Many parents assume that once the potty training days are fully behind them, nighttime accidents are a worry of the past. But for 1 in 9 children, bedwetting (or “nocturnal enuresis”) is an issue they could face for years to come.
There may be a number of reasons your child struggles with bedwetting (link to Enuresis 411/ECM Post #2), and while treatments are available in certain cases, sometimes the only solution is to wait until your child grows out of the problem naturally. Your child has no control over their nighttime accidents, so the best thing parents and caregivers can do is to provide loving support until the bedwetting has ended (link to Building Confidence/ECM Post #3).
There are 5 basic products you can try to help discreetly manage the stress of nighttime accidents:
Waterproof mattress protector sheets
This is a product parents commonly reach for because plastic sheets have been around for decades.
Pros: reusable, protects the mattress
Cons: very noisy when children shift around at night, does not protect the bedding from accidents
Another common parent pick, absorbent disposable underpants are made specifically for older kids (whereas training pants and conventional diapers are best for toddlers).
Pros: protects mattress, bedding, and pajamas
Cons: should not be reused in the absence of an accident for hygienic reasons, some children do not like wearing them
Disposable mattress pad
The need for convenience and quick midnight cleanups makes a disposable pad an excellent choice for families. The new GoodNites® Bed Mats have the same absorbency as a high quality disposable underpant (such as GoodNites® Underwear) and feature adhesive strips to keep the Bed Mat in place all night long. The Bed Mat’s large size (measures 2.5 feet by 3 feet) makes the product appropriate for any user, including children of all ages and adults.
Pros: protects the mattress and bedsheets, cloth-like material is more comfortable and less noisy to sleep on than plastic sheets, can be reused the next night in the absence of an accident.
Cons: does not protect pajamas
Reusable mattress pad
Reusable pads are often used in hospitals and care homes, but require proper laundering in the event of an accident.
Cons: absorbency can decrease with extended use, tends to shift out of position and bunch uncomfortably on the sleeping surface
A sensor clips to your child’s regular underpants and will activate when it detects the first sign of wetness. Alarms can include sound, vibration, or both.
Pros: can help heavier sleepers wake up to use the bathroom, some models include a transmitter to alert a parent as well (like a baby monitor)
Cons: does not offer any wetness protection if the child does not awaken in time.