Bedwetting in Older Children & Teens - How To Manage It

If your child continues to wet the bed into their school years, you may be surprised to learn you aren't alone...

Bedwetting in Older Children & Teens - How To Manage It

If your child continues to wet the bed into their school years, you may be surprised to learn you aren't alone...

If your child is school age and is still experiencing bedwetting, you're probably thinking yours is a rare case.

However, as many as 3% of teenagers continue to wet their bed. To put that into perspective, if your child goes to a high school with 1000 children, then as many as 30 of them still wet the bed at night.

Continue reading to find out what can cause bedwetting in older children and teenagers, as well as ways to manage it.

Should I Be Concerned?

You should have your child evaluated by a doctor to better understand what may be causing this issue, especially if your child stopped wetting their bed for a long period and it has now returned as a regular occurrence.

This return-to-bedwetting is called Secondary Enuresis and it may have an underlying root cause that needs treatment, such as stress, anxiety, infection or a neurological issue.

It is, however, more common for bedwetting to remain a constant concern (it doesn’t stop for long periods and then start again) without a clearly identifiable underlying treatable condition. Interestingly, it is also one of the very few incontinence conditions that is more common in boys than in girls.

Regardless, if you are concerned with any aspect of your child’s health, you should seek guidance from a health professional.

What Causes Bedwetting?

There is a long list of potential root causes of bedwetting, many of which are not of particular concern and your child will simply grow out of it.

For instance, it is common for bedwetting in teenagers to be caused by:

  • Sleeping Deeply:

The wake triggers don’t operate strongly enough in your teenager to get them to visit the toilet in the middle of the night. As an adult, this wake-up call is either stronger, or the sleep is not as deep, so the body has a better chance of responding to the signals.

  • Poor Sleep Patterns:

If you've ever tried to wake your teenager for school then you know that the body clock of most teenagers doesn’t align well with school hours. This compounds their exhaustion, and makes waking up in the middle of the night even more difficult.

  • A Smaller Bladder:

Your teenager may have a small bladder that has insufficient space and as they develop their bladder will increase in size.

  • Active Kidneys:

An overflowing bladder may be caused by their kidneys producing too much urine at night. As an adult, the body produces antidiuretic hormone at night to slow the kidney’s output while you sleep. Your teenager may not be producing enough of this hormone yet.

  • Genetics: 

If a parent wet the bed into their later childhood years, then it is more likely for their child to exhibit the same behaviour. That particularly makes sense when you consider that the above factors may all be heritable. If both parents wet their beds in later childhood, it is estimated that their children will have a 70% chance of repeating this behaviour.

There are a number of other potential root causes that are of more concern, however, and call for more active treatment - such as:

  • Urinary Tract Infections: your child may have an infection that is causing irritation in their urinary tract.
  • Constipation: a full bowel may be putting additional pressure on the bladder and resolving the constipation sometimes resolves the bedwetting.
  • Emotional or Social Factors: stress is one of the most common reasons for secondary enuresis. If your child is going through a difficult time at school or in their social group, or there’s been a significant change in their lives then treating the underlying emotional change can stop the bedwetting.
  • Neurological or Other Medical Conditions: enuresis can sometimes be a symptom of a health condition that needs treatment. Some examples include spinal damage, bladder or kidney disease, diabetes and even ADHD.

What Can I Do About It?

If the root cause requires medical intervention, then you’ll need to work with a medical professional to manage your child’s treatment.

If you’re in the more fortunate majority and the bedwetting is something more simple like sleeping too deeply, then there are a few things you can do to minimise its frequency and severity:

  • Bedwetting Alarms: these are alarms connected to a wetness sensor in the child’s underwear. Over a few weeks of the alarm going off and waking the child, their brain becomes more conditioned to associate the need to urinate with the need to wake up and the bedwetting often stops.
  • Limiting Fluids At Night: manage the levels of liquid intake prior to bedtime to reduce the fluid available for the kidneys to process into urine while they’re sleeping. Shift their fluid intake to earlier in the day rather than reducing their hydration.
  • Bathroom Habits: encourage healthy sleep habits by reminding your teenager to empty their bladder before falling asleep. This may require more structured and disciplined bedtime behaviours rather than letting them fall asleep while on their phones.
  • Communication: being supportive and maintaining open communication with your child might be quite helpful in identifying other strategies or techniques for mitigating bedwetting, and even if not, knowing they have you in their corner should really help to reduce their anxiety and stress.

How Do I Manage the Impact?

While it can be frustrating at times for your child to still be wetting their bed, it's important to know that there are a number of products available that can help minimise the impact of accidents.

ConfidenceClub stocks a range of aids for youth incontinence, including:

Youth Pants

Our Magics Youth Pants are disposable, absorbent pants designed for toddlers and teens aged 4 all the way to 15.

When bedwetting is a common occurence, or in situations where bed protection isn't readily available (such as at sleepovers), they're the perfect option to wear at night to keep clothing and sheets dry.

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Waterproof Bedding

If you've ever cleaned a mattress before, you know how difficult and time consuming it can be - that's why protecting the mattress is essential.

Our range of reusable waterproof bedding can be washed up to 300 times and even tumble dried at low temperatures! Be sure to get more than just one in order to have a spare at the ready, while the other is in the wash or drying.

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Disposable Protectors

These are relatively small square or rectangular absorbent pads with a waterproof backing that you can simply throw away when there’s an accident.

Be sure to position it at waist height for your teenager, and place it underneath their fitted sheet to prevent it from being a choking hazard or from moving during the night.

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All-In-One Slips

If your child's bedwetting is severe, or if they experience soiling or fecal incontinence as well, they most likely will require the absorbency and protection afforded by an all-in-one slip.

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If you've never ordered from us before, then you'll be pleased to know that:

We're Here to Help

If you need any assistance, or if you have any further questions about our products or service, ConfidenceClub is here to help!

Simply contact us via phone, email or webchat to speak to one of our friendly customer service representatives.

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