Written by: Nurse Sharon. Source: Centramax
The response depends on the age of the child and how long they have been potty trained. Wetting the bed at night is fairly common until age 6. Some children develop bladder control faster than others and most children who wet the bed overcome the problem between ages 6 and 10. Bedwetting is often due to a small bladder and as children grow, their bladders enlarge. This may explain why the problem may go away by itself with age. Problems with bedwetting also tend to run in families. Very rarely is bedwetting caused by a physical problem such as urinary tract infection, diabetes, or a nerve or muscle problem. Some children sleep so soundly they do not feel their bladder getting full or cannot wake themselves up.
Some things you can do to help your child with bedwetting:
- Remind your child to go to the bathroom before going to bed.
- Put a nightlight in the bathroom and encourage your child to get up to urinate during the night as needed. Consider a portable toilet if the bathroom is far away.
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids during the day. This may help produce more urine and help enlarge the bladder. However, limit fluids 2 hours before bedtime and avoid drinks that contain caffeine.
- Avoid diapers and pull-ups. They do not help your child learn to get up at night to urinate.
- Protect the mattress from urine with a waterproof pad or cover.
- Establish a morning routine to deal with wet pajamas and bedding. Have your child help with the clean-up, but do not make the child feel ashamed for a wet bed.
There are some medicines that can be used to treat bedwetting for older children. However, wetting often returns when the medicine is stopped. Bedwetting alarms are often helpful. Ask your provider about using an alarm that goes off at the first sign of moisture in the bed.
Praise your child for dry nights and be understanding on wet nights. Do not punish your child for wetting the bed. A child’s self-esteem can be damaged by parents who punish or embarrass their child for bedwetting, or when siblings or friends make fun of them. Getting angry does not help and may make the situation worse. Restricting fluids or shaming your child do not help the child gain bladder control. These techniques only make your child more anxious. Be patient and supportive and remember that it is not the child’s fault.
Call your healthcare provider if your child is having any other problems with urinating such as pain or burning, a weak or dribbly urine stream, strong odor, or blood in the urine, or blood in the urine. Also call your provider if bedwetting is a new problem, or your child also wets during the day, if your child is constantly thirsty, has abdominal pain, or is over 12 years old.