Should You Be Worried About Your Child Wetting the Bed

Many toilet-trained children wet the bed at night. Some children become dry at night very quickly but, for others, it can take months or even years So, should you be worried if your child is wetting the bed? Should you seek professional advice?

The answers to these questions depend on your child’s age, health, and personal circumstances. Here are some indicators of what you can expect of children within each age group and suggestions of action you can take.

Ages 2-4

Most children become dry during the day before they become dry at night. Therefore, if your child is aged between two and four and has been fully toilet-trained in the past few months, don’t worry if he is incontinent at night. It’s very likely that he will become dry in his own time.

Be patient with your child and don’t scold him because bed wetting is not deliberate. It takes some time for most children in this age group to gain control of their bladders at night.

Ages 5-6

Around 15 percent of five-year old children wet their beds, according to the University of Michigan Health System. In this age group, bed wetting is more common among boys than girls.

If your child is under seven and is still wetting the bed regularly, try not to be too concerned. The reason for the bed wetting is likely to be that your child sleeps very deeply and her brain is not yet well developed enough to wake her up when her bladder is full.

Ages 7-12

If your child reaches the age of seven and is still wetting the bed, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor to rule out a medical condition.

If your child doesn’t have a medical condition, there are several measures that can be taken to combat bed-wetting.

These include using a sensor connected to an alarm. The sensor is placed in the child’s underwear or on top of the mattress at night. The alarm goes off as soon as the child starts to wet the underwear or bed, waking the child up so that they can go to the toilet.

It may take several months of using the alarm each night before the child learns to wake up whenever he starts to urinate. Bed-wetting alarms are successful for over 70 percent of children who use them, according to Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence (ERIC), a charity based in the United Kingdom.

Without treatment, most children stop wetting the bed in their own time, although around three percent of 12-year old children aren’t dry at night, according to the University of Michigan Health System. If your child is still wetting the bed after reaching this milestone, it may be time to consult your doctor again for further help and advice.

If your child aged between 7and 12 suddenly starts wetting the bed after being completely dry at night for at least six months, there could be either a medical or a psychological reason.

Possible medical reasons include a urinary tract infection or constipation constricting the bladder and causing urine to leak while the child is asleep. Potential psychological reasons include stress resulting from a divorce or bereavement in the family or from moving house and school.

If your child starts to wet the bed after being dry, it’s extremely important to take him or her to see a doctor who will investigate the reason and suggest the best way forward.

Ages13-18

For around 1 percent of children, bed-wetting continues into their teenage years, according to the Continence Foundation of Australia. If this is the case for your teenage child, ask a doctor to check that their kidneys and bladder are functioning properly.

Once a medical condition has been ruled out, it’s time to try or retry treatments, therapies and medications. You may find that a treatment that was not successful when your child was younger may work now that your child is more mature and keen to overcome bed-wetting.

If your child is wetting the bed regularly, try not to worry. Be reassured that, in most cases, your child will become dry at night in their own time.

However, if your child is still wetting the bed beyond their seventh birthday or if they suddenly start wetting the bed after being dry, it’s a good idea to consult a physician who can put your mind at rest and suggest measures that could help your child to stop bed-wetting.

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