Do other illnesses affect bedwetting?

Parents report that their child who was previously dry at night has suddenly begun wetting again. They may also mention that they also have been sick with strep, tonsillitis, an upper respiratory virus or stomach virus. A few kids have recently broken a bone, had teeth extracted or had a chronic illness such as Lyme’s disease.

I am not aware of any scientific studies that prove the relationship between secondary enuresis (new bedwetting) and other illnesses. However, in my experience treating hundreds of children with bedwetting, I have seen repeatedly that other stressors on the body can cause a child to begin bedwetting. Sometimes this happens in children who have never had an accident at night. Parents are understandably concerned.

Making sure there is not a new urinary tract infection or the onset of diabetes is easy. A simple urine test can be performed in your pediatrician’s office.

Some medications may make your child sleep more soundly. These include:
Cough and cold preparations
Allergy medications
Pain medications
Antibiotics

It’s common to “push fluids” when someone is ill. Drinking more than usual can impact nighttime wetting.

Sleeping more hours at a time when you are ill is common. The bladder may not be able to hold all the urine produced during this lengthy rejuvenating sleep, so a bedwetting episode may occur.

In most cases, once the illness is resolved, the child returns to their previous dry at night status. Be supportive and reassure your child that their body is paying attention to getting healthy and may not be paying as much attention to waking them up at night when they need to go to the bathroom. Help them change sheets and get into dry clothing.

If your child persists with bedwetting after they are healthy for a few weeks, you can restart their bedwetting alarm, if they had previously used one. Make sure they urinate before bed and make sure their stools are now regular.

If this secondary enuresis does not resolve on its own, most of the children do respond to bedwetting alarms to remind them to wake up in response to a full bladder.

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Nighttime Potty Training: Do’s and Don’ts

Some children establish nighttime dryness at the same time they get dry in the daytime. It’s not uncommon, however, for many children to require a little time and assistance to develop the ability to stay dry all night.  Here are a few tips to help.

 

DO:

Make sure your child is reliably dry in the daytime before worrying about nighttime.

Encourage drinking and frequent toileting in the daytime.

Make sure bowel movements are soft and regular.

Have your child void twice before bedtime, once 30 minutes before bedtime and once as lights go out.

Remind your child to use the bathroom if he or she wakes up for any reason in the night, including coming into your room.

Protect the mattress with a waterproof cover and use waterproof overlay over the sheet.  Both of these items make clean-up of accidents so much easier.

Have a trial of no pull-ups if you begin to see dry ones in the morning.  If a couple of weeks pass without further progress, restart the pull-ups and try at a later time.

Try a bedwetting alarm if your child is school age and still wet most nights.  This speeds up the development of the brain-bladder connection and allows most children to become dry in weeks instead of years.

Be patient and know that becoming dry at night is a process.

DON’T:

Worry if nighttime dryness doesn’t happen for months or even a year or two after daytime dryness.  This is very common.

Forget to mention this to your child’s health care provider, especially if your child had a period of dryness, and is now wetting again.  Your doctor can easily check urine to rule out urinary problems.

Think that your child is lazy or is wetting at night on purpose. Be supportive and not punitive.  Punishment, ridicule, or forcing your child to do their own laundry will not help them become dry faster.

Allow your child to wear pull-ups while they are awake.  Put it on last thing before lights out and take it off immediately upon waking.

Forget that bedwetting is inherited and often parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents can recall having a similar problem.  Siblings may also be affected.

 

 

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5 Ways to Know Your Child is Ready for a Bedwetting Alarm

1. She tells you she is ready to stop bedwetting and needs your help.

Bedwetting is common and normal in children younger than 6, affecting 1 in 4 children. Supportive reminders of toileting before bed, drinking throughout the day rather than in the evening and making sure bowel movements are regular and soft are appropriate for children younger than school age. Some children hate feeling wet and really like having dry underwear. They are excited to do what it takes to become dry.

2. He doesn’t want to wear pull-ups or wake up in a wet bed any longer.

Some children don’t mind wearing pull-ups and are very compliant with having them as part of their bedtime routine. But the time will come when a pull-up is no longer comfortable or leaks.

3. He is beginning to turn down sleepover invitations.

If you overhear your child hesitating when learning about other children’s sleepovers, or even spending the night with family members, this may be the time for you to offer him a tool to help achieve dryness.

4. She notices other kids her age or younger siblings don’t wear pull-ups or worry about what they drink in the evening.

Bedwetting can begin to affect self-esteem as children get older. They may be concerned that they are doing something wrong or worry that something isn’t working correctly with their body. Research shows that self-esteem improves as kids become dry.

5. This is a stable time for your family, with a regular daily schedule and bedtime.

Parent involvement is important when using a bedwetting alarm. This means getting up during the night initially to help your child. Choose a time when work demands aren’t so high. A regular schedule insures a more rested child, who will do better when using an alarm. Children quickly go back to sleep after the alarm sounds, but parents may not be so lucky.

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