easy to change bed pad that protects your mattress, and only takes seconds to change at 2 am. The different colours and patterns make it easy to get your child’s “buy in”. Explain to your child Brolly Sheets look cool but are made to be weed on. It’s no big deal and will mean everyone gets back to sleep faster. Make sure their pyjamas are easy to pull up and down.
Is the time right for you and your child? Just before your child starts school or when you have a new baby isn’t the right time. As a parent, you will be getting up in the night to change a wet bed, you will get tired and there will be more laundry. Pick a time that also suits you.
Two – set a bed time routine
A good routine at night will help. If your child has late nights and gets over-tired, it will be a lot harder for his brain to get the signal to get up. Before bed, ensure your child goes to the toilet and does a “decent wee”. Some kids rush through this part. It is a good idea to sit down whilst your child is on the toilet and explain how his bladder is like a plastic bag and he needs to empty “this bag” before bed. Get them to take their time. Remind them if they wake and feel the need to wee – to get up and go.
Three – limits drinks
Now is the time to drop the bottle if your child still has one before bed. Limit drinks from dinner time. If your child is drinking plenty during the day, they should not need a lot in the evening. Remember – what goes in must come out. And stay away from caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic which means you have to wee more often.
Four – Light the way
A night light is great for two reasons. If your child does wake and go to the toilet, they can see where they are going. It makes the house not such a scary place in the dark. It also means if you need to get up and change the bed, you don’t need to use the brighter ceiling light. Hopefully you can change the bed and your child’s pjs quickly and not even have to fully wake up.
Five - Have realistic expectations.
Unlike day time dryness, children have very little control over their bladder when they sleep. A class of 5 year olds will have 5 or more kids on average that wet the bed at least twice a week. A reward chart may help, but remember, wetting the bed is out of their control. So, you can reward things like going to the toilet before they go to bed, changing their own pajamas whilst you change the bed, limiting drinks etc. Rewards need to be in your child’s control.
If your child becomes anxious or frustrated, put training on hold for awhile and come back to it. It is no problem at all to hit the reset button and start again when the tie is better.
Products that can help: