Not all children meet milestones at the same time, and mastering nighttime dryness is no different. Some children are able to stay dry overnight before they know how to walk and talk properly, while for others it takes longer. This is perfectly normal. In fact, over 18% of children are still wetting the bed by the age of 5. As we celebrate World Bedwetting Day on 25th May 2021, DryNites® Pyjama Pants bedwetting expert Dr Michael Mol raises awareness around the common causes of bedwetting in children and how to treat it.
Common causes of bedwetting in children
Bedwetting in children is involuntary. It is not about laziness nor spitefulness – there aren’t necessarily any emotional problems, learning difficulties or behavioural problems involved. We analyse below some possible causes of the problem, which are frequently associated with bedwetting.
If you or your partner struggled with bedwetting during childhood, your child has a 44% greater chance of suffering from the same problem. If both of you were affected, this figure rises to 77%.
Our bodies produce an antidiuretic hormone at night which slows down our body’s urine production so that we don’t have to go to the toilet overnight. Some children simply don’t have enough of this hormone in their bodies, so they’re more likely to need to get up during sleep.
Stress, anxiety or uncertainty can all contribute to bedwetting. The sense of unease or uncertainty caused by changes in the family (like the birth of a new sibling or a separation between parents) or environment (like changing schools) can manifest in bedwetting problems.
Small bladder capacity
When we talk about a child having an overactive or small bladder, it’s not the physical size of the bladder that’s being referred to, but rather its capacity to empty itself prematurely without the child being able to control the action while sleeping. Some children also simply struggle to wake up when they need to empty their bladder.
Solutions and techniques to treat bedwetting in children
Bedwetting can be incredibly stressful on a child, knocking their self-confidence and possibly causing them to fear ‘getting into trouble’. Often the most helpful thing a parent can do is to be patient and understanding, but there are a number of solutions and techniques that can help to treat bedwetting.
Don’t put pressure on your child to resolve the bedwetting quickly, it can be a long process so be patient and offer plenty of encouragement for small victories. One way of encouraging your child not to wet the bed is to record every night when they have not had an accident on a chart. The record will clearly show that the child has had several consecutive dry nights, and visibly charts their progress. If this is not yet the case, you can always save this technique for later.
It’s important that your child stays hydrated throughout the day but try to limit liquids in the two-hour period before bedtime – carbonated or caffeinated drinks, in particular, should be avoided.
If you’ve tried all the usual methods with no success and your child aged 10 or over is still wetting the bed, you may consider using a bedwetting alarm. It’s a device with sensors that will sound an alarm when a child begins to urinate so that they wake up and go to the toilet. This method can, however, cause stress or tiredness in the child.
There are medications that can help in the treatment of bedwetting. Your child’s doctor may prescribe something like Desmopressin, which reduces the amount of urine the body produces at night so the child won’t feel the need to go to the toilet.
Parents of bedwetting children also have a range of complementary therapies available to them, including hypnosis, acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropody.
DryNites® Pyjama Pants
DryNites® Pyjama Pants offer effective protection which can be used at the same time as other treatments. They are discreet and very absorbent, especially designed to resemble normal underwear, which will help your child to have a good night’s sleep.
Bedwetting: advice for parents
Remember that bedwetting is nobody’s fault; it is not linked to the way in which parents have raised their child, nor how they potty trained them and more importantly, it is not the child’s fault. Children are not conscious when bedwetting occurs, which means that they are naturally unaware and not in control of their bladders at the time. The best thing a parent can do for a child that experiences bedwetting is to reassure them that it was just an accident and not make this too big of a deal when it happens.