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Bed Wetting Advice | Dafna Ahdoot M.D.

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Bedwetting is a common problem in many children. It can be embarrassing for the child and frustrating for the parent. However, there are a few things that parents should keep in mind when it comes to a child that wets the bed.

One thing parents should keep in mind is that their child more than likely isn’t wetting the bed on purpose. There’s not really a cut off age for children to stop bedwetting. While it’s common for children under 6, some kids wet the bed sporadically into their teen years. If your child is wetting their bed after the age of 6, there may be an underlying issue. They can be stressed or anxious about a recent change at home or at school. They may also have a medical problem such as a urinary tract infection or simply an overactive bladder. Talk to your child to see if there’s something bothering them, and be sure to inform your pediatrician, as they can run tests to see if it’s more to the problem. In some cases if a child is drinking large amounts of water, urinating frequently and also feeling hungry (the medical triad known as polydipsia, polyuria and polyphagia) he or she should be worked up for type I diabetes mellitus.

While everyone’s dealing with this issue, there are a few lifestyle changes that can be made towards stopping bedwetting or at least working towards it stopping:

  • Be patient and supportive: Your child may already be embarrassed that they wake up and realizing they have once again wet the bed. Instead of punishing them or shaming them, do your best to tell them they’re not in trouble, and help them adjust. If they’re younger kids, help them wash off and get into clean clothes and fresh linen on their bed. If they’re older, have them involved in changing sheets and getting clean to resume their night of sleep.
  • Get protection: If this is a common problem, you may want to invest in protective sheeting or a mattress pad. The child may need to wear pull ups to bed just in case. Be sure to have a spare change of clothes and linens available just in case it happens.
  • Change fluid intake: Some children wet the bed because of how much or how often they drink. Reduce the amount they have to drink throughout the day, and try to have a cut off time around one and a half hours before bedtime. This can considerably reduce the amount of bedwetting incidents. Also, regulate the types of drinks your child is having. Sugary drinks such as juice and soda can encourage bedwetting more than water.
  • Schedule bathroom trips: Have your child go to the restroom before they go to bed, and maybe have them set an alarm to go in the middle of the night. Children’s bladders are smaller than adults, so they may have to go more frequently and can’t hold it long enough for a full night’s sleep. Even if they wake up to use the restroom, they should have no problem going right back to sleep.
  • Give rewards for not bed wetting: While you don’t want to punish the child for this behavior, you may see progress when you reward them for not wetting the bed. Maybe if they go a certain amount of days without wetting the bed, you reward them with a treat. Positive reinforcement can definitely help in this situation.

The problem won’t last forever, but it can be solved. If the frequency is more than twice a week and the above lifestyle changes haven’t helped, you may want to involve your pediatrician and see if they have recommendations or referrals to a specialist in Urology.

There are medical and nonmedical ways of controlling bedwetting. Your doctor may prescribe an antidiuretic medication that may temporarily control the bedwetting. A more effective method is the bedwetting alarm. One end of the device is attached to the child’s shirt the other end is a moisture detector which is attached to the underwear. Once the alarm detects moisture it goes off, waking up the child where he goes to the bathroom, urinates, changes his underwear and heads back to bed. This process requires a lot of patience on the part of the parent and child. It usually takes about 3 months for bedwetting to stop. For further information please check out the following links:

Since my kids were born (they are 8 yrs old),we have never had anyone give us as much help or time as Dr. Ahdoot has given us. She is the kind of doctor who takes a personal interest in each patient. She was always available and made sure my kids were well taken care of... read more read more

Dr. Dafna Ahdoot has recently joined the Practice at Tarzana Pediatric Medical Group and I'm so glad she is there. She has been helping with my two kids who have reactive airway disease and communicating with me by phone and email. I feel taken care of... read more read more