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Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

My daughter has just turned 5. Up until a couple of months ago we were still using pull-up pants at night which were always full in the morning. However, we decided to try her without them. She has wet the bed every night so far - but seems to sleep through it. It is only when we go in to check on her when we go to bed that we realise the bed is wet. We have tried waking her late in the evening and taking her to the toilet, but I am hearing a lot that this does not help the situation. How long should I let this continue before seeking some other help for her? Is it likely that she will eventually start to wake up when she either wets the bed, or needs to go to the toilet? Apart from that she is perfectly healthy and we had no problem toilet training her during the day when she was 2. Thanks

Managing children’s bedwetting can be incredibly tricky, partily because we often do not understand the underlying cause and partly because there are so many mixed messages out there about how best to proceed. It is often helpful to keep in mind nighttime wetting is mostly unconscious and therefore the kinds of techniques we used in training children during the day do not apply to the nighttime situation. Nighttime wetting at this age is considered to be perfectly normal, with about 15-20% of children continuing to wet at night up to the age of 7 years. It is not unusual for parents to comment on how soundly their child sleeps (even not waking when they wet); while deep sleeping is not a direct cause of bedwetting it certainly makes it more difficult for children to wake in response to a full bladder. One of the best indicators that your daughter is moving toward achieving nighttime continence is an increase in the number of consecutive mornings where she wakes-up dry. Until then it is perfectly fine for you to use DryNites to help manage her bedwetting and avoid the stress associated with dealing with constant wet sheets. In terms of 'the best time' to seek treatment, the answer differs depending on the individual child and family. Typically doctors say to hold off until children reach 6 or 7 years of age, due to the high spontaneous recover rate up to this point HOWEVER if your daughter's bedwetting impacts negatively on her or the family then its time to introduce more formal measures to help her to stop. Many children do learn to wake on their own, although some do need extra assistance. If you do decide to introduce treatment it is best to speak with a GP or continence advisor first as the more assistance and support you receive the more likely you will experience a successful outcome. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine