Bedwetting, sleepovers and family holidays

Bedwetting affects nearly half a million children and teens every night, but it can be an embarrassing secret for sleepovers and a frustration for family holidays. These practical tips will help your child - and you - cope with nights away from home, when they sometimes wet the bed.

Bedwetting is actually more common than most people realise, affecting up to half a million children and teenagers every night. Studies have shown that 1 in 6 five year olds, 1 in 7 seven year olds, 1 in 11 nine year olds and 1 in 50-100 teenagers are affected and the problem is more common in boys than girls, especially in the younger age groups.

As a child, bedwetting is an isolating condition: not something you’ll tell your friends and something which will certainly make you think twice about holidays and sleepovers with other children. As a parent, your child's bedwetting can also be frustrating, with the extra cleaning and washing contributing to your concerns.

Be patient This is not your child’s fault (or yours), and whilst there are plenty of tips to stop bedwetting which you can put into practise right away, it might take a while to resolve.

Be prepared Whether you’re away from home with the family, or whether you’re preparing your child for theirfirst sleepover, there are lots of practical things you can do to ensure you all have a great time (and their secret stays safe!).

Essential for sleepovers

  • Absorbent sleeping bag liners Sleeping bags are the ideal solution for sleepovers – it’s OK for your child to take their own bag and ask to use it. The liner can be rolled up inside the sleeping bag before they take it away (if friends ask, tell your child to say the lining is to make them extra snug!).
  • Disposable absorbent pants Put them in the sleeping bag before your child sets off and no-one will see them wriggle into them.
  • Alarm clock This might help your child remember to wake up early and pop to the loo, or change wet clothes. Pack a torch too, so they can find their way quietly to the bathroom in the dark.
  • Small waterproof bag Teach your child how to put wet clothes in as soon as they wake up and tie a knot or secure the bag firmly.

Essential for family holidays

  • Waterproof bedcovers If you’re travelling with your child, this solution is a great investment. Buy a good waterproof mattress protector. You can also buy waterproof duvet protectors and waterproof pillow protectors.
  • Disposable or washable bed pads Take along a few spare pads to put on top of the sheet so you don’t have to keep rinsing it out.
  • Wet wipes and antibacterial spray Easy to pick up at the supermarket and essential for wiping down mattress covers, helping your child stay clean and preventing odours.
  • Plenty of changes of clothes and pyjamas It’s your holiday too, so minimise your time spent rinsing and washing by buying some super light PJ shorts and taking at least one pair of them for every night you’re away.
  • A roll of plastic bags to put wet items in.
  • Daytime absorbent pants and extra pads. Just in case.
  • Remember if you are going abroad you may need to pack disposable items with you, as they may not be available in another country.

Related links

ERIC provides information and support on childhood bedwetting, daytime wetting, constipation and soiling to children, young people, parents and professionals. All the bedwetting items above are available in theERIC online shop.

Find out more

Related Advice