Bedwetting: What You Need to Know
As a parent of a child who wets the bed, it can be difficult to understand the ins and outs of nocturnal enuresis. Although some figures and statistics can be confusing, it is important to know these figures so you can better help your child.
From Potty Training To Bedwetting
Bedwetting-or nocturnal enuresis-in children before the age of five is one of the final steps of potty training. Many parents celebrate when their little one has moved away from daytime diapers, but they are often unprepared for the possibility of bedwetting. Even though your child no longer needs diapers, occasional bedwetting may happen. Keep in mind that occasional wetness through the night up until age five is common and often normal, given your circumstances.
After the age of five, however, nocturnal enuresis becomes more than a side effect of potty-training. After the age of five, bedwetting can become much more difficult to treat. After the normal stages of potty training, bedwetting can develop into a behavior that can continue into your child's teen years. This tends to be more common in boys than girls.
Child Bedwetting Through Time
Bed wetting after the age of five affects around 10% of the child population in the United States. That translates to between 5 and 7 million children trying to deal with this frustrating and often embarrassing issue, particularly as the child grows older. Remember that your child is just as frustrated about their bedwetting as you are. At this point, the most important thing a parent can do is talk openly with their child letting them know how common this behavior is and that there is nothing wrong with them.
Quick Statistics about Bedwetting
- Bedwetting can come in two forms: Primary nocturnal enuresis, and Secondary enuresis.
- Primary enuresis is most common in children and can lead to self-esteem problems if left untreated as the children grow older.
- Secondary enuresis is more common among adults and may be caused by another condition.
According to The National Sleep Foundation and Children's Hospital of Boston:
- 13-20% of children at age five experience bed wetting or nocturnal enuresis.
- 10% of children over age 7 and 5% over age ten and into their teen years will still experience occasional night-time bedwetting.
The Effects of Bedwetting Late in Childhood
Children who wet the bed often face the stigma and negative stereotypes that unfairly follow. The fun activities that come when you are at typically age 9 and up include sleepovers at friends homes, overnight summer camps and overnight camping adventures. For a child with a bed wetting issue, these rites-of-passage and very enjoyable activities can become fraught with anxiety or may not be an option at all.
How You Can Help Your Child
The #1 thing you can do to help your child is be supportive. If your little one doesn't feel like their parent wants the best for them, then they will lose confidence in their ability to get through this. Without your help, their self-esteem and confidence can suffer.
Hearing a medical professional's opinion is important to the overall well-being of your child. Your Pediatrician will have the best interests of your child in mind when finding the main cause to the bedwetting.
Behavioral Therapy through operant conditioning is one of the most common styles of treatment available and is the first line of defense for nocturnal enuresis. Behavioral operant conditioning uses an alarm to wake your child at the first sign of moisture during the night. As the alarm goes off, your child recognizes their full bladder and goes to the bathroom.
Operant conditioning teaches your child's brain to better recognize the signs of a full bladder during the night so they can wake up and prevent an accident from occurring.
Finding relief for your child's bedwetting is easy; you just needed to have the right information to best help them. Now that you know more about the situation, your child is one step closer to dry nights and clean sheets!