Bedwetting is stressful for children and parents alike, and it can seem like it happens no matter what you do to prevent it. You may feel like you’re alone in dealing with this issue. However, bedwetting is more common than you may think. According to Psychology Today, 5-10% of children still wet the bed at age five.
Here are some tips to help you deal with bedwetting in an effective and compassionate way.
Reassure your child
Children know that wetting the bed isn’t something they’re supposed to do, and they can feel a large amount of shame and stress over it. The most important thing you can do is reassure them that you’re not upset at them. Tell them that it’s normal and common, and it won’t happen forever.
Look at your family history
In many cases, bedwetting can run in families. If you or someone else in your child’s family wet the bed as a child, this could be the cause. Be open about this and tell your child, as it can help them feel less embarrassed.
Is your child stressed?
Anxiety or stress can cause bedwetting. If your child has experienced a major life event such as a move or a new school, try to reduce stressors as much as possible and create a secure home environment. If your child is experiencing anxiety, you can help them find positive coping strategies.
Reduce liquids and caffeine before bed
Drinks with caffeine, such as chocolate milk and hot chocolate, may seem like a relaxing drink before bed. However, they can irritate a child’s bladder and increase urination. You may also consider limiting citrus juice, sweeteners, dyes, and artificial flavors in evening drinks. While you shouldn’t eliminate drinks entirely in the evening, having your child drink the bulk of their daily fluids earlier in the day can help.
Create a bedtime routine for success
Between brushing their teeth, changing into their pajamas, and having their favorite bedtime story read to them, children may forget to visit the toilet before they go to sleep. Help your child to remember this vital part of their bedtime routine, and it will soon become habit.
Bring your child to the toilet at night
It can be tempting to wake your child up once or twice in the night to bring them to the toilet. However, rather than reducing the frequency of bedwetting, this can disrupt your child’s sleep cycle and cause stress – which can actually be a trigger for bedwetting. Instead, wake your child up once before you go to bed, and provide nightlights for them so they can find their way. Doing this on a consistent basis can help make it part of your child’s natural process.
When should you see your doctor?
While bedwetting is very common, sometimes it can be a symptom of a larger issue. If your child is still wetting the bed at the age of seven, you might want to make an appointment to visit their doctor. Other times a doctor’s visit might be necessary are:
- If your child has been dry for at least three months before wetting the bed again.
- If your child has pain or unusual symptoms during urination, a fever, or belly pain.
- If your child wets during the day as well as during the night.
When dealing with bedwetting, the most important thing is to remain patient and compassionate. Bedwetting doesn’t always signify an emotional or physical problem, but it can cause stress for everyone involved. Reward your child’s “dry nights,” but remember that it is a process and setbacks can occur. Try to not let your child see if you are frustrated at the situation, as they can misinterpret your emotions as being directed towards them. Ensure your child’s bedwetting isn’t discussed in front of them, and that siblings or relatives don’t tease them about it. Remain optimistic, and your child will feel optimistic too.