Q. What causes a child to bedwet? Is it common? Is it hereditary?
A. Although bedwetting is fairly common, its cause is not entirely known. It often occurs in children who are going through toilet training, and it’s important to note that it’s more common among boys than girls. It may also be hereditary. Bedwetting is usually not a sign of any serious medical or emotional problem, but actually part of normal development.
Q. At what age does bedwetting become alarming and what can be done about it?
A. Bedwetting is typically a normal part of development until about 5 years old. Even children who have been successfully potty-trained may have occasional accidents. Parents, however, need to look out for certain things that may indicate other problems, such as • unusual urine odor or color • redness or rash in the genital area • straining or dribbling • pain when urinating • bedwetting during the day or after about 6 months of being consistently dry.
If you notice any of these in your child, inform your pediatrician right away. If a problem is suspected, your doctor may ask for a urine sample or explore other medical causes like diabetes, constipation, kidney problems or urinary tract infection.
Q: How can parents help a child to stop bedwetting?
A: It is important to never punish a child who wets his bed. Instead, make sure he knows that it's not his fault. Many parents try to limit fluid intake at least 2 hours before bedtime or make the child use the bathroom right before going to bed. Some wake up at night to remind their child to go to the bathroom. It is also appropriate to give rewards and praise if your child stays dry at night or you can try to use a chart so the child can visually keep track of his progress.
Q: Are there any recommended treatments or strategies to control bedwetting?
A: Behavioral conditioning is a technique that can be used for bedwetting. It involves using an alarm that wakes your child when he first begins to wet the bed. This helps him wake up at night and go to the bathroom. Medications are sometimes used, especially for children above 7 years old, when behavior approaches fail. These medications work by either helping the bladder hold more urine or by decreasing the production of urine. Bladder training exercises are also done to help the child hold the urine a little longer.
Dra. Baloca reiterates that most children will outgrow bedwetting, and that parents should be reassured that this is part of normal child development. It is important not to make your child feel embarrassed or guilty about the situation. Instead, offer comfort and support to reduce stress that occurs during this time.