Bedwetting is a very normal thing among young children. About 50% of three year olds, 40% of four year olds, 20-25% of five year olds, and 10-15% of six year olds still don’t stay dry every night. Typically bedwetting goes away on its own as children get older; however, there are a few things that you can do to help your child stay dry throughout the night.
Gentle Strategies to Decrease Bedwetting
It is important to consider the age of your child, their development, and reasons that they may be wetting the bed. Like I said in the beginning of this post, most bedwetting issues resolve on their own without any intervention. However, I also understand that many children are eager to stay dry overnight, and parents want to support them in that effort. Here are some respectful ways to help your child:
- Don’t place any blame on the child or make him feel guilty or ashamed. Let him know that it’s normal and will take time to change.
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids during the day and to use the toilet frequently all day. Yes – regular daytime bladder use helps solve bedwetting!
- Limit liquids for an hour or two before bedtime. You don’t need to cut out liquids entirely, since this only reduces the amount of nighttime urine; it doesn’t stop the reasons for bedwetting.
- Make several pre-bed trips to the bathroom – one at the beginning of your bedtime routine and once again just before lights out at the very end of the routine.
- Keep a night light on for a clear path to the bathroom and make sure your child knows he can get up to go to the bathroom at night if he needs to. Just the pre-bedtime reminder and the lit path may help.
- Use a special mattress cover instead of absorbent pull-ups. Absorbent pants or diapers can delay the normal development process because a child can’t feel when urination occurs.
If These Strategies Don’t Work
There are many biological reasons for bedwetting, which means that behavioral changes won’t always work if biology is overriding them. The most important thing is to remain calm about this matter – you never want to make your children feel like it is their fault or embarrass them! It is perfectly fine to have your child to sleep in a diaper, padded training pants, disposable absorbent underpants, or use a special mattress cover until he begins to stay dry all night.
If your child’s bedwetting doesn’t seem to improve, or if you are concerned about it, you can always speak to your healthcare provider. According to the National Kidney Foundation you only need to talk to a doctor about bedwetting if your child is six or seven years of age or older, or if there are other symptoms of a sleep disorder (such as loud snoring). A specialist can help direct parents of older children as to the use of bed alarms, bladder-training exercises, diet changes, therapy, or medication.