What Should I Do If My School-Age Child Wets the Bed?

Bed-wetting is common with toddlers and young kids.

Bed-wetting is one of those parenting issues where you might feel like you’re all alone, especially once your kid is out of his or her preschool years. However, you might be surprised at how common bed-wetting is and how many resources you have to make sure your little one doesn’t wake up to wet pajamas and sheets again.

Facts about bed-wetting
According to WebMD, around 5 to 7 million children wet the bed in some capacity on a regular basis, and it is more common in boys than girls. As prevalent as bed-wetting is, it is often a major source of embarrassment and shame for a lot of children. Sleepovers are also very popular during the early years of school, which can cause anxiety for your child if he or she encounters bed-wetting later than other children.

Bed-wetting can be tough for young kids, so it's important to remain supportive. Bed-wetting can be tough for young kids, so it’s important to remain supportive.

However, according to the Mayo Clinic, having issues with bed-wetting before age 7 isn’t a cause for concern. Children have different experiences with bladder control as they grow older, and some kids grow out of this phase faster than others. So, even though this can be an emotional experience for your child, it’s important to understand that bed-wetting is totally normal and to be patient and supportive.

“Often, when parents don’t talk about bedwetting, children think they are the only ones going through it,” Howard J. Bennett, M.D., a Washington, D.C.,-based pediatrician and author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Waking Up Dry,” explained to Parents magazine. “Reassure your child that he is not alone, and that bedwetting is very normal among his age group.”

Steps you can take
First and foremost, it is important to speak with your pediatrician about your child’s bed-wetting to rule out any underlying medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections, hormone issues, a small bladder or diabetes. There may also be psychological factors like stress that could be contributing to the problem, so speak to your child’s doctor about any physical or mental obstacles your kid might be experiencing.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Make sure your little one goes to the bathroom before bed – make it a nightly ritual like brushing teeth. According to Parents, limiting your child’s liquid intake a few hours before bedtime can also be effective.
  • Today’s Parent suggests that you should get everyone involved close to your child as well, including grandparents and siblings. Having everyone close to them working toward the same goal can definitely help your little one get into the right mindset.
  • Remain positive: Experts agree that negative reinforcement will only make bed-wetting worse. Instead, reward your child when he or she has a good night or make small steps toward success.
  • Moisture alarms and some medications can also help with bed-wetting, but it is important to discuss these options with your pediatrician first.

Bed-wetting can be challenging, but it’s important to stay positive. Some kids get past this stage later than others, so remain patient and continue to be encouraging.