A few times a week we get a phone call about an upcoming sleepover. Whether it’s staying with friends or going on a school trip, sleepovers are an important and fun part of childhood. We see no reason why bedwetting should stop that.
Unfortunately, for children that wet the bed, they are very often scared of attending a sleepover for pretty obvious reasons. Sometimes they might be ashamed of wetting the bed and would do anything but risk being exposed to their friends. They might also be fearful of what the adult in charge will do if there is an accident.
When we get these calls it’s been difficult to recommend something specific because every child is different and have different needs. We have to find something that will help your child feel confident and secure, is effective for bedwetting and will be as discreet and leak-proof as possible.
Our goal at Every Nappy has always been to take the fuss out of continence care for children.
We are creating this guide to help you find the most discreet solution for your child so that they can be confident enough to enjoy sleepovers and school trips like they should be able to, feeling safe and secure in the knowledge that the products they wear won’t let them down!
We have also collected bedwetting tips and tricks from other parents and presented them here. As a parent or carer you will know a lot of what we say already and it will be common sense, we hope that you will still find a few useful tips. If you are new to bedwetting or preparing for a sleepover for the first time, this guide might be really useful.
It has been mentioned that Dads don’t always have this knowledge programmed in like Mums do, so maybe think of this as a Dad’s Guide to Bedwetting.
You might think that whatever you are doing at home will work away from home. That’s probably true for the protective products your child wears, but there are certain other things that you should leave at home.
If your child uses a bedwetting alarm for training, it might be better to leave it at home for the sleepover. Nothing is worse than a literal alarm screaming “BEDWETTER!” when there will be other people around. That’s definitely something that won’t help your child.
Around your own house your child can feel confident and relaxed. If they are using nappies, pull-ups or washable products like bed pads or washable pull-ups it isn’t really a problem because they don’t have to be embarrassed around mum or dad but that won’t be the case around their friends or other adults.
The most effective products tend to be more obvious than the most discreet products. For example, MoliCare Maxi Slip is a very effective disposable nappy but it’s thicker than normal pull-ups. A Kylie® Bed Pad will keep the mattress dry in case of any accidents but it’s either pink or blue in colour and will stand out against the bed sheets.
Whether washable or disposable, the more absorbent (that is, the more effective at preventing leaks for bedwetting) the thicker the product will be. The thicker something is, the easier it is to see under night clothes.
None of this is a problem at home, but if your child is going to be spending the night with friends they would understandably be concerned about being discovered wearing bedwetting pull-ups or sleeping on an incontinence sheet or being teased about wearing a nappy.
Some kids are awful… Not yours of course, it’s always other people’s kids that are awful.
The rest of this article is about products, tips and strategies to allow your child to really enjoy a sleepover or school trip without worrying about bed wetting.
If you don't have time to read the whole article, here are some of the products we would recommend. They are explained in greater detail later down the page.
Each of our bedwetting products has a brief description next to it. Click on the link to visit the product page.
The first thing to think about is the reliability of anything that you choose. If your child is normally happy and wakes up to a dry bed wearing our MoliCare Maxi Slip Small or Huggies Drynites® Pyjama Pants then you can be pretty confident that these will work away from home as well.
Although there are some very discreet washable options, the padding in these products tends to be thicker (for the absorbent pad) and they aren’t quite as reliable as disposable products.
You are almost always better off using the tried and tested product that you use at home.
We caution our customers:
“What do you think will be more embarrassing for your child - wearing a disposable product that works or a discreet washable product that leaks?”
I would take the view that it’s better to be hiding a very effective disposable product than to be confident wearing discreet washable pants but still wake up to wet pyjamas.
Whatever is working at home should work at a sleepover - but we might have to work a bit harder at to keep it discreet - more about that later.
Do a Trial Run First - Test Bedwetting Products at Home
We have had a lot of calls like this (usually on a Thursday):
“My daughter is going to stay at her friend’s house this friday - I need some discreet washable pants before then”
This is a bad way to help your child feel comfortable and secure.
The correct way is to have a plan long before the first sleepover or school trip. If your child would like something discreet and washable then order them a few weeks before you go and test them out at home first.
That way if there are any problems you can hopefully look for alternatives before the big day.
This also goes for the other options available, so if you normally use Drynites® and you are looking for more absorbent pull-ups then order those in advance and try them out. If they normally use nappies and you want to try a larger size, order them and try them out before the sleepover.
Nappies are the most effective overnight protection but younger children might find them tricky to put on themselves meaning that you are going to have to talk to a parent or teacher to help them out - more about that later - Give your child plenty of time to practise putting the nappy on and taking it off by themselves.
