Encouraging positive toileting habits can really make a difference to your child's school readiness and their ability to learn, concentrate, sleep and behaviour. Here is a summary of some of the top tips to encourage healthy bladder and bowels.
- Provide reassurance, bedwetting and daytime wetting is not deliberate and is not your child’s fault. Never tell your child off or punish them when this happens.
- Encourage daytime water-based drinks.
- Avoid caffeinated, fizzy and energy drinks
- Avoid high salt and high protein foods late in the day (as these increase urine production)
- Encourage regular daytime toileting (about two hourly)
- Avoid all food and drink in the last hour before sleep
- Encourage your child to pass urine before settling them for sleep each night.
- Restrict screen use up to one hour use before bed
- Consider a trial of at least two consecutive nights without pyjama pants or a nappy
- Don’t lift or wake your child to pass urine when you go to bed (only do this in the short term if it is particularly important that the bed stays dry, for example, when on holiday)
- Find ways to provide easy and safe access to the toilet at night, for example a torch by the bed or a potty in your child’s room
- Consider whether your child is able to get out of bed – they may have anxieties or fears that result in difficulties getting up, for example, if they’re afraid of the dark
- Only reward your child for things that are within the child’s control – your child cannot control what happens when they are asleep. Provide encouragement and positive comments on dry nights, but limit actual rewards (if used) for things that are within the child’s control, such as drinking the recommended amounts and toileting during the day, for toileting before sleep, helping to strip their own bed etc.
- Monitor your child’s progress by keeping a diary of wet and dry nights, of waking after wetting, of waking to use the toilet
The advice above is based on recommended guidance by NICE and The Paediatric continence forum.
Further advice for parents
ERIC, the children’s bowel and bladder charity, is the UK’s leading charity supporting all children and teenagers with a bowel or bladder problem. It offers a range of support and information for parents and carers on their website including advice on day wetting, bed wetting, constipation and soiling.
Advice for schools
- ERIC, the children’s bowel and bladder charity, offers guidance for managing continence problems in school and college.
- Keeping children safe in school (Department of Education – 2018)
- Supporting children in school with medical conditions (Department of Education – 2015)
- Pants teaching (NSPCC – 2018)
- Bladder and Bowel website