Ask the Docs
Bed-Wetting Can Be Solved
Question: My 5 year old still wets the bed at night occasionally even though he’s been potty-trained since before he was 3. Should I worry?
Enuresis (or bed-wetting during sleep) is common and not unusual up to the age of 6. More common in boys than in girls, it is often just a developmental stage.
Speak to your doctor about this problem and he/she will likely examine the child, run a urine test to check for infection or diabetes and ask questions about your child’s bathroom habits, fluid intake and about their environment. If this has been a continuous problem since the child was potty-trained, it is more likely just to be developmental. If this was not occurring and has suddenly started to happen, then other conditions need to be ruled out.
If enuresis is not the result of infection, diabetes or urinary/bladder issues, there are still some things that can be done. Be aware that this problem usually resolves itself without treatment, but listed below are a few suggestions:
· Limit fluids before bedtime (for example, nothing to drink after 6pm)
· Have your child go to the bathroom at the beginning of the bedtime routine and then again right before going to sleep
· An alarm system that rings when the bed gets wet and teaches the child to respond to bladder sensations at night
· A reward system for dry nights
· Asking your child to change the bed sheets when he or she wets the bed
· Bladder training: having your child practice holding his or her urine for longer and longer times during the day, in an effort to stretch the bladder so it can hold more urine
It can be a very frustrating problem, but like all things when dealing with children, this too shall pass!
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Vanessa Vizcaino, MD