How to Help Your Child Stop Wetting the Bed

No one enjoys waking up in a wet bed, or dealing with soggy sheets and stained pajamas — that's for sure. What many kids and parents don't realize is that this scenario is quite normal in households with young children. In fact, most children wet their beds at some point during potty training.

Bedwetting, also called nocturnal enuresis, is a common condition, it turn outs. What causes bedwettting, and what can parents do about it?

Bedwetting Causes

One reason a young child wets the bed is that the child hasn't yet developed the necessary skills to stay dry at night. Even kids who are potty trained during the day sometimes aren't able to achieve nighttime dryness until age 4 or even older. About 40 percent of 3-year-olds are bedwetters, for example. At this age, a child's body is still too immature to reliably wake her up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Other potential bedwetting causes include:

  • stress or change in child's life
  • constipation
  • minor illness or being overtired
  • family history of bedwetting
  • an underlying medical condition

The Return of Bedwetting

A child who is going through the potty training process, and who has been able to stay dry at night for some nights or even weeks, may sometimes start to wet the bed again. When this happens, the best plan is to go back to using training pants for a while (such as UnderJams Absorbent Night Wear) and then try again later.

If your child has been consistently dry for three to six months or more and then starts to wet the bed again, consult your child's healthcare provider uncless the stress is obvious and resolves in a week or two.

Prolonged Bedwetting

A number of children continue bedwetting after age 6. At this age, about 10 percent of children consistently wet their beds, and at age 12, as these kids enter adolescence, about 3 percent still have this problem. For these children, bedwetting is usually related to the maturation process of the brain and bladder connection. Talk to your healthcare provider if your child is still wetting the bed at age 6 or older.

Bedwetting Solutions and Coping Methods

With time, most children outgrow bedwetting and do just fine. Here are some ways to help things along and set the stage for success:

  • Give your child love and support — no blaming or shaming. Bedwetting is not your child's fault. Make sure that siblings do not tease or make negative comments, either.
  • Put a potty right near the bed, to make it easier for your child to go during the night. Put a plastic sheet underneath.
  • Restrict the amount of fluids your child drinks as bedtime approaches.
  • Make sure your child uses the potty right before bedtime.
  • Try waking your child up to use the potty an hour or two after she goes to sleep.
  • Protect your child's mattress with a plastic cover under the sheets. Bring an extra one along when you're traveling.
  • Set up a sticker chart to encourage your child as she makes progress, one dry morning at a time.

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