Bedwetting in children—also known as nocturnal enuresis—is believed to be caused by two factors: The child may have a small bladder capacity, or his ability to initiate arousal from sleep—upon receiving a signal from the body that the bladder is full—is undeveloped.

Bedwetting is a disorder of arousal that occurs during deep, non-dreaming sleep. Roughly 15% of all 5 year olds and 5% of all 10 year olds still wet their beds. Aside from the obvious headaches for parents—having to wash the pijamas and sheets—the condition can also impact the youngster who still wets. The child may not want to sleep over at a friend’s house, and may be reluctant to go to summer camp—all because of the uncertainty of having a dry bed—and the certainty of embarrassment if there is a wet one.

Treatments for bedwetting vary in their effectiveness, and no one may solve all a child’s problems, but three are listed here to help those parents who may be in need.

Limit fluid intake prior to bedtime. Make a deal with your child that he or she won’t drink any fluids or sodas after their last full beverage at dinner. Remember—your child wants a dry bed even more than you do—so be sure to be sympathetic and to work together as a team.

Try lifting your child out of bed and into the bathroom after the first hour or two of sleep has passed—perhaps on your way to bed—to empty the bladder one last time. Most enuresis episodes occur in the first three hours of sleep, so you will want to “lift” your child after one or two hours.

If the problem persists, you may want to try an alarm-based approach. Several companies manufacture products that sound an alarm—awakening the child—as soon as wetness is detected by a sensor placed on the sheets or in the child’s underwear. While this approach may seem bulky and mechanical, it actually is regarded as the quickest and most effective method for breaking your child of the bedwetting habit. Research supports a 90% improvement in dry beds over a one week—to six month time frame. For more information, search the web using keywords “bed wetting bells.” Visit the website for Dri-Sleeper, a manufacturer who sells alarms at a fair price and with a good guarantee.

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