Rubber Sheets & Bedwetting

Updated April 17, 2017

When a child is toilet trained during the day it can be frustrating to a parent to deal with bed-wetting through the night. Bed-wetting in young children is not uncommon but it is still sometimes difficult for parents not to become anxious and wonder what they can do to help. There is also the daily routine of washing bedding and the concern over the mattress, which can be difficult to keep clean.


According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (, children who are toilet trained during the day may still wet the bed two to three times a week up until 5 years of age. By age 5 about one in four children still wet the bed. By age 7 this has decreased to one in seven children and by 10 years of age only one in 20 children still have bed-wetting incidents.


Although the causes of bed-wetting are not clear, it is not typically related to physical or emotional problems. There is usually a family history of bed-wetting but the exact causes are not known. Talking with your paediatrician can be helpful if you have concerns.


When considering treatments for bed-wetting it is important to remember that bed-wetting is not the child's fault. He has no control over the accidents. There are ways to help the child, however. Common treatment involves talking to the child and explaining that you know it is not his fault. Discourage drinking liquids two hours before bedtime. Then reward your child for being dry but do not punish him for bed-wetting. After time if the bed-wetting is not eliminated by this approach, there are devices that can be used to signal when the child is wetting and there are medications which your paediatrician can discuss with you.


While bed-wetting is a normal occurrence and should be treated as such, the wet clothes and bedding can be stressful for child and parents alike. There are many bed-wetting products on the market, including nighttime "diapers" and rubber sheets. Nighttime diapers keep the bedding dry, but because they are so absorbent children do not know they have wet. There is little chance that they will learn to wake up to go to the bathroom. Rubber sheets are sheets of rubber, plastic or vinyl that can be placed under the bottom sheet. They basically serve to keep the mattress dry.

Types of Rubber Sheets

Rubber sheets can be fitted sheets, zippered covers or just flat sheets to cover an area of the mattress. The flat sheets can come in different sizes and are placed under the bottom sheet over the mattress. These sheets can shift under the bottom sheet and become wrinkled, causing a lumpy surface. Since they may not cover the entire mattress, if the child moves about during sleep the mattress may not be covered.

Zippered covers have the advantage of completely covering the mattress. However, they are difficult to remove for cleaning.

Fitted sheets cover the entire mattress and do not shift. They can be easily removed to be washed.

Rubber sheets can be made of vinyl or plastic. Some children complain that the rubber sheets feel funny. They may make a crinkling sound as the child moves. They also can make the child feel warm at night. You can purchase rubber sheets with a flannel cover, which may eliminate some of these problems.

The important thing to remember when considering the use of rubber sheets is that the rubber sheet will not prevent bed-wetting. It is merely a means of keeping the mattress dry.

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About the Author

Michele Norfleet is a freelance writer who writes on travel, home and garden and education topics. She has coauthored a handbook for teachers on school-wide discipline and has contributed tips for special-needs students in the basal curriculum for RCL Benziger. Norfleet holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University and has experience as a special-needs teacher and speech pathologist.