At age 7, Billy was getting invitations for sleepovers from friends. He wanted to go, but there was a problem: how to stop bedwetting.
Bedwetting had been an ongoing issue for Billy, says his mother, Jane, (not their real names) of Bethesda, Md. Her two older children hadn't had the problem, but Billy couldn't seem to stay dry. "He wanted to start being dry so he could go to sleepovers," she says.
Bedwetters can take a toll on everyone's patience, not to mention the toll taken on a good night's sleep. If you're the parent of a bedwetting child and are feeling frustrated, here are practical tips on what to do and how to cope.
Billy has lots of company -- 20% of 5-year-olds and 10% of 6-year-olds are bedwetters, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Most grow out of it and usually there's nothing serious going on. But statistics and research weren't making the sleepovers easier for Billy.
So Jane broached the topic with Billy's pediatrician and heard some good news. Bedwetting solutions abound, from simple "reward" systems to using urinary bed alarms -- the strategy that ended up working for Billy.
Here, what parents hoping to help their child stop bedwetting need to know about solutions.
Addressing Bedwetting Misconceptions
Before pediatricians suggest a specific bedwetting solution or treatment, most seek to educate parents.
Bedwetting "often runs in families," says Howard J. Bennett, MD, a pediatrician in Washington, D.C., author of WakingUp Dry, and Billy's pediatrician. Usually, the child becomes dry at about the same age as the parent did. And no matter what you may think, bedwetting is not due to laziness or spite, two common misconceptions, pediatricians say.
Getting your pediatrician's input, instead of trying remedies on your own, may speed things along, according to a study published in the Journal of Urology. Researchers found that when children followed their pediatrician's advice about bedwetting solutions they were dry earlier than a group of children whose parents picked the treatment to stop bedwetting on their own.