8 Solutions to Stop Bedwetting
It seems every parent has woken up, at least once, to find their child’s bed wet.
Bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis, as the medical professionals call it, is common. The National Sleep Foundation found that 14% of preschoolers and 4% of school-age children wet the bed a few nights per week or more and 21% of preschoolers and 7% of school-aged children do so once a week or more.
Bedwetting is generally not a concern until a child turns 7 years old; at which point speak with a pediatrician. Before then, children are still developing nighttime bladder control. It is part of growing up, and accidents do happen. Even the embarrassing kind.
There are two forms of bedwetting primary and secondary. With primary bedwetting, the child never had nighttime control of their bladder (this is the most common). Secondary bedwetting is less common and occurs after a child has been dry during sleep for 6 months or more. Psychological stress or a medical condition, such as constipation or urinary tract obstruction, are the main cause for secondary bedwetting.
The most important advice to remember is- Do Not Get Angry.
Chances are they did not to it on purpose and are already upset and ashamed. So, stay calm and positive. Do not punish for bedwetting, it can actually make the problem worse and damage the relationship between parent and child.
To help, it is best to encourage and give them hope that they will overcome the problem. Give accolades for waking up dry (more on this later) and make sure siblings understand that teasing is absolutely not allowed.
With that in mind, here are 8 solutions to help stop bedwetting.
Establish a routine: A bedtime routine should include going to the bathroom. Our daughter has gotten into the habit of doing all her stories, hugs and kisses, first, and then goes to the bathroom. It is the last part of her routine before turning out the light. Since then (knock on wood) she has not had a nighttime accident.
Have a well-lit bathroom: Place a nightlight in the bathroom and/or the hallway and let them know about it. Tell it is there so that if they need to go the bathroom at night they can see. We did a few practice runs with our daughter, so she could see.
Limit beverages: Do not allow them to drink too much before going to bed. This may mean making dinnertime a little earlier and it also means no last minute water requests.
Be proactive: Wake the child during the night before they typically wet the bed and take them to the bathroom. Consider taking them right before you go to bed.
Develop a reward system: Encouraging dry nights is very important. Start a sticker chart or some other reward for nights they stay dry, teaching them through positive reinforcement.
Potty-training: If it has not already been started, now is the time to talk to the child about potty-training. Again, be encouraging, tell them they no longer have to wear diapers and that they are becoming a “big kid.”
Use a moisture alarm: The alarm is set to go off whenever the child’s pajamas or bed becomes wet during an accident. These systems teach the child to eventually wake up before the bedwetting occurs. They can be purchased over the internet.
Medication: This is a last resort, but a doctor can prescribe medication for bedwetting, for short or long term use. One medicine, desmopressin, is a man-made chemical that controls urine production at night. Side effects for desmopressin include: headaches, facial flushing, nausea and in rare cases water retention. Although medication usually helps, once the child stops taking the medication the bedwetting will resume.
While anger is not helpful, it is also not useful to ignore the problem. After the incident have the child assist with the clean up. They can help make the bed or help with the laundry (if they are old enough). This will give them a sense of empowerment and help with embarrassment.
One tip is to have clean sheets, pajamas and underwear next to the bed. That way in the
middle of the night the clean up process is much quicker, and sleep is less interrupted. In our house we use water-proof mattress pads on the bed. We bought two, that way when one is wet we can still use the other one.
Find the best method for your child and stay positive to help your child progress toward
staying dry all night. In the mean time, practice patience and encourage your child when they have a successful night. Soon, it will not be an issue at all.