Six Steps to Coping with Bedwetting

By: Gail Metcalf

A bedwetting issue in the household causes a lot of stress. Without knowing the proper procedures for dealing with it, you could make the situation worse and even lengthen the time it takes to eliminate the problem.

1. Stay Alert for Bigger Problems

In the big scheme of things, bedwetting is not a big problem. Your child is not in any danger of serious injury or harm if he or she occasionally or even regularly loses control of their bladder at night. To a child, however, it may not seem like a small problem. For this reason, as a parent, you must remain alert for signs of bigger problems.

If your child’s bedwetting causes them to feel so ashamed or upset that their regular life is affected, then that is a serious problem. If their schoolwork is affected, then their bedwetting may affect their development as well. If children are bullying or teasing your child to the point that social activities are a problem, then your child may experience alarming signs of stress and depression. In any of these cases, swift action is needed to ensure that your child stays safe and happy.

If your child shows any of the following symptoms, he or she may be struggling more than you know and should be taken to a doctor or pediatrician to get help sorting out the emotions he or she could be feeling:

• Sudden and big changes in appetite (eats a lot less or far more)
• Fearful or withdrawn with others
• Does not show interest in regular activities
• Does not spend time with others and does not want to spend time with others
• Cries, gets angry or is very quiet often
• Mood swings
• Trouble sleeping
• Loss of control of bladder during the day
• Grades dramatically worsen
• Bruising on the body or favorite toys are broken (may indicate bullying or self-destructive behavior)

If you notice these problems, you will want to seek more aggressive treatment for the bedwetting and you will want to visit a doctor or counselor to help your child deal with the problems caused by bedwetting.

2. Make Sure That No Medication is Causing the Problem

Check the side effects and directions on your child’s medication. If your child is taking any medications that cause extreme drowsiness or an urgent need to urinate, the medications may be causing the problem. Medications that make your child very tired may simply not allow your child’s body to wake him or her up in time to go to the bathroom.

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about any medication your child is taking and ask whether the substances may add to the bedwetting problem. Of course, your child may need medication that does not help his or her bedwetting, but in some cases doses or medications can be changed in order to prevent such side effects.

3. Make Sure That Your Child Has Easy Access to a Bathroom

A bright night light and a bathroom that is easy to access quickly at night will go a long way towards making sure that your child can get to the bathroom in time. Not every household can arrange to provide a bathroom near a child’s bedroom, but consider sleeping arrangements closely and consider rearrangements that could make nighttime bathroom trips much easier. Even something as simple as moving your child’s bed closer to the bedroom door can save a few seconds at night, reducing accidents.

4. Get Your Child to Go to Sleep a Bit Earlier

Children who are tired may have a hard time waking up for anything - including a full bladder. If your child gets the sleep he or she needs, they will not be so overtired that they will be unable to wake up.

5. Look for Psychological Triggers

Emotional states often add to bedwetting or even trigger it. If your child is undergoing an upset (divorce in the family, death in the family, bullying, moving, conflicts with siblings) this may contribute to bedwetting.

In these cases, you can either wait for the child to adjust (at which point the bedwetting may cease too) or you can have your child see a pediatrician or child therapist. Sometimes, even talking about the problems can help, so be sure to discuss anything that seems to be bothering your child.

6. Have Your Child Self-Monitor

Once you develop a system for dealing with bedwetting, or once you and your family start trying to control bedwetting in some way, it is useful to have a child check off on a calendar which nights were completely dry, on which nights a bathroom was reached successfully, and which nights were wet. Keeping track lets your child get involved in the solution process, which will make your child feel more confident. Once your child sees any improvement, he or she will likely be encouraged to further success.

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

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