Bedwetting in Children

S.K. asks, “I know that bedwetting in children is common. What is normal? When should I begin to be concerned about it?”

How Common Is Bed-Wetting in Children

Yes, bedwetting is common in children. As many as 1-in-10 7 year olds continue to wet every night. That means in your child’s second or third grade class, at least 1 or 2 other kids are affected. As children get older, bedwetting does decrease so that only 1 % of teens are affected.

What’s “Normal” When It Comes to Bed-Wetting

There is a wide range of normal and we don’t exactly know why one child continues to wet while another quickly gets dry. It could be due to development and having a bladder that can’t store urine for the entire night. Sometimes the ability to recognize when the bladder is full and get up has not developed. Often a parent or other family member was similarly affected so heredity does play a role. Since the majority of children have achieved dryness by school age, children who are 6 or so and still wetting are considered to have bedwetting. Before this age, nighttime wetness can be a normal pattern.

When Should We Talk to our Health Care Provider about Bed-Wetting

If your child is school age and continues to wet most nights, it should be discussed with your doctor or health care provider. Research has found that many parents of 9 year olds with bedwetting have not mentioned it to anyone. If your doctor does not ask about nighttime wetting, bring it up yourself. Remind your child that this is no different than mentioning other conditions like constipation or diarrhea. Even though it is embarrassing, a confidential office visit is the perfect place to seek help. Many parents assume that there is nothing that can be done or that their child’s wetting has to do with their parenting skills. These assumptions are not true!

Treatment

Most pediatricians and urologists recognize that bedwetting alarms are the most effective and long lasting way for kids to become dry in a few weeks. Although bedwetting alarms take effort from the parents and children in the beginning, the results are worth it. If your health care provider does not recommend any treatment, it may be because they haven’t learned much about bedwetting alarms. Bedwetting alarms sense wetness from the underwear and sound and vibrate to alert the user that wetting is occurring. Over time, the child’s brain begins to recognize when the bladder is full and coordinates the waking and walking to the bathroom. The biggest benefit is that the time to get to dryness can be shortened from a few years to a few weeks.

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