Here's what you need to know about bedwetting:
Bedwetting is an extremely common issue in households everywhere. However, it causes a huge amount of stress. As you may know, boys statistically take longer than girls to gain control over their bladder during sleeping hours. In fact, if a boy wets the bed, most physicians don't even consider it to be a medical concern until he is 7 years old.
The first thing you need to know is that your child is not bedwetting on purpose
. I know you know that intellectually, but the frustration can lead to high emotions.
Bedwetting DON'T do's:
1. Do not shame your child.
And do not blame your child. Gaining control over the bladder while asleep results in muscular control and a hormone release that comes with time. It's not their fault.
2. Do not wake up your child in the middle of the night
This has no long term impact, and can add to your stress. You're taking on a responsibility that isn't yours. You might think you're encouraging a habit, but the signal that tells the brain to wake up because of a full bladder is internal, not external.
3. Do not withhold liquids if your child is thirsty.
Push liquids during the morning and mid-day so he or she is less likely to be very thirsty before bed. If your child is thirsty, though, let him or her drink.
4. Do not allow drinks with sugar or caffeine.
The best liquid for your child's growing body is water. End of story. Caffeinated beverages are diuretic, which will encourage urination.
Eventually, your child will learn to either hold their bladder and sleep through the night, or wake up to use the bathroom.
What to do if your child does wet the bed:
1. Encourage your child to take responsibility for the logistics of the situation
If the laundry is what is stressing you out, help your child strip the bed and
teach your child to use the washing machine
every morning with soiled sheets and jammies. This task can increase your child's responsibility and ownership of the situation, and can also truly alleviate your burden.
2. Purchase a waterproof mattress cover for your child's bed.
This step alone will improve the situation because there is no lasting damage done to the mattress, allowing you to just take one day at a time.
3. Accept the situation.
This is the hardest one, but the most liberating. Recognize that you can't control the situation, and guess what? Neither can your child right now. So focus on the practical logistics that can help your daily life, and this too shall pass.
You may get to the point where your child begins to “surface” in the night, which indicates that his or her body may be starting to change. Sometimes it's hard for a little person to get into the habit of actually getting out of bed in the middle of the night. It's cold and dark! However, if you think your child may be at this point, you can gently encourage this habit by offering an incentive. I put a quarter in the bathroom for my son if he got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. This is also a good way to check to see whether or not your child has reached this point. Remember: if your child is able to wake up, he will! It's not his fault that he doesn't.
Bedwetting is very common and very frustrating. I've been there. Your three tasks are to adjust your attitude, teach your child to do the laundry, and to buy a waterproof mattress cover. After that, give it some time. Good luck!
Go to Kids Laundry from Bedwetting