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Understanding Bedwetting

Ten Reasons Why It's OK Your Child Wets the Bed (Really!)

When you and your child are working hard to manage bedwetting (and having one of those days again), it can be difficult to find the good in the situation. But there are reasons why you can set frustration aside and look on the bright side of nighttime wetting.

Here are 10 reasons why it's OK your child wets the bed.

1. You're not alone.

Five to seven million kids age 6 and over in the United States still sometimes wet the bed, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Knowing your child is not the only child wetting his bed at night is bound to make you feel a little bit better. And it also makes your child feel better. Experts say talking to your child and making him realize he's not alone when it comes to nighttime wetting is a great way to boost self-esteem.

2. Most kids stop wetting on their own.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the main reasons children wet the bed at night include having a bladder that has not developed enough to hold urine for a full night, and not yet being able to realize that the bladder is full so they can wake up and use the toilet. That said, a child's nighttime wetting often stops as her body grows and matures. The AAP reports that by the teen years, most kids will have stopped nighttime wetting, and only one in 100 adults experiences nighttime wetting.

3. There are effective ways to manage nighttime wetting.

Until your child outgrows nighttime wetting, there are effective ways to manage it. You also may want to avoid giving your child caffeinated drinks, as caffeine can be a bladder irritant. Using absorbent underpants such as GoodNites® Bedtime Pants is another way to help a child stay dry at night.

Different management techniques work for different kids and their families. What may work for one child may not be right for yours. Keep trying different solutions until you and your child find one that works.

4. It runs in the family.

Most children who wet the bed have at least one parent or close relative who also experienced nighttime wetting as a child. In fact, a good indicator of when a child will stop wetting the bed is often when the adult relative stopped wetting.

If you wet the bed as a child, sharing your experience with your child can help her feel better about wetting. Your child will feel more "normal" when she hears that other children — especially a relative — wet the bed once, too.

5. In most cases, nighttime wetting is not a sign that your child has a health problem.

Because nighttime wetting is most often caused by a bladder that has not fully developed yet, it is not usually a sign that your child has a serious health problem. Of course, it's always a good idea to bring your child to the doctor for a full evaluation to rule out any medical conditions.

If your child has stopped nighttime wetting for several months and then starts wetting again suddenly, this could be caused by what is known as secondary enuresis, which can often be brought about by stress. A physician will be able to determine the cause of secondary enuresis and offer treatment advice.

6. It's not your child's fault.

Kids do not wet the bed on purpose. It's important not to make them feel like nighttime wetting is their fault. Yelling at your child or making him feel bad about nighttime wetting will only hurt his self-esteem.

7. Support is available.

Support is an essential part of managing nighttime wetting. Finding information and advice from other parents can help you deal with the stress and frustration you may be feeling.

8. It can give you and your child a way to connect.

Often, kids are embarrassed to talk about nighttime wetting with anyone other than their parents or a close relative. According to Dr. Susan Bartell, a psychologist and author based in Port Washington, NY, talking about nighttime wetting can create a close connection between a child and parent.

"Since children need to be able to discuss this intimate problem with a parent in order to get help, and parents need to be empathic toward the child, respect his or her privacy and be sensitive to all the issues surrounding the nighttime wetting, it creates an emotional environment of trust and an intimate connection," says Dr. Bartell. "This will inevitably help parent and child to become much closer than they otherwise might."

9. Nighttime wetting doesn't have to affect your child's social life.

Children who wet the bed at night often feel nervous about attending or hosting a sleepover because they're afraid their friends will find out they're not dry at night. By using absorbent products, your child can attend sleepovers and feel more secure. For more information on sleepovers, read the article "Surviving Sleepovers: Five Questions and Answers to Help Your Child Handle Bedwetting When Away".

10. It teaches children to be empathetic.

Experiencing nighttime wetting can teach a child the valuable lesson of understanding how others feel.

"Nighttime wetting can help a child become more empathetic because it teaches them that people may have issues that are embarrassing or difficult to deal with," says Dr. Bartell. "When they experience these types of issues themselves ... it makes them understand that other people may have similar things to deal with (e.g., learning issues, wearing glasses, looking/acting different, etc.) and makes them less likely to tease or make fun of someone else."

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