Bedwetting Devices and Tools
Many manufacturers have created products to make bedwetting less traumatic. These devices and tools can make bedwetting less embarrassing and can make clean up or activities such as camping easier. However, they should be used with treatment rather than a substitute for it as most of these products will not cure bedwetting themselves:
Choose the right Moisture Detector Alarms
Moisture detector alarms are among the most effective tools in helping children overcome bedwetting. Unlike many of the devices and tools intended for children with Enuresis, alarms can actually treat bedwetting rather than just making the symptoms more bearable.
Moisture detectors are worn with underpants and the sensor of the alarm emits a loud sound when moisture is detected. The child can wake up and hurry to the bathroom in time. With use, the idea is to get the child to anticipate the alarm and wake up before any moisture is detected by the alarm. Within two or three months of nightly use, many children find that they can prevent all night time accidents and that they are actually getting up when their bladder is full and going to the bathroom.
Because moisture detection alarms are so effective in helping children overcome bedwetting, many manufacturers make them. However, all the different moisture detector alarms are not made the same.
If you choose the wrong model - one that makes your child uncomfortable or one that does not work well - the chances of success with the alarm are slim. You need a reliable and well-built alarm in order to help your child.
Signs of a good alarm include:
•Reasonable price - the alarm must be affordable
•Comfortable to wear - your child will need to wear this alarm nightly for a few months, anything that digs into your child, prevents sleep or has sharp edges could be detrimental. Plus, if your child hates wearing the alarm, he or she may not wear it often enough for the alarm to actually work
•Right levels of sensitivity - it is important that the alarm responds to small amounts of urine, so that the child can wake up in time to go to the bathroom. At the same time, an alarm that is too sensitive may be set off by night sweats, which will not only interrupt sleep unduly but will also make the alarm less successful in curing bedwetting.
•Ease of use - the alarm must be easy enough for your child to set and reset even in the middle of the night. Some alarms have a remote system that allows parents to reset the alarm from another room. This is useful for younger children.
•Durability - your child may drop the alarm in the night or may knock the alarm against the walls or bed during a restless night
•Reliability - The alarm must work each time urine is present, or it will be difficult to teach your child to solve bedwetting.
•Hygienic design - since the alarm will be in contact with urine, it is essential for good health that the alarm can be easily cleaned or disinfected after each use without its functioning being affected
•Loudness - The alarm should wake your child (and you, if your child tends to sleep through alarms). Some alarms come with adjustable sound levels, which can be very useful. Plus, some alarms allow children to be woken with vibrations rather than sound.
If you have large family, young children, or if your child shares a room, this can be a very useful feature. Plus, children not woken by sound may well be woken by movement, so this feature is very useful if your child has trouble being woken by an alarm.
•Secureness - Some alarms come with wireless technology to prevent tangling or pulled wires. This is a nice feature, but even a lower-end alarm is fine as long as it fits snugly with clips or some other secure fastener so that it will not dislodge even with nightly tossing and turning.
•Size - The alarm should be small enough to be worn with comfort, and should be the right size for your child. It should fit snugly enough so that it is not dislodged during a restless night
•Simple power sources - Most of these alarms work on batteries. Make sure any alarm you are considering buying uses batteries that are easily available. Stock up on batteries, as well.
•Guarantee - The manufacturer should be confident enough in the product to offer a full warranty or guarantee on the product. Remember: if the alarm does not work well each time, it will not be able to teach your child to overcome bedwetting. An alarm that is not consistent is useless.
•Quality made - The device should be sturdy and made with a design that shows some thought to patient comfort. The device should also be made to last.
Of course, you may not be able to try the device out in the store. However, the package label may at least give clues as to which of the above qualities are present in a product. Doctor or clinic reviews and recommendations from other parents can also help guide you to the alarms that have most of the above features.
Use Moisture Detector alarms effectively for success
Once you have chosen the best moisture detector alarm for your child, you will want to use it properly so that your child will actually learn to use the alarm to stop bedwetting.
The idea is not to use the alarm in order to alert that an "accident" has taken place. The idea is to get the child up quickly so that they will go to the bathroom in time - after some time with the alarm, many children are able to wake themselves up when they need to use the bathroom, without the use of the alarm. The idea is to get your child to anticipate the alarm and wake up before the alarm has gone off, when the bladder feels full.
Be sure to explain to your child the purpose of the alarm. Stress the idea of using the alarm to get up and go to the bathroom quickly when the alarm is heard. Better yet, practice with your child. Have the child activate the alarm with a damp cloth and then have the child hurry to the bathroom from his or her room.
Have your child practice setting the alarm and then resetting the alarm once he or she has gone to the bathroom. Practice with your child so that your child knows exactly what to do when the alarm goes off.
Make it easy for your child to respond to the alarm quickly. A hall light or other light source can help ensure that your child can move to the bathroom quickly and without injury when the alarm goes off at night. Make sure that the child can easily access a bathroom close to his or her bathroom.
If your child is a heavy sleeper, he or she may need help waking up when the buzzer goes off. If you hear the alarm, wake your child and help him or her to the bathroom. If your child has trouble waking up to the alarm, make sure that there is no noise in your child’s room.
If your child sleeps in a noisy room, he or she may simply have become more adept at blocking out any noise, making him or her less likely to be woken up by noises of any type. Also ensure that your child goes to bed a little earlier than usual. Extreme tiredness caused by staying up too late will make it difficult for anyone to wake up for any alarm.
When using a moisture detection alarm, it is important to use the device faithfully each night until bedwetting episodes have stopped for at least a month. This may take a few months to accomplish, so patience is a desired trait when using this method to treat bedwetting.
Make sure that any bedclothes the child wears allow for proper use of the alarm. Thin underwear that allows a good grip for the clips that often come with the alarms, as well as a t-shirt to prevent tugging at wires, is often a good idea.
