Bed-wetting (technical name: nocturnal enuresis) in children is common. It can happen just now and then or it can happen several times a night. It is more common in boys and tends to run in families. Being unable to control the bladder while asleep can be embarrassing and stressful for your child. Contrary to oft-voiced lay opinion, bed-wetting is not a result of deep sleep, laziness, attention-seeking or deep-seated emotional disturbance, whilst it is difficult to say what does cause it, some say it relates to different rates of development of the juvenile nervous system. Rarely has it any medical cause. Daytime bladder control is achieved before night-time control and by age three – four most children are dry by day. By school age, most are dry at night, too. Occasional accidents night and day are normal in pre-schoolers.
In an average-sized class of five-year-olds, at least five of the kids wet the bed at least twice a week. In a class of seven-year-olds, a couple of kids are still wetting twice a week. By age 10, there will still be one or two. Bed-wetting is common among children to about seven years of age, but can be damaging socially and emotionally if it persists beyond that age.
When to seek help
Continence advisors such as Terri-Ann deal with children’s wetting as a case of making the brain and the bladder learn to communicate, rather than as a psychological issue. If you are concerned about your child’s bed-wetting and would like to talk to us, please contact us by phone or by registering online for an appointment. We look forward to discussing your concerns with you.
Tips for incontinence in children – you can make a difference
Kids who wet the bed may have emotional baggage and feel sad, anxious and different to other children. It takes a patient and supportive parent to help put these negative feelings to rest.
Here are some tips and ideas to help you help you and your child stay hopeful and confident.
Learn all you can
Start by learning as much as you can about nocturnal enuresis and how the urinary system works. This way, when your child has questions, you’ll be able to answer them, or know where to get the information your child needs.
Share information with your child
The kid’s section of the DryNites website (insert drynites website address) is a great place to start. Encourage your child to look in the kid’s section to learn more about bedwetting and to read about other kids who wet the bed and their experiences.
Talk openly with your child
Children who wet the bed can feel like they’ve failed their parents. It’s important to be sensitive to your child’s feelings about bedwetting and encourage open discussion with you. Let them know it’s not their fault and that you do not blame them for wetting the bed. Start using new terminology eg “a patch” instead of “bedwetting”. Let your child know that you’re both in this together and that you’ll be a supportive partner. You may choose to keep the discussions just between yourselves or the whole family may be part of the conversations.
There’s nothing like team work to help everyone through a tough stage. Involving Dad in the issues around bed wetting can help to demystify the bedwetting phase. You are all working towards a common goal after all.
Explain what’s happening physically
It helps to explain to your child what is physically happening when they wet the bed so they can have some understanding of what is happening to them while they are asleep.
Let them know they’re not alone
Knowing you’re not alone with a problem makes anyone feel better. Encourage your child with facts – like ‘two of their classmates probably share the same problem’. If they are hesitant to go to a sleepover, assure them, odds are that someone else at the party probably has night time accidents too. Encourage them to share their own experiences, it may be a good way for them to get things off their chest and help other kids who are going through bedwetting at the same time.
Provide your child with solutions
Try and arm yourself with some practical and relevant tips that your child can use everyday or on those special occasions when they go for a sleepover at a friend’s house. We have provided a range of DryNites tips (insert website address again – to go straight to tips) for you to pass on to your child.