Bye, bye bedwetting

February 16, 2017

How to help your child stay dryiStock-530772108.jpg

If you recently got up in the middle of the night to change some soggy sheets because your child wet the bed, it may help to know that plenty of other moms and dads are doing the same thing.

Most children are toilet trained between 2 and 4 years old. But some don't stay dry at night until they get older. For instance, about 20 percent of 5-year-olds wet their beds, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). And some kids still have accidents at age 7 or older.

Wet sheets aren't your child's fault. Many accidents happen when the body makes more urine overnight than the bladder can hold, and the child doesn't wake up to go to the bathroom. Chances are, your child's brain hasn't learned yet how to respond to the signal that the bladder is full. This response simply takes longer to develop in some kids than in others.

What you can do

Sometimes bedwetting can be a sign of stress, at home or at school, especially if a child has been dry for at least six months and starts wetting the bed again. And it might also be a sign of a medical problem, especially if it occurs with other symptoms, such as a fever, pain with urination or blood in the urine. In either instance, talk to your child's doctor.

Typically, though, kids who wet their beds have never been consistently dry at night. If that's the case with your child, try these steps—and tell your doctor if they don't help:

Ready your child. See that your child uses the toilet just before bedtime and doesn't drink large amounts of fluid before going to bed.

Rouse your child. Wake your youngster up at night to use the bathroom.

Try an alarm. A bedwetting alarm—available without a prescription—wakes children up when they start to urinate.

Be positive. Never scold your child for wetting the bed, and be sure to reward your child for dry nights.

Additional source: National Institutes of Health

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