(WJAR) – Believe it or not, fifteen percent of 5-year-olds still wet the bed. It’s a surprisingly common issue, but it’s also a treatable one.
It can be frustrating for both parents and children, but there are scientific reasons why bedwetting happens.
“Some kids are more sound sleepers,” Dr. Liza Aguiar of Hasbro Children’s Hospital said. “It can be due to slightly smaller bladder capacity or the inability to respond to those signals during the night.”
Aguiar said stress can also be a cause, and said that parents getting divorced is a common trigger of bed wetting.
Aguiar said that a short term solution is medication. She said medications can mask the problem and are a good idea to take on an as-needed basis, like when a child goes to a sleepover or an overnight camp.
A long term solution for more motivated children is to actually teach the child to wake up in the night and use the restroom.
“There are bedwetting alarms, which are inconvenient, but really our primary way of getting to the root of the problem is to condition the brain to wake up at the time of peeing at night, and that takes a lot of participation from the patient’s standpoint, as well as from the parent’s standpoint,” Aguiar said.
Aguiar said that usually the issue goes away on its own.
“The majority of times I tell parents it’s perfectly reasonable to watch and wait,” Aguiar said. “I often tell my parents I’ve never sent a bedwetter to college.”
Sometimes screening for a more serious condition is necessary. She suggested seeking medical help if a child is still wetting the bed by the time they turn seven.
Other experts say parents should limit liquid drinks before bedtime and avoid punishing children for wetting the bed.
Parents can get help determining if a child needs professional help or if the issue may be something more serious by taking this bedwetting assessment.