Even once your child has been dry using the alarm device, make sure that the problem has been resolved well. Some doctors recommend that the child drink more fluids before bedtime and continue wearing the device to ensure that the child really can wake up and go to the bathroom without "accidents." Even after the child is doing well, occasionally resorting to the alarm again can help "solidify" the learning, according to some experts.
Disposable urine absorbers.
Infants wear diapers to control the mess of urine flow. Now, there are disposable products designed for older children and even adults. These can help ensure a dry night and less mess to clean up. Today’s products are made to be thin and discreet so that your child does not have to feel as though they are wearing diapers. These products are available through pharmacies and through medical supply stores.
However, even if your child wears these at night, be sure to pursue other options for actually treating the bedwetting. Disposable products are just a tool to make bedwetting less messy - they will not fix the problem.
These disposable systems are generally made to look like underpants, but they have liners of absorbent matter as well as top layers of plastic material to keep moisture away from the skin. For children who urinate only a little in their sleep, there are also liners that can be used with underwear.
Also be sure to keep your child’s hygiene in mind while using these products. These products do keep moisture away from the skin but they can also be heavy and very warm when worn all night (especially in the summer). Teach your child to care for his or her skin to prevent sore skin.
Reusable urine absorbers
There are urine stoppers that can catch urine during the night but which can be used again and again. These are less expensive than disposable products and can look either like underpants or like a combination of liner and underpants. Some parents prefer reusable urine absorbers because they keep sheets dry while still allowing a child to feel the wetness, which in some cases can wake the child up in time to go to the bathroom.
Used in this way, reusable urine absorbers such as underpants or liners can be used as part of behavior modification to cure bedwetting.
Choose the right type of urine absorber.
Urine absorbers come in two basic types:
1) Liners - These are strips of absorbent material, covered with a stay-dry layer and underpinned with a waterproof layer. They are attached to the underpants with adhesive strips, slips, or bands of some sort. They can leak if a child urinates a larger amount, but they are often enough for children who wet only a little. These liners are quite discreet and can cause less skin irritation and discomfort. On the other hand, they can also dislodge during a restless night, not offering protection.
2) Absorbent underpants - There are underpants made of absorbent material that is covered in soft fabric that keeps the skin dry. The outside of the underwear is made waterproof and may be covered in designs to make the underpants look more like regular "underwear."
These absorbent underpants can be very expensive, but come in many styles and sizes. The newer styles are thinner than ever and also more discreet (they do not create any tell-tale sound of crinkling). For small children, these underpants provide a large area so that leaks are less likely. These absorbers can also usually absorb more urine. These underpants can cause skin irritation as the skin cannot breathe very well. For this reason, it is important to choose the correct size.
You should choose an absorber that works for your child’s situation and one that your child will not mind using. In some cases, it takes some trial and error for your child and you to find the absorber that is most effective and comfortable.
Mattress liners and mattress protectors
These products are placed under the sheets and keep the mattress free from moisture and stains. This can help protect a costly mattress and can make clean up less of a hassle. These are a good idea while your child wets the bed, as otherwise the smell of urine can linger in the mattress and make your child uncomfortable.
Also, without liners, each time your child wets the bed you will have to air out and dry the mattress, which can take all day. Liners make life easier for everyone in your family. Families who do not want to invest in expensive mattress liners and protectors can easily cover the child’s bed securely with plastic wrapping (garbage bags, ponchos, any plastic material).
These have the advantage of being disposable as well as affordable, making clean up even easier. However, with these home-made innovations, you have to cover the mattress firmly as leaks may happen more readily with this solution, especially if you child is a restless sleeper. Store bought mattress liners are made to fit seamlessly and snugly over a bed, so that less leaking is possible.
Whatever sort of bed protection you use, make sure that all affected areas are covered. That means that if your child tosses and turns a lot, you should provide full mattress coverage as well as possibly pillow liners or protectors as well. Be sure to clean all protectors regularly (if they are not the disposable kind) to prevent odour.
Sleeping bag liners
These are more difficult to get than mattress liners, but they can make all the difference on camping trips and overnight stays at a friend’s house. Check at on-line retailers, sporting goods stores, and medical supply stores. These liners keep the inside of a sleeping bag dry and odour-free thanks to an absorbent inner layer, a soft top layer and a waterproof lower layer that keeps the sleeping bad completely dry.
Those with chronic Enuresis often turn to catheters.
Catheters are medical equipment used to draw waste away from a body when a patient is very ill or unconscious. They are used by some patients with Enuresis. Traditional catheters will generally present a risk of infection and should not be used nightly.
Something called the "Texas catheter" fits over the genitals, is less invasive, and so is safer.
The idea is that the catheter gathers the urine into a disposable container, ensuring that the patient wakes up dry. Urine can be disposed easily, ensuring no clean up. Also, unlike absorbency undergarments, catheters draw the urine away more completely, reducing the chances of skin irritation or skin infection.
This is a bit of an extreme method, as it is not very comfortable and is certainly not discreet. However, it is used by some Enuresis patients who wet the bed each night due to a medical condition. If catheters seem like a solution to you, speak with a doctor or health care professional. Catheters are available through medical supply outlets, but if you decide to get one you may need to be trained to clean and use it properly and safely.
Bedwetting Advice that Has Worked for Other Parents
Those who know a lot about bedwetting options, remedies and treatments are often those parents who have struggled with the problem with their own children. There are many alternative or less-used bedwetting remedies used by parents to help treat the problem. Some are backed by research, others are used simply because they work for some parents. At the very least, these tips are worth considering when you are trying to cope with bedwetting at your home:
Hypnotherapy is an alternative treatment that uses hypnosis to treat bedwetting (Hypnotherapy is also used to treat a host of other ailments). The premise behind hypnotherapy is much the same as the idea behind behavior modification or visualization - the mind is used to control what the body does.
