Sleeping and bedwetting

Sleeping and bedwetting

Patience, praise and peace

There are many different reasons why babies and toddlers do not sleep through the night. Feel confident in yourself to know whether your child is really distressed or just restless. Trust your instincts.

Try to establish a regular night time sleep routine for your child early on by putting them to bed at a regular time each night. Prepare a warm, comfortable place for them to relax in. Reading to your child at bedtime helps them to unwind, and gives you some special time together. If your child is scared of the dark, try keeping a night light on. Adult beds are not designed for babies and toddlers and do not conform to safety standards. Only breastfeeding babies should ever be fed in bed, and if so, should be positioned on the outside of the bed and returned to the cot after the feed has finished.

Bedwetting may be stressful for both of you and can wake your child. It is not easy to know why some children take longer to be dry at night than others. Try not to lose your patience or punish them, your child is not doing this on purpose. Children learn at their own pace and praise and support will help.

If your child won't go to bed

  • Decide what time you want your child to go to bed.

  • Start a 20-minute ‘winding down’ bedtime routine. Bring this forward by 5-10 minutes a week (or even by 15 minutes if your child is in the habit of going to bed very late), until you get to the bedtime you want.

  • Set a limit on how much time you spend with your child when you put them to bed. For example, read only one story, then tuck them in and say goodnight.

  • Give them their favourite toy, or comforter before settling into bed.

  • Leave a beaker of water within reach and a dim light on if necessary.

  • If they get up, keep taking them back to bed again with as little fuss as possible.

  • Try to be consistent.

  • You may have to repeat this routine.

Source: iHV/2017


Bedwetting can be worrying and frustrating, but it's common for children to accidentally wet the bed during the night. Bedwetting is common in young children but it gets less common as a child gets older, with 1 in 12 children wetting the bed regularly at four and a half years old (regularly is defined as at least twice a week). Bedwetting is slightly more common in boys than girls and usually resolves itself as they get older.

When to see your GP

Bedwetting is only really a problem if it begins to bother the children or parents. Only rarely will this be considered a problem in under 5's and medical treatments aren't usually recommended.

If your child frequently wets the bed and finds it upsetting, speak to your GP for advice.

Bedwetting could be caused by your child:

  • Producing more urine than their bladder can cope with.

  • Having an overactive bladder, meaning it can only hold a small amount of urine.

  • Being a very deep sleeper so they don't react to the signals telling their brain their bladder is full.

Constipation is often associated with bedwetting, especially in children who don't wet themselves every night. Occasionally, bedwetting can be triggered by emotional distress, such as being bullied or moving to a new school.

In rare cases, bedwetting may be the symptom of an underlying health condition, such as type 1 diabetes.

Source: 2016


My toddler gets up again and again during the night.


Do not engage with them, just put them back into bed.


You may need to repeat this over a period of time.