One in 10 children will continue to have bed-wetting past the age of 5. When this occurs, most parents are concerned that there is something wrong with their child. Don’t be alarmed if this is happening to your child.
In childhood, girls usually develop bladder control at an earlier age than boys, and bed-wetting—or nocturnal enuresis—is less common in girls than in boys.
While some parents resort to alarms and rewards to stop bedwetting, certain experts argue that getting to the root of the problem is best.
Bedwetting is more common than you may think.
Children that still wet the bed, usually have parents that had problems with bedwetting. Some speculate that there may be a hereditary component to nocturnal enuresis. Some families react badly to older children bedwetting. While some children may do it on purpose – sort of a passive aggressive behavior- this is not the most common reason for the condition. Studies show that some children may have small bladders and weak pelvic muscles, while others are found to be very deep sleepers.
How can you help an older child stop bedwetting?
To the surprise of many, kegel exercises are not just for adults!
When your child is going to the bathroom, see if they can play a game with you. Ask them to try to stop the flow of urine, before they’re finished, three times. This uses the pelvic floor muscles responsible for bladder control.
Asking them to control the stream is the easiest way to teach a child kegel exercises, and they’re able to see the results of their efforts immediately. It might take time, but try to keep increasing the number of times they can stop peeing. Make it a game! (Note: do not do it every day as this may lead to abnormal bladder function.) Once your child is able to stop their stream of urine, teach them to focus on the muscles that cause it, and to start practice these exercises throughout the day.
The benefit is that with stronger pelvic muscles, perhaps your child will wake without wetting the bed. Or, perhaps your child will wake when only a little wet, able to hold it until they can run to the bathroom.
The staff at the Better Bladder Center can help with your child’s bedwetting. Many of the techniques used with adults can be used with children to help them control their bladder and prevent night time bedwetting.
Small steps make great progress, with time.
- Encourage your child to exercise his bladder muscle by squeezing it several times every day.
- Instruct your child to drink extra water during the day to exercise the bladder. Becoming aware of the sensation associated with the need to urinate may help a child monitor his bladder at night.
- Use a chart or a calendar to mark the days your child wets the bed. Experts say that 14-consecutive days without bedwetting usually signal an end to the condition.
- Suggest that your child use the toilet each night before going to bed.
- Ask your child to stop short of urinating and to just hold it a few minutes. This exercise can be an effective training method as it strengthens her muscles.
- Limit the amount of caffeine you give your child. Increased caffeine consumption may increase the flow of urine.
- Tell your child that bladder control just takes practice and that bedwetting is not his fault. Letting the child know that this condition is not unusual may help maintain his self-esteem.