Bedwetting, in its literal sense, is the loss of control of the bladder while sleeping, causing the bed to get wet. Many children can control their bladder during the day by the age of 2-4 years when they have completed their toilet training but are not able to do the same at night.
Usually, bedwetting is entirely normal, for children and is expected. But it might be an indication of some underlying disease or illness in adults. As many as 4% or more percent of 12-year-olds wet their bed some of the time.
Many parents are extremely sceptical and confused as to what could be the cause behind their kid wetting the bed. Although all of them are not fully understood, some of them are listed below.
Causes of bedwetting:
1) Your kid may have a smaller bladder
2) Your child is constipated, which pushes the bladder and they feel the urge to urinate
3) Your kid is a deep sleeper and doesn’t awaken to the signal of a full bladder
4) Your kid produces more urine at night
5) There is a family history of bedwetting.
6) Your kid is going through stress, is overly tired or is going through a minor illness
In what age, is bedwetting a problem?
Most children outgrow bedwetting on their own with time.
- At five years of age, 15% of children wet the bed.
- By eight years of age, 6% to 8% of children wet the bed.
- Without treatment, about 2% of children still wet the bed by 15 years of age. (1)
Many children wet their beds during toilet training. Even after staying dry for some days or weeks, they may start wetting at night again. If this happens, put them in their training pants at night for a while until ready to try again. The problem usually disappears as your child gets older.
Keep the following tips in mind while dealing with bedwetting:
- Be transparent with your child and let him or her know that it is not their fault, and they will eventually get through with this phase.
- Be sensitive and understanding of your child’s feelings. If you remain calm and composed about your kid wetting the bed, chances are your kid won’t stress over it too.
- Protect the bed and put a plastic cover under the sheets to prevent the mattress from smelling like urine.
- Encourage your child to help with you changing the sheets. This will inculcate responsibility. If in case, your child takes this as a punishment, you should not force them.
- Refrain from their drinking of liquids before bedtime and have them use the toilet multiple times before sleeping.
- Try to wake them up after 1-2 hours of sleep to help them stay dry during the night.
- Also, if your child is not able to stay dry even after using these steps for one to three months, try using a bedwetting alarm. When a bedwetting alarm senses urine, the alarm goes off and helps teach your little one to wake up when the bladder is full. It’s a good idea to talk to the pediatrician before you decide to buy one as they can advise on how to use the alarm properly. Parents should use the alarm daily over a six week to 3 month period to be effective.
Bedwetting usually doesn’t need to be treated. However, it is important to know if it is affecting you child or not. Most children usually outgrow it with time, but if it’s not upsetting your little’ one, you don’t need to seek bedwetting treatment. However, by 8-10 years, your kid’s self-esteem may start affecting and interfere with social activities like sleepovers.
Suppose, your child gets thorough toilet-training for six months and suddenly starts bedwetting. In that case, this is an indication of an underlying medical problem, and you should speak to the pediatrician.
However, most medical problems could have other signs, which include: (2)
- Sudden change in mood or personality
- Poor bowel control
- Daytime and nighttime wetting
- Urinating after stress
- Pain or burning during urination
- Poor bowel control
- Cloudy or pink urine or bloodstains on underpants
If your little one has any of these symptoms, make sure you check with the pediatrician about your child’s kidneys or bladder.
If nothing works, don’t stress. The good news is that as your kid’s body matures, bedwetting decreases. Only 1 in 100 adults have a problem with bedwetting. Until your child outgrows bedwetting, they will need emotional support from the parents and family. Support from a mental health professional can also help. Bed-wetting that starts in adulthood (secondary enuresis) is not normal and requires serious medical evaluation.
Ref1: Bedwetting and toileting problems in children