Your child over the age of 5, and still bedwetting? Are you all sick of disturbed sleep, nightly changes of sheets, and endless washing? Alicia Eaton, Children’s Behavioural Specialist & Author has advice to help your child stop bedwetting with these top 10 tips from her book Words That Work: How to Get Kids to Do Almost Anything.
More than 750,000 children in the UK accidentally wet their beds at night. According to figures published by the British Medical Journal, 20% of five-year-olds have difficulty in controlling their bladders at nighttime and it remains a problem for 3% of all 15-year-olds. And in the US those percentages are similar.
The actual numbers are likely to be even higher as bedwetting is still a taboo subject which many parents are not happy to discuss – in many cases, it isn’t even talked about within the family.
Here are my top 10 tips for helping your child kick the bedwetting habit.
If your child is continuing to be wet at night after the age of five, it’s a good idea to have a check-up with your GP to rule out the possibility of any medical causes, such as an infection, which can be easily cleared up with antibiotics.
2. Is there an Emotional Reason?
For the majority of children, the cause is simply a case of habit, so don’t automatically assume that there’s an emotional reason behind the wet beds.
However, if your child has been dry for several months or even years and suddenly starts having wet beds, first consult your GP and then have a think about whether a change at home or stress at school could be a contributory factor.
3. Stop Using Pull-Ups for 5+ yrs
After the age of five, it’s best to remove any nappies or pull-ups worn at night and simply protect the mattress from now on. Your child’s mind is more likely to make that vital mind/body link if he can actually feel the wetness as it happens.
4. Make Night-time Changes Easier
If your child does wet in the night, you’ll be able to remove the top layer leaving a dry ready-made bed for your child to climb back into.
You may also like 7 Mistakes Parents Make When Dealing with Bedwetting
5. Avoid ‘Lifting’
Avoid ‘lifting’ – waking your child at around 11pm and taking them to the loo, just before you go to bed yourself is, in fact, ‘training’ them to not only release urine when they’re half asleep, but also to develop a need to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.
6. Don’t use Rewards System
Avoid using ‘reward systems’ to encourage dry nights. Introducing treats such as money, toys or sweets will only distract your child at just the moment they need to be concentrating on their ‘goal’ – dry beds. There’ll be plenty to reward your child once he becomes successful, such as worry-free sleepovers and school trips.
Ensure the route to the bathroom is well lit at night, perhaps even leaving a light on in there. But do avoid night-lights in the bedroom itself – your child will experience a deeper, better quality sleep if the room is dark and this alone may ensure a dry night.
8. Remove Obstacles
Clear away clutter – your child needs to feel confident about getting up out of bed in the middle of the night should he need to use the bathroom. Check that the route is completely clear, without leftover jigsaw puzzles, toys and dirty clothes getting in the way.
9. Is Your Bathroom Child-Friendly?
Make the bathroom child-friendly and allow your child to choose some of the accessories, such as colourful hand towels. This will help them feel that this space belongs as much to them as to the adults in the house.
10. You Must Remain Positive
Stay positive – remain encouraging and enthusiastic throughout this period of re-training. Avoid giving any negative feedback – even a raised eyebrow will let your child know that you’re not happy. This will only make it harder for him to succeed, as his ‘self-image’ will consist of feelings of failure.
Remind your child of all the other things they were successful at learning, such as writing their name, tying shoelaces or hopping on one leg. This is just one more thing that they’ll learn how to do.
Alicia Eaton is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Licensed NLP Coach based in London. Read more about how easy it can be to put an end to your child’s bedwetting habit in her best-selling book Stop Bedwetting in Seven Days available on Alicia Eaton Store, where you will also find the Stop Bedwetting in 7 Days Video Course.
For more information on how Alicia Eaton can help, visit her site Success 4 Kids.
Over to you! Have you any tips for kicking the bedwetting habit – let us know in the comments below.