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There are only a few more days to go until Father Christmas hopefully pays his annual visit and we cannot wait.
The decorations started going up at the end of November. All of our Christmas cards have been written and delivered. Gifts are all wrapped. The fridge is groaning under the w8 of our food.
Both children risk wetting themselves with excitement.
And that’s where I’m worried.
Not because either child is a serial ‘accident-haver’, far from it. They both know exactly what a toilet’s for and when to use it.
But my 3-year-old is now at that stage in his development where he’s learning to stay dry during the night.
It’s entirely normal for children to master the art of using a potty or the toilet during the day first before they do the same at night too. And I have no qualms that William will get there soon.
But I really don’t want him waking up with wet sheets on Christmas Eve when Father Christmas is delivering his gifts.
So, here are my top tips to stop bedwetting spoiling the fun this Christmas.
Limit the drinks an hour or so before bedtime
A lot of advice on night-time training talks about limiting drinks before bedtime and I think this makes good sense.
It stands to reason that if a child has a drink right before bedtime, their bladder will be more full than it would have been otherwise and therefore more likely to need emptying in the night.
Make going to the toilet part of your child’s bedtime routine
Before my children go to bed I make sure they both go to the toilet immediately beforehand.
It’s part of our bedtime routine and is very important. After all, the emptier the bladder, the less likely bedwetting accidents are.
Use pyjama pants before moving onto regular pants
For 3 and four-years-olds, nappies are increasingly seen as being too babyish, but many parents may not want to put their child in to regular pants while training.
That’s certainly true for me. There’s no way I’d be able to get William into a nappy nowadays, but I don’t want to let him go to bed in his daytime underwear unless I can be sure that he’ll stay dry for at least the majority of the time.
A good compromise are pyjama pants like DryNites®. Using these certainly makes my life easier: William is happy because he feels more grown-up, but they’re absorbant like nappies so they guard against any unwanted accidents.
Use a waterproof bedsheet
Recognising that bedwetting accidents will happen is important. Limit the amount of cleaning you will need to do when one occurs by investing in a waterproof mattress sheet.
I don’t mind if I have to wash endless bedcovers, but I’d rather not have to deal with a soggy and smelly mattress. Using a waterproof cover means I don’t have to.
Late night trips to the toilet
Some people encourage us to wake their children in the night and take them to the toilet while others advise against it.
I’ve tried it both ways and personally, I don’t think a late night loo visit makes a difference. It certainly doesn’t stop bedwetting accidents from happening.
I also don’t think it helps a child all that much – if they’re half-asleep or, in some cases, even still asleep, they’re not going to know if they’re using the toilet so they won’t learn from it.
But, there’s no harm in trying it as a short-term aid if you want to. Each to their own.
Use praise when things go well and understanding when things do not
Although wetting the bed is generally not something that a child will have control over – certainly not to start with – I think it’s important to praise them and celebrate when they’ve had a dry night.
Equally important though, is to be understanding and sympathetic when things haven’t gone to plan.
It can be incredibly frustrating if your child continually wets the bed, for both you and them. So if an accident occurs, I’d suggest giving them a hug, talking about it together and telling them that it’s OK, accidents happen sometimes.
It’s important they always feel encouraged to keep trying and not disheartened or upset.
Add some grown-up touches to your child’s bedroom and help boost your child’s confidence
This stage in your child’s development can be a stressful time for all involved, so make sure you have some fun with your child along the way.
I enjoy arts and crafts with my children and Tamara Melvin (former Great British Sewing Bee finalist) has created some nice projects for kids’ bedrooms.
Adding some grown-up touches to your child’s bedroom may help them to feel more grown-up at night and more likely to want to try to stay dry at night.
I also find that getting my children involved with craft projects helps to give them confidence in what they can do. Hopefully this confidence will spill over (no pun intended) into their bedtime routine and instil in them the belief that they can stay dry throughout the night.
You can find some of her craft videos on the Huggies website. In the meantime, here’s a video of her homemade pinboard project to help get you inspired:
Recognise that bedwetting is considered normal up until the age of 5
Bedwetting in young children is not unusual: according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), one in 5 children aged 4-and-a-half wets the bed at least once a week.
Children are generally expected to be dry by a developmental age of 5 years, so don’t worry if your pre-schooler isn’t completely dry at night yet. They’ll get there.
So, those are my tips to stop bedwetting at night. Have you got any more advice to add?