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Treating Bedwetting

There are several approaches we take to helping keep kids dry at night. Treatments vary and depend on any specific factors that may be causing your child to wet the bed at night. Often, the best cure for bedwetting is time. As your child’s body matures and develops, he or she will grow out of bedwetting. There are several treatments your doctor will discuss with you to help keep your child from wetting the bed at night. These include:

Behavioral Modifications

Your doctor may suggest changes to your child’s daily routine, including their diet:

  • Limit or avoid caffeinated drinks such as sodas and chocolate beverages, especially in the evening and before bedtime. Caffeine is a natural diuretic stimulant that can increase urination.
  • Limit the amount of liquid your child drinks in the evening and before bedtime to help keep the bladder from filling up overnight. Make sure your child urinates right before bedtime.
  • Keep a voiding diary. Keeping a voiding diary will help you track patterns of your child’s urination and bowel habits.

The Voiding Diary

Keeping a voiding diary will help you track patterns of your child’s urination while they sleep. This will help you when using some of the bedwetting treatments such as alarms or the self-awakening routine. It also helps you know when to set the alarm or when to check your child’s bed for wetness.

The Self-Awakening Routine

Helping your child learn to wake up when his or her body signals that they need to urinate at night can help your child with control.

Work with your child on the self-awakening technique which includes:

  • Having your child lay quietly in his or her bed right before bedtime. When your child is relaxed, ask him or her to envision that he or she is sleeping and needs to urinate. Then, have your child get up and go to the bathroom to urinate. This behavior will help your child get in the habit of waking and going to the bathroom.
  • If your child wakes up at night for any reason (bad dream, couldn’t sleep, etc.), have him or her go to the bathroom before returning to bed. Sometimes a child will wake up at night for one reason when they really just need to urinate. This will also help your child recognize his or her body’s signals.

Bedwetting Alarms

For some children, a bedwetting alarm will help teach them to wake up when he or she needs to urinate. while some parents find these alarms helpful, other families find that the alarms wake everyone else up except the child who wets the bed. Keep in mind that every tactic to help your child overcome the bedwetting problem is based on individual preference and personality.

There are two types of bedwetting alarms that you can try:

  • Special bedwetting alarms that have a sensor that is usually attached to a pad on your child’s bed. When the pad gets wet from urination, a loud alarm or buzzer will sound and wake the child up. Some alarms vibrate instead of making a loud sound. The goal of this alarm is to wake the child up right when they begin to wet the bed so that they can realize what they are doing, stop themselves from urinating and get up to go to the bathroom.
  • The alarm clock method. An alarm clock is set to go off about three or four hours after your child falls asleep. When the alarm goes off and your child is awakened, he or she will then have to go to the bathroom. Parents may need to wake with the alarm clock to ensure that your child gets up to use the bathroom rather than turning the alarm off and going back to sleep.

Along with bedwetting alarms, keeping a voiding diary will help you track patterns of your child’s urination.

Medical Therapy

Some children with bedwetting require additional therapy to achieve dryness within reasonable timeframes, despite conservative therapy with behavioral modifications. In these instances, Dr. Kern may recommend medical therapy to help achieve dryness. Medical therapy is usually adjunctive, meaning that, while the correct medicine for a given child may be very effective in achieving dryness, medicines rarely address the underlying causes in and of themselves. Rather, it is the behavioral modification and maintenance of stringent and good bladder habits during the day which builds the coordination between brain and bladder necessary to resolve bedwetting.

For this reason, it is important that your child be an active participant in maintaining good bladder habits, even if they are already becoming dry as a result of a tailored medical regimen.