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Why You Should Not Ignore Bedwetting

November 11, 2021 2 min read

New onset bedwetting should always be evaluated. 

Physical problems such as diabetes, urinary tract infection, constipation, and sleep apnea should be ruled out by your pediatrician.  A simple urine test can detect diabetes or urinary tract infection.  There is a mild association between sleep apnea and bedwetting so if your child has snoring or enlarged tonsils; this is something to be considered.

Constipation can put pressure on the bladder, causing it to hold less urine at a time and causing it to ignore messages that come from the brain.  A change in diet, picky eating, not drinking enough and not taking time to have a bowel movement can all contribute to constipation. If constipation is a problem, it can be treated at home with your health care provider’s guidance.

By the time a child is 5-6, they should be having dry nights.

It is normal for newly toilet trained children to continue to wet at night.  Wearing disposable pants at nighttime makes this transition time easier. If you begin to notice dry pants in the morning, it is time to use waterproof bedding or a waterproof pad and use regular underwear. An occasional wet night during this phase is expected.

However, around 20% of 5 to 6 year old children still have wet beds every night and never have a dry disposable pant.  There are effective treatments available so you do not have to wait years for your son or daughter to spontaneously stop wetting. 

Bedwetting alarms are the treatment of choice and work by sensing the wetness and alerting the child and family when the wetting occurs.  This enables him or her to make the important brain/bladder association. 

Parents who had bedwetting until middle school do not have to wait that long for their offspring to end bedwetting. 

The older your child is, the more likely they will need help to conquer bedwetting.

Self-esteem, overnight stays and quality of sleep can all be negatively impacted by bedwetting.  According to research, all of these things are positively changed once nighttime dryness is achieved. Even if your child seems “not to care” about their bedwetting, once a plan for solving their bedwetting is implemented, most are excited and relieved.

A positive, supportive environment is important. 

There is no place for punishment, or ridicule.  These things can actually make wetting worse.  Your child is not wetting their bed on purpose and would like to stay dry if they could. 

Children who wet the bed are not lazy!  Their brain and bladder just need some help to learn to communicate during the night.  Over time, hearing the alarm sound when bedwetting happens helps their body to make this connection.  Your child will ultimately learn to wake up before the urine is released or hold it until morning.

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