How To Help Children Understand Bedwetting Is Not Their Fault

Understanding Bedwetting

If your child is having nighttime accidents, it is critical that you help him or her understand that bedwetting is not his/her fault.

But how?

  • Step 1. When your child wets the bed, do not react negatively in any way. You need to show that it’s no big deal through your body language, words and tone.
  • Step 2. Inform yourself of the facts about bedwetting and get advice on how to explain it to your child.
  • Step 3. Take simple steps to manage the nighttime accidents such as limiting drinks for two hours before bedtime and using a product like GoodNites® Underwear to stay dry even when wet.

I made two mistakes the other night.

First I didn’t notice that my 6 year old forgot to put on her GoodNites® Underwear and second I forgot to wake and take her to the bathroom at 10:30 pm as I normally do.

The result was her waking up wet and crying at 2:30 am.

I picked her out of the soaked bed, telling her I was so sorry for forgetting her GoodNites® and forgetting to take her to the potty in the night. I assured her it was no big deal as I took off her wet nightie, quickly rinsed her off in the tub with warm water and brought her into my bed with me (and her 3 year old sister who’d already woken earlier and come into my bed).

We all quickly fell asleep and — as is common with this quiet little girl of mine — she didn’t say anything more about it.

What To Say The Next Day?

I felt terrible for forgetting those two important steps and I really wanted to make sure she understood that the fact that she wets her bed is not her fault.

So the next night as the two of us were sitting on her bed about to start reading stories, I said in a really upbeat voice, “Oh good, you’ve got your GoodNites® on. Do you know that we’re so lucky that we can buy those these days. In the old days, like when Grandma was little, they didn’t have anything like that.”

Her eyes opened wide and her jaw dropped, “They didn’t? What did they do?”

I replied, “I’m not sure what they did. I guess maybe they wore diapers or their beds just ended up getting wet. And do you know what was really tough? Back then parents and doctors didn’t even understand bedwetting as much as they do now. Sometimes they thought it was the kids’ fault… that they just weren’t bothering to get up to go potty.

But, NOW the doctors know all about bedwetting and they make sure to tell all parents that it is totally normal and not anyone’s fault. Now they totally understand that tons of kids wet the bed — sometimes even when they’re teenagers — and they make this special underwear so kids can stay dry.”

We continued talking about it for a while and I could feel her relax even more.

I’m not sure that I said exactly the right things, but I could tell that our little talk helped. The wet sheets the night before ended up being nothing more than a good reminder to double-check before bed that she’s wearing GoodNites® and make the “sleepy-walk” middle of the night trip to the potty.

What About You?

Have any of your children struggled with nighttime accidents? How did you help them understand that bedwetting isn’t their fault?


Written by Susan Carraretto, Mom Blogger and 5 Minutes For Mom Co-Founder
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Disclaimer – We are working on a paid campaign with GoodNites® Underwear to spread awareness and information about enuresis, also known as bedwetting. I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments about the product.


  1. anonymous says

    this is hard to share.
    I struggled with this for years as a child. I experienced the good and the bad of how to handle it. my foster mother was the good. in the morning she would wake me and matter of factly ask me if I needed clean sheets…no shame, no accusations, just do I need clean, dry sheets. Then she would tell me to strip my bed and leave the linens on the floor. she supported me throughout but when accidents happened and they did, she just would clean it up without a single word or look.
    Unfortunately with my own parents it was different. I was shamed, I was punished, I was yelled at and sometimes I was spanked. It was talked about in front of other family members and on it went. I can’t even begin to share with you the shame, pain and turmoil I felt. I really did beelieve something was wrong with me and I was, somehow doing this on purpose.
    Years later I found myself struggling with this with two of my children. Thank goodness for GoodNights! Knowing my parents’ strategy was all wrong, I sought the advice of my children’s pediatrician and learned something that I never knew before. While our children gain control over bladder and bowel function thanks to potty training (hopefully) before kindergarten, SOME children do not gain full bladder control until they are around the age of 9 or 10. There is nothing wrong with them it is just the way they are physiologically and structurally. The pedi suggested similar strategies you mention here and offered if we were still struggling with this after age 9 or so then we could visit other strategies and possibility for further medical evaluation. Hearing this relaxed me, gave me confidence and I approached it with my 2 kids the same way it was dealt with by my foster mother when I was a child.
    My good wishes to the families, especially the children, who struggle with this. This to shall pass.

  2. says

    I must have missed this post earlier this week!

    My oldest is 9 and still wets the bed- we are so thankful for Goodnites! We are lucky to have an extended beloved family member who took my son aside and admitted that he too wet the bed until he was a teenager. That made all the difference for my kid. We remind him of that when he gets upset about it.

    He DOES get upset about it though- regularly. I remind him that he doesn’t KNOW if his friends wet the bed or not because no one talks about it. I remind him that LOTS of kids do and that doctors say it is normal. I remind him that he doesn’t have to tell anyone about it if he doesn’t want to.

    I try to be really calm about it all and not make a big deal when it happens.

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