Involuntary urination during sleep is not uncommon. According to Medline Plus, over 5 million children in the United States wet the bed during the night. Most children outgrow bedwetting by the age of 5 or 6, but by the age of 10, 9 percent of boys and 6 percent of girls still wet the bed. Still, actions can be taken to reduce the risk of bedwetting.
Limiting fluid intake in the evenings can help reduce the need for urination during the night. The Mayo Clinic suggests that 8 ozs is generally enough fluid in the evening, although fluids shouldn’t be limited if the child is involved in sports practices or games, and a family physician should be consulted to determine the child’s actual fluid intake requirement.
In the evenings, the child with the bedwetting problem should avoid having food and drinks that contain caffeine. Because caffeine can increase the need for urination, avoiding these foods and drinks can help reduce bedwetting. Note that chocolate is one of the foods that contains caffeine.
Many parents have a nighttime routine for their children. This is the routine that includes getting dressed for bed and brushing teeth. Whatever the steps in the routine, double voiding is a technique in which the child is encouraged to urinate at the start of the routine and again at the end of the bedtime routine.
Another action that can be taken to reduce bedwetting in preteen children is to encourage frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate during the day. The Mayo Clinic suggests this reminder come about every two hours or at least often enough so that the child does not develop a feeling of urgency to urinate.
If the child with the bedwetting problem has constipation, treating the constipation can help reduce bedwetting. Consult your family physician, who may recommend an over-the-counter stool softener.
Bedwetting is a medical problem, and scolding does not help. Instead, praise should be given for a child who makes it through the night without wetting the bed.