At a certain age bed wetting is normal and goes hand in hand with the transition from diapers to using the toilet. However sometimes it becomes a problem that persists well after toilet training has occurred, leaving many parents wondering how to deal with bed wetting. Each child is different but there are a number of fairly standard approaches to consider.
The first tip to keep in mind involves limiting their intake of liquids. Don’t let them drink anything for about two hours before bed. This will be difficult when a bottle of milk just before bed is part of the nightly routine, but it may be advisable to gradually change that routine. In addition:
- Limit their intake of carbonated drinks and foods throughout the day
- Limit their intake of caffeinated drinks and foods throughout the day
This, combined with a nightly routine of going to the toilet before bed, will help you handle bed wetting.
Observe Bathroom Behavior
Another tip related to how to deal with bed wetting involves keeping track of your child’s bathroom behavior. You have to, for example, make certain that they actually do go to the toilet before bed, and that they do not just say that they went. Once children are toilet trained you will no longer be closely involved in every toilet process and may not be aware of any problems that your child may be having medically speaking. If, for example, they are having trouble pooping it could be an indication that they have a medical problem. Keep in touch with your child’s bathroom behavior.
Keep A Calendar
Keeping a calendar in the form of a sticker chart can help with bed wetting problems. It is a reward system. The rewards are broken into two steps:
- Each time your child has a dry night or remembers to get up to pee, they can add a sticker to the chart
- Once a certain number of stickers have been collected, a larger reward, such as an outing or more time on the computer can be given
If positive reinforcement does not work it may be an indication of a medical problem that your child is simply unable to control.
Consider An Alarm
A bed wetting alarm is an alarm that activates when your child wets his or her pants in the night. Usually the alarm will make a noise or vibrate until the child wakes up. After a while your child will start waking up sooner and sooner after the alarm goes off and may even begin to wake up before the alarm goes off. It builds sensitivity and can train the bladder to hold more urine for longer periods of time. Introduce the alarm in a fun way and deal with any fears that the child may have in relation to the alarm appropriately.
How To Deal With Bed Wetting: Bedwetting Medications
If your child simply does not improve in terms of bed wetting you may need to use medication. The most popular is:
- Desmopressin (DDAVP), which reduces urine production
However you must remember that medication does not cure the ‘problem’ that your child has. It is merely a way for the symptoms of the problem to be adequately handled. The medication serves as a bridge to help your child get to an age where he or she automatically stops wetting the bed. Medications should only be administered with consultation form your doctor.
Educate Yourself And Your Child
Enuresis is an actual condition and often a child cannot do anything about it no matter how much they want to. As a parent you need to be educated on the facts surrounding enuresis. In addition you need to ensure that everyone else in the house is educated to. Other siblings should be taught not to tease the bed wetting child. The child himself may encounter teasing at school and the misconception that only babies wet the bed, so they need to be educated as well in order to accept their condition and work constructively towards resolving it more quickly.
Visit A Doctor
There are a number of medical conditions that can result in bed wetting, including:
Consequently if it becomes a significant problem, you should see a doctor. At the very least you will be able to rule out the possibility of an underlying medical condition. If you know of a doctor that specializes in enuresis, all the better, as they will have a better idea of what possible underlying causes to test for. It is better to find out that there is nothing wrong with your child than to leave him or her undiagnosed with a serious condition.
Do Not Make A Big Deal About It
Bed wetting is not a dangerous condition. Consequently you should not let it become a big deal or blow it out of proportion. Obviously you need to work with your child to resolve their condition as far as possible, but you need to monitor your behavior throughout this process as you do not want to give your child the impression that he or she is somehow sick or different. Making a big deal about bed wetting can make life more stressful for your child which could in fact slow down the process of learning not to wet the bed.
Let The Child Tell You When They Have Wet The Bed
You need to create a routine that allows your child to approach you with the information that he or she wet the bed. There are a few things to keep in mind here:
- Do not make the child tell you in front of other members of the household as this will make him or her feel ashamed.
- Set aside a quiet time in the morning for your child to tell you whether or not the wet the bed.
- Keeping a calendar on which your child marks off wet and dry nights creates a routine for sharing this information.
Make Sure No Medications Are Causing The Problem
Sometimes medications that your child is on may increase their tendency to wet the bed. Some medications cause a child to feel drowsy or tired and this may prevent them from waking up in time to prevent wetting the bed. Other medications may be diuretics that increase urine output. Sometimes medications can be changed to options that do not contribute to bed wetting. Pharmacists and doctors will be able to give you information on the tendency of a medication to cause bedwetting when you are given the drug and can perhaps suggest alternatives that are not as bad.
Easy Bathroom Access
You should make certain that your child has easy access to a bathroom during the night:
- Consider leaving the bathroom light on to guide him or her and to reduce the amount of time it takes them to get to the bathroom.
- Consider rearranging the sleeping arrangements in your home so that your child’s room is closer to the bathroom.
- Consider moving your child’s bed closer to the door to shave off a few seconds form the time it takes to get to the bathroom, thereby reducing the chance of accidents, even if the reduction is only slight.
Self-monitoring has been shown to be helpful in reducing bed wetting. Your child needs to play an active role in the solution process. This may simply mean marking off the days that she had a dry night as opposed to the days that she had a wet night. In addition she could mark off on the calendar the nights when she got up to use the bathroom and the nights when she slept right through. Being able to track her own progress and monitor her own behavior will help her to see improvements for herself and encourage further improvements to occur.
Work With Your Child And Get His Consent
When it comes to bed wetting solutions and ideas you must:
- Work with your child throughout the solution process, and
- Get his consent before beginning a solution
Your child needs to play an active role in the solution if it is to be an effective one. In addition he must be consulted before measures are put into place. For example you may want to explain the function and purpose of a bed wetting alarm to them and ask them if they would like one before rushing out to buy one. Forcing solutions on your child will only make the problem last longer.
Bed wetting can be a serious problem for older children, but it is a problem that can be addressed. Maintaining the right attitude throughout the process is an essential aspect related to how to deal with bed wetting and it is incredibly important that you do not blame or criticize your child. The situation will be stressful enough for them already without having extra guilt piled on them by you.