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Health & Parenting

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Bedwetting: Tips for Sleeping Away from Home

Use these tips from experts to help a bedwetting child stay dry when he's away from home.

Bedwetting and Sleepovers: How Can Parents Help? continued...

But won’t your child mind if you tell another grown-up? Usually they don’t, says Atala. Not all kids are the same, so be sure to ask your child if he's comfortable with other adults being let into the loop.

If he hesitates at first, remind him that an informed parent at a sleepover can be a big help. If a friend’s parents know what to expect, they won’t be mad or surprised if your child has an accident. They can also help by getting your child up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

If your child is going away to camp, you’ll want to talk to the counselors. Ask if they have a protocol in place for handling nocturnal enuresis, and what that process is. “A well-informed adult is a crucial part of your child's psychological and physical well-being,” Wilson tells WebMD.

Bedwetting and Sleepovers: 9 Tips for Staying Dry

Once you’ve shown your child you’re on his side, help him help himself with these simple tips for managing bedwetting -- and staying dry -- during sleepovers.

  • Wear disposable underpants: “My first suggestion for handling bedwetting when you’re sleeping away from home is to wear pull-ups,” Atala says, “and then to wear boxer shorts over the pull-ups. No one will actually know what’s under the boxer shorts.” And yes, Atala says girls are wearing boxers now, too.
  • Make use of medicine: Bedwetting medicines act as anti-diuretics, reducing a child’s need to pass fluids. Although they rarely cure bedwetting, medications for nocturnal enuresis can be a part of helping kids have a dry night when they’re away, Wilson says.
  • Practice first: Before heading out for a sleepover, have your child practice using the pull-ups-and-boxers combination. Also try the bedwetting medication until you get a dry night at home, so that you’ll know the proper dose of medicine your child needs when away, suggests Atala.
  • Go low-salt: Because salt causes you to retain more fluids, have your child steer clear of salty snacks like chips and pretzels the day of a sleepover, Atala says.
  • Drink less fluids: Your child can’t avoid all fluids -- and shouldn’t. Keeping liquids away from your child is harmful and can result in another problem: constipation. But, to reduce the chances of nocturnal enuresis, kids might want to avoid fluids a couple of hours before bedtime.
  • Empty the bladder before bed: To help your child reduce the chance of bedwetting when he's away from home, remind him to empty his bladder before bedtime.
  • Lie down before bedtime: Getting your body horizontal allows it to start mobilizing fluids, says Atala. So encourage your child to lie down awhile before bedtime when he's sleeping away from home. He can stretch out with a book, lie down to watch a movie, or just hang out with friends.
  • Get a good night’s rest: “Bedwetting is more common if you’re a deep sleeper,” says Atala, and “if you’re sleep-deprived you’re going to go into an even deeper sleep.” The answer is to get a good night’s rest before (and hopefully during!) a sleepover.
  • Bring extra clothes -- just in case: Taking an extra set of clothes when sleeping away from home is an obvious must, as is a large waterproof storage bag for wet clothes.

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