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No. 18 (Updated MAY-21-2011)

Childhood Bedwetting

       Also called: Enuresis

Potty time -- Is your child ready? Or, more importantly, are you ready? Typically, children are usually ready to be potty trained around ages 18-24 months. Sometimes the first sign that your child is ready to be potty trained is when they let you know that their diaper needs changing. Once you see the signs that you and your child are ready, then you must devote at least three months of daily encouragement. Successful trips to the potty should be rewarded and mistakes shouldn't be get as much attention. Don't worry, you're human, so be patient! If at first your child is not successful, then maybe your child just isn't ready for potty training.

Tips to prevent bed wetting

1) This might sound obvious, but don't let your child drink too much before bed time. This rule should be in effect at least 2 hours before your child goes to bed. American indians would purposely drink lots of fluids right before going to bed so they would wake up early to go hunt (because they had to pee!).

2) Here's another obvious tip, but sometimes forgetten. Take your child to the potty right before he/she goes to bed. That way they can empty as much of their bladder as possible.

3) If the first two tips don't work, then instead of asking your child to wait all night before using the potty then instead purposing wake your child during the night to go pee. This tip can take a lot of pressure off your child and still get the same results, try it (it works).

4) Reward, reward, reward. Praise your child every night she goes without bed wetting! If she goes a whole week without bed wetting buy her a toy. A simple dollar store toy goes a long way to bring up her self esteem.

5) Finally, as a last resort if the above tips don't help. Use pull-ups or diapers, it's much less embarassing for your child to use a pull-up instead of wetting the bed. Eventually they wont' be needed and in the meantime you'll have a happier child and that's the ultimate goal!

Many children wet the bed until they are 5 or even older (yes, this is more common than you would think!). Your child's bladder might be too small or the amount of urine produced overnight can be more than your child's bladder can hold. Some children sleep too deeply to wake up to go pee or take longer to learn good bladder control. Children should NOT be punished for wetting their bed. They don't do it on purpose, and most children outgrow it. If your child has a problem with bed-wetting then consider either bed-wetting alarms, bladder training and/or medicines that might help.

For additional/related information see other Facts for Families:
Problems with Soiling and Bowel Control (#48),
Children’s Sleep Problems (#34).

This article was written by Tim Manasterski, a staff member.

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