The truth about wetting the bed

Bedwetting isn't a disease - and that's the bottom line, according to medical experts. While wetting the bed has an official name ("nocturnal enuresis"), the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) regards it as merely "a variation in the development of normal bladder control." The truth is that it happens in up to 15% of 5-year-old children and 8% of eight-year-old children. In plain speak, it's very common.

Another truth is that children are often good at using the toilet during the day long before they able to stay dry at night. This is because daytime accidents and bedwetting are two different things. Bedwetting is not a choice. Deep sleep, small bladders, producing more urine in the night, even constipation (which places bowel pressure on the bladder) - these are all possible contributors to bedwetting. Scientists have even learned that bedwetting runs in families. In most cases, it is not an emotional or psychological issue.

As children grow and their bladders fully develop, so do the connections to the brain signaling them to wake up to relieve a full bladder. So you can count on bedwetting eventually disappearing. In the meantime, punishing bedwetting is never recommended, according to the CPS.

The best treatment you can provide is patience. Offer reminders of your support just before bedtime - that's very reassuring to children until they outgrow bedwetting.

Stressful nights can also be lightened with the help of absorbent underwear (or bed mats) made to be more absorbent than training pants. Putting on age-appropriate nighttime underwear, or using protective bed mats, helps eliminate the worry. Most importantly, kids will wake up confident in a dry bed.

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