Initial Tips for Bedwetting

Make sure that your child has easy access to a bathroom
A bright night light and a bathroom that is easy to access quickly at night will go a long way towards making sure that your child can get to the bathroom in time. Not every household can arrange to provide a bathroom near a child’s bedroom, but consider sleeping arrangements closely and consider rearrangements that could make nighttime bathroom trips much easier. Even something as simple as moving your child’s bed closer to the bedroom door can save a few seconds at night, reducing accidents.

Get your child to go to sleep a bit earlier
Children who are tired may have a hard time waking up for anything – including a full bladder. If your child gets the sleep he or she needs, they will not be so overtired that they will be unable to wake up.

Look for psychological triggers
Emotional states often add to bedwetting or even trigger it. If your child is undergoing an upset (divorce in the family, death in the family, bullying, moving, conflicts with siblings) this may contribute to bedwetting. In these cases, you can either wait for the child to adjust (at which point the bedwetting may cease too) or you can have your child see a pediatrician or child therapist. Sometimes, even talking about the problems can help, so be sure to discuss anything that seems to be bothering your child.

Have Your child self-monitor
Once you develop a system for dealing with bedwetting, or once you and your family start trying to control bedwetting in some way, it is useful to have a child check off on a calendar which nights were completely dry, on which nights a bathroom was reached successfully, and which nights were wet. Keeping track lets your child get involved in the solution process, which will make your child feel more confident. Once your child sees any improvement, he or she will likely be encouraged to further success.

Care for your child’s skin
Bedwetting has few serious side effects, but one of the physical discomforts it may cause is skin problems. Urine is a mix of fluid and waste chemicals from the body. When left on skin for a few hours in the night, it can irritate. Skin may appear red initially, and may turn sore and flaky if the skin is not treated. The skin will also thicken if the irritation is not treated, eventually turning wrinkled and pale. Although not dangerous, this type of skin irritation can be very painful for a child.

Skin problems can affect any child who wets the bed, but the problem is more aggravated in those who wet the bed often and in those who wear absorbent products to collect the urine. Genitals and buttocks can be affected. In those who wear absorbent underpants, the leg bands and waist bands are often the most irritated.

Once bedwetting is resolved, the rash and skin irritation it causes will disappear as well. Until your child has stopped wetting the bed, though, you can try to reduce the skin irritation the problem causes. To prevent skin rashes and soreness:

  • Make sure the child washes each morning, especially after a “wet” night. The skin affected by the area should be especially well washed using a mild and moisturizing soap.
  • Encourage your child to rinse the buttocks and genital area when changing absorbent underpants and after waking up after having wet the bed.
  • Use a very soft sponge – not a harsh washcloth – on any irritated skin area
  • Some parents find that applying petroleum ointment to affected areas and areas affected by urine is helpful
  • Choose correct-fitting absorbent undergarments, if your child uses them. Make sure that the waist band and the leg bands are not too snug. Choose the most absorbent type you can and look for a brand that offers a top layer that keeps moisture away from the skin.
  • Talk to your pediatrician if skin irritation continues. He or she may be able to offer a medicated cream to soothe sore skin.

Get your child’s consent
As you continue to read through this ebook, you will find many tips for dealing with bedwetting. Some of these will seem like great ideas to you and you will likely want to put them into effect right away. However, you should be careful about choosing bedwetting solutions, for any remedy you choose needs to have your child’s consent.

Many well-intentioned parents rush out to buy the latest gadget or device for treating bedwetting or for making it less of a problem only to be horrified to learn that their children want nothing to do with the expensive method.

It is important not to force a method on a child. It is completely ineffective as in some cases (such as behavior modification) you actually need your child’s enthusiasm and participation for a method to work. In other cases, forcing a bedwetting remedy on a child will be ineffective and can actually lead to more bedwetting because of all the stress caused by the “supposed remedy.”

Also, in saying that they don’t “like” a remedy children may be trying to say something more – such as that the remedy is uncomfortable or causes more embarrassment that the bedwetting itself.

Work with your child in resolving bedwetting
When you approach a child with a way or resolving bedwetting, you can often ensure a better reception by approaching the subject in a sensitive and informative way. Explain to your child what the method involves, answer any questions, and express that it may help him or her with bedwetting. Make sure that you explain whether a method is temporary, as a child will be more likely to accept something new for a little while, or on a trial basis, rather than accept something for a longer time.