Bedwetting is a common problem that many parents deal with. While it can be frustrating, it’s important to understand that bedwetting is not done intentionally. Children are likely to feel embarrassed and ashamed when they wake up wet, and becoming angry will not help the situation. There are many underlying factors that can contribute to bedwetting in children. Here we’ll discuss just how common childhood bedwetting is and what you can do to help your child overcome it.
Primary Vs. Secondary Bedwetting
Let’s begin by discussing the two different types of childhood bedwetting. The first is known as primary bedwetting, which is when a child has never been able to hold his or her urine at night and has never experienced a dry night. Secondary bedwetting is what occurs when a child has experienced a period of dryness, but has recently relapsed and begun wetting the bed again. Primary bedwetting is much more common than secondary bedwetting, and there is typically no medical cause.
Primary Bedwetting Causes
This type of bedwetting in childhood can occur before your child is potty trained or after your child learns to stay dry all day long. Again, bedwetting in children is not a sign of bad behavior or a indication that your child is “slow.” This is a very common problem that virtually all parents deal with. The typical causes of this type of bedwetting in childhood may include:
– An inability to recognize the sensation associated with the need to urinate.
– Sleeping so deeply that the urge to urinate is not felt.
– Drinking too much, or too late at night.
– The bladder is too small to hold the urine it produces.
Secondary Bedwetting Causes
This type of bedwetting in children is also not a sign of bad behavior or rebellion. Just because your child was able to stay dry before, doesn’t mean he or she isn’t honestly experiencing difficulty with it now. Again, do not berate the child, yell at the child or attempt to make him or her feel ashamed of wetting the bed. This will only increase stress levels and make it more difficult to cope with the problem. The typical causes of this type of bedwetting in childhood may include:
– Urinary tract infection. If your child complains of a burning sensation before or during urination and has recently experienced new issues with bedwetting, a UTI may be to blame.
– Stress or anxiety. Recent changes in your child’s life may cause increased levels of stress or anxiety. Divorce, separation, a new sibling, change of location or any number of life changes can increase a child’s stress levels.
– Not enough sleep. If your child is overtired, he or she may be sleeping too deeply to wake up to urinate. Consider changing bedtimes or incorporating a daytime nap.
– Over-Stimulation. A child that is overstimulated during the day may experience bedwetting issues at night. Consider cutting back on the daily activities and incorporate a “wind down” time just before bed.
What You Can Do to Help with Childhood Bedwetting
Restrict liquid intake. Don’t let your child have anything to drink after 6:00 p.m.
Empty the bladder. Request that your child empty his or her bladder several times before going to bed.
Wake your child up. Begin waking your child up in the middle of the night and walking him or her to the bathroom to urinate. Do this every night, at exactly the same time, to help your child learn to do it without you.
Try a bedwetting alarm. In my personal experience, the only thing that worked for both of my boys was a bedwetting alarm. This is an alarm that you slip inside the child’s underwear that senses when it becomes damp. A loud piercing alarm goes off at the very moment the child urinates, which wakes up the child (and everyone else in the house). With both of my boys, the alarm stopped the bedwetting in under two weeks! Use a bedwetting diaper in the meantime, if needed.
Personal knowledge and experience