14 August 2018

So mom and dad, does your mornings mostly kick off with soggy pyjamas and sheets from the night before? You’re not alone.

We have a few bedwetting stats that every parent should know:

15% of five-year-olds are not dry every night.

85% of children eventually outgrow bedwetting without treatment.

In the teenage years, only 2% to 5% of kids continue to wet their beds.

Bedwetting boys outnumber girls by a ratio of 4 to 1.

Parents with a child experiencing night-time wetting often feel confused, frustrated and isolated. It’s exhausting and upsetting for the whole family.

Indeed, one of the worst things about bedwetting is the stigma. Sufferers and their families have been accused of everything from poor parenting to latent criminality. Fact is though, nocturnal enuresis, the fancy name for night-time bedwetting, is perfectly normal.

By age three or four, most kids are able to sleep through the night without wetting the bed. But, five to seven million kids worldwide – mostly boys – older than age six, are not able to stay dry. There is no scientific evidence that primary bedwetting has anything to do with psychological issues. So no, it’s not about emotional problems, or mistakes you as parent made during potty training, or even laziness on the part of your child; enuresis can have a number of physiological causes.

According to Dr Jennifer Abidari, chief of Paediatric Urology at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre in California, bedwetting is a developmental delay which will improve itself.

Some children lack the hormone that decreases urine production at night, others wet the bed simply because their bladder capacity is small. Abidari also mentions a hereditary component: If both parents were bedwetters after age six, a child has about an 80% chance of being one.

So, what’s a parent to do to improve the situation? We have a few tips:

Change your perception. Come to terms with the reality that they don’t have control over their bladder.

Reduce liquid intake during the evening. Avoid any bladder irritants such as caffeine, which may be present in cocoa or chocolate drinks. Also avoid citrus juices, sweeteners and artificially flavoured drinks like sodas.

Schedule bathroom breaks throughout the day. Yes, they’ll say that they “don’t have to go” but encourage them to stick to the schedule. Make sure they go to the bathroom at least twice within two hours before going to bed.

Get them to bed early so they’re not overtired and unable to wake themselves up.

Choose whether you want them to wear pull-ups or change the sheets every morning. This will not slow down your child’s ability to learn to stay dry and is definitely good news for whoever is doing the laundry!

Use two mattress protectors so you can strip the first one and put your child to bed quickly after an accident.

Have a plan. Have them participate in cleaning up after accidents.

Avoid waking up your child to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, this may come back to bite you in the long run; it could lead to sleeplessness.

Leave a night light on for easy access to the bathroom.

Encourage progress and don’t punish them for not making any. Make them feel your support and offer rewards for each dry night.

It is unrealistic to expect a child under the age of five to always wake up dry, but if you are concerned, talk to your paediatrician.

Remember, this too shall pass. Hang in there!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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