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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 20 percent of 5-year-olds wet the bed. Dr. Elizabeth C. Jackson, M.D., director of the healthy bladder clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital says that most pediatricians don’t consider bedwetting a problem until a child is 6 years old. At that point, it’s time to take action. See the tips on what to do below.

Causes/Risk factors:

  • Being male. (It’s twice as common in boys as it is in girls.)
  • Small or immature bladder.
  • If parents wet the bed as a child it’s likely their child will too. It is hereditary.
  • Medical conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes, or urinary tract infections.
  • Drinking lots of milk, especially in the evening.
  • Chronic constipation (If your child has hard, rare, or large stools, rectal bleeding, or poop accidents you should talk to your pediatrician.)

What to do:

  • Reassure your child that wetting the bed is common and normal.
  • Make sure that your child goes to the bathroom at normal times during the day and evening.
  • Be sure your child goes to the bathroom right before going to sleep.
  • Reduce the amount of fluid your child drinks a few hours before bedtime. Avoid caffeinated drinks.
  • For quick cleanup, put a sheet over a waterproof mattress pad and keep an extra blanket and dry PJ’s nearby.
  • Reward your child for dry nights by using a sticker chart.
  • Bed-wetting alarms are another method that can be used along with a sticker chart.
  • When your child has an accident, have them help you change the sheets but do not make them feel bad.
  • If you have tried all of the above and are not seeing progress after about a month, discuss the issue with your pediatrician to rule out any medical conditions. You can also ask about putting your child on a prescription medication for bedwetting.