Combatting Bed Wetting

Potty training is a phase that many children and parents struggle through, of which bed wetting often forms a frustrating part.

Termed ‘nocturnal enuresis’ by the medical community, the phenomenon is extremely common among children under five – slightly more so in boys than in girls.

The reasons for bed wetting are varied but, in small kids, it usually occurs when they are in a very deep sleep and not able to react to signals that their bladder is full. Occasionally, it can also be triggered by other issues – physical things such as constipation, or emotional upheaval, perhaps from bullying or the death of a pet.

The transition from nappies and dry nights is a period often filled with wet beds and soiled clothing, which can inevitably put a strain on busy family life. While appreciably a very brief period of development, frequent bed wetting can have a negative impact on children’s self-esteem. We’ve put together some helpful tips, for families who are interested in taking steps to resolve this issue.

  1. Invest in a mattress protector – Slumberdown produces a waterproof mattress protector, which has been designed specially for children. While a mattress protector won’t tackle the root issue of bed wetting, it will help make parents’ lives easier when it’s time to do the laundry. Pick one that it soft and pliable and will not crinkle when your child rolls over in bed.
  2. Control liquid intake – while limiting water intake can be problematic, try to steer your child away from drinking large quantities in the hours before bed. Some families also find that certain types of drinks trigger bed wetting more than others – tea or fizzy pop, for example. 
  3. Avoid night-time bathroom breaks – it can be tempting to wake your child in the night to take them to the bathroom. However, as children are often groggy during these trips, this behaviour encourages bed wetting by conditioning children to wee in the night when still half asleep.
  4. Say no to ‘pull-up pants’ – many parents subscribe to the belief that hybrid nappy/pant products will help transition their child through the potty training process. However, these ‘tools’ often delay children’s learning even further. Because they are designed to wick moisture away from the skin, nappies and pull-ups stop your child registering when they have soiled the bed and impede the development of instinctive bladder control.
  5. Try not to make it an issue – getting up in the middle of the night to wash and strip their child’s bed is no parent’s idea of a good time. However frustrating this can be, getting angry or blaming your child will only encourage them to become fixated on the issue and damage their sense of self-belief. By the same token, offering rewards for dry nights disincentivises, puts undue pressure on children to perform and districts them from achieving the goal at hand.

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