Dr Catherine
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8-15 years

Hi, my son is 8 years old and still wearing nappy pants at night. He is occasionally dry but he is wet most nights. I've read a few articles about bed wetting for older children and some suggested not to wake them to go to toilet middle of the night as it won't help, but to just wait until they are able to hold till morning. Other websites are suggesting to let them wear normal underpants if they are wetting in the morning not long before they wake up, because this way, probably after a few attempts, they'd learn to get up and go to toilet early in the morning. We haven't done any training as such and he doesn't seem to be bothered about it either. Should we just wait until it happens naturally or should we get some help ie. consult with doctor? Thanks.

Bedwetting is often one of those things that no-one likes to talk about, with many parents feeling embarrassed and therefore suffer in silence. As such we tend to not realise how common it actually is. 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. Some children do outgrow bedwetting on their own, however as children get older the chances of them outgrowing bedwetting do reduce. The decision of when to begin treatment should really be up to you and your son. The tricky thing for you is that he does not seem bothered about the situation, which is fantastic in terms of his self-esteem, but not so great if you are wanting him to commit to a strict treatment regime. In terms of treatment the conditioning alarm is your best bet. It is not unusual for it not to work on the first introduction; often it can take two to three cycles. Success of the treatment does depend on the level of commitment so I really would not recommend starting this until he is ready. When you do I would start by consulting with a continence specialist as they will be able to support you through the treatment, will have access to lots of handy tips and tricks, and will ultimately improve the chances of a positive and permanent outcome. All the best! Kind Regards, Dr Cathrine