Behavior modification simply means that you train your child or teach your child to wake up in time to go to the bathroom. Behavior modification is considered the most effective way to help a child with bedwetting, as it actually teaches a child to wake up “in time” rather than just treating the symptoms of bedwetting.
Parents should not take “behavior modification” to mean that bedwetting is a behavioral problem that needs rigorous correction to fix. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, behavior modification works more by teaching your child the nighttime bladder control that most children learn sooner or later. There are many types of behavior modification tips that have been proven effective in helping children overcome bedwetting:
Discipline Will Not Work
Many years ago, it was thought that children who wet the bed were simply poorly taught, were developmentally delayed (or otherwise “abnormal”) or just needed more discipline. Even though most parents know better today, many still look at bedwetting as a way of “acting out.”
It is important not to discipline your child for wetting the bed. This method not only does not work, but the stress of the discipline may make the problem worse. No child wants to wet the bed after everyone else can stay “dry” for the night. The child who has a hard time not wetting the bed needs sympathy and help, not discipline.
Offer Positive Reinforcement and Praise
When your child makes it through nights without wetting the bed, be sure to offer praise. Not only will this help the child if he or she feels bad when accidents happen, but it will subconsciously motivate your child to continue trying to correct the problem as well. A system as simple as offering gold stars is effective. A week that is dry should be given a slightly larger treat.
You can also use a points system. Have each star or dry night count for a point. When your child reaches three points, allow him or her to have a small treat. Five points can mean a very small gift. Ten points can mean a trip someplace fun, and so on. Keep points posted where they are visible. The excitement generated by this system will encourage your child to keep trying and press on.
Give your child hope that the problem is not forever
If your child seems to be doing better, remind him or her again that most people overcome bedwetting with time and notice that their situation seems to improving itself.
A child who does not believe that the problem will improve will simply have a harder time with the problem and for such a child the problem will seem larger and more dire than it really is. Help your child see that bedwetting will be resolved and your child will be calmer, happier, and so more able to work with you to get help for Enuresis.
Focus on Normal Bladder Control
Most children who wet the bed have trouble at night. However, a small percentage of children have overactive bladders, which means that they frequently have to go to the bathroom and may even have a hard time controlling their bladder during the daytime. If this describes your child, take him or her to a doctor or urologist to see what treatments are available for your child’s overactive bladder.
If your child only has trouble with control over the night, then it may be a good idea to focus on the fact that your child does do well in going to the bathroom during the day. Offer your child encouragement by pointing out that he or she can make it to the bathroom during the day and reassure your child that most people learn to control as well in the night, as well.