The Facts about Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)

3339964492_d3f2497ff8_z (2)According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), approximately 5 million children in the United States wet their beds. Statistical breakdown of age ranges are: 20% of 5-year-olds, 10% of 7-year-olds, and 5% of 10-year-olds wake up with wet beds.

Staying dry at night can be challenging for many reasons, including children’s bodies developing faster than their bladder, making excessive urine at night, or even that they sleep so soundly that they do not awake to realize they need to urinate. Click here for other reasons for bedwetting.

Children who wake up with wet beds may also show signs of decreased self-esteem. Add extra loads of laundry into the mix, and bedwetting can be frustrating for both child and parent.

Strategies to assist* with bedwetting include:

  • ensure your child (and other family members if they are aware of the situation) understand that bedwetting is not their fault
  • restrict liquids before bed time
  • encourage your child to go to the bathroom right before bedtime
  • consider waking your child up 1-2 hours after falling asleep for a quick trip to the bathroom

If these strategies are not effective after 1-3 months, you may want to consider a bedwetting alarm or medication. Alarms sense the first sign of urine and help your child know that it is time to head to the bathroom. Medication may also be prescribed by your doctor, that when combined with other strategies, could help your child be successful in starting their day off with a dry bed.

A variety of barrier protection is available, including child sized briefs, and waterproof mattress liners. Buying these products in bulk online can mean significant savings. It can also offer a more discrete shopping experience for your child, rather than being embarrassed by the box of briefs in your shopping cart at your favorite big box store. Additionally, some supplies may be covered by your Flexible Spending Plan, with a doctor’s authorization.

A positive approach to handling this issue is most helpful. And the good news is that most children outgrow bedwetting. If your family has experienced this situation, feel free to share strategies that helped your child in the comments below.

*Every child and situation is different. Please consult with your child’s doctor for strategies and treatments most appropriate for your child.

Fiona Bessey-Bushnell is an occupational therapist and writer. A former archaeologist, she now enjoys digging up great stories right here in Richmond. She has an unusual affinity for Venn diagrams and post-it notes. Fiona lives with her husband and two young sons.