Older children generally prefer pull-ups to nappies, so get some pull-ups and test them out to make sure they don’t leak. Pull-ups can leak more often than nappies but they have their advantages too.
Whatever you decide to use, practise and test long before the sleepover or school trip.
The thing that your children are most scared about is others discovering that they wet the bed.
Even if you find the most discreet solution in the world it will mean nothing if your child still wakes up in wet sheets, so please test at home first.
Sleepovers with sleeping bags are much easier to deal with than sleepovers in normal beds and will change the way you approach the problem.
The number of days away from home is another factor you have to think about.
We will go onto this in more detail but the basic points are that with sleeping bags you can hide things inside them and get changed inside them privately. For sleepovers that will involve sleeping under normal covers, we will have to get more creative.
The number of days away is important because you will need to take as many washable pants or disposable products as there are days (plus spares in case of accidents).
Horseplay! (an old fashioned word for messing about) - It’s difficult to know exactly how kids will behave together but generally school trips / football camps, scouts and brownies will probably involve less playfighting, wrestling, pillow fighting etc than staying at a friend’s house. This is a consideration for the type of product your child will wear and when they choose to put it on.
If there is likely to be some horseplay before bedtime the risk of a nappy or pull-ups being discovered is higher, so think about how best to dress and which bedwetting products will be most suitable.
If it’s going to be all about tea parties, watching TV and playing computer games then maybe you have less to worry about.
Different products work for different children, our advice is general but always consider the needs and preferences of your child. At the end of the day, whatever works for them works!
Before we start explaining each disposable bedwetting product we should point out a few things. Even though nappies offer the best absorbency and leak resistance, and pull-ups are the second best, there are problems with disposable products and some children might have problems using them:
- Disposal - If your child is going away for a few days they are going to want to dispose of their used products somewhere or somehow
- Environmental - Disposable products tend to have a higher environmental impact than washables - but what price would you pay for your child’s confidence?
- Acceptance - Your child might hate the whole idea of disposables, in which case don’t force the issue - just move on to something else.
- Difficulty Using - Pull-ups are fine because you just pull them up but nappies with tapes on can be trickier meaning that an adult might have to help if they are a bit younger, which you or your child might object strongly to - talk about it beforehand and practise at home
- Embarrassment - For some children the shame of a disposable product is much more important than how protective it is. You might need to have a chat about how much better protected they will feel and how nobody will find out about it
You know in the supermarkets that nappies go up to size 6 or 6+? Well there is a size 7 available and we sell it. It’s called Libero Comfort Fit Size 7 and is often prescribed by the NHS for older or larger children with special needs.
This product has two tapes, one on each side, like a standard baby nappy. If your child is currently using Size 6 then definitely try out the Size 7.
It has a soft backing material, resealable hook and loop tapes and is really really thin, so very discreet for younger children.
This product is suitable for children up to around 6 years old and is the least absorbent disposable product we sell. If your child is leaking out of Size 6 nappies over night, go straight to Abena Abri-Form below.
As with any product the size guide doesn’t tell the whole story, you can use this for children that are older than 6 as a daytime nappy, but bear in the mind the absorbency level for over night, which is why we say maximum age of 6 years old.
If your child is currently using Libero Size 7 or Pampers 6+, the Abena Abri Form Junior XS2 is the next size up. This is a nappy with 4 tapes, two on each side. This is good because it means you get a tight fit at the leg and at the waist, minimising leaks.
It is roughly double the capacity of Size 6+ so is also ideal if you having issues with leaking due to absorbency. It is also more absorbent than Drynites® so if your child is leaking out of Drynites® pull-ups give these a go instead.
This nappy was specifically designed for older children and isn’t simply a scaled up baby product or scaled down adult product. The padding in between the legs is narrower than competing products meaning it’s more comfortable, has a better fit and doesn’t bulge out too much making it more discreet.
It’s a nappy; so the obvious drawbacks about putting them on apply, but unlike the MoliCare® Maxi below this product has a soft outer cover so it’s not crinkly and the tapes can be refastened as many times as you need.
Even though this is a nappy it’s actually quite thin so easily hidden under PJs.
This is our best selling bed wetting nappy and is suitable for children between 3 and about 9 years old.
After that we say to use the MoliCare® Maxi Slip size Small because of the greater absorbency for use over night however the waist size of the Abena Abri Form Junior XS2 goes up to 65cm so is suitable for kids up to around 13 years old, again it's all about whether it works for you.
If the capacity is good enough this is still a great choice for older children because of the leak free fit and thin padding design.
Drynites® - Pull-ups designed by Huggies for bedwetting.
