With all of the solutions and products available to combat bedwetting, some parents find the treatment options overwhelming. The first step to helping your child overcome nighttime wetting is to understand that you're not alone and to seek out information and advice. Here are some tips on tapping the resources that are available to help you:
Visit your child's healthcare provider. This is the first and most important step in eliminating bedwetting. Rule out or identify any medical causes of the problem to help you and your doctor determine the best course of treatment.
Look for helpful books. Getting to Dry , for example, details all of the available treatment options and addresses the emotional impacts of bedwetting. Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness provides a wealth of information on bedwetting alarms, including why they're effective and how to use them properly.
Talk to your family and friends. You may find that you have an aunt, cousin, or coworker with a child who went through a bedwetting phase.
If you're still unsure of which bedwetting products are right for your child, contact our Bedwetting Specialists at the Bedwetting Store for personalized guidance.
Waking Up With Your Child
Bedwetting alarms are successful because they train your child to recognize the feeling of bladder fullness. For this reason, alarm therapy usually produces lasting results. Because bedwetting is very often the result of deep sleep, it might take a little while for your child to respond to the sound of the alarm on his own, which means that you'll need to wake up and take him to the bathroom until he can. After a couple of weeks, your child should start to wake up independently, and eventually he'll start waking up to use the bathroom without the help of you or an alarm.
During the period of time in which you have to wake up with your child, there are some small things that you can do to make the situation a little easier on yourself:
Use flashlights and strategically-placed night lights to help you and your child navigate through the darkness and avoid stubbed toes.
Keep extra protective bedding supplies and protective undergarments near your child's bed for quick nighttime swaps.
If you're having trouble hearing your child's alarm at night, a set of baby monitors can transmit the sound to you and help you get to your child more quickly.
Bedwetting and Your Child's Social Life
Although bedwetting is usually a developmental or social issue that's out of the child's control, most kids who wet the bed experience intense embarrassment because of it. Sooner or later, your child will reach an age where sleepovers, camp, and overnight trips are the norm. Fear of having an accident in someone else's home or in a different environment can keep your child from wanting to participate.
Here are some tips to help your child deal with wetting and social activities:
Talk to your child about how an accident could be handled away from home.
Let your child pick out waterproof underwear and protective vinyl pants that look and feel like regular underwear.
Buy a waterproof sleeping bag liner for your child's bedroll.
Make sure your child is comfortable changing her own protective undergarments.
Stash some large plastic zipper bags and a change of clothes in your child's backpack, just in case.
Talk to a camp counselor or parent your child trusts about helping discreetly, if needed.
Start bedwetting treatments at home. Use a sound and vibrating alarm to alert your child to accidents. This type of therapy will teach your child when to recognize a full bladder.
The Bedwetting Teenager: Coping Strategies
While bedwetting occurs less commonly in teenagers than in small children, it's a problem that many teens and their parents deal with. Bedwetting in the teenage years can be a really emotional issue, as teenagers tend to be more concerned about others' perception of them than small children. Also, many teenagers who wet the bed assume that there's something wrong with them and have lowered self-concepts as a result. If your teenage child wets the bed, try to make her feel better about her problem.
Start by visiting your child's healthcare provider. It's important to identify or rule out any medical causes of the problem. Also, in the event that your child's condition does have an identifiable cause, she'll feel less like it's her fault.
Do some research and pull up articles and papers about teenagers and bedwetting. This will show her that she's not the only one experiencing this problem.
Make sure your child knows that you're available and willing to talk about her problem. Communicating openly will help everybody involved deal with the situation more effectively.
Try to make activities that your child might avoid possible for her. For example, if she declines sleepover invitations because she's afraid she'll wet the bed, offer to host a sleepover at your house. She might feel more comfortable in her own bed and confident about taking care of any nighttime accidents discreetly.
Bedwetting alarms can effectively eliminate bedwetting, even in teenagers. Giving her a tool like a bedwetting alarm to alert her when wetting is occurring is a first step toward curing bedwetting. Over time, her brain will begin to make the connection that she should get up rather than sleep through the wetting episode.
Packing an Overnight Bag for Your Child
Bedwetting can be particularly challenging when your child is away from home. To reduce your child's embarrassment and to make things easier on the host, camp counselors, or relatives, make sure your child's overnight bag is packed with these essentials:
Protective vinyl pants: These look just like regular underwear and can be worn over disposable pull-ups for added protection and privacy.
Sleeping bag liners: These reusable waterproof liners fit right into your child's sleeping bag. Place one inside the sleeping bag before rolling it up and sending it off with your child and no one will know that it's there.
Disposable underwear: These highly-absorbent undergarments help protect bedding and clothes and can be thrown away discreetly.
Plastic bags: Pack plenty of these in case your child has a nighttime accident and needs to change his underwear, pajamas, or an overlay or underpad. These will ensure sanitary storage and help to isolate the odor for discretion.
Treating Urine Odor
While using protective undergarments and bedding at night is a highly effective way to protect your child's clothing and bed from nighttime accidents, it's a good idea to be prepared in case any of your precautions fail. Here are some tips for keeping your child's bedding and mattress clean and fresh:
Look for stain removal products designed for urine. Urine has a unique chemical makeup that has to be targeted directly in order to be eliminated.
Find products that will neutralize urine odor, rather than simply mask it—you want the odor to go away, not smell like flowers.
Use a stain removal product as soon as possible after an accident. The longer any stain has to set, the harder it is to get rid of. This doesn't mean that you have to do laundry in the middle of the night; just apply some of the stain remover to the affected areas of the fabric and then wash in the morning. To keep your house sanitary, keep the fabrics in a plastic bag until you can wash them.
To cut down on cost and maintenance, always make sure your child's bedding and clothing are made of washable fabrics like cotton.
Books to Help With Bedwetting
From children's fiction to reference for adults, there are many published books that deal with bedwetting kids. Aside from the fact they're written by experts who can offer solutions to the problem, the books have the added benefit of boosting your child's self esteem, either by addressing self-esteem-building directly or assuring her that she's not alone. Here are a few books that may be of some help:
Waking Up Dry: This child- and parent-friendly book blends expert knowledge of bedwetting and its solutions with real-life stories and activities. It also teaches children a bit about how their bodies work, and greater understanding of the problem can make you and your child better-equipped to cope with it.
Do Little Mermaids Wet Their Beds?, Dry Days, Wet Nights, Sammy the Elephant & Mr. Camel, and Dippy's Sleepover: All of these books feature fun, relatable characters that will keep children engaged. Reading stories about characters that are facing the same problems can help young children visualize themselves solving their own problems and help assure them that bedwetting is common.
David's Secret Soccer Goals and Prince Bravery & Grace: Bedwetting can be embarrassing, especially for older children. By working lighthearted humor into the stories, these books can help make children a little more comfortable about the topic of bedwetting.
Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness, Getting to Dry, and No More Bedwetting: These books for parents are all written by healthcare professionals and offer expert advice on how to stop your child's bedwetting.