Gaining consistent control of bladder and bowel functions during daytime hours is a significant milestone for a toddler or preschooler. For many children, keeping the bed dry at night is a more elusive goal, one that might not be reached until quite a bit later in life.
Children who still wet the bed at night well into their grade-school years too often take an emotional beating (and in some sad cases a physical beating) because of this problem — which is not under their conscious control. One of the greatest problems faced by bed-wetting children is a parent with unrealistic expectations that every child should be completely dry, day and night, by the age of three.
In 99 percent of children with enuresis, the problem may involve one or more of the following, but clinicians are not in complete agreement about the relative importance of each of these factors:
Remember that for the vast majority of children, bed-wetting will eventually resolve on its own as the central nervous system matures. (Each year after the age of six, 15 percent of children who still have enuresis will spontaneously stop wetting at night.)
Bed-wetting is not a sign of disobedience or weakness of character. The child who wets the bed is already embarrassed and uncomfortable about it; ridicule or punishment for bed-wetting, including teasing by siblings, is cruel, unjust, and ineffective. Not only will it cause additional emotional problems, but it might actually delay the resolution of enuresis.
Steps can be taken to eventually achieve one of two satisfactory goals: Your child holds his urine through the night and then voids into the toilet or potty-chair in the morning, or your child awakens during the night when his bladder is full and voids into the toilet or potty-chair.
The following measures may help a bed-wetting child: