So you have successfully potty trained your toddler. The little cherub is now happily wearing big kid underwear throughout the day, and proudly and LOUDLY announcing each and every bodily function before, during and after they take place. But wait – the little tot is not dry at night… no matter how many sticker charts you provide, incentives or even down-right bribes, you STILL need to put her/ him in diapers at night. I know you are tired of buying diapers and you had just moved the diaper funds to your Starbucks allocation. Sorry – not so quick on the diaper-draw, read our ten steps to dry mornings!
As a mother of four boys, I have of course run into a bed-wetter and one that night time trained without delay. I treated them both the same, used the same potty training incentives, same bed time routine… so what happened here? NOTHING HAPPENED. Nothing is “WRONG” – our boys are just individuals and as I tell them both “we all learn different things at different times – when we are ready!”
Facts about bed-wetting:
- Most children are potty trained by 4 years old.
- By age 5 only about 15% are still waking up wet.
- Between the ages of 8 – 11 the number drops to 5%
- Boys are more likely to be extended night time wetters than girls.
- Children are 30% more likely to be bed-wetters if one or both of their parents wet their beds as children.
When should you mention bed-wetting to your pediatrician:
- As with all things related to your kids, if it worries you – call the pediatrician. Personally I address it every year at our well visit – just for good measure.
- If his/ her self esteem is adversely affected.
- If your child is older than 6-7 years old. You and the pediatrician may decide to wait with treatments, but it is best to at least discuss it.
- If the sheets have been dry for a while, and then the night time wetting starts again.
- If your child is experiencing increased thirst, painful urination, discolored urine or snoring along with the bed-wetting.
- Possible causes for bed-wetting: small bladder, bladder control nerves are slow to mature, hormone imbalance, stress, infection of bladder or kidneys, sleep apnea, diabetes, constipation or a structural defect.
Ten Steps to Dry Mornings:
- Talk to your child about bed-wetting. This is your chance to sit down and have one of many future heartfelt conversations with your son/ daughter. Share your own personal experience with bed-wetting. Explain that you are not upset. Reiterate that you know it is not done intentionally.
- Establish a predictable bedtime routine – have your child use the bathroom as the first and the last part of your routine (“double voiding”)
- Gently wake up your child before you go to bed, walk him/ her to the bathroom.
- Limit fluid intake after dinner, – NOT eliminate, but limit. However, this does not apply if your child has been hot, sweaty or very active.
- Stock up on Huggies Goodnights, – they are covered under many medical flexible spending accounts.
- Have two or three sets of sheets that you rotate on your child’s bed. I put on clean sheets as soon as I pull the wet ones off – this way I am not trying to make his bed with clean sheets right at bed time.
- Buy a good mattress pad – or two, accidents WILL happen – even if he/ she wears nighttime “pull ups.”
- Remember what it was like for you! If you had understanding parents – replicate that experience. If your family struggled to support you – improve your child’s experience.
- BE PATIENT! – Eventually it will happen, you may need medical intervention for your child, a new mattress and washing machine – but it WILL happen.
- However, starting the dialog with your child’s pediatrician is always wise to do, so the two of you together can formulate a plan – even if it is “wait and see” – that is still a plan of action!
We have yet to fully close this chapter of our parenting experience. I can tell by sticking to the above referenced advice, we are making great strides towards dry nights once and for all! – Until the next child is potty trained – or the one after that. How did you conquer bed-wetting? Did you have any experiences from your childhood that colored how you react towards your child’s night time training?
Interested in potty training? Read all four related articles:
Potty Training Readiness : “Ten Signs Your Toddler is Potty Ready”
Preparing to Potty Train: “Ten Things to Load Up on Before Potty Training”
Potty Training Steps: “Seven Steps to Successful Potty Training”
Nighttime Training: “Ten Steps to Dry Mornings”