Bedwetting

Nearly 20% of five year olds frequently wet the bed at night and more than 10% of six year olds still wet the bed. Some three year olds, if taken for a late night trip to the bathroom, will make it through the night dry. Expect an occasional accident, but avoid punishment or threats of punishment. Children should not be kept in overnight diapers until they are 100% dry, because modern diapers are so absorbent they do little to encourage your child to develop any self control.

Children who have been dry for many months or even years may suddenly wet the bed. Children may regress because of the arrival of a new baby, a move or a severe stressful event. Occasionally a urinary tract infection is the cause of wetting, but there will be accompanying symptoms like frequency, burning or fever.

Bedwetting should not be considered unusual until your child is over 6 years. Try to remain calm and matter a fact. Most children are sensitive about the fact they have wet the bed. Your child often cannot prevent wetting the bed. Bladder control is a complex developmental and neurological process that occurs as children mature. Making the child feel guilty about bedwetting may only delay resolution of the problem. Be supportive of your child.

Your best course is to ignore the problem and wait it out. Bt seven years of age, you and your child may need to make a joint effort to solve the problem. Encourage fluids during the morning and afternoon, but discourage them several hours prior to bedtime. Have your child urinate just before bedtime. Fluids during the day ensure the bladder is big enough and urinating ensures it is as empty as possible at bedtime.

Try a reward system next. On a calendar, chart successes with stickers. Try this for weeks or months. If you do not see any progress, consider awakening your child in the evening after a few hours of sleep. This will empty the bladder and decrease the chances of wetting the bed. Adjust to an earlier hour if your child is already wet after waiting several hours. Older children who still wet the bed can help with laundering so they understand they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Alarm devices are useful in children, 8 and older. They can be obtained at most major department stores and medical supply houses.

A prescription nasal spray or tablet (DDAVP) helps many children who did not respond to other therapies. This drug is safe and has a good success rate. Treatment may require prolonged use depending on family history. The medication once started can produce a dry night the first night and be used just for special events like a night-over-at-a-friends.