The Road to Dry Nights
For some children, bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) is a short blip along the path of growing up and will resolve itself. For others, it’s a long haul filled with ups and downs, dry nights and wet sheets. Whatever your child’s story, be reassured that there is light at the end of the tunnel and your child will eventually stay dry during the night, says pediatrician Dr. Howard Bennett, author of “Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting."
The big question every parent of a bedwetter wants to know: When will my child stop wetting the bed? That’s hard to answer, he says, since each child is different. But you should know the facts.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics defines bedwetting as wetting two or more times a week in children over 5, or often enough that it bothers you.
- Bedwetting is a common condition that affects about 5 million children in the United States.
- Prior to age 13, boys wet the bed twice as often as girls. By the time adolescence rolls around, these numbers equal out.
- Twenty percent of 5-year-olds wet the bed, and 12% of 6-year-olds still wet the bed. After age 6, about 15 percent of bedwetting children stop each year without treatment. For most kids, it’s just a matter of time.
- Seventy-five percent of children who wet the bed have at least one parent or another close relative who had the same problem as a child. Ask your family members if they ever wet the bed, and if so, when did they stop? It’s likely that your child will outgrow nighttime wetting around the same age.
As children get a little older, they may be motivated to manage their bedwetting in different ways. However, there is no magic age when children are ready to work on their bedwetting. Dr. Bennett notes that most children show some concern about the problem by the time they are 6 to 7 years old.
For young children who wet the bed at night (anywhere from 3 to 6 years old), Dr. Bennett advises parents not to worry about it. Do what they can to make life easier, and be patient with your children. Products like GoodNites can make nighttime wetting easier to manage.
Once a child turns 6 or 7, and if they are motivated to become dry at night, parents should talk to their pediatrician about different tactics. Techniques include rewards, motivational counseling, bladder exercises, bedwetting alarms and medication. And before trying any of these, it’s important that you understand their impact on your child and family life.
Bedwetting can be fraught with setbacks and regression. Some children may have several dry nights or even weeks but still wet the bed every once in a while. This can be brought on by stressful situations such as moving to a new home, changing schools, or the death of a loved one. The wetting usually resolves when the stress passes. In the meantime, setbacks can be frustrating and discouraging for your kids, so remain calm and supportive.
Every child who wets the bed yearns for the day when it will come to an end. It’s important for you and your child to realize that it will happen. In the meantime, be understanding and use products like GoodNites that make nighttime wetting easier to manage.
Remember, bedwetting is a developmental problem, not a behavioral one. Like many issues in growing up, this too shall pass.
For more answers to questions about bedwetting see this guide from GoodNites: https://www.goodnites.com/en-us/bedwetting