Bed Wetting and Back to School

4 min read

Last Modified 21 September 2021 First Added 21 September 2021

By Nicholas Barber

The link between bed wetting and back to school


There are a host of different reasons why your child may have started wetting the bed, seemingly inexplicably. Read on to find out how to stop bed wetting and keep your little one dry and happy.

Why do children wet the bed?

Here are three main reasons why your child’s bed wetting may have recently restarted:

Avoiding school toilets

It’s surprising how many children don’t want to use the school toilets and so avoid them all day. This can lead to constipation and bladder problems – if their bowel is full of poo it can press into the bladder and limit space for wee.

As a result, it may empty earlier during the night than if there were more room. If this is the case don’t worry, some children just need extra time to develop control of their bladder.

Not getting enough sleep or sleeping deeply

Children whose sleep is disturbed by snoring, television or pets, and those who are deep sleepers are more likely to wet the bed. A deep-sleeping child may have a harder time developing an effective signalling system that wakes them up when they need to wee.

Stress or life changes

Along with going back to school, other big life changes such as moving house or the birth of a new sibling can be stressors that can lead to children wetting the bed after being dry for a long period. Research shows that children who experience bed wetting are significantly more likely to have anxiety issues.

According to the Sleep Foundation, children who struggle with bed wetting are more likely to experience panic attacks, school phobia, social anxiety, and separation anxiety.

Why is your child more likely to wet the bed at the start of term?

For the period following the start of a new school year, your child’s changing sleep patterns and schedules can seriously disrupt their previous routines. Starting or going back to school can be a source of anxieties or stresses that can suddenly trigger bed wetting to start again, long after you thought it had been conquered.

On top of this, your child may be overtired from a full busy day and just not getting the signal from their brain that wakes them up when their bladder is full and needs to be emptied. With starting or going back to school, they may be more tired than normal and just not waking up when they need to go.

The link between diet and wetting the bed

Eating a high-salt diet, not emptying the bladder at night, and drinking fluids right up until bedtime are some of the things your child may be doing which are causing the bed wetting.

Dietary changes have also been linked to bed wetting and the NHS advises you not to give your child drinks containing caffeine, such as cola, tea and coffee. Certain foods and drinks are diuretics, which means that they cause the body to produce more urine. Some children are more sensitive to diuretics than others.

Tips to prevent bed wetting at the start of the school year

Parent and child walking to schoolHere are some methods that should help your child to stop wetting the bed:

  • Make it a rule to always be supportive of your child
  • This means not blaming or punishing your child for wetting the bed
  • Let your child know that this is a curable condition and provide lots of emotional support
  • Ensure they understand bed wetting isn’t their fault
  • If it’s relevant for your child, find out what they don’t like about the school toilets and encourage their use
  • Stop them from drinking fluids from about three hours before bedtime
  • Encourage them to use the bathroom at night, then provide nightlights to make that easier.
  • Whenever bed wetting accidents do happen, praise your child for trying to stay dry, and for helping to clean up.

How to clean a mattress after bed wetting

To ensure any of your little one’s night-time accidents are as easy to deal with as possible, why not look at our range of water repellent mattresses? You can quickly wipe clean any little accidents and be rest assured that allergy triggers are minimised.

If your child does wet the bed, we recommend cleaning any spills as quickly as possible with warm, soapy water and a cloth. Remove dust and debris with a soft brush. We don’t recommend using any cleaning products or vacuuming your mattress.

There’s no need to panic

It’s reassuring to know that the vast majority of cases are due not to anatomical or biological problems. Fortunately, it’s likely that secondary enuresis (the scientific name for wetting after being dry for a long period) will settle down as your child grows used to life back at school and gets fully into the new routine.

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