It turns out that conventional wisdom isn’t always so wise when it comes to bedwetting. Here are ten myths to leave behind on your journey to dry nights.
1. You have to wait for your child to outgrow bedwetting. There are safe, effective techniques to help your child stop wetting the bed, so there is no need to wait what might be years for the problem to “go away” on its own.
2. Most bedwetting children have mental or physical problems. Only three in a hundred children who urinate while sleeping have a physical or urologic cause for it. Likewise, psychological problems rarely cause bedwetting.
3. If a child is a sound sleeper, a bedwetting alarm won’t work for her. It’s true that bedwetting children are less likely to be woken by external stimuli than their parents…and that’s okay! Initially, the alarm is meant to prompt Mom or Dad to accompany their child to the bathroom.
4. If your child doesn’t tell you he’s bothered by his bedwetting, he probably doesn’t care if he’s wet. The fact is, no child wants to wake up in a wet bed. Your child might not have spoken up because he’s embarrassed or because he doesn’t believe anything can be done.
5. Bedwetting is nothing but a pesky problem that will eventually go away. You might not have thought about it, but bedwetting can impact your family financially and emotionally. For example, one or two extra loads of laundry can cost up to $700 a year! Furthermore, bedwetting can negatively affect your child’s self-esteem. Don’t brush bedwetting off—it’s worth the effort to overcome it now.
6. My child is alone in having this problem. In a class of twenty-five eight-year-olds, for example, at least one or two children besides your child are likely to wet the bed.
7. Bedwetting occurred because I left my child in disposable pants too long. Most children are day toilet trained between ages two and four, but daytime bladder control has no bearing on nighttime wetting. Using disposable pants at night can actually decrease parent frustration until a treatment program is in place.
8. Parents should restrict privileges or punish their children. Bedwetting is not something that your child can consciously control, so punishing her will be counterproductive. Instead, deal with wetting in a supportive manner.
9. Puberty will end bedwetting. While it’s true that the number of children who wet their beds decreases with age, 1 percent of eighteen-year-olds continue to deal with this issue. Since puberty doesn’t “cure” bedwetting, there’s no reason to wait for your child to reach the teen years before starting treatment.
10. Medication is a sure cure for bedwetting. Short-term medications can work well in situations when a child has to be dry (for example, camps or sleepovers), but it rarely helps a child permanently overcome bedwetting. In fact, children who use alarms are nine times more likely to become dry and stay dry than those who rely on medication alone.
Renee Mercer is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in the treatment of children with enuresis, or bedwetting. She sees children with bedwetting and daytime wetting in her private practice, Enuresis Associates, in Elkridge, Maryland. Renee has more than twenty-five years of experience in pediatrics. She developed her interest in enuresis after appreciating the great unmet need of children with bedwetting. She works closely with families in their quest for dryness and has a tremendous success rate. After years of frustration finding suitable products for children with bedwetting, Renee co-founded the Bedwetting Store, (www.bedwettingstore.com) a comprehensive online and catalog source for bedwetting alarms, waterproof bedding and pads, products for daytime wetting, and information to assist children in achieving dryness. She regularly blogs to answer questions and provide the newest bedwetting information to families on www.bedwettingstore.com/blog. Renee lives with her husband and three sons in Maryland.
“Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Bedwetting,” Second Edition (Brookeville Media LLC, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9740688-2-4, $14.95, www.bedwettinghandbook.com) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers, as well as from www.bedwettinghandbook.com and www.bedwettingstore.com .