9 Tips to Help Your Child Stop Wetting the Bed
Helping your child stop wetting the bed is an issue you should pay close attention to. Although it’s very frequent before the age of 5, after this age you have to take more precise measures.
The first thing to do is consult a pediatrician or urologist who can rule out possible health problems.
Normally, children only wet the bed because they haven’t conditioned their habits and because their bladder hasn’t fully developed yet.
Enuresis is a problem that families and doctors should address without feeling guilty or ashamed.
–Venancio Martinez, President of the Spanish Society of Out-of-Home Pediatrics and Primary Care–
Factors that must be ruled out before any treatment
- Sleep apnea. If your little one snores or has signs of sleep apnea, it’s advisable to carry out an in-depth medical study.
- Urinary tract infections. The signs of a urinary tract infection can be detected easily through a urine sample.
- Diabetes. Childhood diabetes is a very delicate condition that can cause children to wet the bed. The difficulty their body experiences to process glucose can alter many normal bodily functions.
9 recommendations to help your child stop wetting the bed
On a physical level
- Establish a fixed schedule for fluid intake. Increase the amount of liquid that children consume during the day and reduce their intake during the evening.
- Plan in bathroom breaks throughout the day. During all the activities your children perform, build in a little break so they can use the bathroom. This should be done every two to three hours and right before going to bed.
- Eliminate irritating foods from your children’s diet. Try to make sure that your children don’t ingest irritating foods or drinks at night. Drinks that contain caffeine, such as flavored milk drinks like chocolate milk, are examples. You may also want to reduce the amount of citric drinks or those containing artificial sweeteners. Those substances can irritate a child’s bladder.
- Make sure your children stay hydrated during the day. Make sure they get plenty of liquids during the day so they aren’t so thirsty when they come home from school. This way the fluid intake will be more balanced.
- Eliminate constipation. The rectum is right behind the bladder, and this is why constipation can cause bladder problems; especially at night. Once again, it’s important to consult a doctor to make sure this isn’t the case.
- Avoid resorting to punishments. Getting angry at your child for wetting the bed won’t help them learn or advance. A complex process like helping your child stop wetting the bed shouldn’t cause family conflicts.
On a psychological level…
- Create incentives. Besides the physical component, you have to find solutions for the emotional side that is affected when your child wets the bed. On a calendar or diagram, put stars or smiley faces for each day your child stays dry when sleeping.
- Provide support and motivation. In order to help your child stop wetting the bed, you need to be able to recognize and praise every little step. Reward every achievement and make your children feel safe and at ease.
- Avoid getting angry. Being in a bad mood and blaming your child for wetting the bed will only make matters worse. For them, it’s already uncomfortable and shameful enough to be wetting the bed (especially for children above the age of 5). They need to feel supported and comforted. Show them they’re not alone in this process and that it’s acceptable for their body to function a little differently.
Some temporary measures that you may want to consider include the following: buy a waterproof mattress that isn’t affected when your child wets the bed. Establish strict eating and sleeping habits as well as frequent bathroom breaks.
There are also medications that can help this condition but it’s not recommended to resort to them unless advised by a pediatrician so as to avoid future complications.
Even though you’re looking for a quick solution, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a learning process that you need to undertake with your children.
Educating and conditioning the body is yet another lesson that can be learned within the family. Do it with love and dedication in order to obtain the best results for you as well as for your child.