Most children will go through a bedwetting stage and though some kids get through it rather quickly, others take longer before they have consistently dry nights.
Bedwetting can also be a symptom of an underlying disease, but not typically. In fact, an underlying condition is identified in only about 1% of children who routinely wet the bed.
Bedwetting is not only difficult for the child, but it can strain a parent’s patience as well. It’s important to remember that a child that wets the bed doesn’t do it intentionally. Children who wet are not lazy, willful, or disobedient. Bedwetting is most often a developmental issue.
Did you know that there are 2 types of bedwetting? They are called primary and secondary. A child with primary bedwetting has episodes of bedwetting on a consistent basis. Secondary bedwetting is bedwetting that starts up after the child has been dry at night for a significant period of time, at least 6 months.
So, what causes primary bedwetting? It’s usually a combination of factors:
Secondary bedwetting may occur because of an underlying or known medical condition or emotional problems. The child with secondary bedwetting is much more likely to have other symptoms, such as daytime wetting. Reasons for secondary bedwetting can include:
If your child suddenly begins to wet the bed after months or years of dry nights, talk to your child about it and your pediatrician. Your doctor may want to do an examination and bloodwork to rule out any health conditions.
Most children do not stay dry at night until about the age of three. And it's usually not a concern for parents until around age 6.
Bedwetting can be embarrassing for children. Be supportive and reassure your child that they won’t always wet the bed. Bedwetting often runs in families. If you want to share your own personal story, your child may see that people do outgrow it.
To help your child make it through the night dry, make sure he or she isn’t drinking a lot of liquids before bedtime. Make using the bathroom just before they get in bed part of a bedtime routine. Also remind them that it's OK to get up during the night to use the bathroom. Nightlights can help your child find his or her own way when they need to go.
Some parents wonder if they should wake their child up during the night to go. That’s a personal choice, however, keep in mind that if you deprive your child of rest and sleep, you may increase his or her level of stress. Stress can be a bedwetting trigger. Some children may also have a difficult time getting back to sleep once woken.
If your child wets the bed, you might consider getting a plastic bed cover to help protect the mattress.
If accidents do happen, try these tips to remove the smell and stains from linens, clothes and the mattress.
Bedwetting is one of those stages that kids go through that some day will just be a memory. Until then, reassure your little one that this too shall pass. Praise your child when they make it through the night without wetting the bed and let them know that if an accident happens, it’s OK – we’ll try again tonight.