During hypnotherapy, a child will be hypnotized and then suggestions will be made (by the hypnotherapist’s voice) that the child is able to control their bladder at night and can wake up in time to go to the bathroom. Hypnotherapy is safe and is generally used for older children, although there are hypnotherapists who work with younger children, as well. Some results can be seen in a few weeks.
If you decide to use hypnotherapy as a route, you need to investigate practitioners carefully, as in most states alternative healers such as hypnotherapists are not required to be licensed or otherwise controlled.
Get recommendations for a good hypnotherapist who has had success treating other patients of Enuresis specifically. Most health insurance does not cover this form of treatment, so get the best hypnotherapist you can so that your money is well spent on an effective remedy.
Check Your Child’s school bathroom and school drinking habits
It sounds strange, but it’s true - your child’s habits at school may be contributing to problems at home. Some doctors have suggested that children do not drink very much during schooldays.
Partly, this is because children are given only short breaks and because beverages are not allowed in class. Children who do not drink enough in school may be dehydrated by the time they come home, meaning that they drink most of their daily fluids in the hours leading up to evening.
Plus, many children are shy about using bathrooms in public places, such as their school. This means that they may be waiting to drink and use the bathroom until they come home. This forces the body to take most of its water but also perform most of its voiding within a few hours, encouraging accidents in the night.
If your child has wet nights more often during the school week, school-related stress or poor drinking and bathroom habits may be the culprit. Ensuring that your child can drink and visit bathrooms regularly throughout the day can help ensure drier nights. Encourage your child to visit the bathroom at school and drink during school time. Discuss any concerns your child has about using the bathroom at school or drinking water at school. Try to remedy these problems.
Develop a bedtime routine.
Some parents have found that a steady bedtime routine helps some children relax and settle into sleep. A good night’s sleep can help with bedwetting since the child is not going to sleep so tired that they will not wake up (even when their bladder is full) or so keyed-up that an accident is more likely to happen.
Plus, some parents have found that a steady routine helps to quiet the child and have the child prepare for bed in a good frame of mind. Some parents believe that just as the routine is established for bedtime, so the child’s mind can accept a routine for getting up and going to the bathroom. At the very least, this method costs no money and is perfectly safe to use alone or with other remedies.
A teaspoon of honey
Some parents find that a teaspoon of honey taken orally morning and night helps prevent bedwetting. There is some controversy about this treatment, as some doctors insist that it does not work while some happy parents claim that it does. Research indicates that the substances in honey may help with water retention and help calm fears. More research needs to be done about these properties and their possible impact on bedwetting.
However, at the very least a teaspoon of honey at night and in the morning is not harmful in any way and can easily be used with other treatments.
Ask your child if he or she dreams that she is urinating on the nights when he or she wets the bed. If your child does, have your child practice imagining waking up in the dream. Practice with your child, and have your child say "I have to wake up and go to the bathroom now" in the dream sequence. If your child can do this in their dream, they will wake up and have time to go to the bathroom. This is called "subliminal suggestion" and many parents find that this works like magic.
Homeopathy and natural remedies
If you can find a qualified homoeopath or alternative doctor in your area, he or she may be worth a try, especially if he or she has had success in treating bedwetting problems in the past. There are a number of natural medicines out there for treating bedwetting. You can easily and inexpensively buy them at the health food store.
However, a good natural healer or holistic practitioner can be a better choice as he or she will be qualified to tell which medications and natural treatments are effective. Many parents and their children have found success by pursuing this method.
If you decide to purchase herbal or homeopathic remedies of any kind, it is important that you read the ingredients very carefully to make sure that your child is not allergic to any of the substances. It is also a good idea to talk to your pharmacist to see whether any ingredients in the medication or treatment could interact with any substances your child is taking.
Remember: even remedies that are all-natural may contain ingredients that can be harmful or can cause allergic reactions in your child. Many parents have found help through natural or alternative tablets, pills, and other treatments, but you need to be cautious about what you give your child to ingest.
Some parents have found help through chiropractic therapy. If you decide to opt for this route, make sure that you choose a qualified and recommended practitioner. It is best if you can find someone who has had experience in helping patients with Enuresis specifically.
Chiropractors work by manipulating the joints and the spinal cord in particular. It is thought that this manipulation helps to ease many conditions, including bedwetting. In fact, one recent study seems to prove that chiropractic treatment is beneficial for bedwetting prevention and treatment.
According to a study published in Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics suggests that in some cases chiropractic treatment can help reduce bed wettings by half. In fact, the study found that chiropractic care helped more than 25% of subjects in the study make such dramatic improvement in their bladder control.
Chiropractic treatment is used by many people and when performed by a qualified practitioner is quite safe. It is even safe for children. However, you will want to find a practitioner with very good recommendations, as not all areas enforce strict controls on chiropractic practitioners.
Pre-Teens, Teenagers, and Bedwetting
A small number of pre-teens and teens still wet the bed, and for these children, the problem can be quite upsetting. Since far few children in this age group wet the bed, Enuresis can be especially isolating for this age group.
Also, children at this age worry especially often about image and external appearance - what others think of them matters more, which can make a problem like bedwetting seem like a much greater concern. Pre-teens and teenagers are also more likely to be taking part in activities - such as dating and overnight trips - which are more affected by Enuresis. There are a few tips that apply specifically to pre-teens and teens who wet the bed:
Seek medical help aggressively.
By this stage, you should look for medical treatment aggressively, as it is clear that the old adage of "wait until he or she grows out of it" may not work in this case. Have a doctor do a full physical, and seek help from an urologist to find any medical conditions. If all seems well, then ask for tests to be run for rarer diseases. Then, seek a second opinion.
