Managing away from home

Spending nights away from home on sleepovers or school trips can be scary, especially if your friends don’t know about your bowel or bladder problem.

If you do want to spend a night away, don’t panic! There are lots of things you can do to manage your problem and keep it hidden.

A strip cartoon drawn by a child visualising a sleepover

Top tips for nights away from home:

  1. Be prepared: If you’re planning to spend a night away from home there are lots of products that can help you – pads, pull-ups, sheet covers, special underwear, sleeping bag liners and more. Have a look at our shop for more details.
  2. Hide your pull-ups or pads: If you have a sleeping bag try hiding your pull-ups or pads at the bottom. You could put your underwear or pyjamas inside the sleeping bag so you can get dressed for bed in private. If you’re on a school trip you could hide these in your pillow case or at the bottom of your bed.
  3. Have some small, plastic disposal bags ready: Try hiding the bags in your sleeping bag. If you wake up with a wet pad or pull-up you can put them straight into the bag before you get out of your sleeping bag and sort it out later.
  4. Tell someone: Think about telling your teacher or your friend’s parents or carer about your problem, or you could ask your parents to do this for you. If they know about your problem, they can help you.
  5. Take your medication: Make sure you take your medication at the right time. Keep it in your bag and take it when you go to the loo, or you could ask your friend’s mum or dad or your teacher to look after it for you. You can come up with a signal or word only they know and use this to notify them when it’s time to take your medication.
  6. Drink plenty of water throughout the day: Not drinking enough during the day will make your problem worse at night. Only have a small drink before going to bed if necessary and ideally stop drinking an hour before bedtime. Remember to fully empty your bladder before you go to bed.
  7. If you have an accident, don’t panic! Plan for what you'll do if this happens. For example, your plan could be to keep a bottle of water by your bed and poor it on a wet patch if you have a wee accident and say you spilled your drink.

Here are some thoughts from other young people about spending nights away from home:

I make up an excuse..."Sometimes if I get invited and I'm not very good at that time, I'll make up an excuse, like I'm going to see my aunt or I've already been invited to a party of one of my old friends. I feel a bit uncomfortable lying to them, but you know, it's better than them finding out." (Jasmine, age 16)

Take extra precautions...“I do go to sleepovers quite a lot. I up the amount of control I have over it, so I take sanitary pads and I put them in my pants just in case of anything happening during the night.” (Daisy, age 14)

Dealing with an accident...“I plan in my head what I'm going to do. Once I went to stay at a girl’s house and it's the only time I've ever been wet. I woke up in the morning and we were all in the living room on couches and mattresses on the floor. I woke up and oh my god, the panic! I thought I was going to die! I thought that was it, my life is over, they’re going to go to school and tell everyone. I saw a bottle of cola and poured it all over the bed and got changed. When everyone woke up I was like, ‘Someone in the middle of the night has kicked that bottle all over me; look at my pyjama bottoms, they’re soaking!’ The girls never found out.” (Kelly, age 17)

I had to give my tablets to my teacher..."I've been on overnight school trips, like when we went away for three days and three nights. If I took my tablets, I wasn't allowed to keep them in my bag and just take them when I had to. I had to give them to the teachers. I couldn't keep it in my bag and take it sneakily, I had to tell them why." (Evan, age 15)


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