Helping Your Child Stop Wetting the Bed

Wetting the bed can be stressful and embarrassing for a young child, but it is hardly unusual. In the U.S. alone 5 to 7 million children ages six and over wet their beds at night. Bedwetting is most common in boys of about four to 12 years old. It typically happens during deep sleep, when the body is most relaxed. Helping your child overcome their bedwetting problem requires patience, compassion, and love.
It is important, when dealing with bedwetting episodes to be as kind and understanding as possible. Remember that this can be an embarrassing topic for your child, and be tactful when bringing it up. If talking about bedwetting makes your child visibly upset, try to change the tone of the conversation. You don’t want your child to feel like you’re accusing them, so remember to be sensitive when you’re talking with them about how to address their bedwetting. Make it clear that you want to help your child overcome this, and always make sure they’re comfortable with a proposed solution before trying it out. So what are some things you can do to eliminate bedwetting?

Before Bedtime: It’s always a good idea to try preventing the problem in addition to treating it. Do this by reminding your child to use the bathroom before bed, as well as often throughout the daytime. Learning to go to the bathroom as soon as they feel they have to may help their sleeping brain to recognize when their bladder is full, and wake up. Try to  keep your child from drinking too many fluids late at night. Drinks with a lot of sugar or caffeine are especially important to avoid.

During Sleep: In addition to changing pre-bedtime behavior, there are things your child can do while they’re asleep to reduce their chance of wetting the bed. A bedwetting alarm has proven to be quite effective in curbing this behavior. A wetness sensor attached to your child’s underwear connects to an alarm that goes off as soon as any wetness is detected. This is a great way to help train your child’s brain to wake up before the bladder starts to empty.

Cleanup: If preventative measures aren’t working, (or are taking some time to become totally effective,) there are steps you can take to make cleanup for you and your child as easy as possible. Waterproof mattress pads, sheet covers, and underwear are available to keep your child’s PJs dry and his bed clean and cozy. Keep clean clothes and sheets folded near your child’s bed so that if they wake up in the middle of the night after an accident, it’s easy for them to get cleaned up. A nightlight will also make this process more convenient and stress-free. Having your child learn to change their own sheets has the added benefit of teaching them responsibility and letting them feel more independent and capable of handling their bedwetting episodes.
Remember that for most children (about 80%) bedwetting is just a phase that usually lasts only about six months. This can be a difficult time for both you and your child, but remind yourselves that it doesn’t last forever.
About the Author: 

Elena Watson is a blogger for and a student at Bard College. She spends her time researching and writing about healthcare, specifically child and senior health issues.

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