Bedwetting is one of those unspoken trials most families endure but don’t talk about.
But it’s a conversation we should be having because it is normal.
Almost a third of four-year-olds wet the bed. By the time they are 6, one in 10 children still wet the bed, and one in 20 by age 10.
Most children will feel embarrassed or ashamed about wetting their bed so it is important to reassure your child that they are not the only one who wets their bed and to support them through it no matter how long it lasts.
What causes bedwetting?
While not all causes of bedwetting are known, some of the possible factors are:
- genetic tendency (bedwetting tends to run in families; yep that’s right – if you wet the bed as a child your kids are more likely to do the same due to a smallish bladder capacity)
- the child is a deep sleeper
- the child’s kidneys continue to produce a lot of urine at night (usually, people make less urine when they are asleep).
Treatment for bedwetting
Most children don't need rewards to motivate them to take part in treatment – but involving them in a solution helps show that you are OK with their bedwetting and working together to get them through it.
It can be helpful to keep a record chart of wet and dry nights. Your child should make the chart themselves and choose how to complete it. Some children like to put stars or stickers on for dry nights, or to colour it in or draw pictures. Let them decide.
Contrary to your instinct as a parent - it is important to not restrict the amount of fluid your child drinks in the evening, as this will not help and can even delay the process of being dry at night. However, don't give drinks containing caffeine (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, caffeinated soft-drinks like cola etc.) late at night.
Bedwetting alarms are thought to be the most useful and successful first-step to treat bedwetting. Research has shown these alarms will help more than 80 per cent of children to become dry, and most children will then stay dry. Children using alarms are less likely to relapse.
A child using a bedwetting alarm needs a supportive and helpful family as it may take six to eight weeks to work.
Regardless of which treatment you will be using with your child, there are some general strategies that are useful throughout the treatment process.
It is very important to be patient and to encourage your child. Punishing or making fun of your child for wetting the bed will only make the situation worse – make sure siblings understand this as well.
Your child needs to be very involved in the treatment plan if it is to work. Be very positive on the good nights, and try not to be negative on the bad ones.
If you are putting your child in a nappy or pull-up at night to save on laundry, it is unlikely that they will become dry while this continues.
You might like to use some form of protection for the bed while waiting for your child to stop wetting. A variety of pads and covers are available to protect the bed and pillow from Calanna Wholehealth Pharmacies.
Key points to remember
Bedwetting is very common.
Most children have no lasting problems from bedwetting.
Family members of children who wet the bed need to be supportive and not critical.
Bedwetting alarms are considered the most successful first step to treat bedwetting.
Medication is an option if alarms have not helped.
You may wish to see a doctor about your child's bedwetting if it is becoming something that the family can not deal with or is occurring during the day as well.