These are pull-ups designed specifically for bedwetting. They are just like toddler pull-ups with stretchy sides but scaled up in size.
They are available in three different sizes up to 15 Years old (57Kg) and come in boys and girls designs.
This is a very popular product and seems to be effective for a lot of children. Older children might find the designs on the waterproof backing too immature as the largest size goes from 8 to 15 years. The tastes of the average 15 year old are quite different to the average 8 year old so they might not be too keen on the decorations.
However, for a lot of children these do the trick, they are quite discreet (apart from the bright colours) and they are pull-ups so very easy to use while also being fairly thin.
We don’t sell them but you can buy them at almost any supermarket - Check out mysupermarket for current offers.
It can sound a little bit crinkly close up but we have some tricks for that later. Your child might want to wear thicker, darker coloured PJs and maybe normal pants or knickers over the top so you can’t see the bright patterns through.
Some children find that these will leak if they have more than one wee or if they are a bit older and have a larger bladder. Others have reported skin irritation. They aren’t perfect, but they do work for many children, are relatively cheap and easy to get hold of and despite the crinkles and the colours can be hidden discreetly.
Bear in mind that pull-ups tend to leak more than nappies so test at home first, perhaps try Upsey Daisy waterproof protective pants over the top (read about those below).
This is a size small adult nappy and offers absolutely the best overnight bedwetting protection bar none.
A problem that other products have when they are full is “weeping” where urine slowly osmosis out through the cover leaving a wet feeling on the outside. MoliCare® Maxi has a completely plastic back sheet so this won’t happen.
It is also highly absorbent, more than capable of handling a full night.
Although this is a size small adult product we have loads of parents buying it for smaller children (age 4+). The leg design of this product is such that it will close up and stay watertight on much smaller legs than you might think.
When you absolutely can’t afford a leak, this is the product to choose (that said, test it at home first).
This nappy is suitable when pull-ups are no longer absorbent enough, when Abena Abri Form Junior XS2 is too small or when your child wants the best protection available. It will fit from age 4 to a small adult.
There are some drawbacks though - because it has the old fashioned plastic backing it is crinklier than other products. The extremely high absorbency makes it bulkier than other products.
As it’s an adult product it’s also quite large on smaller children, so will come up a long way on the body. This makes it effective, but hardly a fashion accessory.
It’s a nappy with 4 tapes so some children might need help getting in and out of them or just really prefer not to use them at all. Once the tapes are closed, that’s it. They are resealable once only (meaning that once they are taped up you can only open and close them once more) so if your child gets up in the night to go to the loo it can cause issues.
We had one customer tell us that when their daughter wanted to get up to go to the loo, she was so firmly taped in that it was easier to do it in the nappy - this is the opposite of what you want, so please exercise caution and keep an eye out for that. On the other hand it demonstrates the effectiveness and absorbency in a somewhat backwards way.
Nonetheless, this is our second best selling bedwetting nappy behind the Abena Abri Form Junior XS2.
Because of the thickness this might be something to consider as an “at home” product. We have been told by parents that some older children tell them that they’ve had enough of wet beds and just want the best protection, regardless of it being a nappy. If you’ve run up against this then MoliCare Maxi Slip Small is the best choice.
Testimonial - Anna - Long time Every Nappy customer
"In all the time we've used it I don't remember a single leak over night, except once when we got up really late!"
This is a plain white pull-up suitable for older children (approx 6+). This is a popular product because it’s more absorbent than Drynites® and there are larger sizes and absorbencies available if required.
This product is plain white all over meaning that older children will find it far more discreet than the childrens patterns on the Drynites® product.
This pull-up is a scaled down adult design, so instead of having elastic side panels it’s elasticated all around the top. This feels more secure and comfy for some children.
Some of our customers have switched from MoliCare Slip Maxi (above) to these when their children are a bit older and have decided they’ve had enough of wearing nappies.
Although this product is effective, the padding is slightly thicker than the Drynites product so it’s not as easy to hide (we have some tips, see below).
Pull-ups tend to leak more often than nappies, so testing at home is vital if you choose to use these.
Over all these are a solid choice and more of a "grown-up pull-up" for older children.
Abena® Abri-Soft Bed Pads
Disposable bed pads are really handy at home but they can also be of some use away too.
For many children it’s not actually wetting the bed that’s the problem, it’s the fear of wetting the bed and if their host parent, teacher or carer will be angry with them.
Abena® Abri-Soft are disposable bed pads that can be slipped under the sheets by a teacher or parent when nobody's looking. Your child will feel much better knowing that should there be an accident the pad will be there.
This doesn’t get around potentially waking up with wet pajamas, but if it’s only a confidence boost your child needs, this should do the trick.
