Treating My Child's Bedwetting - What Age Can I Start?

How old can a child be before doing something about their bedwetting?

Is four too young?

You may have even been told five and six are still too young.

With so many conflicting answers out there, how are we meant to know just how soon a parent can, say, use an alarm with their child?

Right now we’re going to clear up this confusion and hopefully make your decision easier if you’ve got a child under seven years of age.

Most children are toilet trained during the day by about the time they reach three years of age. Night-time bladder control however takes a little longer and can’t be learnt in the same way as day-time toilet training. 

First, I’ll talk about five to seven year olds.

From a developmental perspective, children are generally expected to be dry at night by the age of five years, and typically, health professionals only consider treatment for children once they reach seven years.

This can be frustrating for parents of five to seven year olds, because this is the age children start school and their bedwetting begins to have more of an impact on their general well-being.

So, listen to this.

The guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, or NICE for short, recommends children between the ages of five and seven should not be excluded from the management of bedwetting on the basis of age alone.

So when it comes to treatment options for five to seven year olds, there’s no reason why bedwetting alarms should not be considered. 

My youngest child was actually four and a half when I started him with a bedwetting alarm! Yes, it was under the recommendation, but he was showing all the signs of being ready and he was motivated to become dry, which is a major factor! 

So this does depend a lot on certain factors such as their understanding of the alarm and what it does, their ability, maturity and motivation. 

Now, what if your child is under five years of age with bedwetting?

Well, if it will make you feel any better, approximately 21% of four and a half year olds will still wet the bed at least once a week. 

However, if you want to do something about your under 5’s bedwetting, here’s a few things you can do which may help.

  1. If your child is not toilet trained at this stage, then definitely try and toilet train them.
  2. If your child is toilet trained by day, then I’d suggest a trial of at least two nights in a row without wearing nappies or pullups. This is so they can learn to either hold on or learn how to react when they feel their bladder is full. 
  3. If your child wakes up at night, then use this opportunity to take them to the toilet.
  4. If your child is struggling to not wet themselves during the day, as well as the night, even though they are showing appropriate toileting behaviour, then consider a visit to your GP to exclude any medical problems. This is for children over two years. 
  5. A doctor can also check for signs of constipation, which is a common cause of bedwetting and poo accidents in young children.

So if your child is between the ages of five and seven and still wetting the bed at night, a good quality bedwetting (enuresis) alarm is the recommended first line treatment for bedwetting. 

Check out my other blog on why bedwetting alarms can be a solution to night time wetting

The Parenting Garden Bedwetting Alarm Success Package is a trusted alarm program amongst Australian families. 

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