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Bedwetting Regression: How To Overcome It With Your Child

If you’re looking to understand how to help your child manage bedwetting regression, read on for our suggestions.

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Bedwetting Regression: How To Overcome It With Your Child
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If you thought your child had grown out of bedwetting but they’ve started waking you up from wet nights again, you aren’t alone.

Bedwetting regression, also known as secondary nocturnal enuresis or sudden onset wetting, is when a child who has had a period of dry nights for at least six months begins wetting again. While it can take a toll on both you and your child’s mental health to have to experience bedwetting again, it is a very common occurrence - affecting about a quarter of all children [1].

So why does bedwetting regression happen, and what can you do to help your child overcome it? Read on to find out!

Why Does Bedwetting Regression Happen?

Bedwetting, or primary nocturnal enuresis, is a regular part of childhood development and can be caused by multiple factors. However, studies on bedwetting regression (secondary nocturnal enuresis) have shown that the most common cause is emotional or psychological stress [2]. 

Examples of some events that can contribute to emotional/psychological reasons for bedwetting to recur include:

  • The birth of a sibling
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Starting school or moving schools
  • Death of a loved one

Chances of bedwetting regression are higher in children with any health conditions that can impact their mental, behavioural or cognitive functioning [3]. So, if your child has any pre-existing conditions like ADHD, anxiety or autism spectrum disorder, it’s worth discussing the bedwetting onset with any medical professionals you see for your child regarding their condition.

Bedwetting can also return from other medical causes, including urinary tract infection, an anatomical issue or even diabetes (though this is rarer) [4]. It’s also possible for bedwetting to return with no obvious psychological or medical reasons.

How to Help Your Child Overcome Bedwetting Regression

While it can be difficult for your child to regress into bedwetting, there are ways to help and encourage them along the way into dry nights again.


Seek Professional Medical Advice

It’s important to take your child to their doctor if bedwetting returns so that any underlying medical conditions, like those mentioned above, can be identified and/or addressed.

While seeking medical advice should always be your first port of call, it’s essential to do so if you notice the onset of bedwetting in conjunction with any of the following:

  • Changes to their toileting habits (frequency, volume, etc)

  • Cloudy or bloody urine

  • Pain or discomfort while urinating or passing a bowel movement

  • Daytime wetting

  • Constipation

Oftentimes when the underlying cause is medical, treating the condition will resolve the bedwetting as well. Your child’s doctor will also be able to provide you with referrals to specialists or imaging that might be required or prescribe medications if necessary.


Encourage Open Communication With Your Child

It’s important to encourage your child to communicate with you about anything they may be experiencing that is contributing to their condition, especially since bedwetting regression is commonly linked to stressful life events.

Be sure to let them know you’re here to support them and talk to them about anything that may be bothering them. If your child is particularly distressed, letting their doctor know may be beneficial to access the most appropriate medical assistance for your child to support them through this period.


Create a Safe, Supportive Environment

While it can be frustrating to go back to doing loads of late-night washing, try to approach the situation with a calm attitude, and don’t punish or blame your child for bedwetting.

Using punishment or blame after an accident can potentially increase the severity of their bedwetting due to increased feelings of stress or shame [5]. Punishment for bedwetting has been linked to the development of mental health challenges, such as depression [6]. 

It’s important to remember that your child isn’t wetting their bed on purpose, and children who wet the bed often feel emotional distress when it happens. 

After an accident, get your child cleaned and changed without making it a big deal or using punishment. Instead, let them know it isn’t their fault and be there for them. On nights when they remain dry, be sure to offer them praise and encouragement.

Comforting your child after they wet the bed, as well as being supportive and encouraging of them, has been shown to help the child’s self-esteem and emotional wellbeing [6].


Protect Bedding and Clothing

Keeping the mattress, quilt and pillows protected from any overnight leaks can go a long way in helping extend the life of the mattress by avoiding lingering odours, with the added benefit of not having to do any mattress cleaning.

Our range of waterproof bedding is not only soft and machine washable but able to be tumble dried (at low temperatures) too. They look and feel like regular sheets, with an outer layer of polyester-cotton fabric and three internal layers of waterproof materials to prevent any leaks onto the mattress.

If you prefer, you can opt for disposable protectors that can be placed over the mattress or bedding and thrown away once used (wet or soiled).

Using absorbent pyjama pants, like our Magics Youth Pants, is also a convenient option to save on washing and time during an early morning clean-up.

Fitting just like regular underwear, our youth pants are simple to pull on and off. They feature patented absorption technology that keeps your child dry for up to 12 hours - making them perfect for nighttime use!

We hope you’ve found some helpful information in this article regarding the reasons bedwetting regression may happen, as well as what you can do to help your child overcome it.

Remember, this article is general advice only. You should always speak to your child’s GP when you notice any changes to their health.