Talking to your Child about Bedwetting

Bedwetting is very common, affecting 1 in 6 six-year old children. How you handle your child’s bedwetting can have an effect on their success in staying dry. When you’re ready to have the talk with your child, here are some guidelines that may help.

What you should say:

• Let your child know they are not alone, that bedwetting is something that affects many children. Chances are that several others in their class at school also have bedwetting. Most kids with bedwetting are great, well-adjusted and happy kids.

• You know they are not wetting on purpose. You will do your best to be supportive and keep their bed clean and dry. Explain that things such as small bladders, sound sleep and family history can contribute to their bedwetting.

Share any bedwetting experiences you, your spouse, or relatives may have had when you were young. Let your child know that bedwetting runs in families.

• Let them know it is ok to talk about their bedwetting within your family and with your health care provider. It is not okay for siblings or family members to belittle the bedwetter.

• Talk about sharing responsibility for keeping their room clean and free of odor. If your child is older, proper care of wet clothing, carrying the sheets to the washer or helping make up the bed are good life long skills that they can learn to do.

• There may be some things they can do to help. Going to the bathroom twice before bed, not drinking a lot in the evening and having regular bowel movements can make a difference.

• Talk about treatment options when they are ready. Your doctor can make sure there are no related medical causes. Treatment options include enuresis alarms, lifestyle changes, and medication. Wearing waterproof disposable pants until treatment is in place saves on wet bedding.

What you should NOT say:

Do not punish your child for wetting. This is something they have little control over and punishment will not speed up getting to dryness.

Don’t blame yourself. Parenting is not the reason children wet the bed. Genetics are something you cannot change.

Try not to lose your patience. Even though changing sheets adds to your list of daily chores, know that bedwetting will stop when you seek treatment and your child gets older.

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