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Tips on caring for people with learning disabilities - bedwetting

  • 1 Comment is partnering with Netbuddy to help nurses care for people with learning disabilities. Here, we look at tips on bedwetting.


Use a Conveen (if the person is male). These have totally solved the wet bed problem. Works like a sheath, attached to a tube so the urine flows into a bag.  Available on NHS from a doctor’s scrip. Coloplast organise home deliveries superbly efficiently.

Two duvets are as good as one

I can’t get a thick winter duvet into my washing machine, which is a problem when it gets soiled. But I’ve found that if I put two thin duvets together they’re as warm as a thick one, and I can wash them separately.

PVC-covered beds

You can get very strong, robust furniture, including PVC-covered beds, mattresses and pillows designed for use by people with special needs and incontinence problems.

No clothes, no wet bed

I’ve found that if my son goes to bed naked, he is less likely to wet the bed. Respite have found the same. Presume the sensation of control is better.

Bed protectors

Find cheap bed protectors on ebay. I have saved £££s that way.

Avoid cocoa at night

Don’t give hot cocoa before bedtime. Caffeine causes excessive urination. The combination of caffeine and sugar is not good for sensitive bladders.


Telecare may be able to help with bedwetting. If the person you are supporting is able to toilet themselves in the night, but needs a prompt to get up, you can get a device similar to a speaking clock, linked to a vibrating bed alert.

Just add water

My 10 year old has regressed many times with his toileting skills. Contrary to the usual advice, our incontinence nurse told us to increase our son’s fluid intake. Apparently if the bladder is not stretched it will lead to more accidents.

Understanding why

My son has autism and goes through phases of bedwetting - usually when he is ill or losing a tooth. Other sensory issues seem to distract him from recognising the urge to go to the toilet. Always be aware there may be reasons behind bedwetting.

Bicarbonate of soda

Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on a wet mattress and it will not only absorb the smell it will soak up the wet. Leave it on the wet patch for as long as you can and then vacuum off.

Seeing red

Artificial food dyes are related to bedwetting, especially red dyes. If you’ve got a bed-wetter try eliminating red dye from their diet.

Rent an alarm

You can get a bed alarm for bed wetting which can be rented from the enuresis clinic (you would need to get referred to your local one from a GP or consultant). You can also buy cheap ones in the shops - be careful though, you don’t want the alarm to go off for every dribble.

Extra padding

Suki is incontinent during the night - as she gets bigger and drinks more, her pads often leak causing a wet bed. We took the simple step of using booster pads which we bought from Boots and this provides additional absorption and keeps the bed dry. You can always cut them in half if they are too big.

Free nappies

I might be stating the obvious here, but some people aren’t aware that if their child is incontinent they can request help from an incontinence nurse and receive free nappies, bed protection sheets, etc. Different areas have their own rules, but a good place to start is with a health visitor or GP.


Top tips is partnering with Netbuddy to update nurses with the latest helpful tips on caring for people with learning disabilities. Over the coming months, we’ll be publishing tips on and encouraging you to share your own ideas on


For more on learning disability nursing, see

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • There are some good tips in this article, however, the suggestion that the local continence service will supply free nappies and bed pads may not always be the case. Paediatric Continence Services will usually try to offer help with treating/curing bedwetting for children before supplying products. It is true that different areas each have their own rules. Contact your School Nurse/Paediatric Continence Service or visit Promocons website for help and advice.

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