This relies on you talking to someone to prepare beforehand - more about that later.
There is no perfect solution to bedwetting. Disposables have their place as mentioned earlier, but also have problems.
We have some amazingly discreet washable pants that look almost exactly like normal underwear. As always, if you are considering one of these for a sleepover then test it at home first to be 100% certain that they won’t let your child down.
Washable pants don't work in the same way that disposables do. Disposable products use fluff pulp fibers and SAP crystals to absorb urine quickly and keep it away from the skin. Washables use textile fibers so their performance is limited by the number of fibers in a given product. For this reason the most effective washable products tend to be the ones with more padding inside. Washables should always be changed as soon as you know they are wet, so if your child decides to take washable pants with them make sure they have spares as well. If washable products aren't changed they will leak. The advantage of them though is the fact they can be made to look just like ordinary pants from the outside, so can be very discreet if managed correctly.
The cost advantage of washables is pretty obvious too - there is a huge saving if you can replace all of your disposable bedwetting products with washable ones.
Washables also have problems but can be a better solution for some children. Even better, you can use some washables and disposables together for extra protection.
Problems with washable bedwetting products
- Thickness - Fabric is less absorbent than SAP used in disposables, so washables have to be much thicker to offer the same absorbency.
- Disposal - If your child is staying for a few nights they have to do something with any wet products, and they can't just throw them away like disposables
- Feeling Wet - Disposables are expressly designed to keep urine off the skin - washables are not which may lead to that sticky wet stinging feeling that nobody likes and possibly sore areas
- Leaks - Textile based products are much more likely to leak than disposables
For all of their disadvantages though, washable products definitely should be considered. If you came across this article looking for a discreet bedwetting sleepover solution then you may just find one of these washable products is useful at home when discretion and performance is less important.
Kylie® Bed Pad - Washable Absorbent Bed Pad
The Kylie® Bed Pad has been around for many years. Maybe you can even remember sleeping on one when you were growing up!
They are either a pink or blue quilted pad with flaps sewn on each end to tuck under the mattress.
If you would like more information please read our blog post "What Is A Kylie Sheet - Kylie Bed Pads Explained"
The quilted top layer sucks urine down inside, away from the skin while the waterproof backing keeps it off the bed. Simple really! Kylie® Bed Pads are extremely hard wearing and can be washed many many times.
Taking one to a sleepover might be a bit more difficult though because they are designed for the sleeper to lie directly on top of the quilted surface with no sheets in between which means that anybody looking at your child’s bed will see the pad.
It’s possible that you can speak to a teacher or parent to prepare the bed before bed time but they aren’t 100% discreet, as in, someone might notice while your child is getting in or out of bed and you still have the wet pyjamas issue in the morning.
For this reason, if you are considering using a Kylie® bed pad at the sleepover, also use a washable or disposable product to wear anyway. The Kylie® should be used as a backup.
When at home, whatever bedwetting nappies or pull-ups your child wears, a Kylie® is still a very sensible backup protection. As washable bedwetting underwear leaks more often than disposables a Kylie® pad is a must at home.
KayCey® Bodysuit - A popper vest to keep your child’s bottom half covered up!
You might be wondering “If my child wets the bed, then what good is a vest?”
Picture this: Your child feels happy and secure with Drynites® Pull-ups, they are absorbent enough, comfortable fit etc. Your child is terrified about the other children finding out about the Drynites®. They worry that the other kids will see the Drynites® poking out of the top of the pajama bottoms waistband, or up their nightie when they are sitting down, or be seen through the material of their night clothes.
What do you do?
KayCey® Bodysuits fasten up at the crotch, so they cover the whole top half of the body. They also have longer legs at the bottom, about as long as the legs on a pair of boxers.
How about this? - Your child is wearing the Drynites® or any other pull-up or nappy, but then they wear the vest over the top. This prevents the pull-ups from poking out of the top of the pajama waistband or somehow being seen under the nightie.
If there is some horseplay, a play fight, a pillow fight, running around etc then the chances of being discovered vanish towards impossible as everything is always covered up. There is no chance that the nappy can ever be seen.
Not only that but the extra layer of fabric will eliminate the crinkling that you get from some products, and for bulkier products the extra layer will help to hide the profile of the nappy / pull-ups from being too obvious through the nightwear.
Even better, if you choose a dark colour, it will mask the bright colours of the Drynites.
Of course the vest will cover anything worn on the bottom half, it’s designed to cover up nappies, that’s it’s job.
If you are unfamiliar with the idea of a popper vest for older children you can read more about it in our blog post here.
