Has your child started to wet the bed? You’re frustrated. You’re exhausted. Your child is already in school – and they’re still wetting the bed at night. You’ve tried limiting liquids after dinner. You’ve woken your child up in the middle of the night and asked them to go the bathroom. Still, no luck. YOU AREN’T ALONE.
Bedwetting is a common issue among young children as well as incontinent adolescents and adults. There are many issues that bedwetting can cause, including embarrassment, discomfort and messes. In addition, bedwetting individuals are at risk of damaging their skin by lying in a wet or soiled bed throughout the night. Bedwetting is, therefore, an issue that must be dealt with properly, rather than accepting it as fact.
Causes of bedwetting can include poor toilet training, inconsistent sleeping habits and bladder instability. It can also be inherited from a family member or relative who also had bedwetting problems. If the problem continues, talk with your paediatrician. They may want to take a closer look at your child’s kidney or bladder.
Managing bedwetting is no easy task. Here are things to keep in mind as you and your child deal with bedwetting:
- MONITOR FLUID INTAKE. Although it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid dehydration, which can irritate the bladder, try to limit fluid intake during the last few hours before bed. This will help ensure that the bladder isn’t working too hard during the night, which can lead to bed-wetting.
- ELIMINATE BLADDER IRRITANTS. At night, start by eliminating caffeine (such as chocolate milk and cocoa). And if this doesn’t work, cut citrus juices, artificial flavorings, dyes (especially red) and sweeteners. Many parents don’t realize these can all irritate a child’s bladder.
- POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. This is key during this time for your child. Be sure to remain positive and to be sensitive to his or her feelings. Offer positive reinforcement incentives like stickers for a dry night. It is important not to punish your child or express frustration with the wetting.
- ENSURE EASY ACCESS TO THE BATHROOM. For many bed-wetting individuals, it may be a simple issue of getting to the bathroom in time. This problem is especially likely when dealing with young children, disabled or mature adults, as well as mentally impaired individuals.
- DON’T WAKE CHILDREN UP TO URINATE. Randomly waking up a child at night and asking them to urinate on demand isn’t the answer, either. It will only lead to more sleeplessness and frustration.
- BE PROACTIVE. As you and your child resolve his or her bed-wetting issue. Protect the mattress with a plastic cover underneath the sheets.
- DON’T RESORT TO PUNISHMENT. Getting angry at your child doesn’t help them learn. The process doesn’t need to involve conflict.
- CONSIDER IF CONSTIPATION IS A FACTOR. Because the rectum is right behind the bladder, difficulties with constipation can present themselves as a bladder problem, especially at night. This affects about one-third of children who wet the bed, though children are unlikely to identify or share information about constipation.
- USE A BED-WETTING ALARM. Bed-wetting alarms are an effective way of training incontinent children as well as adults who have been bed-wetting since childhood. Bed-wetting alarms sound on detection of urine during the night, which can successfully train adults and children to associate the sensation of a full bladder with getting up to use the bathroom. This method has been proven very effective if used consistently for several weeks.
- SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR. Although bed-wetting may be uncomfortable or even embarrassing to discuss, it is important to consult your doctor about your issue. This is crucial because a medical professional can help discover the underlying cause of bed-wetting issues, which will make treatment easier and more effective.