Keep an eye out for symptoms of trouble.
Teenagers and pre-teens may simply have a harder time dealing with bedwetting. The body or self image of children in this age group is still developing, and something like bedwetting can affect self-esteem and self-image considerably.
At the same time, children in this age group tend to have more mobility and tend to be away from parental controls. Parents may not notice signs of problems until too late.
Parents will want to keep an eye out for:
•Signs of "acting out" - Older children may have access to drugs, alcohol, and other self-destructive habits (sex, stealing, cheating) that can become dangerous very quickly. Don’t let a small problem become a big one.
•Signs of a poor body image - Older children who feel as though their bodies are acting against them may feel uncomfortable in their bodies. This can lead to serious conditions such as anorexia and bulimia. Do not let your older child’s bedwetting become a serious body problem
•Signs of depression or emotional upset - Signs such as loss of appetite, loss of interest in regular activities, and severe problems with sleep, school, and peers often indicates an emotional upset that needs to be handled.
•Drops in school marks - At the teen and pre-teen levels, school is very important as grades begin to count towards university acceptance and other life-altering events such as that. Any drops in grades could affect your child’s future.
Treat any signs of trouble
The problem is that many teenagers and pre-teens are working very hard to become independent of their parents. Not only does bedwetting threaten this - which may make an older child withdraw more - but this independence may make it harder for parents to help a child, even when a parent notices the above signs of danger. If your notice the above signs, take your older child to doctor or therapist for help.
Use the fact that your children are older when treating bedwetting.
While treating pre-teens and teenagers with Enuresis is challenging in many ways, it also has its many advantages. Older children cam take more responsibility for themselves and take care of the accidents they create with such precision that a parent might not even know that a problem still exists. Plus, older children can participate more fully in treatment as well - an older child can actually read this book and put some of the tips into work themselves!
Some Final Tips
As you finish reading this article, consider a few final tips that can help ensure drier mornings:
This is the advice most often given to parents about children’s bedwetting. Although it is difficult advice to follow, it is also sound advice to a point. Since bedwetting often corrects itself in part or in full with time, a combination of some treatments and some patience is often necessary for success.
When trying new bedwetting treatments, it is often a good idea to give the treatments time to work, as well. There are no "instant" resolutions for bedwetting, and trying many remedies in rapid succession is not likely to work. In fact, it will not solve the problem but will often frustrate you as well.
New research has suggested than an alternative treatment called magnetic therapy has been shown useful in treating bedwetting in some children. A Korean University has found that children who were given treatment four times a week were less likely to suffer from Enuresis.
In this therapy, the child’s pelvic floor is exposed to the magnetic therapy by having the child use a special magnetic chair. More research needs to be done on this, but it is thought that in the future, this therapy will be used to treat some children.
Check for rashes.
Once of the only physical effects of bedwetting is possible skin irritation and skin rashes cause by having urine so close to the body. This problem is most common in children who wear absorbent underpants or who wet the bed very frequently. In most cases, these rashes can be prevented with frequent mild washing and maybe with a soothing cream.
Check for Infection
Some children, especially younger children, though, may scratch at irritated skin. Left untreated, this can cause an infection, which causes even more unnecessary misery. If your child has an infection, you need to prevent scratching by keeping the child’s nails clipped short. You also need to visit your doctor for a medicated cream to treat the infection.
Since bedwetting can affect the skin, it is important to care for your child‘s skin or teach your child to care for his or her skin carefully. Any signs of skin soreness should be treated promptly to prevent unnecessary suffering or infection. Infection is usually characterized by a wet, sore-looking skin area. Sometimes, yeast becomes active on the skin because of the moisture. When this happens, the skin may look bright red and spotted with pale flecks. For this infection, the doctor will often prescribe an anti-yeast medicated cream.
Consider Dry Bed Training
Some clinics offer a sort of intensive and advanced behavioural modification approach to bedwetting called "dry bed training." This can only be done by a professional, or with professional help, as it is quite complicated.
Children using this approach learn to stop wetting the bed through a combination of urine retention training, urine alarm system, self-correction, rapid waking training, positive affirmations and reinforcement, larger water intake, and toilet training. Some clinics and hospitals offer this program.
Your paediatrician or urologist may be able to help you find the training program nearest you. Because of the sometimes high cost of this method, it is often restricted to those patients who have tried many other methods with no success.
Take care of the problems the problem causes
Even if no method is immediately available in treating bedwetting, or if no method seems to work, parents can help children cope with bedwetting more effectively, knowing that the problem will in most cases go away by itself. Even while you are waiting for methods to take effect, though, you may want to consider treating the problems that bedwetting causes.
After all, bedwetting itself is not dangerous or a huge problem. When children are upset by bedwetting, what they are often really reacting to are some of the problems associated with the problem. As a parent, you can help your child deal with these problems. When you do, your child will worry less about the problem and will be better able to handle the problem as you try treatment or as you wait for it to pass. Some of the most common problems that children face with bedwetting are:
When your child thinks, "I’m embarrassed."
Children often feel embarrassed by urinating at night, especially since it makes them feel that they are doing something embarrassing, hidden, or upsetting. For many children, processes like urination and body parts associated with urination are embarrassing. Bedwetting just highlights all the embarrassment that children feel about the whole topic.
You can help your child by repeatedly explaining that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Speaking frankly of body parts and processes can help, as can explaining frankly how the body creates urine and what happens when people wake up in time or don’t wake up in time to urinate. This will demystify the process for your child and make it seem less of an embarrassing thing.
When your child thinks, "Does this mean that I’m ‘bad’?"
Many children think that not controlling their bladder at night makes then "bad." This may come from a few places. Children may hear adults saying "bad" to children who have had an accident (they may even see this on television). Children may also pick up on their parents’ frustration with having to clean the sheets and bed after an accident. The extra work a parent has to do, along with the frustration, can make a child feel guilty or even that he or she is unloved.
