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How to cope with a bedwetting child

Don't let bedwetting dampen your spirits, follow our advice for happy dry nights


Posted: 12 January 2012
by Fiona McKim

1. Be understanding
Up until the age of three, very few children can hold on all night without a visit to the toilet and even up to the age of seven, bedwetting is a common problem. Reassure your child that that the bedwetting is not her fault and that you will both work together to make things better. Emotional distress will only exacerbate the problem so try not to show any frustration or disappointment towards your child.

2. Investigate the cause
Bedwetting can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from simply drinking too much before bed, deep sleeping patterns to urinary tract infections, emotional distress or in rare cases, type 1 diabetes. If your child is over the age of five or displaying any other symptoms then take her to your GP who can investigate the cause and prescribe medication if necessary. Otherwise, there are a number of ways you can try to tackle the problem at home.

3. Take simple precautions
Drinking too little liquid throughout the day or too much just before bed can increase the likelihood of bedwetting. Always encourage your child to sip water slowly throughout the day and take regular toilet breaks, especially before bed. Make sure that your child has easy access to a toilet at night and, if necessary, that her route to the bathroom is well lit.

4. Reward good behaviour
Although bedwetting is not something that can be controlled, a reward scheme may encourage your child to commit to a plan of action. Do not wait until she is totally dry through the night to hand out stars, give praise and rewards when she takes her toilet break before bed, or if she helps to change her bed after a night time wetting.

5. Establish a routine
While you are tackling your child’s bedwetting problem, slip-ups are bound to happen so establish an efficient routine to get her dry, clean and back to bed with the minimum of disruption to both of your sleeping patterns. Prevent damage to her mattress by using a waterproof protector and if she is old enough, encourage your child to assist in the clean-up by leaving fresh pyjamas beside the bed. Make sure your child washes thoroughly afterwards and use a gentle moisturising cream to counteract any skin irritation that may occur.  

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