Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, affects many children and is a problem that should be handled with care because many children feel guilty and ashamed about it. Parental understanding and positive re-enforcement are needed to deal with this trying issue. Keep in mind, the child probably feels worse about this problem than the parents do. The entire family should be sensitive about the feelings of the child when regarding this problem.
Most children tend to be dry at night around the age of 3. If your child is 3 or 4 and still wets the bet, chances are they are just a little late with their development, and it will probably pass soon. When this problem continues past the 3- to 4-year age range, and there is no medical issue such as kidney or bladder problems, chances are this is a bedwetting issue. Most actual bedwetters do not have bladder or kidney problems.
Bedwetting effects about 15 percent of children beyond the age of 3 and is much more prevalent in boys than girls. Bedwetting tends to run in families, and you will usually know of another relative who has had the same issue. In lieu of any medical issues, most bedwetters simply seem to have a slower development of bladder control than most. Most cases of bedwetting do not involve emotional problems in the children affected by it.
While most bedwetters do not have emotional problems, certain dramatic life events may cause a child who has otherwise been potty trained both day and night to begin wetting the bed. Such huge changes in a child’s life, such as moving, divorce, a new baby or death of a close family member or friend, may bring on this type of bedwetting.
Many times, the child will feel ashamed after an incident of bedwetting. Punishment should not be used with bedwetters because this is not something they have control over and is not something they are doing deliberately. Praise for “dry nights” is essential is helping the child feel as if they have accomplished something.
There are a few ways you can try to improve the chances of a dry night. Limit the child’s liquid intake a few hours before bedtime, and be sure they use the bathroom right before going to bed. You may even elect to wake your child at some point during the night, or before you retire for the evening, to have them attempt to use the bathroom again, possibly preventing an accident.
You may want to consider the use of a pull-up type of nighttime diaper, such as Goodnites. They work to absorb mild accidents and may help your child deal a little better with the accidents, if they are not getting their sheets soaked every night they have an accident. Placing a waterproof liner under the sheets will help protect your mattress and save you a lot of work in the long run.
While this is a frustrating time for both parent and child, be assured that most cases of bedwetting resolve with time, and most are totally dry at night by the time they reach puberty. In severe cases, a pad or buzzer system may be used that sounds if the child begins to wet to wake them before they continue to wet. Also, there is a prescription medication called DDAVP, which is an anti-diuretic hormone drug that will allow the child to stay dry during the night. In my own experience with my child, I found this drug to be safe and very effective, and it eliminated the issue until it was outgrown. It also boosted my child’s confidence immensely and allowed for participation is social events such as camping trips and overnight visits, which otherwise would have proved most embarrassing . Speak with your child’s pediatrician if you are interested in learning more about either of these options.
Remember, this too shall pass and will soon be nothing but a distant memory. Please visit http://aacap.org/page.ww?name=Bedwetting§ion=Facts+for+Families for more information.