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Children's Health

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Motivational Therapy for Bed-Wetting - Topic Overview

Motivational therapy for bed-wetting uses praise, encouragement, and rewards to help a child gain bladder control. It's about telling children that they have control of their bodies and encouraging them to take steps that bring about more and more dry nights. For best results, keep a record of your child's progress. And work with your child to design a reward system (such as a star chart).

You can reward your child for reaching both big and small goals and tasks. For example, you could reward your child when he or she:

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  • Uses the toilet before going to bed.
  • Helps to change wet sheets.
  • Has a dry night.

As part of this therapy, it's important to not punish, blame, or embarrass your child for wetting the bed.

Motivational therapy can help children gain some degree of control over their bed-wetting. But if it doesn't help your child in 3 to 6 months, think about trying other methods.

This therapy may involve a series of counseling sessions with a trained professional. During the sessions, the counselor encourages the child to take responsibility for the bed-wetting and to be very involved in the treatment. The counselor, parents, and child decide what reward (praise, stickers, or trinkets) the child will be given for dry days and/or nights.

  • It is unclear exactly how many children gain complete bladder control through motivational therapy alone.
  • Children who do gain complete bladder control with motivational therapy are less likely to return to accidental wetting after treatment than children who are treated with other therapies.
  • This treatment works best for children who want to take part in it. It may be used in combination with other treatments.

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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