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How to stop your child from bed-wetting

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  • January 28, 2021
  • MKB Team

Bedwetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis is a completely involuntary act when the child urinates in bed during his sleep. Bed-wetting although an embarrassing issue for kids, is a common phenomenon and a normal developmental stage. There is no cause for parents to panic over it. More often, the problem disappears on
its own over time. It’s more common in boys than girls with the ratio roughly ranging from 2 boys to 1 girl. Research shows that approximately 20 percent of 5-year-olds, 10 percent of 7-year-olds, and 5 percent of 10-year-olds wet their beds. However, 15 percent of children still wet the bed by age 5, but less than 5 percent of kids do
so by ages 8 to 11.

Most children outgrow this phase naturally but, here are a few tips to keep your child dry through the night and stop bedwetting.


  • No Blame Game: Don’t get angry with your little one. Neither
    should the child be teased as this will worsen the problem.
    Offer some comfort instead and consult your paediatrician if
    it’s getting out of hand. But remember that in most cases there
    might not be a medical or physical reason for bedwetting as it’s
    only a delay in the development of night time bladder control.
  • Encourage trips to the bathroom: Do this before bedtime and
    attempt to carry your child to the bathroom just before you hit
    bed again. Emptying the bladder reduces the chances of
    bedwetting, although it might not cure the problem completely.
    Try and limit fluid intake a few hours before bedtime. Ensure that
    the bathroom is not too far away from the child’s bedroom to
    encourage trips. Speak to the child gently to check if the child has a fear of the dark as sometimes being scared can lead to bedwetting. Keep a small night lamp, light bulb or even a hall light on in such a case.
  • Incentive Chart: Make an incentive chart to coerce your child
    against bedwetting. Ensure that your child maintains this chart
    and encourage him/her to put up a smiley or a star each dry
    night. Ten of these stickers could bring an incentive like a
    favourite toy or an ice cream treat. In the case of bedwetting, a
    reward or incentive works better than punishment.
  •  Constipation: Check your child’s bowel movement as
    constipation could also cause bladder instability. In the case
    that daily bowel movement is absent or the stool is particularly
    hard, your child’s fluid and fiber intake needs to be increased.
    Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and apple juice are suggested
    options to cure constipation. You can try medicines after
    consultation with your doctor but remember that medicine
    checks the problem or the symptoms rather than cure them.
    The problem persists as soon as the medicines are stopped.
  •  Get a waterproof mattress: After investing in a waterproof
    mattress, you might want to instil a habit in your child to
    change the sheets in the morning. This will help him take the
    responsibility for bedwetting and might also check the problem
    as the child is now a part of the solution.
  • Sometimes, your child’s routine could face a disruption and
    bedwetting may be caused as a result. For example if a child is
    completely exhausted, has a minor illness or experiences stress.
    A big life change like a new school or a new sibling could also
    cause bedwetting.
  • Although it is best to take the problem head on in a natural
    way, you might consider returning to overnight diapers or
    training pants if the problem persists. Another option is washable or disposable underwear designed for kids who wet the bed regularly.
  • It’s a myth that fluid intake could cause bedwetting. In fact, the
    opposite holds good as lack of a proper fluid intake throughout
    the course of the day could lead to bedwetting at night.
  •  Sometimes, erratic sleeping patterns also cause bedwetting
    when the child is awake till late at night and wakes up late as a
    result. Follow the old saying religiously- Early to bed and early
    to rise…

When will the child stop wetting the bed?

Approximately 90 percent of children outgrow bed-wetting on their

own by the age of 7. Most importantly, the parents have to make the child realise that there is no shame or guilt for bedwetting. Making fun of the child, display of irritation or blaming the child not only makes the problem worse but also damages the child’s self-confidence. The child often believes that this is an isolated phenomenon and no one else has this problem. Opening up about bedwetting with the child and telling him/her that this happens with all children helps fight this small problem in an easier way. Was this article helpful for you? Have some tips on how to stop a child from wetting the bed? Write to us as we’d love to hear from you!

Q & A:

You ask and we answer!

How do I stop my child from peeing at night?

Ratna Balsavar, Bangalore.

To combat bed-wetting, doctors suggest:

Shift times for drinking.

Schedule bathroom breaks.

Be encouraging.

Eliminate bladder irritants.

Avoid thirst overload.

Consider if constipation is a factor.

Don't wake children up to urinate.

An earlier bedtime is advisable.

 

What age should a child stop wetting the bed?

Priya Gupte, Mumbai.

Many children will use the toilet well during the day long before they are dry through the night. It can be many months, even years, before children stay dry overnight. Most children, but not all, stop bedwetting between the ages of 5 and 6 years old. Bedwetting is more common in boys and in deep sleepers.

Is bedwetting a sign of ADHD?

Smriti Chauhan, Gurgaon.

Yes, theres definitely a link. Bedwetting is about three times more common in kids who have ADHD than in kids who dont. And it can be very distressing to both kids and parents. It's still not totally clear why so many kids with ADHD have this issue.

 


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