Evaluating the Bedwetting Problem

By: Gail Metcalf


Evaluate how much of a problem bedwetting is in your family and how often it happens. Frequent bedwetting that causes many tears and embarrassment or even arguments in your household may need more aggressive treatment than bedwetting that occurs once in a while and results in only some extra laundry.

Different Types of Bedwetting Demand Different Approaches

Also, be sure to differentiate between primary and secondary Enuresis. Primary nocturnal Enuresis is almost never caused by an underlying medical problem. Secondary nocturnal Enuresis means that a child has had control of his or her bladder but has begun wetting the bed.

In these cases, it is especially important to have the child seen by a good pediatrician, as almost all cases of secondary Enuresis are caused by an underlying problem (psychological or physical) and so responds very well to treatment.

Make it Less Stressful

Once you have evaluated the bedwetting in your household, you can develop a plan of action. Since you will be learning many tips that you can apply to your plan in your research, your plan here is basically a contingency plan. On paper, write down what your child should do when he or she wets the bed.

Ideally, your child should contact you, and then you should take steps to clean up. Share the plan with your child so that when an accident happens, your child can put the plan into action rather than being ashamed and trying to get your attention.

There are also a few things you can do to make bedwetting less stressful. Putting special sheets on your child’s bed, for example, can make clean-up much easier. Keeping extra sheets and blankets by your child’s room can also make clean-up much faster, especially in a busy household. Even small things you can do to make bedwetting less stressful will allow you and your child to focus on resolving the problem rather than worry about clean up.

Reality Check

Consider whether there really is a problem. Although we often expect kids to grow up fast today, the fact is that occasional bedwetting up to age three is still considered “normal” by most experts - children at this age are still simply learning to do basic things like use the washroom and control their bladder. Even kids up to age five may have an occasional bed wetting “accident” and this should not be a cause for concern. Many experts consider children over five who wet the bed regularly to have nocturnal Enuresis. In many cases, this condition tends to run in families and can last well into teenage years.

Before you start worrying unduly about bedwetting, consider the age of your child. If your child is very young, it may simply take a few months or a year to resolve the issue. Many children have nighttime accidents until they are five or even older. If your child is older (six, seven, or older), consider whether anyone else in the family suffered from similar bedwetting problems in childhood. Was there something that helped? Sometimes, just seeing Enuresis as a childhood ailment or a condition in the family that is always resolved eventually can help soothe the frazzled parent and the embarrassed child.

You need to consider the frequency of problems as well. A child who wets the bed after watching a scary movie or before a big day may be less worrisome than the older child who does not seem to be able to sleep through a dry night.

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Gail Metcalf provides additional parenting information on her Babies, Toddlers and Parenting Information blog. Shop for babies and toddlers at the Online Baby Store with over 20 merchants featuring over 2,250 products. www.ExceptionalBaby.com

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