Many parents often cheer once they’ve successfully trained their child to stay dry during the day – and rightfully so! This is a big accomplishment for both you, and your little one! But it can be frustrating for parents when their child is still unable to stay dry at night. It’s important to note that this is not your child’s fault – the functions that a child needs to stay dry at night take a bit longer to develop, and every child develops them at their own pace. Think of it as Potty Training – Round 2. Parents should work with their children and support them in this sometimes-difficult next step of potty training.
Here are 5 things to remember when working with your child to stay dry through the night:
It’s Not Their Fault.
Wetting the bed is a common condition, and it’s in no way your child’s fault. For a child to stay dry at night, several things need to happen, all of which are really out of their control. The signals between the brain and the bladder need time to fully develop. Their bladder capacity needs to be large enough to hold urine for the entire night. Finally, they need to be able to wake up when the urge to urinate strikes. All of these things take time to develop. Remember – bedwetting is normal in children up to 5 years of age, and is still quite common in children from 5-10 years old.
Don’t blame your child and encourage them when they do well.
No child wants to wet the bed, and as we just discussed, they truly cannot help doing it. Don’t make your child feel ashamed or guilty for wetting the bed as this may only prolong the problem. Instead, talk to them about how this problem is normal for kids their age, don’t make a big deal of it if they wet the bed, and offer plenty of praise and reward if they wake up dry.
Empty their bladder before bed.
Always take your child to the bathroom before bed. You may even want to take your child to the bathroom once more when you yourself go to bed just to see if they can go one more time before a full nights sleep. Limiting fluids an hour or so before bed can also help keep their bladder empty before a long night.
Talk to their doctor.
Talk to your pediatrician and rule out any potential medical causes that may be keeping your child from staying dry at night. Constipation, which can press on the bladder and reduce bladder capacity, is a common culprit. Other medical conditions, such as UTIs, diabetes, sleep apnea, and even stress can all contribute to bedwetting.
Try a bedwetting alarm.
A bedwetting alarm senses moisture and then alerts the child – through an actual alarm, or through a vibrating sensor. There are several different types that make it easy to choose one that works best for your child, and they can help condition your child to wake up when they feel like they need to empty their bladder.
Take protective measures.
Make it as easy as possible to clean up any accidents when they happen. Use a waterproof mattress to protect the bed. Have an extra set of pajamas ready to change into just in case. Put a waterproof pad down on top of the sheets, which is easy to switch out if an accident happens. And don’t be afraid to use pullups if you need to.
Remember, it is completely normal for a child to experience bedwetting accidents – even up to 10 years of age. But rest assured that the majority of children will grow out of this phase. Being supportive and encouraging their successes will help make the process much easier for both you, and your child.