Reassure your child that urination is a body process and that it simply takes longer for some children to control their bladder. Continue to praise your child when he or she makes it to the bathroom in time, and never scold or punish your child for accidents. Make clean-up as easy on you as possible so that your child will not see you frustrated or upset as a result of bedwetting.
When your child thinks, "This will never get better."
For children, time passes differently. A problem they have had for weeks may well seem forever. If they are the last children in their class or group of friends to wet the bed, they may feel that their problem will last "forever." Children who feel this may get discouraged and upset by the problem.
Reassure your child that the problem is temporary. If possible, have other family members discuss their own bedwetting experiences (and how they overcame it) with your child. Collect stories in the press of celebrities who wet the bed as children but outgrew it (celebrities will sometimes mention this sort of thing - or their biographers will - in interviews). This will help convince your child that the problem is only temporary.
When your child thinks, "I’m not normal."
Children of a certain age worry very much about "fitting in." Anything that interrupts this often causes undue upset. Whether it is not having the "right" shoes or being different because of a medical condition, children who do not feel that they belong experience lots of stress. If your child thinks that he or she is the last 6-year-old (or 8-year-old or 16-year-old) that still wets the bed, your child may conclude that there is something "wrong" with them.
Have your doctor talk to your child and assure him or her that bedwetting is normal. Better yet, follow the advice above - have people that your child sees as normal talk about their childhood bedwetting. Once your child realizes that he or she is not "strange" by wetting the bed, some of the anxiety will decrease.
When your child thinks, "It takes so much time and work."
Ok, this is the cry of most parents who are faced with a child who wets the bed, but your child may also face anxiety about the upheaval that a "wet" night causes, especially if there are other people around to witness the fuss. If your child spends lots of time trying to work with bedwetting remedies or spends extra time cleaning up, he or she may also resent the time and work bedwetting takes up.
You can make bedwetting less of a problem for you and your child by making clean-up easier. Have your child wear absorbent underpants while trying to control bedwetting, or at least protect the bed and pillows with protective mattress liners. Keep extra bed linens and cleaning products in your child’s room so that clean-up takes only a minute. Do larger loads of laundry to save some time, if you can.
When your child thinks, "I’m ashamed."
Many children are shamed by bedwetting - usually by the remarks made by a parent or another child. In general, a child is made to feel ashamed because those around him or her seem to make bedwetting a big deal or a sign of failure.
You can prevent your child from being ashamed by sticking to a "no big deal" attitude yourself. Make sure that your home is a no-tease zone and do not let other adults belittle your child. If a well-meaning relative starts to say something to your child about wetting the bed, praise your child publicly for doing well.
Saying something as simple as "Oh, John is doing much better with that now. We’re all very proud of him" right to an adult who is making your child feel ashamed will make your child feel better. Positive reinforcement of any kind, in fact, will help your child. One of the best antidotes to shame is showing your child that you love and are proud of them.
When your child thinks, "This means I’m lazy."
It is one of the myths about bedwetting that it is caused by laziness. Your child may hear this myth from another child or from an adult. It can make your child feel as though he or she is not "good enough."
Explain to your child how urination works and why some children cannot control their bladder until they are older. Point out all the things that your child does (chores, help, activities, school play) that prove that he or she is not lazy. Discuss what a myth is and explain why some people believe them.
Try saying something like, "Before, doctors didn’t know why some kids wet the bed and some didn’t, and someone thought that maybe it was because some kids were lazy. Now, doctors know that it’s not true. Kids wet the bed because their bodies still need to grow in some ways, but some people haven’t heard of this, and so they still believe the old idea."
This should help convince your child that the myth is not true.
When your child thinks, "This means I’m stupid."
Sadly, many people try to look for explanations in illnesses or conditions, trying to find out the "cause" behind something or trying to find out what something supposedly "means" rather than focusing on care or treatment. Your child may also be under the impression that the lack of bladder control "means something." Your child may assume that there is something wrong with his or her mind, as other kids have "learned" to stay dry.
When your child hears that the body does not wake the mind up to go to the bathroom - a common way Enuresis is explained to children - the child may assume that there is something wrong with their mind that is causing the bedwetting.
Praising your child’s intellectual ability (putting good grades on the fridge or rewarding well done assignments) can help convince your child that he or she is intelligent. You can also take care to explain that children who wet the bed do not have anything wrong with their minds at all - they are just waiting for some body parts to grow up. This can hep reassure them that they are bright, that they just need to wait a bit longer to control their bladder.
When your child thinks, "I’m dirty."
Children who wet the bed may be teased by other children about the urine odour which may linger about their clothes and rooms. Even if this is not the case, many children associate urine with something "gross" or "dirty" and may feel disgust with their own bodies. If skin irritation develops, children may feel even dirtier, seeing marks of their bedwetting on their skin.
You can help your child feel clean by keeping their room and clothes clean and odour-free. Frequent washing, airing out of rooms and clothes, and use of a deodorizing cleaning product will usually keep odor away. Room sprays can also help. Using absorbent undergarments or sheet liners can help control odour and wetness. Also, help your child care for his or her skin or body and ensure that they always have fresh sheets and clothes on hand to use after an "accident."
You will also want to speak frankly with your child about urine and body waste. Explaining where it comes from and what it is can help your child overcome some of his or her disgust. Be sure that you do not encourage any of these negative feelings by wrinkling your nose or expressing distaste when cleaning after your child. Any other person in charge of cleaning up after your child should be taught the same.
When your child thinks, "I’m angry."
This is often a case of "why did this have to happen to me?" Children may feel that it is unfair that they have a problem with wetting the bed when others seem to have no problems sleeping a dry night. Some children may also be angry that other tease them about it. Anger often takes many forms, for withdrawal, to outbursts to violent flare-ups of anger with other children.
