10 Tips to Help Kids Stay Dry at Night
January 15, 2012
Nocturnal enuresis, commonly known as bedwetting, affects millions of kids and teens around the globe. Approximately 15% of children wet the bed past the age of three, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. It is a symptom, not a disease, that runs in families, and is usually not associated with any emotional problems. There are a number of steps that doctors recommend to help bedwetters. The following are 10 tips to help kids stay dry at night.
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- Limited Liquids – Avoid excess fluid intake after 3pm. Carbonated drinks, caffeine, chocolate and citrus should be curtailed.
- Urinate Just Prior to Bedtime – One of the causes of bedwetting is inadequately developed bladder control. Emptying it as close to bedtime as possible reduces the risk of it emptying involuntarily.
- Focus on Pee Breaks – Rather than setting as a goal to get through the whole night, work with your child on getting up during the night to urinate.
- Reward Milestones – This is an especially effective technique for use with younger children. Establish some goals – such as consecutive nights without incident – and provide incentives to reach them.
- Avoid Blaming or Punishing – Conversely, reassure the child that they are not at fault for their bedwetting. Emotional trauma only makes matters worse.
- Reassurance – As bedwetting does run in families, you can share with the child that another family member once had the same problem, and got through it, just as they will too.
- Toilet Access – Be sure the path from the child’s sleeping quarters is as short, and as nearby, as can be arranged. The fewer the obstacles and the shorter the path, the more likely your child can get there quickly and safely in the middle of the night. Make sure the way is sufficiently lit as well.
- Alarm Technique – Some doctors also recommend alarms which can be safely placed on the child’s underwear or bed pad. The alarm is activated by the wetness of the urine, and wakes the child to finish in the bathroom, then change clothes and bedding, etc. Ultimately, the conditioned response has led to as much as a 70% success rate.
- Daytime Drill – Have your child go to the bed first to lay down for a few moments prior to bathroom visits during the day. This kind of drill will help the child develop the habit of getting up at night to go.
- Involve Child in Clean-up – While your child should never be blamed, he or she needs to be aware that getting over the bedwetting is up to them, and not you. Having them take part in the clean-up helps them understand what’s involved, and makes a good motivational tool.