Becoming a Bedtime Champion for Your Kids
Dr. Roy Benaroch, MD, Pediatrician
Though children will outgrow bedwetting with time and patience, there are important ways for parents to help.
First, provide gentle encouragement and reassurance. Sometimes one or both parents struggled with bedwetting, and children need to hear this. It’s very powerful for children to hear that they’re just like mom or dad, and that their parent could eventually stay dry at night. You might want to tell your children that wetting the bed is common, and that it mostly is caused by how soundly they sleep at night. Good solid sleepers will keep on sleeping no matter how much their bladder tries to rouse them. Hearing these explanations can be very reassuring for children and parents alike.
Encourage Daily Habits
During the day, some simple steps can help children progress toward a consistently dry bed. Encourage plenty of fluids in the morning hours, so children don’t end up thirsty at night. Throughout the day, encourage children to empty their bladders frequently, so they don’t get “used to” a feeling of a full bladder. A good diet with plenty of water, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables will prevent constipation, which can be a contributor to bedwetting.
Stick to a Bedtime Routine
Close to bedtime, have your child empty his bladder completely. This should be a relaxed, unhurried trip to the bathroom. Afterward, have the child discreetly put on his own pair of GoodNites® sleep pants. Right at bedtime, help the child visualize the steps of a dry night by imagining the feeling of a full bladder and going through every step of using the bathroom. The idea is to “plant a seed” for the child to get used to the idea getting up to use the bathroom. Don’t repeat the visualization exercise every single night, but try it for a few nights in a row every few months.
Remember, the key is for the child to realize that the bladder is getting full even while asleep, and either tighten up the muscles to hold in the urine or get up to use the bathroom. Though parents can help “set the stage” for success, the final development of this ability will occur on the child’s own schedule and can’t be rushed. While children develop this skill, parents’ main goals should be to help them understand that dryness will come, and that there is nothing serious to worry about.