Bedwetting Bedwetting

A child is thought to be a bedwetter if they are still needing a diaper at night after they have been toilet trained during the day for a couple of months. Within a nursery school class of four-year-olds, one in six might be a bedwetter. Some will outgrow it by the time they're five or six. Others will take longer.

A simplistic but practical approach to bewetting is thinking of two major causes:

  1. The child's bladder is too small for their body size and urine output, and
  2. They are in such a deep sleep that they don't awaken as their bladder reaches full capacity

There are several ways to help your child. Addressing the possibility of the child's bladder being relatively small, have them drink less fluid in the hour or two before bed. However, try to have them drink lots of fluids about four hours before bed so their thirst is satisfied. Make sure they urinate before bed. Let the child know that their bladder might not yet be big enough to hold the urine they produce during the night. Let them know before they go to sleep that you will take them to the bathroom "in the middle of the night." Before you go to sleep, whisper to the child that "it's time to empty their bladder," and lift them up or lead them to the bathroom. Keep the lighting subdued or use a night light, and while they're semi-asleep, sit them on or stand they by the toilet and urge them to let it out. Then lead them back to bed. Some parents bring their children to the toilet twice in the middle of the night, once when one of the parents is getting ready to go to sleep and once at around 3 or 4 am. As the child gets older, they switch it to one "wake up" per night. Eventually the child will make it through the night dry.

It's thought that some kids sleep so deeply, they can't awaken from their dreams in order to pee. In fact, they sometimes dream that they are going to the bathroom or that they are swimming. Eventually, as the child gets older, this disconnection of sleeping/waking matures, and the children wake themsevles up once the bladder reaches full capacity. The child is more likely to have accidents when he or she is overtired, when the sleep cycle has been disrupted, or when he or she is ill. For some reason children bedwet more when they have colds.

Children who dream they're going to the bathroom are also helped by having their parents lift them out of bed. Another thing that helps is using a clock radio attached to a timer set to go off at a certain time. This might help arouse them. There are several mail-order products that help remind a child to go with a soft alarm bell, or that makes noise as moisture apears on a child's sheets.

If your child is afraid of going to sleepovers, tell them that it is very likely that they won't wet the bed that night because they tend to not get into the type of deep sleep they have at home. They should however make sure they've completely emptied their bladder before turning in. They can bring their own sleeping bag. Put a small lightweight child's bag inside a lightweight adult's bag and tuck an extra set of pajamas/clothes at the foot of the larger bag.

Try to keep your child from getting discouraged. Try to explain to them why many kids wet the bed. This can help them get over it sooner