How to Stop Bedwetting: Urinary Bed Alarms continued...
In a report summarizing the medical evidence on bedwetting treatments such as alarms, behavioral interventions such as giving rewards, and medications, alarms were found to be the most effective. The study was published in the Journal of Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing.
In another study, published in the Journal of Paediatric Child Health, researchers found that 79% of 505 children who wore bed alarms achieved dryness within about 10 weeks (half took longer, half took less time). Six months later, 73% of those children were still dry.
While many parents try the other strategies first even before discussing bedwetting with their pediatrician, some go straight to the bed alarm.
How to Stop Bedwetting: Rewards for Dry Nights
Eleanor and her husband, Ray, moved to another common strategy -- the reward system. This can involve giving the child a small toy after a dry night or rewarding him with a trip to the park or someplace else he wants to go. Eleanor and Ray bought little prizes, such as coloring books and rubber balls, and pasted them on the wall so Michael could look at them.
"When he had a successful night, he would pick a prize," Eleanor says. "That worked for a while."
Anything special to the child can be used as a reward, says Robert Mendelson, MD, a Portland, Ore., pediatrician who often counsels parents about bed-wetting issues. Load on the praise, too, he says. "Any time the child is dry in the morning, tell them how great they are," he says. "Congratulate them, tell them, 'You are getting to be a big boy or girl.'"
How to Stop Bedwetting: "Lifting"
Eleanor and Ray also tried a technique called "lifting." This strategy involves making sure your child goes to the bathroom right before his bedtime, and then waking him up after he has been asleep two or three hours and taking him to the toilet.
"We went to two times a night," Eleanor says. "One at 11 and the other at 2:30 a.m. My husband got the 2:30."
Patience won out. "It didn't work immediately," she says. "We did this for over six weeks." Suddenly, one day he didn't wet. And the next, and the next. She doesn't know if it was the lifting or just time. "I think he just grew out it," say Eleanor, who is relieved.
"Lifting can be a helpful temporary measure while you are waiting for kids to get dry on their own," agrees Bennett.
How to Stop Bedwetting: Bladder Training
Helping your child delay urination during the day is another strategy. Using an egg timer, you ask your child to tell you when he has to go, then ask him to hold it for another few minutes. You start with about five minutes and add a couple minutes each time, he says. The goal is to get to 45 minutes.
But this process takes time and you should do it every day, he says. If old enough, a motivated child can do it on his own.