Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Bedwetting

Definition

  • Wetting the bed at night while asleep
  • The medical name is nocturnal enuresis

Call or Return If

  • Passing urine causes pain or burning
  • Wetting also occurs when awake
  • Not better after trying this treatment for 3 months
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic

Causes

  • Most children who wet the bed have small bladders. Their bladders can't hold all the urine made during the night.
  • Also, they usually are deep sleepers. They do not wake up when their bladders are full.
  • Bedwetting also runs in families (genetic).
  • Bedwetting is not caused by emotional problems.

After Care Advice

Overview:
  • Bedwetting is very common.
  • It occurs in 15% of 5 year olds.
  • It is a hard problem to cure, because it happens during sleep.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
Helping a Younger Child Overcome Bedwetting:
  • The secret to becoming dry is to get up every night to urinate. In other words, every wet night was a night they forgot to get up. Remind your child before bed he should get up at night.
  • Children with frequent bedwetting usually can't hold urine back until morning.
  • Make it easier to get to the toilet. Put a night light in the bathroom. If the bathroom is a long distance away, use a portable potty. Put it in the bedroom. Boys may just need a bucket.
  • Parent awakening: On some nights, wake your child up when you go to bed. To make this a learning experience, however, your only job is to awaken him. He must find the bathroom and use the toilet on his own.
Helping Your 6 year old Child: Have your child give himself a bedtime pep-talk every night about getting up:
  • Lie on your bed with your eyes closed.
  • Pretend it's the middle of the night.
  • Pretend your bladder is full and you have to go.
  • Pretend your bladder is trying to wake you up.
  • Pretend your bladder is saying, "Get up before it's too late."
  • Then run to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
  • Remind yourself to get up like this during the night.
Helping Your 8 year old Child:
  • Buy a bedwetting alarm. They teach self-awakening and have the highest cure rate of any approach. Go to www.bedwettingstore.com for help.
  • Don't buy an alarm until your child has learned to awaken to your voice.
  • Alarms have 2 parts. The moisture sensor attaches to the underwear. It is triggered by just a few drops of urine. Most alarms turn on a loud sound that awakens your child. Another type awakens the child by vibrations. Some alarms do both.
  • Your child needs to operate the alarm by himself.
  • If you can't afford an enuresis alarm, consider using an alarm clock. Set it for three or four hours after he turns in.
  • Finally, your child needs to be motivated to solve this problem. Give him some ideas, but don't get over-involved. Your child has to solve bedwetting on his own.
What to Expect:
  • Most children who wet the bed stop between ages 6 and 10.
  • Even severe cases get over it as teens.
  • Once committed to using an alarm, dry nights will start to occur.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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