April 17, 2009

Dear Emma - Tips on Bed Wetting

Dear Emma,

It is 2 AM and you are in a deep slumber. Suddenly you are jolted up with a voice shouting,"Mommy I just wetted by bed." Or in a worst situation your toddler was already awake and intentionally wetted her kids bedding or his kids rug. What should I do?

Emily from Plano, TX

Dear Emily,
Bed wetting happens until your child is between 5-6 years old usually. Approximately 9 out of 10 toddlers will stop bed wetting by that age on their own. Boys bed wet more often. No doctor or anyone knows for sure why it happens and possible reasons could be a small bladder, genetics, or being a deep sleeper during the middle sleep cycle or during the REM stage.

What not to do:
Scolding and telling your child that they are bad, being angry and yelling at them for ruining their kids rug or bedding will likely emotionally scar them and increase the frequency of the accidents and even lead to resentment. Your toddler is more cognizant than you think. When they are physically and emotionally ready to go to the bathroom by themselves at night, they will. Note that boys usually take longer and are more frequent bed wetters. Also, it might heredity

What to do:
Be a supportive parent by being proactive and cover the mattress with a rubber protection sheet and put diapers on your toddler. That way, you will both get some sleep and not be emotionally raw. If your child is incontinent as a result of no longer sleeping in the same bed or room with you, you are dealing with an emotional issue, not a physiological one.

The Test:
If bedwetting persists after your baby girl is 5, or 6 for baby boys, you can use an alarm to wake your toddler during the night to wake her to relieve herself. You can also offer a reward for staying dry all night until she can establishes a pattern for going on her own. Whatever you do, make it a routine. Remember kids love routine as that comforts them. I also recommend checking with your pediatrician for further advice as they will know your child from past visits and have fielded many cases in the past. Also consider the possibility that your child may be asking for attention due to being alone in her dark room and having nightmares.

Warmest,
Emma

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