Bed-wetting is something that many children would rather not talk about – especially if it happens to them.
Many children grow out of wetting the bed before they start school, but some do not. This is not your fault – it is just the way your body is developing.
Some people stop wetting the bed sooner than others, but you may do other things sooner than they do.
How bedwetting happens
As a baby, your bladder empties when it is full – a baby cannot make it happen, or stop it from happening.
Between the ages of 2-4 years children learn how to notice when their bladders feel full during the daytime, and can hold on to the urine (wee) until they get to the right place to let it out - the toilet or a potty. As they grow bigger, their bladder can hold more and more urine, and can hold on to it for longer times.
Some people can manage this well during the daytime but at nighttime, when their mind is asleep; their brain seems to stop listening to the bladder!
As a result, they wet the bed. In a class of 5 year-olds, there would be around 5 children who have this problem. At age 7 there would be around 2-3. About 1 in 20 ten-year-old children (about 3 in every group of two classes) wets the bed more than twice a week. So if you’re having problems with bedwetting, you are not the only one; in fact there are probably other people in your class and in your family who know exactly how you feel.
As you grow from a baby to a school kid, you gradually become better at controlling parts of your body, such as your arms and legs, and this includes your bladder (the part that holds urine or wee).
Just as some people grow faster than others do, some people get control over their bladder faster than others do.
Maybe your bladder can’t hold as much wee as your body makes in the night – that will change as you grow.
Maybe your body makes a lot more wee at night than other kids do.
Some people sleep so heavily that they don’t wake up when they need to wee.
It might be caused by a health problem. A doctor should be able to tell you if it is. For example, it might be a urine infection or kidney problems. It is always important to get a doctor to check at least once to make sure it isn’t a health problem, even though it usually isn’t.
What can you do?
Ask mum or dad if you can have a waterproof mattress cover and quilt cover.
If you are old enough, practise changing your sheets until you are so good you could almost do it in your sleep!
Have a shower in the morning so you are fresh and clean when you go to school.
Keep a chart to find out when your bladder gets full in the night. Set your alarm clock to wake you up so that you can go to the toilet during the night.
Wetting the bed can make you feel sad. Remember that it is not your fault. Tell mum, dad and the doctor how you feel and they will help you.