Bedwetting occurs in 5 to 10% of school age children. In most children it's caused by having a small bladder, one that can't hold all the urine produced at night.
The most straightforward approach to bedwetting is to help your child learn to awaken at night. One approach is for your child to give himself a pep talk at bedtime in which he tells himself that when his bladder is full and tries to wake him up, he will get up and hurry to the bathroom. Trying to hold back the urine until morning is usually not possible in children with frequent bedwetting.
If that's not effective, consider using an alarm clock that he sets for three or four hours after he turns in. If your child is over 8 years of age, consider buying one of the new enuresis alarms that are triggered by a few drops of urine. These have the highest cure rate of an approach, about 70%. The moisture sensor attaches to the underwear and the buzzer attaches to the wrist or near the ear. Another type, called the Potty Pager, awakens the child by vibrations. Your child can operate these alarms by himself. They're much better than the old bell and pad alarms.
Finally, your child needs to be motivated to solve this problem. Give him some ideas, but don't get over-involved. Your child has to solve bedwetting for himself.
If you have any questions about bedwetting, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages