Waking up in the middle of the night to change your precious angel’s sheet after a bedwetting episode is something every parent out there has to go through. Yes, the problem is far more common than you can imagine. It’s like a hidden childhood problem that most people refrain from talking about.
Keeping bedwetting such a well-kept secret basically makes things tougher for kids and parents alike. A majority of kids actually end up thinking that they’re the only ones who wet the bed. To be honest, bed-wetting kids are far from being alone. Twice as many boys are known to wet their bed as compared to girls. After age 5, nearly 15% of children continue to wet the bed during the night with 95% of them remaining dry at night by age 10.
To help your child get over his bed-wetting problem, here are a few tricks that you should definitely try out:
When your child wets his bed, it’s necessary for you to remain calm. Getting angry at him or punishing him is just going to make him feel pressurized – this may only make the problem worse. Stopping a child from wetting the bed is rather difficult, and you should try not to worry about it unless he is embarrassed and asks for your help. But when he does, refrain from making a big deal out of it and comfort him instead.
The thing with children whose parents don’t talk about bed-wetting is that they end up thinking they’re the only ones with this problem. This is what makes them feel even more embarrassed about the whole issue. Instead of getting mad at him, reassure your little angel that he isn’t the only one who wets his bed – tell him that bedwetting is a very common thing amongst kids his age.
All of this is basically meant to help your child come to terms with bed-wettings and to banish all the embarrassment he may be feeling because of it. This way, he will also know that you’re there for him no matter what.
A few statistics
Also known as ‘nocturnal enuresis,’ bedwetting has been found to be prevalent amongst 21% of preschoolers and 7% of school-age children by the National Sleep Foundation. Remember, if your child is under 7, then he’s still developing nighttime bladder control. However, if the problem persists beyond that age, it’s best for you to speak with a pediatrician.
Starting between four to five years of age, it’s highly recommended for you to record the patterns of your child’s bedwetting for a week. Once done, identify what maybe triggering the episodes – identify what is different about your child’s day on the nights that he wets his bed or remains dry.
Is there any association between certain foods or drinks, life’s events, school situations, family functions, family dynamics or even daytime bowel and bladder patterns and his bed-wetting episodes? Try to pinpoint things that lessen the number of bed-wetting episodes – and the number of sheets that you have to change each week!
People may ask you to restrict your child’s intake of fluids to solve his bed-wetting problem, but try not to take this advice. Withholding your child’s intake of liquids is not helpful and may even harm him. Your child needs to drink a lot for proper bodily function and restricting fluids may cause constipation – and constipation may go on to aggravate bed-wetting.
A few more tips
It’s recommended that you encourage your child to drink a lot of fluids and then hold his urine for increasingly longer times, even if he has the urge to go. This is going to increase your child’s bladder capacity. Like a stretched balloon, it will have the ability to hold more urine without your child having to empty it so often.
Also, help him put an end to his bed-wetting episodes by emptying his bladder completely by the triple-voiding technique - grunt, grunt, grunt to get all the pee out. This needs to be done each night just before going to bed.
Physicians have the ability to take a meticulous medical history and rule out medical causes for bed-wetting such as infection or constipation. A majority of cases of bed-wetting are classified as ‘primary enuresis’ by doctors. What this means is that the child being diagnosed has always wet the bed. This problem, according to experts, is typically caused by a delay in the maturation of the mechanisms that control the bladder.
However, if bed-wetting occurs in a child after he has remained dry for a year or so, then it is termed as ‘secondary enuresis’ by doctors. In this case, it’s necessary for the health care provider to look more closely at the cause of the problem. In most cases, secondary enuresis occurs due to psychological stress or trauma and it may be necessary for the child to receive counseling and/or other treatment.
However, if no medical or psychological causes of bed-wetting can be found, the family can move on to ways to help the child stop bedwetting.
Things your doctor may want to know
If you’ve kept a diary to record your child’s bed-wetting episodes, there’s a good chance that your doctor will want to know the results of your entries. He will probably question you on what you may have noticed and the changes you’ve made based on your findings. He will also perform a complete physical examination to detect if there are neurological problems that may affect his urinary tract.
4. Reward Your Child for Dry Nights
The reward system is a rather common strategy taken on by parents dealing with a child who wets his bed at night. This can involve giving the child a small toy after a dry night or rewarding him with a trip to the park or someplace else he wants to go. There are many things that you can get to reward your child with for each dry night.
For instance, you could get rubber balls and paste them on the wall for your little one to look at or get him coloring books for the said purpose. Let your child pick what he wants out of all the prizes so as to give him the encouragement he needs.
Anything that is special to your little one can be used as a reward. While you’re at it, make sure that you praise your child too for his effort. Anytime your child is dry in the morning, it is vital for you to tell him how amazing he is. Congratulate him and say something like, “You are getting to be a wonderful big boy”.
Teach him the stop and go technique
Get your child to start and stop his urine stream as many times as possible during urination. This is going to give him the awareness that he can control his bladder whenever he wants to. However, make sure that you don’t perform this exercise in case your child has a history of urinary tract infections. In other cases, a few days of practice will help you put much of a stop to your child’s episodes of bed-wetting.
Moisture alarms are a wonderful means of treating bed-wetting. If anything, these are like a miracle for parents whose children wet their beds rather frequently at night. According to medical research, moisture alarms have helped a majority of children whose parents used them stay dry through the night. However, this particular treatment option requires an extremely supportive and helpful family.
Moisture alarms basically consist of a clip-on sensor probe that is attached to the outside of bed-clothing. The alarm will get set off when your child begins to wet the bed. Your child will wake up when the alarm rings and then go to the bathroom to urinate and go back to sleep. It may take your child up to a few weeks or even months to get used to it and use it successfully.
This device slowly conditions the brain to respond appropriately during sleep to messages from the bladder. The reason why it’s highly recommended for you to use this alarm is because it’s very easy to use and rather reliable. It may work quickly or take a little time, but it does work.
An easy way out
The utilization of a moisture alarm has proved to be effective in around seventy to eighty percent of cases when used correctly. In order to make sure that your child knows what to do, perform a few rehearsing drills with him. With its use, your child will associate its sound or vibration with getting up to urinate, which will in turn put an end to his bed-wetting episodes.
It’s necessary for you to establish a bedtime routine for your child to follow. Make sure that he goes to the bathroom before bedtime – this should be a part of his routine. If you can, encourage developing a habit of reading to him, hugs and kisses first and then going to the bathroom right at the end before turning off the light. This is going to go a long way in terms of avoiding nighttime accidents.
To encourage your child to use the bathroom at night, make sure that a nightlight is placed in the bathroom. You could also place one in the hallway and tell your little one about it. Your child needs to know about the light so that in case he needs to go to the bathroom at night, he will be able to see where he’s going and his fear of the dark won’t take over.
If need be, do a few test runs to make sure that your child can see with the nightlight. Although you should refrain from completely restricting your child’s fluids before bedtime, don’t allow him to drink too much before going to bed.
Take a proactive approach to things
Wake up your child during the night before he typically wets the bed and take him to the bathroom. It’s also recommended for you to take him to the bathroom right before you go to bed. Also, don’t ignore this problem completely. Get your child to help with cleaning up after the incident. Help him make the bed so that he has a sense of empowerment.
Giving your child medication to reduce his episodes of bed-wetting is also an option, but these medicines will obviously have side-effects. For instance, Desmopressin, a medicine used to reduce the production of urine may give your child severe headaches, nausea, facial flushing and may even cause severe water retention. Also, some medicines may be focused on controlling the symptoms rather than curing bed-wetting itself.
The day you stop giving these medicines to your kid, his bed-wetting episodes are going to get triggered again. These types of medicines tend to work while the child is taking them, but when you stop giving them to your kid, there’s a good chance that the bed-wetting will start again.
The most common medicine prescribed for this problem is Desmopressin – the medicine controls urine production and is to be given to your child at bedtime. When given the right dose, you can rest-assured that your child will not have a bed-wetting episode that night. Another medicine used for this purpose is Imipramine Tofranil). This also works by reducing urine production and will assist your child in holding urine in his bladder.
Don’t use medicines all the time
It’s best for you to use bed-wetting medications in social situations only. For instance, you can give these to your child if he’s going over to his friend’s place for a sleepover. What this implies is that medicines should only be used as a last resort and should particularly not be given to children younger than 5 years old.