When one of your children is a bed wetter, it can be a very sensitive topic. Did you know one out of every nine kids wets the bed? Or that bed wetting won’t last forever?
Children who can control their bladders during the day, but who have never been dry at night for at least a six-month period, have what is known as primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE), the most common form of bedwetting.
Research has shown that primary nocturnal enuresis is often inherited . If both parents were bedwetters, 77 percent of their children will be. If only one parent wet the bed, 44 percent of their offspring will.
If neither parent wet the bed, only about 15 percent of their children will wet the bed. With primary nocturnal enuresis, one almost always finds another relative who was a bed-wetter. This corresponds to what is called an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern.
Did you know that bed-wetting is more common in boys? Knowing facts like these, and what makes a kid a bed wetter can be a source of relief, helping put bed wetting in perspective for your family. You want your child to know it’s just a part of growing up and that there’s nothing wrong with them.
One of the biggest impacts of bedwetting on your child is an emotional one, so you should work on making sure that your household is sensitive to your child’s situation. No one at home should tease your child or make them feel terrible about their bedwetting. The more teased a child is about bedwetting, the more difficult it will be for the child to overcome the problem.
All of the causes of bedwetting are not known. Children who wet the bed have difficulty waking up to go to the toilet when their bladder is full. Sometimes their bladder is smaller or ‘irritable’ and holds less urine.
Recent research has found that many children who wet the bed produce less of a hormone known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH) during sleep. This hormone normally reduces urine production during sleep. These children produce more urine during the hours of sleep than their bladders can hold. If they do not wake up, the bladder releases the urine and the child wets the bed.
Here are some Points to Remember
- Normal, healthy children may wet the bed.
- Bedwetting may be a sign of infection or other problems.
- Many children are dry at night by the time they are 5 years old. Others take longer to stay dry.
- Scolding and punishment do not help a child stop bedwetting.
- If your child is 7 or older and wets the bed more than two or three times a week, a doctor may be able to help.
- Treatments include bladder training, alarms, and medicines.
- Most children grow out of bedwetting naturally.
- Bedwetting can lead to stress and anxiety for parents and child alike. The parents may become frustrated with the child, believing that he/she should be able to directly control what is happening. The child may become embarrassed and fearful of punishment from wetting the bed and may feel limited in his/her ability to have sleepovers with friends. One should understand that the child almost always cannot directly control the enuresis. Therefore, the parents should be understanding and supportive of the child.
Children often worry about wetting the bed at school camps or at sleepovers, and might try to avoid going. Children should be encouraged not to miss out on these fun times.
If your child is very anxious about camp or sleepovers, there’s a hormone medication (which is sprayed into the nose) that can decrease the amount of urine produced at night. See your doctor a couple of weeks before the camp or sleepover to see whether this might help your child.
Remember that teachers are used to dealing with these situations without embarrassing the child. Have a private discussion with your child’s teacher about how the bedwetting can be managed, then talk with your child about what to do if it happens at camp.
If your child is going on a sleepover in someone else’s home, discuss with the parent how to best manage the bedwetting. Let your child know they can talk to the adult of the house privately if they have an accident.
Night time ‘pull-ups’ might help. There are also ‘nappies’ for older/bigger children.
It’s always good to have a laugh, especially when problems and issues feel insolvable and uncontrollable.
When Willie Wet the Bed
When Willie was a little boy,
Not more than five or six,
Right constantly did he annoy
His mother with his tricks.
Yet not a picayune cared I
For what he did or said,
Unless, as happened frequently,
The rascal wet the bed.
Closely he cuddled up to me,
And put his hand in mine,
Till all at once I seemed to be
Afloat in seas of brine.
Sabean odors clogged the air
And filled my soul with dread,
Yet I could only grin and bear
When Willie wet the bed.
‘Tis many times that rascal has
Soaked all the bedclothes through,
Whereat I’d feebly light the gas
And wonder what to do.
