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It is perfectly normal for your newly potty trained toddler to wet the bed at night. Your 2 to 4 year olds bladder still may be too small to hold in a nights worth of urine, and he hasn't yet learned to wake up and head to the bathroom when his bladder feels full.

Almost half of all 3 year olds still wet the bed. Most child development experts consider bedwetting normal until about the age of 5 or 6, when only 12 percent of kids still wet the bed.

Do not scold or embarrass your child. Calmly change the bedding and his pajamas. Or let him wear absorbent or disposable training pants to bed.

If your child still isnt staying dry at night six months after he's mastered daytime toilet training or by the time he is 5 years old, consult your pediatrician.

Bedwetting has come out of the closet and is now recognized as a common childhood problem. Twenty percent of five-year-olds and ten percent of six-year-olds routinely wet their beds. This behavior is purely a symptom of an immature bladder system, and for most children, the problem will disappear when they get a little older. The following ideas may help speed the process along.

If your child is five or younger the easy solution is to allow your child to wear disposable padded underwear to bed. These disposable pants are readily available and can be purchased where diapers are sold. Let your child put them on and off by himself, and tell him that when he's ready to wear underwear to bed to just let you know. The more low-key you are about this issue the easier it will be for your child to make the step to underwear. Many young children sleep very deeply and simply don't wake up to use the toilet.

If your child is over five, the first step is to arrange for him to have a complete physical. Let the doctor know in advance what your concern is so that your child isn't embarrassed at the doctor's office. If there are any health problems your doctor can identify them and help solve the problem. Ask your doctor about PNE (Primary Nocturnal Enuresis) which is caused by a hormone deficiency that causes bedwetting and can be treated with a prescription nasal spray.

Why does my child still wet her bed

It is not unusual for a child under the age of four to wet her bed occasionally. One in ten boys wet their bed at the age of five. Bladder control is a skill that develops at different rates in different children. It may take a few years before your child can keep from urinating for ten or more hours through the night. Anxiety could be a cause for bed-wetting. A change of circumstances like the arrival of a new baby, or a move to a new place can trigger this reaction.

What can I do to help

Discourage the intake of fluids an hour before bedtime. Ensure that your child empties her bladder before she goes to bed. Keep a potty beside her bed so that if she needs to urinate at night she does not have to go all the way to the bathroom. Make sure that her nightwear is easily removable. Leave a night light on so that your child can see if she wakes up at night. Put a rubber sheet on her bed and cover that with a sheet.

Do not make an issue of bed-wetting. Never draw attention to wet beds. Change the sheets with a minimum of fuss. Do not reprimand your child. This will make her feel inadequate.

How You Can Help Your Bed-Wetting Child

If your child is a bed-wetter, there's one thing you both should know: he or she is not alone.

More than 5 million kids struggle with bed-wetting-including one-fifth of all children between the ages of 5 and 10! Chances are, one or two of your children's classmates has the same problem. And there's plenty you can do about it!

Why Do Kids Wet the Bed?

The medical term for bed-wetting is enuresis (pronounced en-you-REE-sis). There are two types of bed-wetting: Primary (kids who have never had dry nights) and Secondary (kids who have been dry, but then start wetting).

Primary Bed-wetting

There are two common causes for primary bed-wetting:

* An immature bladder - the bladder is simply not developed enough to last through the night. Perhaps it is too small. Perhaps there is deficit in the ADH hormone, an anti-diuretic hormone that slows urine production.

* Too deep a sleeper - Some kids sleep so deeply, their brains don't register the bladder's call to wake up.

Heredity also plays a big factor-if your child wets the bed, there's a good chance someone else in the family did, too.

Secondary Bed-wetting

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, secondary bed-wetting is usually triggered by stress or change-events like a move, divorce, problems at school, or a new baby. It's a sign your child needs help with a difficult situation. Secondary bed-wetting generally resolves itself once things settle down.


