Waking in the middle of the night to deal with wet sheets, soggy pajamas and an upset child is a part of life most parents endure. It’s very common for children who are potty-trained pros during the day to lose control during the night. While it can certainly be inconvenient, it’s important to remember that bedwetting is normal for young children, and it’s typically a phase that will pass with time. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 20 percent of children still struggle with bedwetting at age 5.
While it’s easier said than done, nighttime accidents are no reason to stress or panic. With these tips from pediatrician and award-winning author Dr. Laura Jana, you can help your child (and keep your sanity) through bedwetting:
- Avoid Punishment: Bedwetting, also called enuresis, is a developmental stage that children outgrow at a variety of ages. Remain calm and avoid punishing or blaming your child when they have an accident. Reassure him that he is not alone and that many other children his age wet the bed. You can help normalize the experience for your child by having him help clean up the soiled bed and pajamas.
- Rule Out Health Issues: It’s important to check with your pediatrician to ensure there isn’t an underlying infection or other cause for concern. One red flag to watch for may include if your child was previously able to stay dry at night (for 6 months or more), is having daytime wetting, or is older than 5. Remember, in most cases, bedwetting is completely normal and healthy for your child as they grow and develop bladder control.
- Make a Pit Stop Before Bed: Establish a routine for your child to use the restroom at the same time every night, like before brushing their teeth or after storytime. Emptying their tanks right before bed may not prevent bedwetting completely, but it can help decrease the odds— and volume— of an accident. A consistent nightly routine can also help your little one get a good night’s rest.
- Plan Ahead: Save yourself time and effort by taking extra measures to prepare for accidents. Keep a clean set of sheets and pajamas laid out for mid-night changes. If your child is having accidents regularly, you can purchase absorbent “training pants” for her to wear through the night, or invest in a water-proof mattress cover.
The key to enduring the bedwetting stage is patience. Your child is growing and learning, and this too shall pass! Need help with potty training? Here’s more from parents and experts.
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