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Tips for a Bedwetting Relapse or Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis

August 16, 2021 2 min read

It is normal for children to still have the occasional accident after completing night toilet training successfully for 14 days. However, after 6 months this new wetting may be described as Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis(SNE). This is a medical term used for when a child starts wetting the bed at night again, despite having been dry for at least six months or more. This type of bedwetting affects about one in four children who have bedwetting issues, and it becomes more common as kids get older. If this happens to your child, simply start using the bedwetting alarm again, in conjunction with the Overlearning Procedure – this will help reinforce the connection.

The Overlearning Procedure

For the overlearning procedure to be of benefit, it requires that for the first 7 nights you give your child a glass of water (at least 250mls) before they settle down to sleep. As a result, they will need to go to the toilet within 2-3 hours of going to bed and either the alarm will trigger or they will wake up to the feeling of a full bladder. It doesn’t matter if they wet and trigger the alarm during this period as it brings about more learning to respond to the sensation of a full bladder. At the end of the 7 nights stop giving your child water before bed and keep the alarm on until they once again achieve 14 consecutive dry nights. Then they can then stop using the alarm.

Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis

If a child has been dry for at least 6 months and then starts to wet the bed on a regular basis (secondary nocturnal enuresis), this may need investigation. It always pays to check with your physician that your child hasn’t developed a bladder infection, constipation or some other urological condition.

In some cases secondary bed-wetting may appear following emotional distress e.g. the birth of a new child, moving house, or death of a relative. The older the child is at the onset of the secondary wetting, the more likely Visit the Kidney Foundation.

Sometimes the cause of the secondary bedwetting may have long passed or never be discovered however the bed-wetting remains - the answer is simply to start using the bedwetting alarm again.