Yet there he lay so peaceful-like,
God bless his curly head!
I quite forgave the little tyke
For wetting of the bed.
Ah, me! Those happy days have flown,
My boy’s a father, too,
And little Willies of his own
Do what he used to do.
And I, ah! all that’s left for me
Are dreams of pleasures fled,
My life’s not what it used to be
When Willie wet the bed!
by Eugene Field, 1850-1895
The most important thing to relay to your child is that bedwetting is not their fault. Young children under the age of seven don’t yet possess the bladder capacity to stay dry all night long, nor an awareness of the signals that his body sends out that tell him he needs to go to the bathroom.
One of my favorite expressions is, “That’s why we call it an accident and not an on purpose,” and it totally fits the bill here. Don’t make your child feel guilty for bedwetting — they already feel bad enough as it is.
Instead, let your child know that you are there to support and help them and together you will come up with a solution.
Your child needs to be very involved in the treatment plan if it is to work. As the treatment progresses, your child will probably have some good and some bad days. Be very positive on the good days, and try not to be negative on the bad ones.
Most children don’t need rewards to encourage them to take part in treatment – the prospect of a regular dry bed is usually enough. Some small treats along the way may be a good idea, but don’t promise them in advance.
Rather give them as a little surprise if your child is making some progress. Certainly don’t offer big rewards (eg a new bike) because this can add to the stress associated with treatment, and can be very disappointing if your child should fail to get dry.
It can be helpful to keep a record chart of wet and dry nights. Your child should make the chart himself, and choose how to complete it. Some children like to put stars or stickers on for dry nights or to color it in or draw pictures.
Choose something that fits in with your child’s interests (eg football stickers). Charts used on their own have little success, but in combination with a bedwetting alarm they can be very useful.
It is important for your child to drink plenty of fluid spread evenly throughout the day.
Don’t try to restrict the amount of fluid your child drinks in the evening as this will not help and can even delay the process of getting dry at night.
However, don’t give drinks containing caffeine (e.g.coffee, tea, hot chocolate, Coca Cola etc) late at night.
Some doctors recommend bladder awareness exercises. These exercises include learning to resist the immediate urge to urinate, and stopping and starting the urine flow midstream. Your doctor will recommend and explain these if necessary.
Bed Wetting Alarm devices wake children just as they start urinating by sounding an audible alarm. It consists of a bedwetting sensor linked either to the pajama of the child or to a bed pad used to keep the bed dry.
On sensing the first drops of urine the sensor immediately sounds the alarm, which disturbs the sleep of the child and reminds them to go to the bathroom. In the case of a deep sleeper, the alarm works equally well by waking other family members so that they can wake the child and take them to the bathroom to finish urinating.
By these methods, a bed wetting alarm ultimately teaches the child to wake up as soon as his bladder is full, or to sleep through the night without urinating.
Bedwetting tends to run in families. Many children who wet the bed have a parent who did, too. Most of these children stop bedwetting on their own at about the same age the parent did.
- Bedwetting happens during sleep.
- Children can’t decide not to do it. Be patient!
- Most children grow out of it.
According to experts, parents’ attitudes make all the difference. If mom or dad is angry and frustrated, it only increases their child’s anxiety. Force yourself to stay positive and low-key (even when changing bed sheets at 2 a.m.). Offer support and encouragement. Look out for your child’s self-esteem and do not allow siblings to tease her.
Discuss the problem with your child. Explain the physical causes so he understands it is not his fault. Encourage him to express his feelings; brainstorm strategies for handling it. A little empowerment goes a long way.
Almost all kids will outgrow bed-wetting on their own. (By the age of 15, 99% of kids have stopped.) But with so many good treatments available, there’s no reason not to take action now. Your child will thank you for it!
Below are some products that will help you in getting you child to stop wetting the bed. I have done a lot of research and these are the best products to use.
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