Nocturnal Enuresis, or urinating into bed or clothing when asleep, is relatively common condition.
At what point is it no longer appropriate to still nighttime accidents?
At the age of 5, nighttime accidents are still common and relatively appropriate for development. By age 6, about 90% of children no longer have accidents while sleeping. This means that about 10% of 6-year-old children still have difficulties.
Helpful Tips for Toilet-Training Your Child Through the Night
Ruling Out Medical Complications
Before beginning toilet training with your child, it may be helpful to receive a medical consultation to see if there are any underlying conditions that could be causing your child to wet the bed at night. There are several factors that have shown to be associated with nocturnal enuresis including urinary tract infections and diabetes.
Using a Urine Alarm
One of the most effective treatments for nighttime wetting is urine alarms.
What is a urine alarm and how does it work?
A urine alarm comes with a moisture sensor placed in your child’s underwear. Urine alarms are set to arouse your child from sleep after the first drop of urine by making a vibration or signaling an alarm. The purpose is to awaken your child so that he or she will finish urinating in the bathroom. This process also helps your child learn to wake up when they feel the sensation of a full bladder.
When can I stop using the urine alarm?
If your child has successfully remained dry for 2 weeks, the urine alarm can be stopped!
*Keep in mind: This process can take several weeks for success! Your child may also relapse and begin wetting the bed when the urine alarm is no longer being used. This is common. If this happens, begin the urine alarm intervention again.
Tracking Your Child’s Toileting
Keep track of your child’s nighttime toileting each day. You can make a simple data sheet that has the days of the week listed, a column for whether your child woke up wet or dry, and whether your child woke up to the alarm.
Making Your Child Clean Up
After a nighttime accident, your child should clean up as independently as possible. Depending on the age and developmental level of your child, this may mean helping change the sheets, changing out of soiled pajamas, and/or placing all dirty clothes and sheets in the washing machine before going back to bed.
This is a natural consequence of having a toileting accident. Do not think of this as a punishment for your child having an accident, but instead as a tool to teach your child independent living skills.
Monitoring the Alarm
When using the urine alarm intervention, parents often need to monitor the process.
- When your child goes to bed, make sure that the sensor is placed inside your child’s pajamas or underwear.
- Ensure that the alarm is set to wake up your child.
- If your child does not awaken to the alarm, make sure that you are present to wake your child up so that he or she can finish urinating in the bathroom.
- It is not uncommon for children with nocturnal enuresis to have multiple nighttime accidents each night. If your child has an accident, make sure that you reset the alarm.
Praising Your Child’s Successes
Punishment for toileting accidents, including scolding or removal of privileges, has not been shown to be effective at improving toilet training success. Instead, try to praise your child whenever he or she wakes up in the morning and has not had any accidents!
If you are still struggling with nighttime toilet training, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org