While bedwetting is common and generally goes away on its own as your children grows and develops, it can be upsetting and anxiety-producing. It can feel frustratingly beyond your child’s control – and your own. And although there is no failsafe “cure,” there are some nighttime routines that can help as your child transitions to dry nights.
Adhere to a consistent bedtime: Going to bed at a (more or less) set bedtime every night helps your child’s body adjust to a regular elimination schedule, and helps train your child to empty his bladder at convenient times during the day and night. It’s OK to ease up on the schedule a little now and then, on weekends, vacations or special occasions. The idea is simply to set a pattern.
Limit liquids before bedtime: While limiting liquids won’t cure your child’s bedwetting – the issue is not the full bladder, but the failure to wake to empty the full bladder – it might mitigate it. Don’t restrict beverage consumptions to the extent that your child is thirsty, but taper down consumption as bedtime approaches. And eliminate caffeinated beverages (yes, including that comforting cup of cocoa), particularly at bedtime, as these can increase urine production.
Use the bathroom before bedtime: Encourage your child to make one last trip to the toilet before turning in – and make sure he’s completely emptying his bladder. Some doctors recommend having your child pee about a half an hour before bedtime and then right before turning the light out – just to make sure the bladder has been completely emptied.
Try keeping a bedwetting calendar or journal: It sounds goofy, but keeping a journal tracking successes or a calendar with stars or stickers indicating dry nights can help kids track their progress – and gain a sense of control. Some parents and kids like to approach it as a science experiment, testing out new methods and hypotheses. Does peeing before bed help? Does it help to cut out that last glass of water before turning out the light? You and your child can make it a fun project to explore solutions – and explore cause and effect.
Make bedtime calm and happy: A consistent bedtime routine incorporating quality bonding time with a parent can help your child weather what can be a stressful time. Read books together (perhaps even explore books about bedwetting). Talk about your child’s day and his feelings as bedtime approaches. Don’t push the subject of bedwetting if your child is not in the mood to talk about it, but make sure your child knows that you’re open, accepting, available and encouraging. When you talk about it, be matter of fact – try not to get angry or impatient. Remember, your child will get through this phase – and you will, too.