This information is about bedwetting in childhood. You’ll find out when to expect children to outgrow bedwetting and how you can help your child if it becomes a problem.
Bedwetting in childhood is a common problem, and does not usually mean that anything is physically or emotionally wrong with the child. Mostchildren are able to be dry at night by the age of three or four, but about 25% of children are not. Of these children, about half will naturally stop wetting the bed by age eight, and the rest will naturally outgrow the problem in a few years. There are some children who will continue to wet even into their teens.
Most children who wet at night are very deep sleepers, and the subtle feeling of having to go to the bathroom just doesn’t waken them. Parents are often amazed that thesechildren don’t wake up even when they are soaking wet.
Pediatricians feel that children who have had dry nights for quite a while, and then begin to wet again, should be seen in the office to make sure they don’t have a physical problem that is causing the wetting. If thebedwetting is upsetting to you or your child, or if you feel it’s disturbing to your family, you should make an appointment with your provider.Children who are wetting their clothes during the daytime are more likely to have a physical or emotional problem, and they, too, should be seen in the office.
But if your child is wetting with none of these problems, here are few simple things you can try to help him or her achieve dryness. Somechildren will do better if they don’t drink any liquids after dinnertime. Others can stay dry if they are awakened to go to the bathroom just before the parents go to bed. Unfortunately, these tactics don’t work well for the majority of bedwetters.
If your child is older than seven, you may want to try a bedwetting alarm. These alarms consist of a small sensor that fits in the child’s underwear, attached to a buzzer near the child’s ear. When the sensor gets the slightest bit wet, the alarm wakens the child and he gets up and goes to the bathroom. After several weeks, the child may learn to wake himself without the alarm. These alarms can be purchased in most drug stores.
For the older child who doesn’t improve with an alarm, and who wants to have dry nights to go to sleep-away camp or a special overnight trip, your provider may be able to provide a medication that may help. The effect is not permanent, however, and the medication will really not cure the problem.
One thing that will definitely not help is punishment or shaming. Children do not like to wet the bed, and most are already ashamed or embarrassed and eager to stop. But because the problem occurs when they are deeply asleep, it’s really out of their control. No amount of punishment will make a difference.
Instead, reassure your child that bedwetting isn’t bad behavior, and that he or she will outgrow it. And allow your child to change his sheets and wash them if he is old enough. This may help both of you feel better about the problem. For more help and ideas, talk to your provider about the situation.
Remember these key points:
- Children who begin bedwetting after a long time of being dry, or whose bedwetting is becoming a significant emotional problem for the family, should be seen by their pediatrician.
- In some cases, limiting drinks in the evening or using wetting alarms may help.
- Parental support and encouragement are important in helping the child outgrow this annoying problem.