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Does Limiting Fluids Help End Bedwetting?

April 09, 2018 2 min read

Most parents start the treatment of bedwetting with limiting their child's evening fluid intake.

Books, articles and well-meaning health care providers even recommend this. However, most parents who try this will also tell you that this doesn't work. Strictly limiting fluids after 6 or 7:00 pm in thirsty children can become a battleground and leads to sneaking drinks when parents aren't around.

A more effective approach is to increase the total amount of fluids consumed during the daytime hours. Many school aged children drink very little for breakfast, nothing between classes and 8 ounces of milk or juice at lunch. By 4:00PM, their bodies are thirsty. They have to consume their entire day's allotment of fluids between 4:00 and 8:00PM.

Add some sports or other exercise in the late afternoon, and these children are genuinely thirsty at 7:00PM. Their thirst and body's urge for fluid intake is strong.

Many schools are allowing children to have water bottles at their desk. This is a great way for kids to stay well hydrated throughout the day. Your son and daughter needs to know It's important to not only have the water bottle there, but to actually drink the entire thing throughout the day.

Drinking at least 32 ounces during the school day and having 12 ounces at breakfast makes a big difference. A few children are concerned that they will have to use the bathroom too often during the school day.

I have rarely seen that this is a problem. Teachers should allow children to use the bathroom when they have the urge and open communication is usually all that is needed to have unlimited bathroom privileges.

If your child is well hydrated during the day at school, you will see less drinking late in the day. If there are evening sports practices, have them drink before they even leave for practice. The best thing about drinking through the entire day is that the body can process and utilize all of those fluids during waking hours, rather than sleeping hours.

No one drinks a gallon before they go to bed because it isn't that much fun to get up several times to urinate. But I don't find that a glass of water in the evening makes a huge difference in a wet or dry night.

In children who are using a bedwetting alarm, I encourage good hydration and a glass of water at bedtime if thirsty. The alarm sounds as a reminder to get up and use the bathroom if needed.

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