Losing sleep over bedwetting

Kiwi mums could be losing as much as 10,000 hours of sleep a night and families facing 17000 extra hours of washing each day due to children who are not yet ready to be dry at night.

In a new Colmar Brunton survey commissioned by HUGGIES® DryNites® Pyjama Pants in March (n = 301), it was found that:

  • 25% of respondents (parents of children age 3 – 12) have a child who regularly wets the bed. That equates to 100,000 New Zealand families with a child who wets the bed¹.
  • on average, in those families with a child who regularly wets the bed, mum loses 44 minutes of sleep weekly, dad loses 24 minutes weekly, siblings lose 18 minutes weekly and the bedwetting child loses 35 minutes of sleep weekly. 
  • on average, families with a child who regularly wets the bed are tasked with one hour and 13 minutes of extra washing, drying and bed-making each week.
  • this data means that families with a child who regularly wets the bed are collectively dealing with about 17000 extra hours of washing every day and mums are collectively losing about 10000 hours of sleep each night across New Zealand¹. 

Karen Magrath who is National Advisor Well-Child and Parenting at Plunket says: “The hormone that tells a child’s body to make less urine at night may not have kicked in yet. The waking response to a full bladder may not be fully developed either, and their bladder may not yet be big enough to hold all the urine they make while they are sleeping.”

“Children’s bodies reach these developmental milestones at varying times. Children cannot be trained to not wet the bed. Being ready to be dry at night comes in a child’s own individual time, so we support parents to have realistic expectations. The important thing is for parents to give their children loving support, talk to them gently and openly and patiently and let them develop at their own pace, despite the frustration they may feel,” she says.

If a child is experiencing regular bedwetting past age 7, parents should talk to their GP or to a Clinical Nurse Specialist from local Public Health Services who are trained to provide support for clinical enuresis.

  1. Source: the Statistics New Zealand 2013 Census reports that there are 465,150 one and two parent families with children age 5 to 14 in New Zealand. The number of families with children age 3 to 12 (an equivalent 9 year window) in 2017 has been estimated for the purposes of this analysis at 400,000.


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