Let me be clear here. The majority of children are going to “nighttime train” themselves. There, that’s it! Easy, huh? But that doesn't sooth your soul, and there ARE some things you need to know, because you can definitely help your child with bedwetting. You can help the body learn, and you can help your child tune in to their own body, but ultimately the body has to figure this out for itself.
So what about the five million school-aged children in the U.S. who wet their bed? Yes, there is that. Chances that you will have a bedwetter are about 20 percent. One in five kids under the age of five will wet the bed. Four out of five won’t, so the majority will night train themselves. This leads me to my next point. I had three bedwetters, which means that twelve other children didn’t! My first son wet until he was five, my second son wet until he was eight, and my daughter wet until she was six. Neither parent had bedwetting issues in their youth. This is just typical.
I'm surprised at how many people I consult with that tell me they've been to the doctors and never heard any advice from the professional sector like what I've given them. There are some basic, simple things that can help your child overcome bedwetting, or at least prime them for growing out of it, and I feel that it's very important for me to share this with you!
How Can I Help My Child With Bedwetting?
Start with these tips to help reduce bedwetting
- Pay attention to your child's activity level throughout the day
More common then not you will notice that your child’s level of physical activity that day is directly related to wether they will wake up dry or not. You might have some dry days throughout the week, but if you spent all afternoon on a hot soccer field watching your star striker run their butt off, you can pretty much be guaranteed of a soaked mattress in the morning. Understanding this and bringing it to light can help your child not feel so bad about it happening. The brain literally falls into too deep a sleep to monitor its bathroom needs. It has much more important things to do… like growing that kid up, processing that amazing soccer game, and regulating all the hormones that have to fire off so the next stage of puberty isn’t delayed! There simply isn’t time for a bathroom break.
- Make sure your kid gets extra sleep
There’s nothing tough about this idea, except maybe the fight to get your kid to bed earlier! Kids in elementary school and toddlers with busy mornings don’t have a choice in when they wake up. Naps start to go away and exhaustion sets in at night. Older kids engage in sports and sweat until blissfully exhausted...
As I mentioned earlier, there is a place in the brain that stays awake for the sole purpose of making sure you don’t eliminate in your sleep. When your body isn’t rested well enough, it is too deep in sleep to feel the signal of a full bladder. Nonetheless, the bladder must release. Getting thirty more minutes of sleep per night for a few weeks can be enough to restore your sleep tank and stop bedwetting. It is also a great indicator for if your kiddo is going to wet the bed tonight. Busy exhausted day? Yup, it's happening. There are a ton of other reasons why sleep is important, so you might as well give it a shot.
- Switch out your child's disposable diaper for a cloth option
No 7 yr old kid wants to be associated with a plastic baby diaper. Consider switching your child’s nighttime disposable to a cloth option. By making this change, you are shifting what the mind is going through when the wetting actually happens. Kids can feel more wetness in cloth than in disposables, which is a huge advantage to a sleeping brain! It could even be powerful enough to...help wake them up.
People have told me that after switching to cloth at night, their children just grew out of bedwetting in a few weeks. That is a relatively common occurrence and a few weeks is what it will take to re-program the brain/body connection. However, in the event this does not work, guess what? You have a cloth option that doesn’t cost you money every time you go to the store! Parents spend an average of $400 a year on nighttime disposable diapers. They are more expensive than regular diapers and they know you’re going to pay whatever their sticker price is. The price point per package is similar to diapers, but you get less and less quantity with each size you go up. With cloth, you can invest around $100 in three pairs of high-quality, high-absorbency underwear that can last two to three years. If your child continues to wet the bed that initial up-front cost could save you $1200. Certainly a well-worth investment.
- Occasionally have your child sleep bare-butted
When a child pees at night and the wetness is caught in the diaper, whether cloth or disposable, it is held close to the body. That limits the cause and effect feeling. If you want a real “wake up” effect, having nothing will give that to you! Sure, you have to diaper the bed instead. Sure, you have to wash a blanket in the morning. Sure, you need to budget time for a bath or shower the next day, but this is all temporary. Have your child sleep bottomless for two to three days straight to kick in that waking-brain sensation. Remember, you only have one opportunity each night (usually) for the learning moment to happen, so these methods are not a one-night solution. You will need repetition for the solution to take hold. After a few days, if you don’t see any improvement, just go back to diapers or cloth overnight underwear and give this a shot in another month or so.
Share this rich information with your bedwetting kiddo. Let them know how incredibly common bedwetting is, and help them understand when they are more likely to wet (like on high energy days.) By teaching them to pay attention to their body they can actually begin to predict how their subconscious processes will behave, which is very empowering!
I truly hope this helps you and your child reduce, overcome and understand bedwetting. Want to listen to Laura's rant? She's got some good points!