Your 5 1/4-year-old: Handling bed-wetting

Your 5 1/4-year-old: Handling bed-wetting

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Your 5-year-old now

About one out of five kids this age still wets the bed. This is normal. Daytime and nighttime dryness are separate potty training milestones that can happen months, or even years, apart. Some children's bodies just take longer to mature than others. In most cases, time is your friend: Bed-wetting almost always resolves itself by adolescence.

The most important thing to know is that bed-wetting is involuntary – your child can't control it. If she gets upset or frustrated, reassure her that it's not her fault.

Clean up accidents matter-of-factly. Protect the mattress with a good pad, and keep a change of sheets handy so you can get her back into a dry bed as efficiently as possible in the middle of the night. Some 5-year-olds may resist wearing training pants to bed because they're "too babyish." Another option is washable or disposable underwear designed for kids who wet the bed. (Try pointing out that nighttime underpants are even available for grown-ups who need them.)

If your child has been consistently dry at night and then starts to wet the bed again or has symptoms such as painful urination, check with her doctor to rule out a medical problem. For example, constipation or a urinary tract infection can cause bed-wetting.

Your life now

Try to develop a good after-school routine for your child. For example, have a snack, do a quiet activity, then head outside to play before dinner. Kindergartners may be physically and mentally exhausted when they come home. Whether school is all day or half day, it often requires so much attention and energy that they're sapped at the end.

Make sure you or your child's caregiver is extra patient during the transition from school to home. Grumpiness or poor behavior could be a sign of fatigue. Your 5-year-old has had to hold it together all day at school (where he knows you expect him to behave), but he feels comfortable and secure enough at home to let it all out. Sometimes moving bedtime just half an hour earlier can help.

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