You might think “That’s great, nappies and pull-ups can be worn perfectly discreetly. But what about the other kids teasing my child because they are wearing a baby popper vest or something?” Well that doesn’t have to be the case!
Firstly, kids often wear a vest under their pajamas, that’s normal, especially if it’s cold. It’s completely unremarkable.
Secondly, all-in-ones, onesies, bodysuits etc are in fashion right now, so rather than it being an embarrassing and shameful way to cover up pull-ups, it becomes a comfortable, warm fashion statement. KayCey® products have been designed right from the beginning to be fashionable and age appropriate.
Our size guide goes up to 14 years old (although they will fit up to a ladies dress size 10 or gentleman’s 30” waist so will be suitable for larger or older children) and they are available in pink, blue, navy, white and grey.
Other reasons to consider buying a KayCey® bodysuit are things like keeping nappies in place, they are less likely to leak if held in place correctly. It will keep full, heavy nappies in place in the morning rather than around your child’s ankles.
This is the most discreet solution to bedwetting and sleepovers problem that I can think of:
- Wear the disposable product that works for your child
- Cover the disposable product with the Upsey Daisy protective briefs
- Wear a KayCey® Bodysuit over the top
- Wear loose fitting PJs over the top of the bodysuit
Certainly get these products in advance before the sleepover and try them out. Have your child look themselves over in the mirror to make them 100% confident before they leave.
There is one disadvantage to wearing a popper vest, and that’s if your child wants to wee in a hurry. If they go to the bathroom but can’t quite strip off in time you might have a prematurely wet pull-up. It’s not the end of the world though, it’s why practising is important so they can do up and undo the popper studs on their own (and why they should take spare stuff to wear).
KayCey® body suits are designed to help children with special needs. The design of the vest helps to keep hands out of dirty nappies. Because of this, younger children might find the poppers a bit fiddly to do up and undo on their own (this is by design, to stop children undressing and removing nappies) so some discreet adult help would be very useful if you decide to try out the vest.
On the positive side of this though, it also means a vest is extremely unlikely to get unfastened and come off somehow during some play fighting or messing about, so it's really secure.
Going back to the types of sleepover we talked about earlier, the vest might be a really good idea if you are expecting lots of rough playing and an active party, just as long as you have some trusted adult help to help your child get changed.
There are two elements to this. Firstly, once your child is wearing whatever product you choose to use, how will they keep it hidden from other people?
The second is where to store the products before they use them and in the morning when they are potentially wet.
To make sure that other children can’t see the products when they are being worn it’s obviously important that they aren’t on show. We have already covered the vest idea above which should be pretty effective, but there are some other steps you can take.
Wear normal underwear over the top of the bedwetting product - especially in the case of disposables. You might have to choose a size larger pants to cover everything, but then tuck the product below the waistline of the pants so nothing is visible. This has the advantage that for crinkly products likes Drynites® or MoliCare® Maxi it keeps the noise to a minimum.
It also holds the product in place so that it’s less likely to leak. If a dreaded waistband peek does occur all anyone will see is normal knickers or pants. Full briefs or short styles will work best. Choose a dark colour to hopefully block out whatever colour is underneath.
Upsey Daisy protective pants are ideal for this because they look like normal underwear, are available for boys and girls and have a waterproof layer inside for extra security.
Wear loose fitting nightwear. For girls a nightie is probably a better option because it hangs off the body so won’t reveal the profile of something bulky underneath. For boys, if wearing two piece pyjamas, wear a loose top that can hang down below the waist.
If you have a younger child, like under 12, they can probably wear a onesie without raising any suspicions. I suspect that there will be a lot of kids out there that would love a Frozen or Spider man themed onesie to sleep in. This might be a bit more difficult as they get older but girls can probably get away it until adulthood as it seems to be in fashion at the moment. Again, choose something loose fitting and with thicker material so it’s not seethrough.
Next we have to address how to hide any special underwear they are bringing with them. It’s really useful to be able to talk to the supervising adult to help out with this but there are a couple of strategies.
Hide the bedwetting underwear inside pyjamas or nightie so they are ready to go when required. At bed time your child can take themselves away to the privacy of the bathroom to get changed, taking only their rolled up PJs or nightie with them.
If it’s a sleeping bag event, hide everything you need at the bottom of the sleeping bag and get changed once inside.
If your child is staying multiple nights you might have to plan this carefully but apparently the “hiding stuff in the bottom of the sleeping bag” is tried and tested through many previous generations and seems to work just fine.
Another idea might be to stuff a couple of pull-ups into a sponge bag so your child can make their excuses about brushing teeth and going to the loo, but get changed when the tap is running, perfectly discreetly.
