Never a dry night

My four-year-old daughter has never had a dry night. I have tried everything -- putting her in cloth diapers, not giving her liquid after dinner, promising a reward, telling her big girls don't wear diapers and more. She is a very smart little girl and will be going to kindergarten this year. I am worried that she is taking too long to outgrow this stage. Is this within a normal range?

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Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

Twenty five percent of four year olds wet the bed, so your daughter is clearly within the normal range. She will most likely outgrow this, so the main strategy you should employ is to make sure she does not become unduly anxious about this problem.

Bedwetting is a common problem experienced by toddlers and school aged children. Most children overcome bed wetting between the ages of six and ten. However, it is quite common for children of parents who wet the bed until they were older than 10 to become "dry" at the same time their parents did.

Things to try:

  • Discourage fluids two hours before bedtime.
  • Be sure she starts the night with an empty bladder by going to the bathroom right before she goes to bed.
  • Respond positively to dry nights, but give sympathy, not criticism, to wet nights.
  • Don't allow siblings to tease her about bed wetting.

Call your doctor if:

  • She wets during the day
  • She drinks an excessive amount of liquids
  • Urination causes burning or pain
  • The urine stream seems weak or dribbly

There are additional interventions once she is a little older (over six years,) which you should discuss with your doctor.

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