As a new report reveals that 46% of parents admit their child is still wetting the bed at night since starting reception class, we look at how you can help your little one stay dry and comfortable
While most of us would dismiss wetting the bed as a normal part of growing up, in children over the age of five, wetting the bed regularly during sleep is recognised as a medical condition and can be treated. And it seems that the condition can be more detrimental than just causing personal embarrassment, as 29% of parents admitted their child would not want to partake in school trips or social activities if they wet the bed. And nearly a quarter (22%) say it has a negative effect on their child’s confidence at school.
“As children get older the social implications increase, with them avoiding sleepovers, school residential visits and camps due to fears of bullying or name calling,” says Davina Richardson, paediatric continence advisor for PromoCon. “There is also the negative impact on self-confidence and self-esteem, with children feeling very alone. Those affected should be offered a comprehensive bladder and bowel assessment by a suitably qualified healthcare professional and supported throughout treatment.”
Bedwetting has a number of causes, including too much urine being produced at night, a problem with the bladder being able to hold on to the urine and the inability of the child to wake up to full bladder signals. Other contributing factors can also include not drinking enough or constipation, and even stress and anxiety.
If your child starts wetting the bed after previously being dry for more than six months, seek advice from your doctor. If your child has always wet the bed, there are some things you can do:
Ensure your child consumes at least six water-based drinks throughout the day
Making sure they drink sufficiently throughout the day will not only help reduce the risk of constipation, but it will also help improve bladder capacity. Make sure that the last drink of the day is at least an hour before bed.
Ensure your child goes to the toilet as soon as they feel the need
Going to the toilet regularly throughout the day will help. Make sure they go to the toilet before bed and can get to the toilet easily at night – a night-light or leaving the hall light on can help. If they are worried about leaving their room at night, place a potty in your child’s room. Lastly, check that they are opening their bowel regularly.
While it’s important to stay calm and remember that bedwetting is not your child’s fault, some little ones may need encouragement to help themselves become dry. Use a reward chart or stickers for things such as drinking the recommended levels of fluid before sleep, using the toilet before bedtime or helping to change the bed sheets. It’s important that rewards shouldn’t simply be offered for a dry bed, though.
If these measures do not lead to improvement, be sure to seek advice from your GP, school nurse or pharmacist. For more helpful advice and resources, visit stopbedwetting.org
Source: Research conducted by Ferring Pharmaceuticals with 2,000 parents in March 2016.