How you deal with bed-wetting I think depends on a lot of factors – but generally advice is not to worry until after at least 5 years old. Girls are usually dry before (aged 6) boys (aged 7) and 95% are usually dry by 10 years old. For those 5% though, it is nice to know they are not alone.
We know about bed wetting as we visited the continence nurse for a while, as our second son (now aged 10) struggles to stay dry. We were offered him to take drugs for it. There are three types of medication: Desmopressin (making the kidneys produce less); Imipramine (originally used to treat depression but bed wetting reduction was found as a side effect. However, can be fatal if the wrong doses taken): and Oxybutynin (used with other treatments for those with an overactive bladder). The nurse explained the different reasons why bed wetting occurs and we kept a diary and she looked at the frequency, and how many consecutive days it happened etc, before concluding that it would be desmopressin needed.
Myself and my husband were both late bed wetters and we decided that he would eventually just grow out of it (like we did), and would rather not give him drugs. That our approach is just to make sure that he lets us know (and ideally strips his bed and puts the bedding in the “wet” bucket” where the wet and needs priority washing things go; and that he has a bath. It can be a lot of washing – but we remind ourselves that it wont last forever. There is no shouting, no telling off. I still remember having my nose rub into my wee, and believe me this was not effective!! I think the main thing is to make sure your child isn’t ashamed. Give them the choice that they may help strip the bed can help build up their self-esteem. And let them know they will grow out of it. I think it helped him to realise that a lot of other children of the same age (and older) were also having the same difficulties.
We had previously tried reward charts, as they are good positive reinforcement, and will help higher self-esteem (which is thought to have a correlation with bed wetting). Personally, I feel you should reward them for things such as drinking more fluids in the day, help with changing bed (or at least letting you know) as opposed to keeping dry – as they can’t really help that.
Another option was an Enuresis alarms – that awakes the child from their sleep when they wet. There are 3 types wearable alarms, wireless alarms, and bell-and-pad alarms. Basic conditioning really – alarm goes off when it gets wet, waking the child, who learns not to wee at night to avoid the alarm going off. These are meant to be very effective but involve a lot of night-time waking for around 3 months – so not suitable for all families. Our son shares a bedroom (at the time with 2 siblings, one of whom doesn’t sleep well anyway) so this wasn’t a viable option.
Our next son down (only 5) also has wet nights,and so we have kept our 4 year old in nappies at night. As he is getting older, understanding more, and has started school, he started to think of himself as a baby resulting him in taking his nappy off at night. Leaving us with very wet beds – especially not good once he climbed into our bed, as the king sized quilt does not fit in the machine.
Lifting (taking them to the toilet in the night) it is believed makes bed-wetting worse because it conditions the bladder to empty at the same time each night, rather than allowing the child to learn how to recognize a full bladder while they are asleep. Although, on the contrary, there is some evidence that shows that lifting helps children become dry at night. We did try this for a while with our 5 year old.
We decided that a solution to this may be to try DryNites. And wouldn’t you know it – they come with Dinosaurs on!
You can request a free sample of DryNites over on Netmums and there’s also further information on bed wetting.
Did you know that we kind of like dinosaurs in this house?
I like the fact that they help the child to be more independent – starting with labelling them with the word “back” so they know which way round to put them on.
Still not convinced that these weren’t just “nappies” and he wasn’t still a “baby” we explained to him that these did not have the ‘tabs’ like nappies. That he couldn’t just wee in them, that he had to pull them up and down and go to the toilet or that they would get wet like other pants. We called them his dinosaur pants.
We do have a few things that make it easier, and now we’ve made the move from nappies it is important to teach our son that he cannot just wee in the nappy. There are the safeguard things – like the beds have waterproof sheets on. We did have waterproof pillow cases and quilt covers at one point because the wetting was so bad. But they are rather uncomfortable and noisy, so we tend to just replace the quilts and pillows quiet a lot. No more drinks past a certain time – there is little evidence this works but it is advised to make sure that they consume plenty of fluids throughout the day so that the bladder can stretch and learn to hold more. Making sure the bladder is empty before going to sleep – 3 wees spaced out. We do a 6 o’clock wee, a pre-bath wee and a just before going to bed wee (7pm bectime). We have told him that he a “big Boy” as he seems to like to hear this.
He usually takes a big cup of drink to bed so this was a real test for him, but the promise of his “dinosaur pants” seemed to do the trick and he had his wees and went to sleep without his drink.
In the morning they were indeed wet but his bed wasn’t (we did worry about waking up in the night). Daddy did make the mistake of putting them in the bin (like a nappy!) and so tomorrow we will make sure that our son doesn’t see that.