Getting your child to cool down is a top priority. Always have your child calm down quietly by himself or herself after a display of temper or defiance. Then, give your child a chance to tell their side of the story.
Of course, as a parent, you know that there are no answers as to why some things happen to some children and not to others. Explain that it is unfair that not everyone develops at the same time. Explain to your child some of the reasons behind bedwetting and sympathize with their anger.
Then, talk about what should be done when they feel anger. Discuss why anger happens and what can be done about it. If your child feels anger at home, you can try to encourage him or her to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and wait for the feeling to go away.
If your child is angry about being teased, try getting your child to act out what it said to him or her and have your child act out what he or she might say the next time something happens that is similar. You should not give your child excuses for expressing anger or violence, but you need to help your child deal with the feelings in a non-destructive way.
When your child thinks, "I’m being teased."
Many children are teased at school for bedwetting. While adults know that most children will be teased for something at some point, and pay the problem no mind, teasing can be devastating to a child. Cruel nicknames such as "baby diapers" or worse can stick to a child and bring on the feelings of shame, anger, embarrassment, and worthlessness mentioned above, and this can be quite serious.
Have grown-ups talk to your child about what they were teased as a child (all the better if they were teased about bedwetting, too) and have them tell your child how the problem eventually got better.
Also, you may want to suggest to your child some things he or she can say when he or she is being teased. The best way to do this (especially with younger children) is to play make-believe. Have your child pretend to be the teaser, and pretend to be the child.
Have your child tell you where you are and have your child tease "you." Make the remarks you think are appropriate, suggest many things that the child could say.
Then, switch roles. This game has several advantages:
•It makes the child feel in control, rather than helpless (which is the feeling teasing often creates)
•It allows the child to laugh at teasing
•It gives the child some idea of what can be said or done to teasers
•It builds the child’s confidence
•It gives you a chance to evaluate the level and type of teasing your child experiences•It opens communication with your child. Since the child feels free to tell you what is happening through "play acting" he or she may be willing to tell you what is happening in more detail, which can help you in deciding what to do about the teasing.
When your child thinks, "I’m being bullied."
One thing that you need to watch out for in terms of teasing is bullying. Bullying is teasing that has taken a more aggressive turn. In many cases, it escalates with time and can include actual physical violence. Some children have even died at the hands of bullies who have targeted them.
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell when teasing has taken the turn to bullying, but in general if your child seems traumatized by the teasing he or she is getting at school, you should treat the teasing as bullying.
Also, if there is any physical aggression or any threats then the situation is certainly bullying. Bullying is a crime in many locations and needs to be brought to the attention of parents, school authorities, and possibly authorities as well. Bullying needs to be taken seriously at once, as it can very quickly get completely out of hand.
Of course, adults know that bullying and teasing are not caused by bedwetting - child bullies will target any child who seems unsure of themselves and any child who displays signs of being "different." However, bedwetting can be a sign of difference and can affect a child’s self-esteem to the point where they do make a target for other children.
In some cases, therapy or visits to a counsellor can help your child get the social skills needed to deal with teasing. In other cases, more help is needed, especially if bullying is an issue.
In many cases, trying to deal with the bully’s parents has little effect, as not all parents can control what their children do outside the house. Moving away is also not always effective, as teasing may simply continue at the new location.
When your child thinks, "I feel like a baby."
For children, acting "grown up" is important, partly because children look up to adults so much and often want the power and control they think that adults have. For a child who wets the bed, though, there is a sense of the opposite feelings - lack of control, and lack of power. Children who wet the bed may feel powerless.
Many children may worry that they are acting "babyish," especially since this is one of the first accusations leveled against bed wetters on the playground. For an adult, being called a "baby" may not be a big problem, but it can feel like a devastating problem to a child, especially a younger one who may see being a "baby" as being left behind while others in the same age group "grow up."
To offset these feelings, make sure that your child understands that children of all ages - even children who are older - wet the bed. It is truly not a problem of age, but a problem of bladder control, and it can affect people of all ages. While children do eventually "outgrow" the problem in many cases, many children your child would consider "grown up" still face the same pressure.
When your child thinks, "I hate having a big secret."
Most children try to keep bedwetting a big secret, as they are fearful that others will find out. However, having a large secret can affect the way your child’s relationships and can leave him or her feeling lonely. Having a large secret is isolating, to say the least.
Plus, your child has all the stress of knowing that the secret may be exposed. The older a child is, typically the more effort will go into keeping bedwetting a secret. Among the things that children will do to keep bedwetting a secret are:
•Avoiding sleep overs, camping trips, and other events for fear of being "found out."
•Avoiding bringing home other children, out of fear that someone in the home will "tell."
•Adopting an "I don’t care" attitude or acting aloof in order to avoid getting close to others.
•Avoiding making friends.
•Staying up all night on camping trips or during sleep overs in order to prevent accidents.
•Teenagers may avoid dating.
•All children may avoid attention or notice by refusing to try to excel at school or activities.
•Acting in a "tough" or self-destructive way so that no one will guess the "truth."
Your child may put themselves through a lot to prevent others from finding out that they wet the bed. This can create a lot of tension in the home and also ensures that your child will not make close friends.
Worse, your child may give up fun trips or exciting events just out of fear of accidents. This is limiting. You certainly don’t want your child to grow up fearfully or in great tension.
Generally, whether your child chooses to tell others about their bedwetting or not is up to them. You should never tell someone else about your child’s bedwetting - the child should be able to decide who to trust and who not to trust.
Telling anyone - even a well-meaning teacher or relative - without the child’s consent is a recipe for disaster, especially if your child is keeping the problem a secret. Your child may simply cease to trust you and will likely feel more fearful as well as resentful.
