Dr.Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett has partnered with DryNites® Pyjama Pants since 2009, providing bedwetting facts and debunking the myths around this delicate subject. Dr.Cathrine comes with a wealth of educational knowledge with over 22 years of experience in Early Childhood and currently is the Academic Director of the Early Years at the University of Wollongong. Learn from expert answers through a series of informative video clips.
Expert answers has been designed to guide you through common bedwetting questions. These include bedwetting management, bedwetting alarms and how parents can help their child through this phase. Explore all you need to know about bedwetting with DryNites®.
What causes bedwetting?
If your child is going through a bedwetting phase, you’re probably wondering what’s causing it. The short answer is that it’s usually down to a minor developmental delay, which will straighten itself out over time. It’s quite rare for bedwetting to be caused by an underlying medical condition.
The most common form of bedwetting is called primary nocturnal enuresis. This refers to when a child has never been dry at night. Common causes are things like genetics, a neurological development delay between the bladder and brain, or the underproduction of the antidiuretic hormone ADH that signals to the kidneys to produce less urine at night.
The other type of bedwetting is secondary nocturnal enuresis. This refers to a child who has been dry for six months or more, and then starts to wet the bed. This is typical the result of underlying medical issues or by emotional factors.
For children with primary nocturnal enuresis, it means your child’s bladder capacity has not developed to the point of being able to hold urine overnight. Children who wet the bed at night may have a nervous system that is slow to process the feeling of a full bladder. So your child does not wake up or respond to the messages sent from their bladder to their brain saying its full and needs emptying. As their body matures the messages sent from the bladder start to get through and your child learns to wake and go to the toilet. Most children who experience bedwetting haven’t reached this developmental stage yet. But don’t worry, they’ll get there soon.
While deep sleeping certainly plays a role in bedwetting it is not the primary cause of why it happens in the first place. Deep sleeping just makes it even harder for children to response to the signal sent from their bladder telling them to ‘wake-up’.
Secondary nocturnal enuresis is a little more complex. If your child has been dry at night for six months and they relapse back to bedwetting, it’s often a sign of emotional problems or stress. Common catalysts include big events, such as moving house, a new sibling, or starting school. Stressful situations, including tension in the home, death of a family member or pet, or being bullied at school can also cause your child to start wetting the bed again.
Other causes of secondary bedwetting include minor medical conditions, such as constipation or a urinary tract infection. In very rare cases, bedwetting can be caused by diabetes.
One thing to remember through all of this is that the cause is never laziness. It’s important to remain calm and not to take out any frustration on your child, even though it can be a real pain to change sheets every night.
Provide some extra support to your child by using DryNites® Pyjama Pants or BedMats. It gives them a little more independence and they’re an effective safety net at night.
Bedwetting myths debunked.
When it comes to bedwetting, there is a lot of misinformation circulating both online and offline. Today we’ll debunk some of the most common bedwetting myths out there.
Myth number one: Waking your child in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit will cure bedwetting.
While this tactic, often referred to as ‘lifting’, might save you some loads of washing, it’s not going to help your child develop faster or help them to earn to wake up on their own. If your child is older than five this could even cause them to feel a loss of independence.
Myth number two: The cause of bedwetting is drinking too much before bed. Drinking a litre of soft drink before bed certainly doesn’t help, but it’s not going to cause bedwetting either. A child who doesn’t wet the bed will simply wake up and use the bathroom. Having said this, it can help to limit your child’s intake of sugary or caffeinated drinks after dinner time.
Myth number three: Using absorbent products, such as DryNites® Pyjama Pants, enables bedwetting. Some believe that using DryNites® or bed mats is unhelpful, as your child will never learn to wake up for the bathroom. But as we’ve learned already, your child is not in control of waking themselves up while in their bedwetting phase. DryNites® provide a comfortable safety net for your child so they can sleep easy. They can also help boost confidence, and give some independence back to your child – particularly if they’re going to a sleepover.
Myth number four: When your child wets the bed it’s because they’re too lazy to get to the bathroom. This is 100% false. it could be harmful if you start to blame your child for their bedwetting. There are a number of bedwetting causes, including delay in bladder development and capacity, but laziness is not one of them.
Myth number five: Children who wet the bed respond will to punishment and rewards. Remember myth number one: laziness is not the cause of bedwetting. Punishment or even nice rewards are not going to motivate your child to stay dry overnight, as it’s completely out of their control. Reward systems tend to work well for day time toilet training, but overnight is a completely different ball game.
How do I stop and cure bedwetting?
The tricky thing about bedwetting is that there is no ‘cure’ for it. There are many things you can try to stop bedwetting, but what works for some may not work for others. Your child may not respond to anything except time. Whatever the case, stopping bedwetting is certainly worth a try!
