Bedwetting causes and solutions

My 3 year old son, who is potty trained wets his bed unless I wake him 3-4 times at night.  I don’t let him drink fluids after 4:30 pm and he still can’t wake up.  Is this normal?

It is most important to remember that your son is not wetting his bed, because of laziness. He is physiologically unable to stop.  Bed-wetting that continues past the toddler years is medically termed enuresis. By about five or six, 85-90% of children stop bedwetting on their own. It is not certain why the remainder continue to wet the bed… more often boys than girls.  

Bedwetting causes
There are a variety of possible factors: a smaller bladder, excess urine output at night, and deep and sound sleep.    

Bedwetting solutions
Parental pressure in terms of scolding or nagging, will only serve to wear down your son’s self-esteem, and might even increase accidents. He’ll stay dry when he is developmentally able to; and limiting fluids* before bedtime will not make him ready any sooner.  You can try to put him on the potty when you go to bed, but don’t do this if it is causing sleep problems.

In the meantime, for the sake of your sleep too, until he is ready to stay dry, it will probably be better if your son has some form of nappy protection at night. At his age he will probably fuss about wearing a nappy, so instead try training pants… they look like normal pants, but absorb like a nappy. To protect his self-esteem… “This is for night time only until you are a big boy, and then you won’t need it”.  If he refuses to put them on, put them on when he is asleep.

And for the future, the best current treatment, usually not recommended until the age of 6 or 8, is an enuresis alarm, which wakes the child when he wets and serves to ‘condition’ him to wake when he needs to go.

* Note ref fluids: Ensure that your son’s drinks don’t contain caffeine which increases bedwetting; as well as citrus juices in some children. +27 (0)81 885 4683

*Important : The information provided is for information purposes only. No medical diagnosis or prescription can be inferred or is implied. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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