Soggy sheets, anxious kiddos and a lot of interrupted sleep. It’s all part of bed wetting, and it’s more common than you might think.
According to Raising Children, around one in five children who are five-years-old experience bed wetting, either on a nightly basis or occasionally. In fact, most littlies get the hang of daytime toilet training a long time before they’re able to tick off dry nights.
So why does bed wetting happen, and how do you work through it? We’ve taken a closer look at the possible causes for night time accidents and ways you might be able to help little ones return to dry nights faster.
What causes bed wetting?
It’s the number one question on every parent’s lips when faced with soaked bedding and upset kids, and while not all causes of bed wetting are known, the Royal Children’s Hospital notes a few possible culprits:
Underdeveloped and small bladders: little bladders may not be ready to be able to hold all the ‘number ones’ that the body produces throughout the night.
Genetics: If one or both parents experienced bet wetting as children, it’s quite likely their own kids will too.
Constipation: Bed wetting could actually have more to do with the bowels than the bladder. A study has shown that the extra pressure placed on the bladder due to constipation can reduce its ability to hold urine.
Deep sleep: Some kidlets wake at anything, others will sleep through an earthquake! And while not all deep sleepers will wet the bed, it makes sense that some might struggle to wake properly when those little bladders become full.
7 ways to help stop bed wetting
What’s important to remember is that bed wetting (or ‘enuresis’ as it is clinically known) is usually something that poppets overcome successfully with time. But as long as the little accidents are going on, there are some steps you can take to potentially help kids along – and score yourself a day off from washing sheets.
Work as a team and set some goals
Bed wetting can be very upsetting for kids. Loads of reassurance and support is going to help ease worried little minds and help children feel that they are not alone in their problem. While completely dry nights may be a little way off, setting achievable goals like going to the toilet once during the night can be super encouraging.
Try a bed wetting alarm
Bed wetting alarms use a sensor to detect wetness in sleepwear or sleeping pads and alert littlies that it’s time to get up and go to the toilet. The idea is that through nightly use, the alarm eventually conditions kids to recognise a full bladder, break those deep-sleep cycles and start waking before little leaks occur.
Invest in bed wetting sheets
You only need to be faced with a fully soaked mattress once to know that a good set of bed wetting sheets are worth their weight in gold. Created with waterproof backs, they ensure no urine soaks through bed sheets and onto mattresses, saving you an enormous (and potentially costly) clean-up.
Many bed wetting sheets come with wings and simply wrap over existing sheets. If a little leak should happen, simply whip it off and replace with another.
Limits liquids before bed
If your little one is guzzling water right before nigh-nighs, it’s only putting more pressure on that bladder. Try to encourage littlies to quench that thirst well before bedtime to allow time for liquids to pass through their systems.
Ditch the pull-ups
We know, it’s way easier to pop a pair of pull-ups on your kiddo than it is to strip a bed in the ‘wee’ hours. But the bottom line is that as long as littlies are wearing pull-ups or nappies, they’re far less likely to become dry at night.
Light a clear path to the toilet
Some of our mums have found that bed wetting phases have come about because littlies are too afraid to walk to the toilet in the dark. Consider leaving a dim light on in the bathroom or invest in a sweet night light that can brighten up the bedroom and the path to the loo.
Take littlies to the toilet before you head to bed
In the same way that bed wetting alarms can help condition children to waking to visit the toilet, so too can taking littlies to the loo yourself at the same time each night. Before you head to bed yourself, you could try waking your poppet for a wee trip to empty that bladder.
Read next …
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