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Understanding Bedwetting

Helping Your Child Understand Bedwetting

Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg

One thing that's incredibly important for your children is that they feel they are in control of their life, regardless of their age.

Throughout childhood, kids develop the necessary skills to become independent and increasingly rely on these skills as they get older. Parents often encourage their child's independence at a young age by teaching tasks such as getting dressed, tying their shoes, setting the table and brushing their teeth. But one issue that may be more difficult for a child to control is staying dry at night, as millions of children in the U.S. struggle with bedwetting, also known as nighttime wetting, every year.

Nighttime wetting — something that can contribute to a child feeling out of control — is not a choice, and it's certainly not something a child does on purpose. I often hear parents say, "If my child would just try harder," or "I think my child is doing this to spite me," but I can assure you it's very rare that a child would wet the bed intentionally. You cannot stop your child's nighttime wetting by berating them. It won't solve the problem and in fact may make it worse, causing your child to feel less confident and hopeless about making positive changes.

Addressing Nighttime Wetting

In order to more effectively handle nighttime wetting and the frustration it can cause, it's helpful to:

  • Work together with your child as a team
  • Make sure children understand that you're not upset or angry when they wet the bed
  • Let children know if nighttime wetting runs in your family, as this may be a reason why they struggle with it
  • Share facts about nighttime wetting so children understand how common it is — in the U.S., over 5 million children wet the bed
Positive Changes

Setting a nighttime routine is a good way to decrease accidents and help your child feel more in control. A nighttime routine can involve reminding your child to use the toilet to empty his bladder before getting into bed.

Another piece of helpful advice I've shared with many of my patients is to use GoodNites® Bed Mats, an easy and reliable nighttime wetting solution that involves children and puts them in control of managing their nighttime wetting. To use the product, simply:

  1. Place the mat on top of your child's fitted sheet.
  2. Peel the adhesive strips to secure.
  3. Enjoy the peace of mind of a protected bed all night

My favorite part is that in the morning, your child can wake up, peel the mat off the bed and throw it away. No fuss, mess or stress — a great and confident way to start the day!

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