Bed-wetting is a common problem for many children.

How to Prevent Children from Urinating in Their Bed at Nighttime

by Maria Magher

Bed-wetting is something that many children experience. According to, as many as 5 to 7 million children wet their beds. About 15 percent of children are still wetting the bed at age 5, and only about 5 percent still have the problem by the time they are 10. Most children naturally outgrow bed-wetting by themselves and within their own time frame, but there are a few things you can do to help them be successful.

Allow your child to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and prevent excessive drinking at night.

Offer your child foods rich in fiber. A lack of sufficient fiber can lead to constipation, which may put pressure on the bladder and cause incontinence.

Limit fluids at night. Stick to one drink at dinner and don't allow any more after that. Avoid beverages that contain caffeine, which has a diuretic effect and can cause your child to need to use the bathroom more frequently.

Ask your child to go to the bathroom immediately before bedtime. This may empty her bladder enough to get her through the night without having to use the bathroom again.

Place a nighttime pull-up on your child for sleep. Even if there are accidents, this protects your little one's clothing and the bed.

Create a consistent bedtime routine. This can help your child's body adapt to a specific schedule to encourage sleep during certain hours and using the bathroom during certain hours.

Create a soothing sleep environment that includes a dark room, a comfortable temperature, cozy blankets and maybe a cuddly toy. This can relieve anxiety around bedtime, which could be causing bladder issues.

Turn on a night-light in your child's room. He may be scared of the dark, which could be why he hasn't been getting up to use the bathroom.

Place a moisture alarm on the bed. This alarm goes off at the first signs of moisture, which helps your child to wake up quickly and get to the bathroom. This could help her to better recognize the signs of urgency and to wake up more quickly in response.

Consider setting an alarm at a specified time during the night to wake your child up and encourage him to go to the bathroom, if he is a deep sleeper. It may take some trial and error to determine the right time to head off accidents and to avoid interrupting REM sleep.

Items you will need

  • Nighttime pull-ups
  • Night-light
  • Moisture alarm
  • Small alarm clock


  • A "potty journal" may be useful in helping you to track your child's bathroom habits and anticipate her needs. It can also be used to train your child to increase the length of time between bathroom visits.


  • Medical conditions such as bladder problems or urinary infections can cause bed-wetting. Take your child to see a doctor if bed-wetting persists past the age of 7 to discuss the possibility of medication to treat the issue.
  • Do not scold or punish your child for wetting the bed. This can only make the problem worse by causing shame and anxiety.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images