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Health & Parenting

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Bedwetting: Tips for Sleeping Away from Home

Use these tips from experts to help a bedwetting child stay dry when he's away from home.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD

Bedwetting: It’s more common than most kids, or their parents, think. As many as one child in five wets the bed at night -- so your child is far from alone.

Still, coping with the fear of bedwetting -- also called nocturnal enuresis -- can be hard on kids when they’re away from home. But your child doesn’t have to worry about accidents during sleepovers, at camp, or on vacation. WebMD talked to urology experts about bedwetting and got their top tips for making your child’s journey away from home a happy, dry one.

Bedwetting and Sleepovers: How Can Parents Help?

Helping kids stay dry -- at home or away -- is definitely a team effort, says Jason M. Wilson, MD, associate professor of pediatric urology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Success takes an involved child “and encouraging family in and outside the home.”

And parental communication is a vital part of that. Here’s what you can do as a parent to help your child stay dry when they’re away from home:

  • Show your child you understand: It’s easy for kids to think you blame them for bedwetting. And unfortunately, some parents do. But kids don’t wet the bed because they’re lazy, obstinate, or immature. Wetting the bed is “not a behavioral issue,” says Anthony Atala, MD, chair of urology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “It’s genetic.”
  • Usually there is a family history of bedwetting, Atala tells WebMD, with a grandparent, uncle, aunt, or a parent having dealt with the issue. It may take time (and effort) but kids do overcome bedwetting. Show your child you’re on his side.
  • Offer encouragement: Your child wants to be like other kids, enjoying sleepovers, camp, and trips away to visit family -- so encourage him, tell him he can do it. And then tell him you’ll help.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor: Your child’s pediatrician is one of the best sources of advice about bedwetting. Talk to him before your child attends a sleepover. Ask your pediatrician for suggestions and treatment options that can help your child stay dry when he's away.
  • Talk to other parents, camp counselors, etc: One way to help your child manage bedwetting during sleepovers is by talking to the other adults involved. “If your child is going to a friend’s house, make sure the other parents know about the bedwetting,” says Atala, “so that they can be a part of this process as well, and keep the confidentiality of what’s going on.”
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