Remember, there are millions of parents, just like you, throughout the world coping with a child who wets the bed. Learning to stay dry at night is another development stage. Some children walk and talk earlier than others, some children toilet train and learn to stay dry at night earlier than others.
If bed-wetting is not affecting you or your child, you may wish to simply wait until your child can overcome the problem naturally. If however, the bedwetting is causing you and/or your child stress, anxiety, embarrassment or frustration then it is certainly time to take action. You want to minimize your child’s anxiety and avoid any self-esteem issues resulting from bedwetting.
There are no overnight miracles when it comes to curing bedwetting. Any treatment can take time, patience and perseverance. But with the right motivation, encouragement and patience your child can overcome the problem.
Work through the following steps:
- 1. Talk with your child and partner and decide if bedwetting is a problem.
- 2. Consider seeing your General Practitioner (GP) if you are concerned about any medical issues.
- 3. Discuss treatment options and decide which strategy will suit you and your child.
- 4. Gain understanding and support from the family (all caregivers, siblings).
- 5. Simplify the bedding, pajamas and laundry. Accept that this may be part of your everyday tasks.
- 6. Improve daytime bladder and bowel habits. Explain to your child why this is important and gain their cooperation.
- 7. Begin a daily diary for dry/wet nights. Keep this in a discreet place. A diary will allow you to see progress.
- 8. Help your child keep hydrated during the day, drinking regularly and keep an eye on their fluid intake in the evenings before bed.
- 9. Be patient, offer encouragement and praise.
- 10. Never get angry, yell or show your frustration if things are not going to plan.
- 11. Remind your child that if they wake in the night, it may be because they have woken to go to the toilet. Instead of turning over to go back to sleep they should get up and go to the toilet and try to empty their bladder.
- 12. Use a bedwetting alarm. Explain clearly to your child how the alarm works. Show other caregivers how the alarm works.
- 13. Be prepared to use the alarm every night for weeks. Explain to your child that it takes time to learn. Be prepared to go back to the alarm if your child has the odd wet night. This is not unusual.
- 14. Track progress with the alarm and give praise for dry nights.
- 15. Stay motivated.
- 16. If progress is slow, consider another form of treatment such as counseling.
- 17. Speak with your General Practitioner (GP) or a Specialist for guidance and advice along the way.
Much of the frustration caused by bedwetting is in having to deal with the washing. If you set up a routine for dealing with wet washing bed-making, this will help. It is also a good idea to help your child be prepared. Try the following:
- Have a good supply of pajamas which are easy to pull up and down.
- Purchase a good night light which is easy for your child to use. They need to feel safe getting up out of bed by themselves to go the toilet. A night light will help.
- Move your child from the top bunk to the bottom bunk so they can get to the bathroom easiler.
- Purchase some mattress/bedding protection – waterproof sheets, covers, pads, sleeping bag liners etc.
- Have a change of pajamas and bedding ready to go for the night. You do not want to be opening and closing cupboards and drawers looking for these items during the night.
- If your child has wet during the night they will need a shower before school in the morning. The smell of urine can be strong so this is important. Teach your child how to do this on their own.
Strain on Parents
If you have a child who regularly wets the bed, you may feel like the parent of a new born again. Interrupted sleep at 2 in the morning, difficulties getting back to sleep, extra washing and worry and concern for your child. We all know that sleep deprivation can cause grumpiness, anger and frustration. Try to remain patient and keep your feelings to yourself. Your child does not want to be woken because s/he is wet and cold. Taking your frustration out on your child will only make matters worse. Your child will feel bad and so will you in the morning. Remember that this too is another stage which you will overcome.