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Help Your Child to Stop Bedwetting

by on 27/09/2013 4610

Bedwetting, also known as secondary enuresis, is considered normal in children under the age of 5. However, by the age of 5 or 6, bedwetting is something they should have outgrown - and if they haven't, it should be treated seriously.  It is more common in boys as compared to girls up to the age of 12, but as they grow up, they will be more likely to become dry at night.  

So, what went wrong? 

Perhaps you would think that child should be blamed for bedwetting- maybe they are just lazy or timid to go to toilet at night.

Well, before you jump into such conclusion, there are actually more possibilities that you should consider:

1.  Overactive bladder 

2.  Constipation 

3.  Repeated awakenings

Repeated awakenings, however brief they can be, will disrupt the hormone vasopressin,  which is responsible to slow down the production of urine at night. The lack of vasopressin will cause kidneys to keep making urine during sleep.

4.  Genetic predisposition

It is found that there can be 40% chance the child will wet the bed and if two parents wet the bed there is a 75% chance the child will also wet the bed.

5.  Psychological factors

More often than not, bedwetting is a cry for help that the child uses to achieve a certain goal or to maintain his psychological balance. It can happen when the child, who used to be the center of attention, suddenly lost this attention because of his new born brother.

Another psychological cause could be that the child wants to achieve a sense of superiority over the family. Through bedwetting, the child is unconsciously sending a message to his family that he still needs attention because he is not that old yet.

Stress from-divorce, sickness, abuse, neglect, or alcoholism-will cause the bedwetting. In this case, bedwetting is just an unconscious signal that home is not a safe place anymore. On top of that, when children try out new responsibilities or experience role transitions, such as entering school for the first time, life can be both unnerving and stressful to children, leading to bedwetting.

Besides bedwetting can also be a psychological response to trauma such as natural disaster, war, or even death in family.

What can I do?

Bedwetting, if left unhandled, can pose rather serious effects on children. Feelings of social exclusion. Feelings of being different from others. Children may bottle up these feelings, without letting them to be known- unless they feel it is safe to share.

As parents, we should never underestimate children’s feeling about bedwetting, blame them for their bedwetting, or even feel unsure about how to help their child. Some of the ways that we can help them are:

a.  Bladder Training

Teach your child to control urinating during the day by postponing it, by gradually increasing the amount of time, to strengthen his bladder. However, before asking your child to practice retention control, you should always check with a doctor first.

b. Night-lifting

Wake your child periodically throughout the night, walk your child to the bathroom to urinate, and then returning your child to bed. This helps to teach your child to make the habit of getting awake and empty his bladder during the night.

c.  Reward system

Child loves reward. So, give you child a star, a prize or an outing if he manages to achieve longer periods of dryness. And this motivational therapy proves to be effective for younger children. 

d.  Limit caffeine and drinks before bed.

e.  Be honest with your child

Punishment, criticizing, or teasing will only backfire. These will only make your child tense and anxious. Therefore, tell him honestly about what’s going on. Your child may be at dismay about what to do with bedwetting because it’s the last thing he will ever do. You can tell him that this may happen to a lot of his peers, though they never share it. Always reassure him that everything will turn out fine for him eventually. 

f.  Start an open communication with your child

Listen attentively to your child’s worries. Allow him to express his feelings and ask questions as well, so that you can reassure him about any specific concerns he may have. However, don’t force him if he doesn’t want you to discuss his bedwetting issue with anyone else-except with your doctor. Respect his privacy so that he will slowly open up his heart to share with you about his concerns.


Most of us will inevitably be tempted to think that bedwetting is something to be ashamed of. However, we always need to bear in mind that it’s part and parcel of growth. It may or may not have happened to us. So, just accept it with an open mind.

How about you? Do you have any useful tips would like to share with us?