How do I stop my 8-year-old from wetting his bed?


How do I stop my 8-year-old from wetting his bed?


In most cases you will not be able to stop the problem; you will only be able to minimize the number of events. For reasons still not fully understood, some children -- mostly boys -- holding urine overnight. Speculations range from difficulty in waking up when the bladder is full, too small of capacity in the bladder to hold a night's worth of urine, to a lack of control over the sphincter muscle that keeps the bladder from emptying while sleeping. Often a child grows out of the need for diapers but then suddenly begins to wet the bed at a later age, such as five. What is known is that just about every child grows out of the problem during adolescence. It could be that the bladder grows larger and is able to hold more, the sphincter muscle might grow and is able to resist more pressure, or it might be that males have a secondary shut-off value related to their sexual organs that kick into play when they begin to mature. Whatever the cause, the problem is physical and steps are needed to live with the problem until he matures enough.

Steps you can take are:

  • Put a plastic cover over the mattress. While it won't stop the problem, it will simplify cleanup. There are also pads that can be purchased that will absorb urine if there is an incident. Since it won't always be in the right position, you will still have cleanup to do, but perhaps not as much.
  • Minimize liquids a few hours before bedtime to decrease the amount of urine produced overnight. Especially avoid sodas and sports drinks that contain salts or caffeine. These act as diuretics, causing the body to shed water it normally stores, thus increasing the amount of urine produced.
  • Sometimes anxiety triggers episodes of bet wetting. The child has trouble falling asleep, and then when they finally do, they sleep so heavily they fail to wake up when they need to use the toilet. Helping them calm down about changes or giving them stability in their lives brings back normalcy.
  • You can purchase an alarm system that goes off when dampness is detected. Most bed wetters are very heavy sleepers, so when the alarm goes off, mom or dad will have to wake him up and take him to the bathroom. After a while, though, the child learns to wake up on his own.
  • For frequent bed wetters, there is a nose spray that your doctor can prescribe that will limit the amount of urine that his body produces overnight. It is sometimes handy to have if he won't be sleeping in his own bed and you want to sure of a dry night. Its effectiveness wears off over time, so it can't be used continually.

Finally, teach your child what to do when accidents do occur: how to change the soiled bedding, how to soak the linens so it won't stain, how to run the washing machine. Again, it won't fix the problem, but it will help reduce your workload and help your child take some control over an embarrassment in his life. Keep in mind that scolding and punishments will not eliminate the problem. It will only make the child feel bad about something he can't control.

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