However, you can help your child open up to others by showing your own acceptance of the problem. If you treat the problem matter-of-factly and with sensitivity, your child may start to trust that others will, too.
Plus, you should encourage your child to spend time with others as much as possible. Discuss things such as camping trips or other events ahead of time and discuss with your child how he or she could handle bedwetting or the possibility of accidents in such a situation.
In a way, your child may be relieved when his or her secret is finally revealed. However, it can also be a very traumatic time, especially if the "truth" is met with teasing or disapproval.
You may want to speak to your child about what he or she would feel like if someone did find out. Discuss the responses that your child expects from others and then suggest more gentle responses that may be possible, too. Talk with your child about things that he or she could say to negative or insensitive comments.
When your child thinks, "I don’t want to go anywhere."
Many children who wet the bed show less interest in spending lots of time with others, especially if they are teased or are trying to prevent others from learning about their bedwetting.
This can lead some children to isolate themselves and can also lead to such a low state of self-esteem and happiness that children will stop their regular fun activities as well - even if those activities do not involve sleeping over or even other people. This can be a serious sign of upset and should be taken seriously.
A lack of interest in what is happening can be a big problem of bedwetting. Children can become unenthusiastic, depressed, listless, and apathetic, leading to lack of activity and increasing depression.
You can try enticing your child’s interest in new things by encouraging him or her to take part in new activities that seem appealing. Offer support for activities that your child has done in the past that he or she has excelled in, and offer some part of an activity as a treat. For example, if your child has always liked baseball, buy him or her a new glove or a baseball card to revive interest. If nothing seems to work and apathy lasts longer than a week or so, take your child to a doctor to make sure that no physical problem or serious emotional trauma are causing the disinterestedness.
When your child thinks, "I feel insecure."
No child will simply come right out and say it that way, but there are many signs that a child is feeling that way on some level. Children who feel this way will often try to be loud to garner more attention or will be quieter and try to attract as little attention as possible. Children may bully others or attract bullies as a target. They may cling to the home, fearful of venturing anywhere else. They may become quite clingy and demanding in all sorts of ways.
Insecurity is a bigger problem than many think. It can lead to experimentation with drugs in older children who want to "fit in" and it can lead to a host of destructive behaviours, even in younger children. It can prevent children from trying new things and hold them back from excelling. It can also lead to image problems and feelings of unhappiness or even depression.
Building self-esteem in children is a long road, but it can be done. Start by praising your child for the things that he or she does right. Also encourage your child to take part in activities or try things outside the home. Often, when a child accomplishes something "all by themselves" the pride of the success will outweigh all the positive praise possible, as it creates a real feeling of accomplishment.
When your child thinks, "What will others think?"
Children often worry most about other people’s reactions rather than about actual bedwetting. Put another way, if there was no one else around, bedwetting would be far less stressful for a child as there would be no one else to know about the problem. Many children imagine what others would say, and the imagination is always worse than the reality. Or, your child may have had one or two experiences of being teased for the problem and now is fearful that others will react in a like way.
Either way, worrying what others will think makes a much bigger problem out of bedwetting. Such anxiety also puts lots of stress on a child, often unnecessarily. You can help your child overcome this problem by discussing with your child possible reactions people might have to the bedwetting and discussing what could be said in response.
If someone accuses him or her of being a baby, for example, you child can point out that lots of older kids wet the bed or tell the teaser that bedwetting is not about being a baby, but rather a condition. Be sure to discuss possible nice or sensitive things people could say, too, so that your child is not just imagining the worst.
If your child is hesitant about other people’s reaction because he or she has already had a negative experience, you will have to work a bit harder. Talk to your child about the incident, and consider why someone would have a bad reaction (Could they have been ignorant about bedwetting? Could they have been having a bad day and just taken it out in that way? Could they just be mean-spirited, saying something unpleasant about anyone, whether they wet the bed or not?).
With your child, discuss what the child would do or say in the same situation. Then, talk about any positive experiences the child has had with people learning about his or her bedwetting and discuss possibly kind things that people could say once they find out.
This sort of role playing is very effective in having your child feel in control of situations where people learn about the bedwetting. Often, the most frightening thing about someone’s reaction to us is that we cannot control the reaction. Imagining what to say gives your child some of that control. Also, imagining or remembering positive reactions will take your child out of the mind frame that all reactions will be bad.
When your child thinks, "This makes home feel terrible."
Bedwetting affects not just the child afflicted with Enuresis, but rather the whole family. In some cases, children may resent the home or may feel that their problem creates an unpleasant atmosphere at home.
Parents may disagree over the treatment options, siblings may feel jealous of the attention the child receives or may tease their sibling over the problem. The child may also come to associate his or her bedroom with night time discomfort. There are many ways that bedwetting can affect the home, and few of them are pleasant.
The best way to counteract this problem is to work together as a team. Everyone in the family should be included in decisions that affect the whole household (decisions such as changing a sleeping room so that one child will be closer to the bathroom, for example).
You should also try to make home as un-tense as possible. Make bedwetting less of a family upheaval by making clean-ups easy and by making the child affected help with some clean-up. Also, make sure that you have everyone in the household agree to no teasing. Creating a serene home environment is helpful for everyone affected by bedwetting.
Take it one step at a time.
You can’t expect your child to stop wetting the bed overnight. For many children, the process takes months or years, and even then the occasional "accident" can happen. Take things one step at a time, slowly helping your child and celebrating successes (such as a week or a record three days dry in a row). Rushing will not accomplish anything and will just put unnecessary pressure on the child.
Try one method at a time and carefully record on paper how effective it is (the easiest way to do this is to mark off which nights are dry and which are not so that you can see if there is an improvement). If you try several methods at once, you will have no way of knowing which remedies are working and which are not.
Give a method time to work before tossing it aside.
