If you read books about bringing up children, you know it states that most children stop having nighttime accidents around the age of three. Doctors will tell you that around this time he begins to get questions from worried parents whose child is still wetting the bed at night. It isn’t unusual for children to continue wetting the bed well past the age of three. Is it worth worrying about your child if they are still wetting the bed at age five or eight?
Did you know that approximately 1 in 6 children consistently wet the bed after the age of three.
While three is the ‘average’ number for no more bed wetting, anyone who has a child knows that all children develop at different rates. Two brothers can take significantly different length of times to be potty trained. At the age of six, about 1 in 6 children still wet the bed, that number drops to 1 in 20 by the age of ten. Think about it, if your child is in a class of 21 students, chances are they are not the only one wetting the bed. If your child is an especially sound sleeper, they may have trouble waking to their body’s signals.
Bed wetting tends to run in families.
Chances are that if you or your spouse was a bedwetter, at least one of your children will be later to develop night-time bladder control. Of course, it is hard to know if you wet the bed as you probably don’t remember, but if you can ask a parent they will be able to tell you. It can be difficult to even ask your parent if you wet the bed but it is important that you do this.
Perhaps it is because girls mature earlier than boys, although there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut reason why this might be.
Nearly ever child stops bed wetting by puberty, in fact it’s very rare that a child continues to wet the bed past puberty, even with no special treatment or precautions.
Despite what some movies might suggest most bedwetters do NOT have emotional problems and become serial killers.
When SHOULD you worry about bedwetting?
If your child has been dry at night for some time – several months or longer – and begins wetting the bed regularly again, look for anything upsetting his routine. A move to a new home, a change of teacher at school, or something that has upset him may be triggering the bedwetting problems. Don’t, however, rule out the possibility of a physical cause. If your child suddenly starts wetting the bed again, your first step should be to check for a urinary tract infection – especially in a girl.
If the return to bedwetting is accompanied by a fever, complaints of belly pain or a change in toileting habits during the day, it’s a clear signal to call your doctor. Chances are very good that the cause is a urinary tract infection that can be taken care of with a course of antibiotics.
If your child is especially bothered by his bedwetting, offer him all the emotional support that you can to prevent it from becoming an emotional problem.
Some suggestions for helping your child to stay dry:
Don’t make a big deal about bedwetting. Change the sheets without comment, reassure your child that everyone outgrows it eventually, and tuck him back into bed. Don’t tease them, be supportive and don’t worry yourself, your child will pick up on this.
Do limit drinks after dinner. There’s no need to make a big fuss about it. Just limit drinks in the two hours or so before bedtime.
Make sure that your child goes to the bathroom before bed. It’s an easy thing to forget in the rush of getting everyone tucked in, but simply making a trip to the bathroom part of the bedtime routine may be enough to eliminate bedwetting.
Wake your child to use the bathroom at YOUR bedtime. Most children won’t even totally wake up if you do, but by interrupting sleep to make a trip to the bathroom you can help establish a pattern of waking to use the toilet. This may be more of a challenge than it seems as a heavy sleeper (perhaps the reason why they wet the bed) may take a lot of waking up.
You can buy plastic sheets that fit UNDER the normal sheets. Yes the top sheets get wet but the mattress stays dry. There are also so many night time absorbent underwear for kids. Don’t call them diapers because they are not and your child might get upset wearing them.
It should go without saying but – don’t tease or make fun of the child to shame them out of it. It can be frustrating, annoying, time consuming, but in the grand scheme of things, it is just something you need to deal with without making a fuss. It can be hard but be calm. Don’t allow your other children to make fun of him for his physical inability to control his bladder at night.
The next time you are in a large group of people, remember that chances are someone in the group wet the bed consistently after the age of three and they turned out normal.