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Understanding Bedwetting

Dispelling a Myth: There's No Such Thing as Night Training a Child

A mom of three

Your toddler is taking an interest in using the potty, so you buy underwear adorned with his favorite characters and the potty training begins. In no time at all, he's using the toilet and staying dry throughout the day. “Hooray!” you think. "Potty training wasn’t that hard!"

Staying dry throughout the night shouldn’t be a problem. But after several weeks, your child continues to wake up wet. Months pass and she still wets the bed at night. When I went through this with my kids, I thought they were just nighttime training accidents. But it was really bedwetting (otherwise known as nighttime wetting) and once I knew that was the case, I was able to adjust the approach on how we handled it.

You and your child aren’t doing anything wrong. Nighttime wetting is a very normal thing and nothing that can be trained; it must be outgrown. In fact, approximately 5 to 7 million children age 6 and over still wet the bed in the U.S., according to the National Kidney Foundation. Nighttime wetting affects more boys than girls, and it’s strongly linked to genetics. Dr. Vincent Iannelli, pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that if one or both parents wet the bed, the child has up to a 77% higher chance of wetting the bed themselves. Most of the time, nighttime wetting happens simply because the child’s bladder control isn’t mature. Just as children develop fine motor skills and language skills at different rates, they develop bladder control on their own schedules as well.

So, how do you handle your child’s nighttime wetting? The fact that she wets the bed is not something to be overly concerned about, because she’ll grow out of it as her body matures. Nighttime wetting can leave a child feeling embarrassed and upset because she can’t stay dry through the night. Reinforce that it is not her fault by telling her she cannot stay dry through the night because her body hasn't matured yet and it is not a choice she makes. Responding negatively to your child’s wetting can damage self-esteem and even prolong wetting.

Instead of dwelling on it, take time to create calming bedtime routines that help your child get a good night’s sleep. Try providing your child with GoodNites® Bedtime Pants so he can stay dry while sleeping. This will keep you from having to change sheets every day, and it will help your child sleep comfortably through the night.

Always keep in mind that this stage will pass eventually. Yes, it is stressful and hard to accept when you can’t fix it. But in the meantime, don’t let nighttime wetting stress you or your child. It’s normal and so much more common than you think. Let your child know it isn’t his fault and you love him no matter what.

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