First, talk to your pediatrician. In addition to providing advice, he or she can rule out the rare, 1% chance that your child's bed-wetting is caused by illness.

The good news is, there are a variety of treatments available to your child, including:
  • Moisture Sensor Alarms - These devices are so effective, they're recommended by the National Kidney Foundation and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The device consists of a sensor (clipped to your child's underwear) and an alarm (which sounds when the sensor picks up moisture). They work by conditioning the brain to wake up to the bladder's messages. Many parents report quick success with these products.

  • "Night-Lifting" - This consists of waking your child up during the night-preferably just before the time they usually wet the bed-and walking them to the bathroom. It reduces the anxiety and mess created by accidents and over time, may help your child get up voluntarily.

  • Retention Control - Your pediatrician may recommend bladder stretching exercises. During the day, kids try to "hold it" an extra minute or two before using the bathroom, slowly building bladder capacity and strengthening the muscle that holds back urination. Only do these under a doctor's care.

  • Hypnosis - If you're open to alternative therapies, you might try a hypnosis tape or CD, which "re-programs" the brain to respond to the bladder. Some parents report good results with this method.

  • Homeopathic Remedies - These all-natural remedies help relieve the feeling of bladder fullness and stimulate the body's natural abilities. They're safe-and unlike prescriptions-have no side effects.

  • Medication -Your pediatrician may recommend one of several prescription drugs designed for bed-wetters. However, because all drugs involve some risk, not all doctors are in favor of them. It is certainly worth discussing with your pediatrician.

  • Protect your child's bed with a waterproof rubber or plastic pad. These make midnight clean-ups much less stressful, while protecting the mattress.

  • Use disposable underwear or insert pads, which not only protect the bed but allow kids some privacy and dignity. They may give them the confidence to go to a sleepover!

  • If your child likes the idea, teach her how to change the sheets herself. This may alleviate some of her embarrassment. But don't do it if she interprets it as punishment.

  • Limit beverage consumption at night, particularly colas which contain caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the bladder.

  • Once you start a treatment, track your child's progress with a calendar. (Don't share it with your child until you see a trend toward success.)
Your Attitude Matters

According to experts, parents' attitudes make all the difference. If mom or dad is angry and frustrated, it only increases their child's anxiety.

Force yourself to stay positive and low-key (even when changing bed sheets at 2 a.m.). Offer support and encouragement. Look out for your child's self-esteem and do not allow siblings to tease her.

Discuss the problem with your child. Explain the physical causes so he understands it is not his fault. Encourage him to express his feelings; brainstorm strategies for handling it. A little empowerment goes a long way.

Almost all kids will outgrow bed-wetting on their own. (By the age of 15, 99% of kids have stopped.) But with so many good treatments available, there's no reason not to take action now. Your child will thank you for it!

Bedwetting is an issue that millions of families face every night. It is extremely common among kids who are under the age of 6, and it can last into the preteen years.

Doctors don't know for sure what causes bedwetting or why it stops. But it is considered a natural part of development, and kids eventually grow out of it. Most of the time bedwetting is not a sign of any deeper medical or emotional issues.

All the same, bedwetting can be very stressful for families. Kids can feel embarrassed and guilty about wetting the bed and anxious about spending the night at a friend's house or at camp. Parents often feel helpless to stop it. There may not be any way for you to cure your child's bedwetting, but the emotional support and reassurance on the Bedwetting and Enuresis board can help your child feel better until the bedwetting goes away on its own.

If you've never participated in message board before, you'll be surprised by how easy it is to get answers to your questions from experienced moms. You don't need to be an iVillage member to read messages, but if you want to post, just click on the "join now" link at the very top right hand corner of the message board page. Membership is free and it just takes a few minutes to sign up.

Bedwetting can be an enormous frustration to children and parents alike. Whether your child is struggling with the last stages of potty training or dealing with bedwetting during school-age years, there are ways you can both work together to achieve night dryness.

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