9 Tips to Handle Your Child’s Bedwetting

When your child wets the bed, you want to help him outgrow the problem the right way.

For many kids, it just takes time. Meanwhile, there are things that you and your and child can do to help the process along and to make it easier to handle.

1. Don’t Blame

If you feel angry or frustrated because you have a wet bed to clean up yet again, don’t direct your feelings toward your child. He likely feels bad about it, and he didn’t do it on purpose. So don’t scold.

Should you offer praise on dry nights? Probably not. Bedwetting isn’t something your child can control. So it’s best to save praise for other things that he does and can control, rather than this.

2. Provide Perspective

Make sure your child knows that bedwetting isn’t his fault. Tell your child if you did it too when you were growing up. You can help him see that it’s a problem that he will outgrow.

If you have other children, let them know that there will be no teasing about bedwetting. Be ready to enforce this rule.

3. Use the Bathroom Often

Have your child use the bathroom when he starts to get ready for bed, then again the minute before he gets into bed. This helps to empty his bladder.

If you’re still awake an hour or two after your child’s bedtime, think about waking him for a quick bathroom visit. (Or if your child is older, he might be able to set this habit for himself.) It won’t stop bedwetting, but it can reduce the amount of pee that might end up in bed.

4. Try a Bedwetting Alarm

Some kids wet the bed because their bodies don’t yet alert them to wake up when their bladders are full. Bedwetting alarms wake children at the first sign that they’re letting go of urine. The child wears special underwear with sensors that beep loudly when a small amount of urine leaks out. The beeping wakes the child, who can go to the bathroom.

Over time, the alarm trains the body to notice what it feels like when the bladder is full, and nighttime wake-ups happen on their own.

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5. Change How They Drink

Some kids who worry that they’ll wet the bed don’t quench their thirst all day. By evening, they’re so thirsty, they drink a lot.

Encourage your child to drink more during the day, and allow one drink with dinner (no refills). Make that the final drink of the evening, and there won’t be too much liquid in his system as bedtime approaches.

6. No Caffeine

It’s wise to avoid drinks with caffeine, including cola and iced tea. Caffeine makes the body speed up the pee-making process. Fizzy drinks can also cause problems, so be doubly sure to have your child avoid soda.

7. Dress the Bed Properly

Use a zip-up waterproof mattress cover, so pee won’t reach the mattress. There are also waterproof pads to go between the sheets and blanket. After a wet night, you’ll only have to wash the pad, not the bedsheets.

8. Sleepover? Use the Sleeping Bag Trick

Kids who wet the bed shouldn’t miss sleepovers. Their friends won’t know if you plan well.

Tuck items like disposable underwear or a waterproof sleeping-bag liner into your child’s bag so he won’t worry that a wet spot will set him apart. You can also send extra clothing in a plastic bag, in case what he’s wearing gets wet. He can put any wet garments in the bag.

9. Older Child Who Wets the Bed?

He may notice that it makes extra work for you and feel guilty about it. If he wants to make it up to you, let him help you take the sheets off the bed, do the laundry, or put clean sheets back on the bed. But don’t force him to do these things. If he thinks he’s being punished with laundry duty, he’ll feel even worse.

Some older kids can motivate themselves to reach their dry-morning goals by giving themselves little rewards for every dry night or other milestone. A prize from a parent may excite a younger child, but for an older child, the reward may mean more if he earns it according to his own rules.

More mature kids may also be ready to try positive imagery, a process in which kids focus on something good that they want to happen. Just before bedtime, they think about waking up dry. If they think it often enough, it just might help them succeed.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on September 26, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Nemours Foundation: “Bedwetting (Nocturnal enuresis).”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Waking up dry: Helping your child overcome bedwetting.”
“Bedwetting.”

National Kidney Foundation: “Questions kids ask.”    

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Enuresis (bed-wetting).”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “Bedwetting.”

© 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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