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Understanding Bedwetting

Is 5 Years Old Too Old to Wet the Bed? A Parenting Myth Debunked

A mom and blogger

As a parenting author, I get this question all the time.

Parents tend to stop talking with other moms and dads about bedwetting, or nighttime wetting, when their kids get past the typical potty training age, and that might be why they get the idea that age 5 is “too old” for accidents. So they have no way of knowing how many other parents and kids are going through the same thing!

In reality, many kids age 6 and beyond experience occasional, or even frequent, nighttime wetting. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 15–30% of 6-year-olds experience one episode of nighttime wetting per month.

It’s very likely your child will start making it through the night, every night, within the next year or so. Every year after the age of 5, 15% of children who once experienced nighttime accidents become dry at night with no intervention at all, as noted by Dr. Howard Bennett, clinical professor of pediatrics at George Washington University Medical Center and author of Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting(American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005). In the meantime, I would recommend making your child as comfortable as possible with absorbent nighttime underwear like GoodNites® Bedtime Pants, or other great products like GoodNites® Bed Mats and GoodNites* TRU-FIT* Underwear. That’ll make your life easier and mornings a lot less stressful, too — no more emergency laundry while everyone’s trying to get ready for work or school!

And, in general, I think we parents need to start talking more openly about nighttime wetting. Then we’d all see just how common it is and that would help our children — and us — feel less shame and confusion. One great place to start is the Managing Bedwetting area of GoodNites.com. You’ll find questions and comments from other parents who’ve been in your shoes and can reassure you that what your child is going through is normal, and before you know it, he’ll be dry all night long!

If your child has been dry at night for six or more months and suddenly begins wetting the bed, I would speak to your child’s physician. Occasionally, nighttime wetting can signal a medical issue. But, most of the time, typical developmental “bumps in the road,” or a disruption to the child’s usual routine, are the cause.

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