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Understanding Bedwetting

Your Child's Visit to the Doctor about Bedwetting

Summer is quickly coming to an end, and you have probably already received a health form for your child’s annual check up, to be completed before the start of school in the fall.

As a full-time pediatrician, I know that this can be a very busy office visit, filled with current height and weight measurements, blood pressure, hearing and vision screens, and, possibly, vaccinations. You want to make sure your pediatrician also discusses your child’s eating habits, exercise routines, safety precautions and sleep. On top of that, there can be other worries you want to get your pediatrician’s expert opinion on.

Many parents ask about their children’s bedwetting (also known as nighttime wetting) — and I assure you, it’s usually completely normal. Between 5 and 7 million children in the U.S. age 6 and over still sometimes wet the bed, according to the National Kidney Foundation. If your child’s health care provider doesn’t ask about this or any other specific concerns you have regarding your child’s emotional or physical health, don’t hesitate to ask.

First, the doctor will perform a full history and physical exam. You’ll ask questions and your doctor will ask questions so everyone is up to speed on your child’s nighttime wetting. After a discussion, simple lab tests may be performed to rule out any medical reasons for nighttime wetting such as a bladder infection or diabetes. And before you leave, your doctor will offer helpful hints and tips on how to best manage nighttime wetness.

I encourage parents to come prepared with a list of questions to annual check-ups. If your child is wetting the bed, a few questions you may want to ask include:

  • Why is my child wetting the bed when they are toilet trained during the day?
  • What causes nighttime wetting and how long will it last?
  • What treatments do you recommend?
  • What advice can you offer to help my child until they stop nighttime wetting?

Your pediatrician will be able to help you work through your questions and will ask you questions about your child’s nighttime wetting including:

  • Has your child always wet the bed, or is this a sudden onset?
  • Has your child been drinking more fluid than usual?
  • Has your child gained or lost any weight recently?
  • Is your child complaining of any pain when they urinate? Is urination more frequent than usual?
  • Are there any major changes at home such as a divorce, a recent move, problems at school or the death of a relative?

Once your doctor explains nighttime wetting, they’ll most likely talk about what a parent can do to help:

  • Be compassionate and caring toward your child. Let them know that you are not mad at them and that you do not blame them for wetting the bed.
  • Show support by telling them about other family members who wet the bed.
  • Help reduce the anxiety around bedtime by using GoodNites® Products to help protect their self-esteem, keep sheets and pajamas dry, and give them a sense of control over this unpreventable situation.
  • Give them a big hug good night to let them know how much you care.

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