Most children aged 5 have completed toilet training resulting in dry days and nights. However, for some, achieving dry nights can take some extra time. Here I will discuss some ways to help your child achieve dry nights.
To help achieve dry nights in your 5 year old child its important that they keep well-hydrated drinking most fluids in the earlier part of the day. If they have been dry during the day for approximately 6 months start a trial without disposable pants for 2 consecutive days. Using a reward chart can also help to encourage motivation. Rule out any other causes such as constipation and seek further support and assistance from a health professional if you suspect there may be an underlying medical condition.
Below I have listed the main points to help your child become dry at night. This is assuming they are dry during the day.
Keep hydrated.Encourage your child to drink adequate amounts of fluids during the earlier part of the day. Your child aged 5 should drink approximately 7 cups of water each day. This can also include other beverages such as juices, however, water is the best source to keep hydrated. Avoid drinks such as cola, tea, or hot chocolate. These contain caffeine which will make their body produce more urine during the night. The last drink of the day should be approximately 90 minutes before going to bed.
Trial without disposable pants.If your child has been dry during the day for approximately 6 months consider discontinuing his disposable pants for 2 consecutive nights. Apply a waterproof mattress overlay to protect your child’s mattress. You can further cover the mattress in a zippered vinyl cover for complete protection. If this is successful and where possible, consider a longer trial to eventually achieve dry nights the whole way through.
Lift only when awake.
It is generally not advised to wake and lift your child during the night to prevent a wet bed. This will do little to help your child learn to become dry during the night. However, it is okay to lift your child if he has already woken.
Use a reward chart.
Using a reward chart can motivate your child aged 5 to achieve dry nights. However, when using the reward chart it’s important to reward the efforts your child is making to achieve dry nights rather than the actual dry nights they will have. Explain to him why you are doing this and set achievable goals. A goal has been achieved such as helping you bring the wet clothes to the laundry or when they take the initiative to use the toilet last thing before bedtime.
- Rule out constipation.
If your child is not going regularly to the toilet, hard stool will build up in the rectum. This will reduce the bladders capacity to hold urine resulting in your child being unable to hold normal amounts of urine. Make sure to visit your doctor if you have concerns and where they will advise and treat constipation.
What Not To Do When Trying To Help Your 5 year Old Achieve a Dry Night
This will only make your child feel worse while also causing more stress and anxiety to an already upsetting situation. Remember that this is not something he is doing on purpose and with the right support he will eventually achieve dry nights.
Lift Your Child When Sleeping.
This is when you lift or walk your child to the toilet during the night to prevent a wet bed. Taking this action may prevent a wet bed in the short term, however, this will not help your child to become dry long term. Consider a trial without disposable pants and using a mattress protector as mentioned above. This will help your child learn himself how to become dry at night.
Your child needs their recommended 7 cups of fluids each day to maintain a healthy body and mind. Reducing fluids will not prevent your child from wetting their bed at night.
When To Seek Professional Help
If your child aged 5 is unable to keep dry either during the day or night it is advisable to seek further support and assessment. If he is aware of his toileting needs and is aware what they need to do, further assistance is required. I have also information regarding what to do if you have an older child aged seven who is wetting the bed at night.