From the first moment a complete stranger strokes your pregnant belly uninvited in the grocery store to the oh-so-helpful “Enjoy this stage, you miss it soon enough!” comment that is, in that exact moment, precisely the last thing you want to hear, parents are bombarded with advice from all sides.
It’s no wonder we are both eager for and suspicious of quick answers to our various parenting challenges. You thought potty training was tough? For many families, the next hurdle is nighttime bedwetting, or Nocturnal Enuresis.
How common is enuresis?
You might be surprised to learn that 1 in 9 kids suffer from regular night wetting episodes over the age of 4, and boys are more likely to have it than girls. The good news is that 99% of kids will naturally outgrow the problem by the time they turn 15 (72% by 11 years old), so don’t think you’re alone – the other parents in your orbit are just not openly sharing about it.
What causes enuresis?
Some might assume that problems with potty training are to blame, and while this has not been ruled out as a contributing factor to nighttime accidents, there are many other possible causes including poor bladder control, genetics, stress, trauma, or illness. The most common cause, however, is that your child’s bladder may not be growing as fast as the rest of his body.
What can I do to help my child overcome enuresis?
There are some techniques you can use to minimize nighttime accidents, and you should talk to your doctor about your options, especially if your child’s enuresis is linked to an illness or injury. The most important thing you can do is to build your child’s confidence. Recognizing that these accidents are outside his control means you should never punish your child when it happens.
What if my child doesn’t want to use disposable underpants?
It’s important to help your child feel less self conscious about occasional nighttime accidents. Disposable underpants or plastic mattress protectors (which can be uncomfortable and noisy when shifting around during the night) are not your only options. The new GoodNites® disposable Bed Mats can be used on any sleeping surface and make for quick and easy cleanups.
Should I make my child change his own bedding when he has an accident to help him learn?
Again, because accidents are outside of your child’s control, negative reinforcement will only erode his fragile self-esteem. Younger kids may be too embarrassed to help clean up, while older kids may prefer to do it alone so you won’t see the mess. Be sensitive to your child’s confidence level and support their efforts in a positive way.