Nighttime bladder control takes longer to develop than daytime control, and although it can be frustrating, bedwetting is not unusual in children younger than six. Boys are two times more likely than girls to wet the bed. Dr. Green, can you tell us more about bedwetting?
Sure, Dr. Connolly. Bedwetting is often a natural part of development, and most children grow out of it. It's usually not a sign of any deeper medical or emotional issues.
Even though it's normal and fairly common, it can be stressful and embarrassing for children who wet the bed. They may feel guilty when it happens, and it can make them anxious about spending the night at a friend's house.
It's important to reassure your child that bedwetting is a normal part of growing up and that it will go away at some point. Bedwetting often runs in families, and it may help your child to hear about family members who struggled with it when they were young. Try not to yell or punish your child when they wet the bed, but have them help change the sheets and explain that this is just part of the process. Offer praise when your child has a dry night.
You may find it helpful to encourage your child to drink more fluids during the daytime and less in the evenings before bed. Try to avoid drinks with caffeine altogether. Finally, remind your child to use the bathroom regularly during the day and one last time before bed.
If your child is over six or seven years of age and behavioral interventions have not been successful, you may ask your child's provider about trying a bedwetting alarm. These alarms help to train your child to wake up or stop urinating before the alarm goes off. Medications to treat bedwetting may be used as a last resort.
If other symptoms accompany bedwetting, such as constipation or frequent, urgent urination, or if bedwetting begins suddenly after your child has been dry at night for several months, it may be a sign of another medical condition. Talk to your child's provider if your child begins to wet themselves during the day, complains of burning or pain during urination, or has swelling in their feet and ankles.