If your child is going to need a hand getting changed then you will need to have one of the adults help out. You can agree a code word beforehand so the parent or adult can take your child from the room and help them out in private - maybe something like “You have to come and take your medicine”. The other kids can be told it’s the kind of medicine you have to take in private, and if they ask questions just have your child tell them it’s to help them sleep - because it’s true.
Mornings present another challenge - hopefully it’s been a dry and uneventful night but you have to plan for when it isn’t. Wet clothes and nappies / pull-ups can be stored discreetly in all sorts of places.
Taking a few nappy bags or a swimming bag to store wet things in is a good idea. If it’s a sleeping bag thing then they can even strip off inside the sleeping bag and emerge completely dry and clean.
If it’s been a wet night then they will probably want a shower, which means the privacy of the bathroom. Plenty of time to get any wet things off and stored, quick shower and fresh clothes. Nobody need know anything.
This is where having an adult to help out is important. They can agree a hidden place somewhere in the bathroom to hide clean pull-ups / nappies or a place to store wet clothes in the morning.
Mornings are again where it helps to have a parent or carer help out. They can provide a distraction to get the other kids out of the room while adult helps your child get cleaned up. They can then set about tidying up the bedroom, disposing of anything and changing the sheets if required while the kids are occupied doing something else, reducing the chances of the bedwetting being discovered later in the day.
Waterproof materials tend to be plastics, and plastics are sometimes crinkly. If you've already spent time thinking about how your child can wear a bedwetting product that can't be seen, also take a moment to think about how they can't be heard.
We should say, first of all, that any crinkling noises coming from pull-ups or nappies will sound much louder to the wearer than anyone else. Nobody will probably notice a thing, but your child might feel better knowing that the crinkle is reduced.
The things you do to visually hide anything will help to hide the noise as well, this is just a quick rundown for you.
- Layers - The more layers on top of a nappy / pull-up the less it can be heard - The KayCey bodysuits are perfect for this
- Compression - Tight fitting knickers or pants over the top will reduce the noise.
- Fit - If a nappy or pull-up fits really well it will be less crinkly
For your child to feel 100% confident at the sleepover they have to be sure that what they use will work. Whatever your solution, nappies, pull-ups, washable pants etc try them at home every night as though it’s a real sleepover.
Get the PJs or nightie right, try and try again until you have completely leak free nights. Rehearse slipping away to get changed into nightwear and in the morning rehearse the morning routine.
You might need to get a larger size of night wear if the product they wear is a bit bulky, so plan in advance.
If you are planning to use a nappy then have your child practise putting it on themselves. If they can get it right this will be much better for them, having the superior protection it provides without needing adult help to get dressed. It can be tricky to get a tight, leakproof seal at the legs, so practising every night will be really useful when sleepover time arrives. Not only that but it’s another job you won’t have to do every night!
The more prepared your child is, and the more leak free nights they have, the more confident they will be when they get to the sleepover.
For some children the fear of being discovered is so crippling that it becomes all consuming. Trying everything out at home will go a long way to help out.
You might even want to do trial runs where you invite a best friend over before the big sleepover or school trip as managing bedwetting during a sleepover at home is going to be easier than away. If there is a friend that also wets the bed it might be helpful to have them over as any accidental discoveries during testing should be less of an issue.
Once your child is dressed up in their sleepover gear have them take a look in the mirror. If you have done everything right then whatever they wear under their night clothes will be completely invisible.
As a concerned parent you have probably done your best with this anyway, but it’s really important that your child can see for themselves. Have them do a twirl to check all sides. They will hopefully be really surprised and satisfied that nothing is on show.
You can help prepare your child with a toileting schedule. You might already be doing this if you are managing bedwetting but if not, here is the principle: If there is less fluid in the bladder, less of it can come out on the bed so teach them to try to get one last wee before bed time to squeeze everything out. This will reduce the damage should an accident occur.
If you have managed to talk to the host parent or teachers then tell them about the toileting schedule too. Some parents swear by “waking” to reduce accidents, so getting the child up during the night to have another wee.
Parents or teachers can do so much to help in these situations, even if your child begs you not to tell them it might actually be a better option. Knowing that a capable adult will be there to help them might be a huge relief once they found out that you told someone - of course this is sensitive, you’ll have to be careful. More about that below.
If your child is on any medication for bedwetting then make sure they take it with them and that they take the medication. Even if it’s not really working at the moment the placebo effect might make them feel more confident going into a sleepover.
Making a plan is vitally important for self confidence. If you can’t stop the bedwetting at least you can decide how to deal with it. Having the evening routine planned out, like when they will get dressed, when they will put on whatever product you decide to use, how they will keep it hidden from their peers will be really useful.
