One of the first steps toward effective treatment for bedwetting is understanding the problem. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding nighttime wetting, including:
Myth: Children who wet the bed are lazy or have emotional problems.
Fact: Nighttime wetting can be caused by medical or developmental issues and is not uncommon in young children.
Myth: Children wet the bed because they drink too much liquid before bedtime.
Fact: The body produces urine throughout the night, regardless of how much liquid a child consumes before bed. Limiting fluids can increase the risk of dehydration.
Myth: Children wet the bed because they have small bladders.
Fact: Children and adults of all ages experience bedwetting. Developing the ability to wake up in spite of a small bladder capacity is what keeps people dry at night.
Myth: Medication is the best bedwetting treatment.
Fact: Studies show that bedwetting alarms are more effective than drug therapy for nighttime wetting. The positive effects of drug therapy tend to stop once medication is discontinued, while the ability to recognize bladder fullness as a result of alarm-training persists.
Myth: You have to wait for your child to outgrow bedwetting.
Fact: Because we now have safe, effective techniques to help children eliminate bedwetting, there is no reason that you have to wait years for bedwetting to stop spontaneously.
Myth: Bedwetting occurs because children are left in disposable pants too long.
Fact: Using disposable pants can decrease parent frustration until treatment is started.
There are a few reasons that a child can have bedwetting. More than one of these factors can play a role in your child’s bedwetting.
The development of urinary control is a maturational process. Everyone is born wetting the bed. As children grow and develop, so does their ability to control their bladder.
However, about 20% of children have not developed this pattern and are still having bedwetting episodes. As your bedwetting child grows older, chances increase that intervention will stop the nighttime wetting in a few weeks rather than waiting years for bedwetting to just disappear.
Although only 3% of children who wet the bed have a medical reason for doing so, it's important to make sure medical problems aren't contributing to the wet nights. If your child develops a bedwetting problem, talk to her healthcare provider. Here are some of the more common medical causes of bedwetting:
Before visiting your healthcare provider, keep a diary of your child's wetting problem for a week or so. Ask yourself the following questions:
Also keep track of any environmental factors that you think could be relevant. The more information you can provide your healthcare provider with, the more comprehensive the treatment plan will be.
If your child struggles with bedwetting, here are some do's and don'ts for approaching the situation:
There are many steps that you can take to stop your child's bedwetting problem. Here's a list of some common methods of eliminating bedwetting, some of which are effective and some that should be avoided:
While bedwetting is common among children, many assume that bedwetting indicates that they're not growing up properly or quickly enough. Children who are old enough will benefit from taking parts of their bedwetting treatment into their own hands.
Many children who wet the bed feel out of control of their situation, and this often leads to lowered self-esteem. Involve your child in his own treatment by allowing him to make as many decisions as possible. For example, what type and color of bedwetting alarm would he prefer? What protective bedding and undergarments does he think will be most comfortable?
One of the advantages of bedwetting alarm treatment is that, after the first couple of weeks of the parent responding to the alarm and waking the child up, the child should then be better able to recognize the sound of the alarm and the feeling of bladder fullness. When you think he's ready, encourage him to get up on his own to use the bathroom at the sound of the alarm.
It also helps to show your child how to take care of the bed in case of nighttime accidents. Have him help you remove any soiled protective bedding and reapply new, clean protection one night after an accident. Do this a few times, then encourage him to do it on his own in the future. Make it easy for him by always making sure that there are plenty of replacement underpads, overlays, and towels near the bed.