Bedwetting is a rather common problem that causes embarrassment to many children of school-going age. The general strategy was initially to wait for the children to outgrow it now there are approaches that can help the child to stop wetting the bed. Here are some steps that you can take to stop bedwetting.
- Maintain a diary
Take note of the nights when the child wets the bed for about a week, then look for a pattern that may explain the cause of the problem. Look at food, drinks, family and life events, bladder and bowel movements during the day, situations at school and any other thing that was different on the days when the child wet the bed.
- Medical examination
Have a doctor do a physical evaluation of the child to check if there is any underlying physical problem that’s causing the bedwetting. This evaluation may involve tests such as watching the child urinate, measuring bladder capacity, urinalysis and an x-ray. The doctor will also want to know the contents of the diary, patterns you’ve noticed and any changes you’ve made. Once you are sure that there is no medical problem causing the bedwetting, you can move on to trying other steps to help stop it.
- Explain to the child
Using a diagram, explain to the child how kidneys and the bladder work and how the brain and bladder muscles work to keep urine inside during the day and at night.
- Teach the child triple voiding
Encourage the child to go three times, squeezing the bladder to ensure they empty it completely. This is important because sometimes children may hurriedly urinate before going to bed with a bladder that is half full.
- Shake and wake
Children commonly wet their beds after a few hours of sleep so before you retire for the night, wake the child up completely for another round of emptying the bladder. Make sure the child is fully awake so he empties his bladder. If despite this the child still wets the bed, set the alarm so that the child wakes up after a specific period of time such as after 3 hours.
Bladder-training exercises increase capacity, awareness when the bladder is full and neuro-muscular control. Help your child do these exercises during the day to prevent bedwetting.
- Progressive withholding of urine
Give the child large amounts of fluid to drink and encourage him to hold urine in for a while despite feeling pressure to urinate. Like a balloon, the bladders should gradually be able to hold more urine and not require frequent emptying. Measure the bladder capacity by giving him a measuring cup to urinate into.
- Bladder-conditioning devices
These devices are worn inside the underwear. They cause a vibration that wakes the child up when a few urine drops fall on the moisture-sensitive pad. It’s important to explain to the child how these devices work. For this approach to be effective, encourage the child to completely empty his bladder
If all else fails, the doctor will prescribe medicines to control bedwetting until the child outgrows it.