Also planning what to do if something goes wrong - I’m sure most parents wouldn’t mind too much if their child’s friend came to them at 3am and explained there had been an accident. It happens in every home, it’s not a big deal.
Planning to take spare PJs and pull-ups / nappies if required can be helpful too. Even if your child doesn’t need them it’s really good to know they are there, just in case.
You should also talk about the consequences if everything goes wrong. Whatever your child imagines might be the response they will probably find it’s better than they had feared. Who knows, maybe their friend also wets the bed? It’s very common. Either way, having talked about what might happen will probably go a long way to reassure them.
Your child might be absolutely certain that nobody outside their home should ever find out about the bedwetting. If that’s the case then you can try to persuade them that you need to tell a couple of adults so that their friends don’t find out. This might be a fair compromise.
If they still don’t want anyone to know then it’s up to you, as the parent, to decide what to do.
It’s a sensitive subject, one that will require careful consideration. It might help to talk about it at length with your child so they can understand the bigger picture. If they really don’t want anyone to know then agree to keep it a secret.
Ultimately you can still tell a teacher or parent about it but ask them not to let on that they know. Parents are used to playing games like this. You might decide that it would be too much for your child to take if they ever found out that someone else knows, in which case you can do your best to manage it confidentially with the tips above.
It can be really useful for the adult in charge to know what they are dealing with, especially if something goes wrong and they need to help out in a hurry.
Teachers and support staff, the kind you get on school trips, are pretty unshockable. They have seen it all. At least 1 in 5 younger children still regularly wet the bed so the chances that your teacher has never dealt with this before are slim.
You might find the school already has an action plan in place for just this sort of thing. Schools take all children and some of them will have very specific needs. Teachers and support staff are required to provide whatever care your child needs. Bedwetting won’t be a shock to them. If it’s a class of 30, 6 of the children might all be in the same position - all managing it secretly and discreetly. On most school trips there will be a designated person to help out with care needs. Find out who they are and ask them any questions you need to.
Just have an adult conversation, explain that it happens, explain if they are taking any sort of medications or special clothes with them (pull-ups, nappy etc) and what you think the appropriate help / if any should be. You can ask them if they ever dealt with it before and how they usually handle it. You will probably find they take it in their stride and don’t give it a second thought.
If your child reacts badly to the idea that you will be telling a teacher, then maybe the trip will be taking some parents along that can help out. Larger schools will have a nurse or matron that you can tell. As the teacher is an authority figure, it might be better to ask one of the parents that your child likes to give them a hand, this is much less embarassing than a teacher knowing their secret.
If there is a trusted parent that will be going, maybe you can arrange a sleepover at their house before hand to allow them to practise helping your child in easier surroundings. It will also reinforce the trust between your child and that parent.
You can give teachers or helpers extra pull-ups, nappies waterproof pants etc to hold onto if required and explain any special toileting arrangements. This will avoid the issue of your child trying to keep all of their extra stuff hidden in their bag where it might be seen by other children.
If your child has a favourite teacher that they feel closer to you can all sit down together and talk about it. It could be a massive relief to your child to know that somebody else knows and will take care of them.
Sensible parents will be happy to help because your child is there to have fun with their child, which is harder to do if they are scared or worried about bedwetting.
Let’s be honest here, the person you are probably going to tell is Mum. Nothing against dads (I am one) but this tends to be mum's area of expertise.
Everyone is different and you can’t always expect the same level of professionalism that you will get from teachers. If you suspect this will be the case feel free to lay out some rules about who knows about the bedwetting (which should be nobody), what your child will need in the way of help (if any), morning arrangements, night time arrangements, what happens if there is an accident etc.
If you would like your child to sleep on a Kylie® Bed Pad or Abena® Abri Soft disposable pad then discreetly hand it over when you drop off your child and ask them to prepare the bed with it. Hopefully then the bed will be nice and protected when they climb in and nobody will find out about it.
If your child is really well prepared they can probably manage everything on their own. If they are going to need a hand with nappies, fastening their KayCey® popper vest or getting washed in the morning then it’s definitely better that you explain this before your child arrives.
You can ask the adult to agree a secret place in the bathroom where fresh pull-ups / nappies can be hidden until they are needed, and a place to put wet things in the morning.
Imagine the scene. It’s your child’s birthday party and they have invited their best two friends to stay over. You get a phone call from one of the parents to explain that their child wets the bed.
If you are a mum reading this, all of the points below will be second nature and pretty obvious. Dads though sometimes like a list (please forgive the obvious sweeping generalisations and sexism).
