Do you feel frustrated, helpless, and out of options when it comes to your child’s continuous bedwetting? Do you feel like you have tried every intervention without resolve?
Try these 4 tips for a happy and dry night:
1. Check in with your own emotions.
Your child’s bedwetting is an event that occurs while your child is asleep. He is not purposefully trying to defy your instruction and make you upset. Bedwetting is an act that happens while he is unaware. Know that he is struggling with this as much as you are. To help you manage your emotions around bedwetting, do the following:
- Plan ahead your response so you can handle whatever situation may lie in front of you.
- Prepare a standard response for when your child has had an accident and a response for when he is clean.
- Keep realistic expectations as well; just because your child stayed dry one night doesn’t mean this will be the new standard.
- Prepare for the worst and be excited by his successes.
If your child wakes up and you notice he had an accident, you will be prepared for how to proceed in a more objective and a less emotionally reactive way.
2. Use a Motivational Incentive Chart.
Encourage your child to increase dry nights by motivating him with positive reinforcement (i.e. treats, rewards, extra privileges). Create a weekly chart that can document dry nights with a sticker or special decal. For every dry night, the child gets the sticker. If the child earns all 5 stickers for the week, or all 7 depending on what the individual family goals are, the child will receive a reward. These do not have to break the bank. Something simple, like allowing the child to choose the family meal over the weekend, earning a date with mom or dad, choosing a special restaurant to eat at, or being able to sit in the special spot on the couch during family movie night can all increase investment in the child to work towards dry nights.
3. Use Bedwetting Alarms.
These alarms allow for the child to develop an autonomous response to getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. A special moisture sensor is placed in the child’s pajamas and the first indication of urine will cause an alarm to go off to trigger the child to awaken and go to the bathroom. Initially, it might take a while for the child to automatically respond to this alarm system, so the parent might have to be a part of this process to awaken the child and assist him in going to the bathroom. This process may take several weeks to achieve desired success (child awakening on the own to go to the bathroom), so set your expectations accordingly.
4. Set times to taper liquids and for urination prior to bed.
Keeping a structured nighttime routine also enhances predictability and success for staying dry. Encourage your child to go to the bathroom before bedtime. If this is around the same time every night, it will feel like less of a chore and more of a part of the routine, just like brushing teeth. Don’t limit all liquids prior to bed time, as your child may be thirsty, but provide a small glass of water. Be proactive. Encourage more drinking throughout the day and at dinnertime, provide the whole family with a small glass of water. This will model uniform behavior throughout the household and the child will not feel left out or different than others. Additionally, work towards limited caffeine intake, as this increases urine production.
Bedwetting is frustrating for all family members. Remember to keep your patience with your child. He will reach this important milestone in his own time.