Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

Hi My child wets the bed twice a night some nights. She is just 6. We have limited water at dinner, made sure she goes right before bedtime, got her up at 10pm to go to the bathroom, she’ll often have wet the bed by this time and not woken up. We’ve talked to her about it, leave lights on and walked her to the toilet but she just sleeps so deeply and never wakes. Her younger sister has been dry since before she was 3. I am currently using nighttime nappies again as I couldn’t keep up with all the laundry. Wondering if it’s best to wait a few months and try again or if there’s anything else we can do that we’ve not yet tried?

While it is quite normal for a 6-year-old to be still wetting the bed on a regular basis I would certainly recommend that you have your daughter examined by your GP just to rule out any underlying medical cause. Most children who wet the bed do so a couple of hours after they have gone to sleep at night – usually when they are in a very deep sleep state or in the first few stages of sleep. While deep sleep is not a cause of bedwetting we do know there is a stronger chance of bedwetting amongst children who sleep very deeply. With respect to the nighttime lifting, this is typically seen as a practical approach to managing children’s bedwetting in the short-term only but does little to help them to become dry on their own. Lifting at night means children do not get the chance to get used to the signals that the bladder sends to the brain telling them to wake-up and empty their bladder nor does the bladder have the opportunity to stretch and develop. If you do want to pursue with this approach I would recommend that you try and vary the time which you take her so that her bladder does not get conditioned to needing to empty at the same time each night; perhaps try talking her a little earlier to see if her bladder is capable of storing urine for extended periods. You could certainly try the conditioning alarm however given the amount she wets as well as her deep sleeping, it may be tricky to implement. Some children wet due to low ADH levels. ADH is an antidiuretic hormone that is designed to reduce the amount of urine produced by the kidneys overnight. When levels are low the kidneys produce the same amount of urine overnight as they do during they day resulting in bedwetting – which may go some way toward explaining why your daughter wets so much at night. It would be worthwhile discussing this as a possibility with your GP as there are synthetic forms of ADH that can be taken to try and manage bedwetting. Kind Regards, Dr Cathrine