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Wetting the bed is very common but can be an embarrassing issue among children. A child who bed-wets feels ashame and can become emotionally withdrawn.
Nocturnal enuresis or night time incontinence (the medical terms for bedwetting) is involuntary urination after age 5 or 6. Bedwetting tends to run in families and is more common among boys than girls; experts estimate the ratio as roughly 2 boys to 1 girl.
Although most children eventually outgrow this phase, here are some steps you can take to help your child keep dry through the night.
Control your child’s fluid intake. Encourage your child to drink plenty throughout the day and stop drinking a couple of hours before they go to sleep, and fully empty their bladder before he or she gets into bed.
Banish the blame. Getting angry with your little one and punishing him for wetting the bed will only add pressure to stay dry and will make the problem worse. Don’t make a big deal out of it, offer some comfort instead. Reassure your child that he or she is not alone, and that bedwetting is very normal among his or her age group.
Children should only be rewarded for things they can control. Bedwetting is not one of them, so they shouldn’t be rewarded for dry nights or punished for wet ones. They can be rewarded for things like going to urinate before bedtime, helping to do house chores and getting good grades.
Bladder training is the process of establishing a regular toilet routine and good drinking habits. This is important to ensure the bladder learns to stretch and hold lots of wee, so it can hold onto the wee produced at night.
The routine often involves going to the toilet at regular intervals and building this up over time to 2 or 3 hourly intervals. Bladder training is normally recommended for children who wet during the day as well as at night.
Make sure your child goes to the bathroom before her bedtime, but also try carrying him or her to the bathroom again before you go to bed. When your child empties his or her bladder, there’s less of a chance he or she will have to urinate during the night. This technique won’t cure bedwetting, so to speak, but it can be an effective way to keep the bed dry through the night.
Check for constipation. Constipation is a common cause of bladder problems. When the rectum, located just behind the bladder is filled with large or hard poop, there is more pressure on the bladder. This causes bladder instability, which, in turn, can lead to nighttime bedwetting.
If you notice that your child isn’t having a daily bowel movement or if his stool is typically hard, increase his or her fluid and fibre intake. Apple juice, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all good options to help ease constipation and get the system working better again.