Dear parent, frustrating as it may be, bedwetting is a natural part of your child’s development and growth. Toilet training is but one of the dozens of skills that babies learn at different rates.
What is Bedwetting?
Bedwetting refers to preschoolers and older toilet-trained children involuntarily urinating in their sleep. It is not applied to newborns, infants, or toddlers.
Bedwetting results when babies’ brains are still perfecting these skills:
- Relaxing a filling bladder so it can hold more urine.
- Waking up the baby from a “bladder full” signal so that toilet training can kick in.
For parents who want a little more detail, the scientific term for bedwetting is Enuresis. This journal article describes the two types — PNE and SNE:
1. PNE stands for Primary Nocturnal Enuresis and is the bedwetting experienced by children aged 5 and older who have never achieved nighttime dryness. PNE is further distinguished by two types—i.e., either having or not having daytime symptoms. Children in the former group display signs of urgency and frequency, while the latter wet the bed only at night without showing any waking behaviour.
2. SNE stands for Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis and is bedwetting experienced by children of any age group, after having achieved a 6-month period of dry nights.
What to Expect And When
Here are some known bladder-control milestones:
- At 18 months, the child is unaware of any bladder activity.
- At 18–24 months, babies can sense the emptying of the bladder.
- By 3 years, children are mostly able to voluntarily stop urination.
- At 3–5 years, most children can stay dry both during day and night.
Be patient with children aged 6–7 years and don’t yet treat bedwetting as a problem. Babies generally outgrow PNE bedwetting without any medical intervention. The National Association for Continence says that every year 15% of children overcome PNE without any treatment. Consult a pediatrician only if the problem persists beyond the age of 7.
If your little one is older than 6 and still suffers from bedwetting, familiarize yourself with the known causes, while you consult a pediatrician. In addition to external medical and physiological factors in the baby, heredity plays a big role which only deepens the need for your continued patience and understanding, dear parents.
Always follow your pediatrician’s advice but keep of these evergreen guidelines in mind:
- Use top quality diapers or diaper pants. For older children, use mattress protectors.
- Read up on the potty training routine and habituate your child to visit the washroom before going to bed.
- Be emotionally supportive to your little ones and defuse guilt by making them understand it is natural, and that they will outgrow it.
Early intervention, along with latter-day expert help from your pediatrician as needed, will help you support your child in overcoming bedwetting.