Potty Training: 5 Years Old and Up (Bed Wetting)

Potty Training: 5 Years Old and Up (Bed Wetting)
My daughter is potty trained and still bed wetting at night, How Do I Stop It?
Common Causes Of Bedwetting and How to Fix It In School Aged Kids [/Shutterstock]

My daughter has been completely potty trained since 1 years old but 5 years later we're still having trouble with nighttime bedwetting. I've even gone as far as resorting back to diapers because I was frustrated and tired of washing sheets and bedding every single day.

For as long as this journey has been going on, I really thought my daughter would outgrow nighttime bedwetting but here we are 6 years later and it's still happening. We've tried limiting liquids before bedtime, waking her in the middle of the night to release, and even letting her sleep through the night with diapers on to see if she could hold it herself.

I've researched countless articles on if "bedwetting at 6 years old was normal", "What causes bedwetting and how can we stop it?," I've even researched if it was possible to have a bladder infection or a smaller bladder because she was a preemie and a twin.

Neither of these articles led me to what I know today, and that's victory.

Do Kids Outgrow Nighttime Bedwetting?

In my case, my daughter did. By the time she was 5, I noticed that she was still bedwetting but the size of the "pee pool" was getting less each day. Some days it was more than others, but overall she was consistently having accidents.

Before I decided to revert back to pull-ups at nighttime only, I feared it would make her less committed to learning how to stay dry. We did it anyway. We needed a solution to minimize our frustration and give her time to outgrow nighttime accidents.

After a few weeks, my husband and I noticed that she was looking forward to pull ups at night but on most days she was staying dry.

We thought it was working until she felt as thought she HAD to have them on to stay dry, so we set a date to ditch them.

What works best for bedtime bedwetting?

According to experts, bedwetting at age 5 is still very common. Even after mastering daytime potty training, most children still have difficulty sensing when their bladder is full while sleeping. In fact, most children continue to wet the bed at 5, 6, and even 7 years old until their system is mature enough to wake themselves up when their bladder is full.

Nighttime potty training tips that we found helpful:

  • Eliminate scolding and high pressure when accidents happen. Whenever we would see that she wet the bed again, we would have "the talk." We quickly learned that it only led to more frustration and more bedwetting. A better response was to encourage her that we will try again and she'll get it tomorrow. Though we let her express her emotions, she remained positive and let her know we're still proud of her.
  • Try pull-ups at night time only. This method is helpful when pairing with daytime underwear. We likely to layer underwear and pull-ups together to give her a sense of being a "big girl" without having a mess to clean up in the morning if she had an accident through the night. Pull ups eliminated the night-time wake up call that we didn't find to be useful at all.
  • Applaud and praise when they stay dry. Recognition and rewards helped significantly when she stayed dry. Positive affirmations allowed her to get excited when she would stay dry and know that we were in full support of her journey with her. One thing to keep in mind is that, even though we applauded her for staying dry, we avoided scolding and adding pressure on days she didn't. No amount of scolding can make her stay dry and we understood that.
  • Monitor liquid intake and use the potty frequently leading up to bedtime. This method is cause and effect. We noticed the more she drank, the more she would have to go to the potty. We practiced limiting liquids so that we could identify when she felt like her bladder was full and followed a similar potty schedule.
  • Monitor their sleeping schedule. Every so often, we would peek into our daughter's room to see if she was still dry. This gave us a gauge on how long she could sleep through the night before she would need to wake and release. I can honestly say that no amount of pull-ups, midnight wake up calls, or extra daytime potty breaks helped us see a break in accidents. Experts suggest that children can hold their bladder between 10-12 hours and we realized that monitoring her sleep schedule, at about 10 - 10.5 hours, she had to go.
  • Be patient and wait it out. Nighttime potty training will happen. You just have to be patient and let their body develop on it's own time. Bedwetting at 5 or 6 is not a cause for concern because their bladder is still small and they lack muscle control to stay dry. Don't grow frustrated because one kid may have nighttime training down pact and the other doesn't. Remember everyone develops at their own pace. If you have any cause for concern, please visit your physician or medical professional.

*information in this article is collected by trusted sources, personal experiences and should not be used in lieu of any medical advice.

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