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Children's Health

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Bed-Wetting - Home Treatment

Most children gain bladder control over time without any treatment. A child should first be allowed to overcome bed-wetting on his or her own. But home treatment may help a child to wet the bed less frequently.

You can help manage your child's bed-wetting:

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  • Monitor your child's consumption of liquids. As a rule of thumb, children should be encouraged to consume 40% of their total daily liquids in the morning, 40% in the afternoon, and 20% in the evening. Talk with the doctor about how much fluid your child needs.
  • Have your child avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it promotes the excretion of urine. Foods such as chocolate and beverages such as colas and tea may contain caffeine.
  • Have your child use the toilet before going to bed.
  • Remind your child to get up during the night to go to the bathroom. It may help to keep a night-light near or potty chair beside the bed.
  • Let your child help solve the problem, if he or she is older than 4.
  • Praise and reward your child for taking steps to have more dry nights. Involve your child in planning the reward system. You may want to use a calendar and put stars or stickers on the days that your child does not wet the bed.
  • Encourage your child to take responsibility for changing clothes and linens after a bed-wetting accident. For example, use washable sleeping bags as bedding so your child can easily replace one that is wet with one that is dry.
  • Add 0.5 cup (125 mL) of vinegar to the wash water to get rid of the urine odor in clothing and bed linens.

If your child wets the bed, don't blame yourself or the other parent. Don't punish, blame, or embarrass your child. Your child is neither consciously nor unconsciously choosing to wet the bed. Give your child understanding, encouragement, love, and positive support.

  • Be patient about changing the bed linens. Don't act offended by the smell of urine.
  • Do not wake the child up at different times during the night to go to the bathroom unless it is part of a systematic treatment that the child has agreed to.
  • Do not make the child feel bad. Shaming or punishing the child may make the problem worse.
  • If you think your child may be feeling emotional stress, talk with a health professional about whether counseling may be helpful.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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