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.
- 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.