Stopping Bedwetting in Older Children
Some parents expect bedwetting to end after toilet training, but that’s usually not how things work out. Learning to use the bathroom during the day when you’re fully conscious is very different from learning to use the bathroom at night when you’re asleep. But there are several things you can do to help your child overcome bedwetting.
1. Know Your Child’s Bathroom Habits
It’s important to know how frequently and when your child uses the bathroom. Some kids simply don’t realize they need to urinate before bed. If they don’t feel like they “have to” go, they don’t which can lead to an accident later that night.
Other kids are embarrassed to go to the bathroom at school, so they don’t drink much during the day. Then in the evenings, they drink an excessive amount of fluids which can also lead to an accident. Stopping your child from drinking any water before bed causes dehydration and other health problems, but making sure they drink enough in the day keeps them from drinking excessively before bed.
2. Know Your Child’s Physical/Mental Condition
Bedwetting can be caused by medical issues such as urinary tract infections, constipation, or diabetes. If your child is facing any of these, treat the condition first and hopefully the bedwetting will stop afterward.
Or it could be caused by anxiety or stress. Children can be stressed about grades, bullies at school, moving home, or even getting a new sibling. If you think your child is stressed, help them deal with and talk through their concerns. When the stress stops, it’s possible the bedwetting will too.
3. Try a Bedwetting Alarm
Most of the time, however, bedwetting isn’t caused by medical issues or stress, but simply the fact that your child’s brain/bladder connection hasn’t yet formed. You can speed up this process naturally by using a bedwetting alarm. These wake the child as soon as they start to urinate so they can get up to use the bathroom. This process teaches the brain that it’s supposed to respond to a full bladder—either by getting up to use the bathroom or by holding the urine in until morning.
With the use of a bedwetting alarm, an older child can overcome bedwetting in two to three months. Without an alarm, it will likely take them multiple years.
In the meantime, it’s important to be patient with your child. Remember, bedwetting isn’t something they can consciously control so scolding won’t help. Until the issue is resolved, you may want to consider getting a washable underpad to make nighttime cleanups easier on everyone.