Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

Dear Sarah, Some parents prefer to manage children’s bedwetting by waking them or lifting them to the toilet throughout the night. While this may reduce the number of wet beds you have to change (and that is certainly a big positive) it does not help train the bladder nor does it teach children to learn to wake on their own. Parents typically do this just before they themselves go to bed, at this time of night the bladder will probably be only half full, or your son will still be half asleep or in a deep sleep as appears to be the case. Children who have achieved nighttime continence are either able to wake-up independently in response to a full-bladder or have developed the bladder capacity to store urine until morning. When you wake him or carry him to the toilet he does not get the chance to get used to these signals nor does his bladder have the opportunity to stretch and develop. If you were looking for ways to help your son to become dry or his bedwetting is starting to cause a certain level of distress to him or you, then I would recommend you look into more formal and tested approaches to intervention. In terms of treatment the conditioning alarm is your best bet. In saying this, there is some debate surrounding the age at which intervention is recommended, with some doctors arguing age 6 is a good time to start, with others saying it is developmentally normal to wet the bed up to the age of 8, especially when it comes to boys. Success of the treatment does depend on the level of commitment so I really would not recommend starting this until he is ready. Good luck! Regards, Dr Cathrine