I am a dad. This guide is written from a practical male perspective - I don’t mean to patronise anyone. As Iwona from our accounts department told me, “Well, you’re a man and men can be “limited”. You should write a checklist”. Thanks Iwona...
- Ask any questions that you need to know right away. Mum or Dad will probably be more than happy to explain the toileting schedule, any special stuff they are taking, anything they might need help with. Don’t forget that the child’s mum or dad might be as worried about it as the child, so taking an interest and making sure you have everything covered will put their mind at ease.
- Volunteer to make it a sleeping bag party. Sleeping bags are so much easier to manage with bedwetting because the child can privately get changed, use a sleeping bag liner, hide stuff inside etc. Telling the mum or dad this up front will be a weight off their shoulders.
- Keep it confidential - nobody needs to know about this, not even the child that wets the bed. They might be upset to learn that their friend’s mum or dad knows about it - so keep it to yourself (unless it comes up of course).
- If you hear any teasing going on, stop it immediately. It’s hard enough being a bedwetter without kids teasing you.
- Be prepared to get up in the middle of the night - If an accident happens and your child’s soggy friend comes to you at 2am, get up and deal with it right away. It might only take a few minutes to get the shower on, go through their stuff and bring them fresh clothes and sort out the bed. If you can do it without anyone waking up, then good job. Let them know everything is ok.
- Reassurance - Some children will be scared that they will get into trouble for wetting the bed. Reassure them and make sure they know that there is no problem and you don’t mind about it at all. If they have an accident they might be very upset, so calm them down and help them to relax. It’s important for them to know that whatever happens you won’t be angry.
- Maintain privacy and dignity - If the child needs some sort of help like getting washed, putting on a nappy, getting dressed etc make sure you do this privately well away from the other children or other adults. You should try to ensure the highest amount of dignity for the child if these tasks are your responsibility.
- Get a waterproof mattress protector - We sell the Kylie® waterproof mattress protector which has a nice soft brushed cotton topping. Put one on all the beds so the child doesn’t feel singled out. If anyone asks about them just say they are to make the bed more comfortable.
- Keep a spare set of nightclothes handy - not every parent is as prepared as you and the child might have been sent without anything spare to wear. Sometimes accidents happen. If you can orchestrate a quick middle-of-the-night pyjamas change before anyone notices then that’s a win. Even better if you can do a quick wash and dry cycle and return the clean clothes before morning.
- Don't go on about it - Demonstrate that it really isn’t a big deal and it happens all the time. Offer your reassurance and tell them it happens to everyone sometimes. It will mean the world to the child if you play it low-key.
- Don’t give them underwear to wear that they didn’t come with - I’m talking here about nappies / pull-ups etc. If they didn’t arrive with it then don’t give it to them because it will be absolutely the worst possible thing imaginable to them. You might think you are doing them a favour, you definitely aren’t. Don’t ever do that.
- Have an evening and morning routine prepared - You need a way to get rid of the other kids so you can help out if required. Having them leave the room and go somewhere else while you help the child get dressed (if required), clean up any wet bedding and help out with a shower will make life easier for everyone.
- Disposal - If you see a wet pull-up lying around, put it in the bin somewhere it can’t be seen. It might also help to have a quiet word with the child to let them know you’ve done that so they aren’t stressed about where it went.
I already mentioned the “medicine” idea above. If the child needs some sort of help then you can make up an excuse about giving them their medicine in private to separate them from the rest of the kids. It works at night, in the morning and during the night if there is an accident.
You might not have been told by the parents to expect anything like this. Remember that almost every child will wet the bed at some point and it’s much more likely when they are in an unfamiliar place. Even if you haven’t been warned, understand that a child staying with you might wet the bed and it might be a complete one off, in which case they might be even more upset. Be sensitive and do what you can to help.
If your little one sometimes wets the bed, the idea that someone will find out about their accidents is their normally their biggest fear. Help them overcome this by choosing the most appropriate products to wear, the best clothing to hide it and plan for what they will do to keep it secret.
Tell the adult host about the bedwetting if you feel it will help.
Practise hard at home first and make sure that your child is confident there will be no leaks.
For the best security we would recommend a disposable product covered with Upsey Daisy protective pants with a KayCey® vest over the top, followed by loose fitting pajamas, nightie or onesie. All children are different - you have to try these things out until you find something that works.
If you’ve found this post useful please pass it on to your friends or anyone you think will benefit from it. Best of luck, we hope your child can start enjoying sleepovers as much as any other child.
Special thanks to our customers that contributed: Anna, Lisa and Zoe
Photo Credit: User AnneCN from Flickr