Dr Catherine
< Back to Expert Answers
4-7 years

I have two other children a older son and a daughter they were both dry day and night at around 3 years old.my youngest son has started school and no problems there,we have tried reward charts,night light and potty,lifting him and taking him to the toilet but no luck,i have to give him clean pjamas every day as they are just smelly and wet,he is still in pull ups.he also had a groinal hernia operation at 18 months old,he was also born 10 weeks early,any help or advice would be really helpful?

Dear Claire, there are a number of reasons why children wet the bed; some do so because their bodies are unable to wake in response to the signal that their bladder sends to their brain telling them to wake-up and go to the toilet, others do so because their bodies produce insufficient amounts of the ADH hormone which is designed to reduce the amount of urine produced by the kidneys overnight – when this increases often the bedwetting stops. Genetics also plays a large part in children’s bedwetting (you have a much higher incidence of wetting the bed if either or both parents wet the bed as a child). Be reassured, it is very common for boys to continue to wet the bed at night – with some medical professionals arguing that it is developmentally appropriate up to the age of 8 years. We tend to see a much higher incidence among boys than girls, as boys bodies tend to take a little longer to mature. Your son has very little control over his bladder while asleep, so while rewards can be very motivating during the day, they will do little to control his wetting at night and may in fact make him feel like he has somehow failed when he is unable to wake-up dry. Rewards or incentives can certainly be used to encourage positive behaviours such as going to the toilet just before bedtime, maintaining a healthy diet or drinking good amounts of water regularly throughout the day. Given his prematurity it would certainly be worthwhile having him assessed by his GP just to rule out any possible underlying medical cause. In the meantime, try him in DryNites rather than Pull-Ups, DryNites are specifically designed for nighttime use and offer greater absorbancy, which means he can start wearing those PJs more than once! All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine