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Tips for bedwetting children who want to enjoy a sleepover


Bedwetting (also called nocturnal enuresis) happens when the bladder empties without permission during sleep. There are three main reasons this occurs:

  • The inability to waken to a full bladder.
  • The bladder becomes overactive at night and cannot store urine.
  • The kidneys make a large amount of urine at night and the bladder has difficulty holding this.

It affects approximately 19% of children between the ages of five and twelve years of age. Sleepovers and school camps are an important part of school life in Australia. This can be a very exciting time. However, for children who continue to wet the bed, sleepovers can be a cause of distress and worry. Some children may avoid sleepovers. It is important to know that many children can manage to stay dry on camps and sleepovers and have a great time despite all the worry.

Bedwetting at Camp

Things To Consider

When is the camp or sleepover?

Give yourselves ample time to prepare and trial different strategies in the familiarity of your own home. We encourage seeking professional help.


How old is your child and how much responsibility can they take on their own?

You may need to tell the adult who is supervising your child about the bedwetting so they are prepared to assist your child.


Is your child going to require protection for themselves and/or the bed?

Your child needs to learn ways of using the products (e.g. bed pads can be discreetly placed in sleeping bags). You will need to teach your child how to discreetly dispose of products (e.g. setting an alarm clock earlier than others and get up and dispose of products in a suitable rubbish bin).


Does your child get up to the toilet during the night?

Ensure your child is orientated to their new surroundings and that they are aware that they should go to toilet before bed and again just before sleep (children tend to talk for sometime after going to bed and the bladder will be re-filling). Ensure a night light or torch is available to find the toilet.


Source:  Written by Denise Edgar (Clinical Nurse Consultant, CFA NSW). This information has been reviewed and accepted by the Paediatric Advisory Committee (2012)