In general, most methods should give you at least some minor result within two weeks. However, some methods may take longer to show effect. Do not be in a rush to try every method. The goal is to help your child, and you do not want to overlook a method that would work just because you want "instant" answers. If you have not seen improvement in a few weeks, though, by all means try some other method to see whether your child can find relief some way.
Combine some tips for best results.
Where no interaction is a factor, try combining tips to get great results. For example, you can often combine natural or homeopathic alternative therapies with behavior modification. Most tips work well with comfort tips such as protecting sheets. Of course, you do not want to combine medications, but combining behavioural modification with some natural supplement or dietary changes may do the trick.
If you are going to be combining remedies, make sure above else that the two methods will not be dangerous together. Then, introduce each therapy to your child one at a time so that your child can get used to each treatment and so that you can observe any adverse effects.
Try simplest methods first.
You want the best for your child, but the best is not always the most complicated or high tech method. With young children, especially, simplest methods are best. They also tend to be the most effective. For example, low-cost moisture detector alarms have very high rates of efficiency, even when compared to high-priced training. Look for inexpensive treatments that are simple enough for your child to understand. If those are ineffective, then you can move on to other methods.
If you start with the most complicated gadgets and solutions, you may find yourself spending a lot money than you planned if that first treatment does not work. Plus, if you put too much faith in the latest high-tech solution and your child’s problem is not resolved, both you and your child will have to deal with the disappointment.
Keep your expectations realistic (gradual improvement over time) and keep your solutions simple. Both your child and your wallet will thank you for it.
Understand all risks before you begin
Some methods of bedwetting treatment have almost no risks (think of the honey cure or visualization, for example). Some are risky when administered improperly (alternative or holistic medicine, chiropractic therapy) and some are risky (all medications carry risks of side effects). Make sure that you understand what can go wrong with each treatment before you begin it. Make sure that you can cope with the eventuality if it happens.
Of course, you should try low-risk options (behaviour modification, for example) before higher risk options (such as medication). It makes sense to keep your child safe, especially if the bedwetting issue can be resolved with no possible injury. Move onto riskier methods if the low-risk methods do not seem to be working after a few weeks.
Keep your eye on the big picture
Your main goal is to make your child feel comfortable and to help your child feel happy.
If you can do this with methods for getting rid of bedwetting, then great. However, putting the focus on your child first means that you will not lose track of your child’s comfort level as your try to help your child stop wetting the bed.
Love your child
If you are reading this book and trying to help your child, then you likely don’t need to be told - but does your child? Children who are experiencing bedwetting and treatment for the problem often experience great upheavals of emotions. They need your love more than ever, and they especially need to be told that they are loved - right now. Being affectionate and loving with your child will help reassure your child more than anything that he or she is still loved and accepted. This can help give your child the strength to get over teasing and the other problems associated with bedwetting.
Don’t just assume your child knows you love them - especially if you have been short-tempered with them concerning bed wetting or bedwetting treatment. Tell them.
Now that you have pondered more than one hundred ways to help your child with bedwetting, the time has come to choose which methods to use in helping your child.
You may have chosen some methods to put into practice already or you may be wondering where to begin. You will notice that the methods of dealing with bedwetting fall into a few broad categories:
•Time and patience: Often the most-recommended method, this means that parents and children wait until the body on its own learns to stop losing bladder control at night. This can be a frustrating method, but tends to be an effective one, as most children tend to outgrow the problem on their own with time. All methods require at least a small dose of time and patience to work.
•Behaviour Modification: This method works by trying to "teach" the body to wake up in time in order to go to the bathroom. Various methods are used in this treatment. Moisture detector alarms, making bathroom access easier, visualization, and other techniques are all used.
•Reduction of Mess or Problem: Some parents simply see bed wetting as a natural part of childhood, and work to simply reduce the mess and inconvenience. A number of products on the market today exist to help with this goal, including mattress liners, sleeping bad liners, disposable absorbent underpants, non-disposable absorbent products, and many others.
These can all make mornings more pleasant until the child learns to sleep "dry." In many cases, you should use one of these methods no matter what method you are using, as "accidents" may occur.
•Medical Treatment: Some parents seek doctor help with bedwetting. This can be a good idea if a parent suspects an underlying cause may be the real problem behind bedwetting. Even if the cause is not medical, doctors can prescribe medication that can control bedwetting.
•Holistic Treatment: A number of alternative treatments exist which help children with bedwetting. Eating honey, hypnotherapy, and other such treatments have been found effective by some parents, even though these treatments do not work for everyone and even though in some cases not much research has been done about the efficacy of these treatments.
•Proxy Treatment - Rather than treating the problem, some parents choose to treat the problems caused by the problem. This can mean helping a child cope with teasing or clean-up or discomfort. The idea is that if the problem is more bearable, the child will be able to wait for the problem to clear up on its own.
Also, proxy treatment acknowledges that it is often not bedwetting itself that is a problem, but rather it is the problems caused by it that seem unbearable.
Most parents use at least a few treatments, if not several. They may use a few remedies to control the mess of bedwetting, for example, and use others to actually resolve the problem. Different parents use different methods, just as different doctors will suggest different ways for dealing with bedwetting. Whatever treatment system you choose for your child should have a few basic qualities. It should:
•Be accepted by the child
•Not make the problem worse
•Be affordable for your family
•Cause a minimum of disruption in the home
•Not require so much time that other family activities or responsibilities suffer
•Be a system that both the child and the parent feel comfortable with
•Suit your child’s and family’s specific circumstances
•Not interfere with normal child development and activities
There are many treatments and tips throughout this article that may have these qualities for your case. Choose those tips that make sense to you and give them a try to see if they help.
Mornings will seem much nicer when your child is well rested AND happy, so go back, choose the tips you want to try and start your way to calmer wake-ups.