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Bedwetting treatments: Reward systems

Dr. D. Preston Smith
Author Dr. D. Preston Smith
Submitted 12-10-2007

The Potty Trainer

Bedwetting can be improved if your child is rewarded for the dry nights. The biggest problem with rewarding dry nights, and not rewarding wet nights, is children hardly ever intentionally wet the bed. Therefore, if you reward them for dry nights you are rewarding them for something they feel they have no control over. On the flip side, if they wet and do not receive a reward, then they might feel disappointed or punished for something that is beyond their control.


If you are going to reward your child, you must explain that you are never mad or upset if they wet. There should be no consequences (except for helping with the soiled sheets and clothes) for being wet.


The most common reward system is a calendar and stickers. The calendar is good because it allows you and your child to see trends and progress. The stickers are usually
positive signs for a dry night. Stars, animals, or complimentary words are excellent
sticker choices.


Ideally the stickers should be placed on the day of the month or week when the child wakes up. This should be a private time between you and your child so you can talk positively about what happened even if they were not dry. If your child is embarrassed by having a reward calendar then hide it or choose a
regular calendar and label system that is less noticeable.

  • Reward Ideas

  • Hugs, Kisses, Praise

  • Extra time on computer or game

  • Small toys or items

  • Special movie

  • Special food or restaurant

The rewards should not be expensive or extravagant. If they are, the child will be especially disappointed if he is wet. The rewards should be small and simple—extra hugs, kisses, and praise is good for starters. Giving a child extra time to do his favorite activities is another good idea. A child that is dry may get “extra” benefits, but a wet child should still be given hugs, kisses, praise, and some time to do his favorite activities.


It is probably not a good idea to reward a child with candy or toys except if a special circumstance arises. If the rewards are too exciting or too fancy then your child may try to hide the wetting or they may forget to focus on the more important aspects of treating their bedwetting problem.


– Dr. D. Preston Smith


Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.