Because I would never be the type of mom to embarrass her kids on the internet (ha!), let’s establish at the onset of this post that all first-hand knowledge shared here has been provided by a friend. Yeah, that’s it…a friend…
So, bedwetting. Natural! Common! and A-OK! The truth is, no matter how much of a rock star mom you are (and I know you are), your kid’s ability to stay dry at night is 100% a function of biological development and readiness. If your kid was night trained at 18 months – you rock. And, if your kid wears pull-ups to bed at age 6 – you also rock! Science suggests that most bedwetting is inherited and we have even identified specific genes connected to delayed nighttime bladder control.
According to WebMD, 15% of children over the age of 5 are not consistently dry at night. 5% of children age 10+ aren’t either. Though bedwetting is more common in boys than girls, it is normal for both genders.
Man, I wish I had read an article like this about 2-3 years ago when I was going crazy trying to figure out what I was doing wrong trying to night-train my kids who had all (day) potty trained at or before 24 months. (I mean, my friend was…) It’s hard not to be embarrassed, or worried about a bigger issue. But what I learned, and the research supports, is that the best thing to do is assure your child that it is normal and will end with time.
If the night-wetting is really bothering you or your child, there are some training options. The one with the highest success rate (about 70%) is using a bed wetting alarm. The alarms are rather small, with a sensor that tucks into the child’s underwear and an alarm that clips to the shirt or waistband. When the sensor detects moisture, the alarm will beep and vibrate, waking the child from their deep sleep to use the toilet.
Pro tip: the sensor can not distinguish between urine and sweat, so if you have particularly sweaty sleepers, like I do, there will be 520395823767 false alarms and you will want to throw that f-ing thing straight out the window at 3am.
Or, so says my friend.
There is also a medication that has shown to decrease the frequency of enuresis (medical term for bedwetting). The drug does not cure or train the child, but reduces the likelihood that they wet the bed while they are on it. My pediatrician prefers to only go the RX route for older children (9+) and for short periods of time (ie: sleepovers, camp, vacations, ect).
There is an abundance of information available on this topic, far greater than what I’ve provided here, if you scour the web, but this post is meant to be more of a hug. A pat on the back. A note of camaraderie. If you are frustrated by the wet sheets, and feeling like you are doing something wrong, you aren’t alone and you are doing just fine. We tried nearly everything – limiting fluids, pushing fluids, night wakings, alarms, sticker charts, rewards, yadda, yadda, yadda, but the only thing that worked was time. When my children were developmentally ready to stay dry at night – they did!