Were you a bedwetter? Then chances are your child will be too, because bedwetting is often hereditary.
At around three or four years of age, once a child has mastered toilet learning, he then begins to learn to stay dry at night. But not all children manage this at the same rate. In fact, 7% of all seven year olds are still bedwetters, with the majority of those being boys. As frustrating as bedwetting is for parents and children, rest assured. Pediatrician Dr. Morton Goldbach says all children will eventually outgrow bedwetting. In the meantime though, what’s a parent to do? Well, consider these 3 approaches.
1. Relax. Be patient and know that time is on your side. As Dr. Goldbach explains, parents need to recognize that “children have no control over bedwetting and that they aren’t doing it to be manipulative or because they’re lazy. Understand that your child desperately wants to be dry, but can’t be.” So, encourage your child, but also be indifferent to the wet nights.
2. Never punish or humiliate. “It’s very important for parents not to humiliate or punish their children, says pediatrician Dr. Jane Hailey because “generally children have no control over this and punishing or scolding them will make no difference at all.” Simply be patient and know that in time your child will outgrow this phase.
3. Consider an alarm system. If all else fails, the most consistent and useful intervention is an alarm system consisting of a small piece of equipment tucked into a child’s pajamas that buzzes or vibrates to wake a child as he begins to wet the bed. This can be very useful in preventing nighttime accidents. As Dr. Hailey says, “if an older child is motivated and wants to use a simple alarm system then that can be very helpful over a 6 month period.” In fact, a 2012 study out of the University of Alberta saw 66% improvement in kids who used a bedwetting alarm for 14 nights vs. 4% for those who used nothing.
So why do some youngsters still bedwet while their peers remain dry at night? Dr. Hailey says it probably has something to do with genetics because bedwetting often runs in families. “Bedwetting is very common. 1% of 16 year old boys still wet the bed, and when I ask about the family history, I often hear that a father or uncle wet the bed into his teens.”
If bedwetting is persistent, frustrating and embarrassing for children, then its probably wise to discuss it with your child’s doctor.
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.