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Bedwetting Woes

How to help a child who wets the bed.

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-It's an all too familiar scenario: your child waking up in the middle of the night with a wet bed. But while it doesn't make for the best night's sleep, it's perfectly normal. -We all start out as bedwetters, and then there was a progression of being continent, being able to hold your urine as you sleep. We all start out usually, first, we're able to hold our urine during the day time, we get control during the day. And after we get control in the day, we eventually get control at night. -For mom Kathryn Sachs, the trouble started when her son, Dylan, began wetting the bed at age 4. -Peep, peep. Peep, peep. -It was a problem because it could be one o'clock in the morning, two o'clock in the morning, and he would come wake us up. And we would go in, and the bed is completely drenched. -The late-night disruptions left Kathryn, her husband, and Dylan exhausted. -He knows that you're not supposed to do that. He's big. You know, he calls himself a big boy, he's almost five. And so, that was the thing that it really frustrated him. And it, you know, not to mention, it woke him up and then he was tired the next day. But he was very frustrated by the whole thing-- and embarrassed as well. -So, what's a parent to do? Board-certified urologist, Dr. Eric Diamond, says there are several steps parents can take to improve the situation. -Number one, you could just motivate your child. Every time they have a dry night, you can give them a sticker or a star. And then, when they get a certain amount of stars, give them a prize or a toy. -Number two, limit your child's fluid intake before bedtime. -If little Johnny is drinking, you know, two big glasses of water right before he goes to sleep, and then doesn't urinate before he goes to sleep, the odds are that, you know, more likely that he might wet the bed. So, we always tell families, restrict the fluids in the evening, and also make sure that your son or daughter urinates right before they go to sleep. -After looking at Dylan's bedtime routine, Kathryn realized that too much fluid was a big part of his bedwetting problem. -One of the mistakes we made early on with our son was letting him have a glass of water/juice combination before he goes to bed. And so, what that was doing was, obviously, that was putting additional liquid into his system that already probably had too much in it. -The third thing you can do is set an alarm to get up in the night. -Whether the parent has to get up to wake up the child, or the child knows how to set the alarm themselves, get up, and go to the bathroom. -We sort of wake him up, and we keep the lights off in that room, and you know, we just really use a nightlight in the bedroom. And you just look at the toilet seat for them, and then they go. And they don't remember it at all. -Another option to help your child overcome bedwetting is a bedwetting alarm like this. The child wears it in the night, and it either vibrates or it makes a sound when it detects wetness. -How it works, basically, is this gets strapped to your shoulder, and on the other end here, you see these are two sensors that snap on to the child's underwear. One goes inside the underwear, the other outside the underwear. So, the underwear is actually in between these two sensors. When the child starts to urinate, the urine actually completes the circuit, and you'll basically gonna hear this sound. I'm gonna put these two ends together, just like there was urine in between the two to complete the circuit. The child will hear that sound, and he will have to wake from his sleep, stop urinating, disconnect the alarm, and then it's his responsibility to go to the bathroom and clean himself up, and then he could go back to sleep and you know, reset the alarm. And they actually have the highest success rate of any behavioral modification for bedwetting. -And Dr. Diamond says to make sure the child participates in the process. -If they are not participating, the chance of success is gonna be less. The child basically has to participate in using the alarm, cleaning up after themselves, you know, making sure afterwards that they change their underwear, that they put a dry sheet down. And they also have to be rewarded, you know, that they did a good job. -The worst thing you can do is get angry at your child for wetting the bed. -People have to understand that their child doesn't even realize that they're doing it. And they're not doing it because they're trying to be malicious, or they're trying to get attention. They're doing it because their body hasn't matured, they may have a small bladder that can't hold the urine at night, they may be drinking, you know, a lot of fluids at night, and they can't hold it all. They may be such deep sleepers that they don't even realize that they're wetting the bed and they don't wake up to the sense of their bladder being full. -If you've tried everything and nothing seems to be working, there's also a medication a child can take to stop bedwetting. -If bedwetting continues beyond age 7, or if the child never wet the bed before and suddenly begins to do so, there may be cause for concern. -Reasons for bedwetting that are not medical, so to speak-- you know, we don't really worry about so much. But if the child develops this secondary nocturnal enuresis, all of a sudden, he's 8 years old, and he was dry, and all of a sudden, he starts to wet the bed, you always have to keep in the back of your mind, there might be actually a medical reason, a legitimate medical reason, for the enuresis. -Common medical causes for bedwetting include urinary tract infections, severe constipation, genital abnormalities, or other medical conditions like diabetes and spinal cord abnormalities. But chances are, it's just a part of growing up. -I'll have to say, especially from a sleep perspective, that he's good. Now, we've actually eliminated that couple of juice/water before he goes to bed. So, now, you know, we get in bed, we read a couple of books, we sing some songs when we go to bed, and we don't need that cup to be a part of the comfort factor. And we really haven't had a problem in several months now. And I have to say that it's-- a good night's sleep is worth a lot-- really, really is. -Thank you for watching Parents TV. Our families, our lives.