They may be unusual for their age, but there's no need to panic. Almost all children wet the bed because their brain hasn't yet learned the feeling of needing to pee means wake up. Find out more about what causes bedwetting.
Children become less likely to stop bedwetting without help as they get older. Age 5 to 8 is perfect to start helping with night toilet training and a bedwetting alarm.
How is bedwetting different at ages 5 to 8?
They've mastered daytime bladder control
At this age children have usually mastered controlling their bladder during the day. They're taking themselves to the bathroom without you having to watch for squirming.
Although your child is likely using the loo without help, it's important to keep being frank and open about toilet matters.
Tip: Make sure your son or daughter knows the words for bodily functions and their private parts, so they can more tell you about any problems that make bedwetting worse, like a bladder infection or constipation.
Life outside the family grows
At 5, 6, 7 and 8 children have a growing sense of self. The world outside their family begins to matter more. They want to fit in and feel included by other children.
They may notice they're different from other children if they're still in diapers (nappies) at night. They're eager to keep up with other kids.
Learning is fast and fun
Learning usually includes a lot of creativity and movement for children of this age, alongside reading, writing and numbers. With the right help from adults, they learn quickly.
If they're still wetting the bed at night, now is the best time to begin night toilet training and using a bedwetting alarm because they:
want to learn
get into new routines easily
learn faster than older children.
Their imagination is wild
Children at ages 5 to 8 are often drawn to fantasy characters and stories, from fairies to superheroes.
Their vivid imagination can help them stop bedwetting. Here are some ideas:
When they need to use the bathroom during the day, ask your child to first lie down on their bed and close their eyes. Ask them to think of a picture to go with the feeling of a full bladder. Kids come up with all sorts of things, from footballs to fish tanks. Having a picture for the feeling can help them 'see' their full bladder when they're asleep, and wake.
If an exciting event is coming up, like a sleepover or vacation, ask your child to imagine how much more they'd enjoy themselves if they didn't have to worry about wetting the bed.
Parents have more control at bedtime
Parents are usually still in control of bedtime routines with children ages 5 to 8. This means there's a lot you can do to make it calm and predictable.
Our recipe for bedtime with the best chance of beating bedwetting:
Make sure they don't get too exhausted - overtired kids find it harder to wake in the night to a full bladder.
Avoid drinks before bed.
Make sure they use the toilet before bed. Watching a YouTube video or reading for a minute helps your child relax so they can get it all out.
If you already have a DRI Sleeper bedwetting alarm:
Relaxing listening helps them unwind and fall asleep. Our Mindfulness MP3 recordings help reinforce messages around ending bedwetting while helping them drift off.
It's the perfect time to start phasing out night diapers (nappies) too. If they use night diapers much longer, they may become 'diaper dependent', which is difficult to treat. Saying goodbye to night nappies, and hello to a Brolly Sheet in their favourite colour, is another step that builds confidence.
Their diet may change
At this age children are eating outside the home more. It's important you know what they're eating and drinking. Sugar, artificial sweeteners and caffeine worsen bedwetting because they dry the body and interfere with sleep.
Use their new daily routines to help make sure they're drinking enough water to make their bladder stronger. Aim for 6 glasses of 8 fluid ounces (250 mL) a day, using waking up, coming home from school, meals and snacks as reasons for a glass of water.
The DRI Sleeper excel bedwetting alarm is great for this age group. It clips to their pyjamas and connects by cord to the moisture sensor. It's also our least expensive bedwetting alarm, so you're not just saving money on diapers by starting right away!
Next steps to end bedwetting at age 5 to 8
It's the ideal time to help your child stop wetting the bed with night toilet training and a bedwetting alarm.
If used as directed, a bedwetting alarm helps up to 9 in 10 children stop wetting the bed. It's the fastest and most effective solution.
Parents breathe a sigh of relief at knowing they can stop buying expensive night diapers. There's even better news for your child. When they stop bedwetting, the way their confidence grows is worth its weight in gold.
The Excel is the original DRI Sleeper alarm and has been used successfully for decades by hundreds of thousands of children worldwide to solve bedwetting. This is a clip on alarm with a plug-in sensor. Ideal for younger children.
My son is 9 and was still wetting (in a pull up) regularly. He’s never had a sleepover because he’s embarrassed about the wetting, and was not wanting to go to scouting camps this year (now that they’re allowed again) because he didn’t want the others to know he still uses pull ups. The first night we used the DRI Sleeper alarm it went off 4 times through the night, but didn't wake him; the second night it went off 3 times, but he was waking with the sound. I was exhausted and thought I’d made a big mistake. The next night however, there were no alarms until the early hours of the morning, and then many nights went by with no alarms! It’s been about 3 weeks now, and there’s only been one night about a week ago where (oddly enough) the alarm got pulled out and he also happened to wet. He’s so happy with himself, and looking forward to Cub Scout camps.
Hope he has a fantastic time at camp! Congratulations on getting bedwetting sorted.
The alarm worked incredibly well with my 5 year old daughter who was a deep sleeper and reliant on pull ups. After failed attempts at night time training due to lockdown and a new baby we were finally ready and I wish we had used an alarm earlier. It took 2 nights of multiple wet beds and then 1 night with 1 wet bed and then she has been dry every night since then. I'm so relieved and she is so proud of herself.
She has done a marvellous job to get her bedwetting sorted so quickly! Congratulations.