So let’s go through some of the most effective bedwetting solutions now.
The first thing to do, with the help of your child’s doctor, is to rule out minor medical conditions, such as constipation or urinary tract infections, which can cause bedwetting if left untreated. If your child is suffering from constipation, some diet adjustments could be all you need to achieve dry nights. As for urinary tract infections, they are easily treated with a course of antibiotics.
One of the most successful approaches to treatment is the conditioning alarm. Bedwetting alarms work by setting off an alarm when your child starts to wet, waking them up so that they get up and go to the toilet. Over a period of time this conditions the body and your child learns to wake without the need for the alarm. It is not unusual for the alarm not to work at first and may take up to 6 months of constant use. Children may experience one or two relapses, when this occurs you need to reintroduce and repeat the process.
Another solution to effectively manage bedwetting are products such as DryNites® Pyjama Pants and Bed Mats. While the will not help children to stop wetting the bed they will help your child take control of the situation and regain their confidence during their journey to being dry during the night time.
The only guaranteed bedwetting cure is time and patience. If you want a pretty good estimate of how long it might take, think back to your own childhood. If you wet the bed as a chlld, chances are your own child will stop at around the same age you did. This is because bedwetting is believed to be genetically inherited. But it’s really one of those issues that they will work through at their own pace.
Always keep in mind that wetting the bed is not your child’s fault. They’ll need as much love, support, and patience that you can give during this phase. It can be a tough time for families, but rest assured you’ll get there soon!
Helpful tips on managing bedwetting.
The best cure for bedwetting is time and patience, but luckily there are plenty of methods and tools you can use to manage bedwetting in the meantime. Bedwetting products, as well as a few simple lifestyle changes, can help you and your child get through this time together.
Let’s take a look at your options now.
Bedwetting products are going to be the bedwetting management tools that make your life a whole lot easier. DryNites® Pyjama Pants and disposable BedMats are great for giving your child some extra confidence and a solid night sleep. Not to mention the fact that sleepovers become a non-issue. Other helpful products on the market include waterproof sheets and mattress protectors.
Bladder training exercises are another option, though keep in mind that only time is really going to give your child full bladder capacity. The idea here is to ask your child to hold their urine for 10 to 15 minutes after they need to go during the day.
Having a set bedtime routine can also go a long way toward helping your child to develop night time control. Start getting ready for bed at the same time every night and make sure your child uses the bathroom before they get under the sheets. Keep a stash of DryNites®, as well as some spare sheets and PJs close by. If your child dislikes navigating to the bathroom in the dark, set up a nightlight path to the bathroom so they have no troubles.
Finally, making some changes to your child’s diet can be a great help, particularly if they ever suffer from constipation (which can be a cause of bedwetting). Ban sugary drinks, as well as chocolate and any snacks containing caffeine after dinner time. If your child is experiencing some constipation, load up their diet with whole grains, natural Greek yoghurt, and fruits, such as pears, plums, and apples.
Last but not least, always make sure your child is staying hydrated with water throughout the day and night. Dehydration can often make bedwetting worse.
What is bedwetting?
Bedwetting, also called nocturnal enuresis, is a very common phase for over half a million children in Australia every night. In fact, up to 1 in 4 four year olds and 15% of five year olds experience bedwetting, with it being slightly more common in boys than in girls.
Night time wetting is involuntary. It’s not something children can control, so it’s not their fault at all. The condition is often dependent on the maturation of a child’s nervous system and bladder. When you need to go to the toilet, the bladder sends signals to the brain to wake up because it’s full and needs emptying. But, for children who wet at night, there is often a ‘disconnect’ or delay in processing this information.
There are two different types of nocturnal enuresis:
The most common form is called primary nocturnal enuresis. This refers to when a child has never been dry at night. Common causes are things like genetics, a neurological development delay between the bladder and brain, or the underproduction of the antidiuretic hormone ADH that signals to the kidneys to produce less urine at night.
Secondary enuresis is the other type, which refers to a child who has been dry for six months or more, and then starts to wet the bed. It’s often caused by more psychological or emotional factors. Stress can play a major role in secondary bedwetting. A significant change in your child’s routine like moving house, starting school or the birth of a new sibling are common causes of stress among young children.
Night time wetting is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about – it’s a normal phase that most children outgrow, and will typically resolvie itself with time – in fact 15% of children stop wetting the bed every year without treatment.
In the meantime, your love, support and products such as DryNites® Pyjama Pants or BedMats can help your child to take control of the situation and regain their independence, allowing them to get a restful night’s sleep and wake up dry.