Tips to Control Bedwetting in Children
There you are: Sleeping. Peaceful. Dreaming of sugarplum fairies and vast meadows filled with fluffy sheep. You’ve earned this restful, uninterrupted sleep after yesterday’s day, and by golly, you’re going to enjoy the rejuvenating power of –
*whispers* “Mama, I wet the bed…”
You feel hot air on your face and slowly crack a lid to see one huge pair of eyes inches away from yours.
You take a deep breath and try to squash down the tiredness and irritation and tiredness and irritation and tiredness…and irritation…
(Pixabay / fujikama)
If you have experienced this scenario more than you’d like, just know that you aren’t alone. In fact, occasional nighttime bedwetting is a frequent occurrence in kids seven years old and younger. Some common causes of nighttime bedwetting or bedwetting regressions are:
- Changes: Let’s face it: change is hard! A new baby in the home, a new routine, visiting a new place, moving to a new house, other stressors – these factors are probably some of the most common causes for bedwetting regressions. Your kid might have been nighttime trained for months, but once something changed in his routine, he started wetting the bed again. This can be very frustrating, but know that most of the time, it’ll pass on its own.
- Genes: Believe it or not, bedwetting often runs in the family!
- Small Bladder: Some kids just have a small bladder, but doing exercises during the day can help stretch it out a little bit so that it’ll hold more at night. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you think exercises could help.
- Sound Sleeper: Really deep sleepers often have trouble waking up when they feel the need to urinate.
You shouldn’t worry too much about bedwetting unless your child is over the age of five, and accidents happens at least twice a week for at least three months. If your child meets those criteria, you may want to talk with your child’s pediatrician about underlying health problems. Your child’s doctor will know what to look for to diagnose less common health-related causes like urinary tract infections, hormonal imbalance, constipation, sleep apnea, and diabetes.
If your child’s pediatrician has ruled out an outlying medical problem, you might have success following some of these tried-and-true tips for ending nighttime bedwetting.
- Bedtime Routine: Your kid’s nighttime routine can play an important role in how successful he is at waking up and using the bathroom during the night. If the problem is that he is a sound sleeper, try setting an earlier bedtime. Often, children sleep soundly because they are overly tired. Stop screens two hours before bedtime, and have him use the restroom an hour before bed. Make sure that there is a safe pathway from his bed so that he can get up and move around safely, and use nightlights to brighten the way if necessary. Have him use the restroom again right before bed, but don’t wake him up in the middle the night in an effort to prevent an accident. Doing so can cause additional frustration if an accident happens later in the night.
- Think About the Drink: How much liquid your child consumes before bed can have a direct correlation with nighttime accidents, so be mindful of what you give her before bed. Limit caffeine (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, energy drinks, soda pop) because caffeine speeds up how quickly her body produces urine, and try to stay away from other bladder irritants like artificial dyes, citrus juice, or drinks with a lot of sugar/sweeteners. If kids don’t drink enough during the day, they might want to “camel up” before bedtime, so make sure that your child is drinking most of her water before about 4 pm, and then gradually taper off how much you give her until bedtime.
- Get the Gadgets:
- Mattress Protector: You’ll want to be prepared for when accidents happen, so make sure that you have a reliable mattress protector. One particularly helpful tip is to layer your child’s mattress with a mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector, sheet so that when accidents happen, you just have to strip the bed without having to hunt for and put on clean sheets.
- High-Volume Pull-Ups: These are a good product for kids who have large releases at night. They’re more absorbent than regular diapers or pull-ups, so they’re less likely to cause a mess.
- Disposable Pads: If you’re traveling, disposable mattress pads are a great idea. You can pick up the mess and toss it without missing a beat. o Bedwetting Calendar: A bedwetting calendar will help your child feel more responsible throughout the process of trying to stop nighttime bedwetting. Offer small incentives along the way with the opportunity of earning a larger incentive for going more days without an incident.
- Bedwetting Alarm: Bedwetting alarms are cool gadgets that detect urine. You can tuck them into your child’s pajamas at night. When they detect moisture, they sound an alarm that helps the child get up and go use the restroom. If you decide to go that route, be sure to get an alarm that has both vibration and sound. And use care because some alarms are so sensitive that they detect sweat and sound false alarms—which could lead to plenty of middle-of-the-night frustration.
- Peejamas: Peejamas look and feel like normal pajamas, but they have an ultra-absorbent pad sewn into the bottoms. This pad traps nighttime urine so you don’t have the frustration of soaked sheets. However, unlike diapers, it doesn’t wick the sensation of moisture away completely. The feeling of wetness cues your child to get up and go potty. When you don’t have to get up in the night and change sheets, you’ll see that these pajamas make a great alternative to bed wetting alarms and waterproof mattress pads.