Bed Wetting | Emma's Dairy India

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Bed wetting


Reasons why your child may wet the bed and advice on self-help techniques

Once your child has achieved daytime dryness you could be forgiven for assuming that night time dryness will quickly follow. But in many cases this is not so...

In fact, one in 12 children still wet the bed at least twice a week at four and a half years of age. Doctors usually don't consider bedwetting to be a problem until a child is at least five years of age, or older.

Reasons for bedwetting

It's important to remember that your child doesn't wet himself at night on purpose, or because he is lazy. There are several physical and emotional reasons why a child may wet the bed:

  • Children's bodies develop at different rates and your toddler may just not be sufficiently developed to last through the night without passing urine.
  • It could be that he sleeps very deeply and doesn't feel the sensation of needing to pee, so once his bladder becomes full it automatically empties itself, just as it did when he was a baby.
  • Constipation can be a cause of occasional bedwetting.
  • Sometimes bedwetting is triggered by emotional upset such as the arrival of a new brother or sister, or moving house.
  • Bedwetting can run in families. Studies show that children are much more likely to have problems staying dry at night if one or both of their parents were once bed-wetters too.
  • If your child starts to wet the bed again after having been dry he may have a urine infection. This is more likely if your child is going more often to pass urine during the day and if he complains that passing urine hurts. Try to get a specimen of urine for testing and have your child checked over by your doctor.

How to react to bedwetting

Although bedwetting isn't harmful in itself it can be extremely frustrating for parents and children alike.

But you need to be aware of how wetting himself at night affects your child. He may feel discouraged and ashamed, especially if you get angry with him.

This in turn will harm his self-esteem, so try not to make a big deal out of changing his wet sheets and rather than being cross about the accident, explain that it's nothing to worry about and that he will become dry at night when he's grown up a bit more.

It's important to remain positive and supportive since criticism is often counterproductive.

Self-help techniques

There are no hard and fast rules regarding the best way to treat a persistent bed-wetter, but there are some simple self-help techniques that may help.

  • Cut down on drinks before bedtime.
  • Avoid giving your child drinks that contain caffeine, such as cola, tea and hot chocolate because these increase the need to urinate during the night.
  • Encourage your child to go to the toilet frequently during the day.
  • Make sure your toddler goes to the toilet before bedtime.

Bedwetting alarms

If these self-help techniques don't work, then you may want to try a bedwetting alarm.

These are most useful for children aged five years or more; a small sensor device is attached to your child's pyjama bottoms, which detects when your child starts to wet himself and sets off an alarm which wakes him up.

Used over a period of weeks this may help your child recognise when he needs to pee so that he wakes himself up to go the toilet. When your child manages to remain dry for 14 nights in a row the alarm is no longer needed.

Bedwetting alarms don't work for everyone and you may not like the idea. If you do decide to try one ask your doctoror check online to see how they work. Otherwise it's worth shopping around as they vary greatly in price.

Further treatment

Although medication is available, it only helps while it is being taken and it doesn’t speed up the child's natural development of bladder control. Medication is only given under the guidance of a health professional, usually when a child is over the age of five and everything else suggested has failed. In rare cases a child may need to be referred to a specialist.

Making life easier

Bedwetting can be challenging for a parent so it's a good idea to find ways to minimise the effects.

  • Make sure your child has easy access to the bathroom or a potty at night.
  • Protect your child's mattress and duvet with waterproof covers.
  • If you are taking your child away, consider putting him in pull-ups at night. This won't solve the bedwetting problem, but it will make your life easier.

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