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Helping Your Child to Beat the Bed Wetting

Bed wetting is a very common childhood problem, affecting some one in five children aged five years - and one in ten aged seven years. It is now considered to be a medical condition and not just something that children will grow out of.

The two main reasons for bed wetting

  1. Children producing too much urine during the night or
  2. Children having a problem with storing urine in their bladder all night.

Never punish your child for bed wetting

While bed wetting tends to run in families, it is more common among boys than girls. Although most children eventually outgrow this phase, there are ways to help your child. But getting angry and punishing them is not one of those ways.
It will only add pressure making the problem worse - it may even cause permanent scarring.
I still remember when I was just three years old and staying with another family while my mother was giving birth to my brother. Unfortunately, I wet the bed while I was with them - and they were very cross with me. It stays with me as my earliest memory.

Some of those ways to help

  • Obviously your child should be well hydrated throughout the day but it can be helpful to limit their intake of fluids in the couple of hours before bedtime. Avoiding caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, colas or chocolate) especially when closer to bedtime can also help.
  • Make sure they go to the bathroom immediately before bedtime but then also carry him or her to the bathroom again before you go to bed. When the bladder is emptied, there is less chance they will have to urinate during the night.
  • Although the reason for bed wetting is usually a delay in the development of night time bladder control, sometimes bed wetting has a medical cause. Examples can include urinary tract infections, diabetes or stress. There can be other reasons too. It can make sense to have your child medically examined to eliminate such possibilities.
  • While punishment is completely a no-no, reward and the power of positive suggestion can work for some children. Examples include making a grid chart or using a calendar and then giving your child a sticker for every dry night. After a certain number of stickers, a reward could be given.
  • Constipation is a common cause for bladder problems, leading to more pressure on the bladder and then night time accidents. Parents should keep an eye on how regular their bowel movements are or if their stool appears hard, taking steps rectify such a situation.
  • Another suggestion is to use a moisture alarm. This wakes your child the second he starts to wet the bed. The interruption in sleep can condition the brain to control the bladder better, helping to prevent bed wetting. The moisture alarm method is said to be some 75% effective especially when children themselves are ready to be. It needs to be used for an average of three months to be effective, working best with children who are 6 or older. It can be quite demanding. To stop bed-wetting, it is important that your child recognizes a full bladder and wakes up on their own at night. Bed-wetting alarms can establish the connection between the brain and the bladder in your child .
  • Your child should have a waterproof mattress cover and pillow cases. You can also leave fresh pajamas next to their bed in case they wake up and want to change in the middle of the night. On the other hand, if your child sleeps through the night in a wet bed, they can be asked to help change the sheets in the morning because doing so can help him or her take responsibility for the bed wetting while helping the child feel part of the solution rather than the problem.