Nightly bedwetting episodes can be trying on both children and their parents. Here are a few tips on how to help your child reduce bedwetting incidents and have more dry mornings.
1. Monitor drinks a few hours before bedtime. Allow one drink with dinner, and then stop fluid intake for the night. Children should not drink large quantities of caffeinated drinks, especially not close to bedtime. Caffeine is a diuretic that speeds up urine production.
Provide your child with adequate amount of liquids earlier in the day to avoid dehydration. If your child’s urine is dark yellow, or if he or she shows other signs of dehydration, immediately increase liquid consumption. On average, kids should drink four to six glasses of water or drinks containing water each day.
2. Be sure the child gets enough sleep. You may be tempted to keep your child up later to shorten the time he or she needs to hold urine in the bladder. However, in actuality, being over-tired increases the chances of bedwetting incidents, because the child sleeps deeper and has a harder time waking to use the bathroom. The National Sleep Foundation reports the following average daily sleep requirements for kids: toddlers need 12-14 hours; preschoolers need 11-13 hours; and school-aged children (ages 5-11) need 10-11 hours.
Instead of keeping your child up, try slightly increasing the amount of sleep your child gets each night. Move bedtime to a half hour earlier and stick to a bedtime schedule. Studies show that getting even a half hour more sleep each night decreases bedwetting frequency, because children are less tired and more likely to wake when their bladders are full.
3. Pay attention to your child’s bowel movements. Once a child no longer wears diapers, most parents stop paying close attention to the frequency of their child’s bowel movements. Because of this, constipation is often an unrecognized factor in bedwetting. Your child’s frequent bowel movements may affect how well the bladder empties or how well the child’s bladder can hold urine. Treating constipation can reduce bedwetting or sometimes alleviate it entirely.
4. Make nightly bathroom trips a must. Have the child use the bathroom right before going to bed. Also, cut down on accidents on the way to the bathroom during nightly trips by ensuring the pathway from the child’s bedroom to the bathroom is lit and clear of clutter.
5. Use bedwetting products when necessary. When these methods alone do not stop bedwetting episodes or when your child will be sleeping somewhere where an incident would cause embarrassment, consider using products such as bedwetting diapers, waterproof bed covers and washable absorbent sheets to keep your child and the bed dry. Pampers Underjams are thinner and more sheer than your traditional bedwetting diapers. They are great for keeping your child dry and comfortable while they sleep.
Try doubling the protection on the bed by layering a plastic bed cover, sheet and blanket under another plastic bed cover, sheet and blanket. This offers greater protection against urine damage to the mattress and allows for efficient clean-up. If a bedwetting incident occurs, simply remove the wet, top layer of linens and bed cover and tuck the changed, sleepy child back into a dry bed, making the clean-up easier on you and your child.
Kathleen Doheny, “A Parent’s Guide to Bedwetting,” WebMD.
Denise Mann, “Bed-Wetting Myths Debunked,” WebMD.
“Children and Sleep,” National Sleep Foundation.
“What I Need to Know About My Child’s Bedwetting,” National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC).
“Pediatric Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting),” National Association for Continence.