In most cases, very young children have no control over their night time bladder movements. This is because their tired bodies are not yet mature enough to wake up solely to empty a full bladder. Hence, though daytime dryness is often achieved before a child turns 3, 22% of these potty trained kids still wet the bed at the age of 3 and 10%, at 7 years of age.
In children less than 5, bed-wetting should be considered normal and handled with patience and understanding. Note that patient handling does not connote overlooking the matter. Instead it involves deliberately steering the child in the right direction through careful consideration of the following tips:
- Before trying to achieve night time dryness, ensure that daytime dryness is well established.
- Encourage frequent drinking and toileting during the day. After dinner, fluids should be restricted to small quantities of water (not milk or juice).
- Have him use the potty 30 minutes before bed and then have a repeat run just before the lights go out.
- Put a potty next to his bed for easy night time use.
- Tell him that if he wakes up at night, for any reason whatsoever, he should always use the potty before going back to sleep.
- Wake him up to use the potty just before you go to bed. However know that doing this will not necessarily cause bed-wetting to be dropped any faster.
- Ensure that it is not the fear of getting up in the night that encourages bed-wetting.
- When you think he is getting a hang of night time dryness, try him with pants to bed. However, protect the mattress and sheets with waterproof covers.
- If he is unsuccessful with the pants, switch back to diapers for some time. However, put the diaper on just before lights out and remove it first thing in the morning. This is because some children pee just as they are waking up, only because they know the diaper is there.
- Note that constipation irritates the bladder and causes bed wetting. To stop constipation, encourage your child to drink enough fluids and eat enough fibre. If this does not help, see a doctor.
(Source: Bedwetting stores, NHS UK, Web MD)