In most cases, children eventually outgrow bedwetting on their own. But in the meantime, there are some simple techniques you can use to help cope with your child's bedwetting:
- Ask your child to go to the bathroom immediately before bedtime.
- Limit beverages before bed.
- Avoid foods and drinks with caffeine.
- Make it easy for your child to get to the bathroom at night.
- Protect the mattress by using waterproof sheets.
- Consider using absorbent products such as nighttime underwear or bed mats.
- Bladder training, where your child learns to hold their urine during the day to increase bladder capacity at night, may be effective and can be tried.
Speak to your doctor if the bedwetting is upsetting your child, if your child has symptoms such as a burning sensation when peeing or a frequent need to pee, or if your child is over 6 years of age. Your doctor will look into the issue and may recommend other treatment options, such as alarms or medications.
Bedwetting alarms: Bedwetting alarms work on the principle that although bedwetting is a physical problem, your child can be trained to recognize the feeling of a full bladder. Alarms consist of a moisture sensor and an alarm such as a buzzer, bell, or vibrator, which goes off when your child begins to urinate during the night. Alarms can be effective, but they do require the child and parents to be highly motivated. They also require a supportive family environment.
While most children who use alarms to treat bedwetting don't start wetting again once treatment ceases, it can take weeks or even months to see results. Bedwetting alarms have a high dropout rate, with 30% of families abandoning this method after 3 weeks, which is before this method reaches its peak effectiveness.
Medications: Desmopressin is a copy of the same messenger your child's body makes to control the amount of urine produced as they sleep. Desmopressin is taken by mouth before bedtime. It helps bedwetting children reduce the volume of urine they produce at night to that of a non-bedwetting child. The effect from desmopressin lasts from 7 to 9 hours after your child takes the medication. It is recommended to be used along with other non-medicinal therapies such as motivational counselling. Side effects from this medication can include headache, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Talk to your doctor about whether medication treatment for bedwetting is right for your child.
Alternative therapies: While there are claims that treatments such as acupuncture, hypnosis, and massage can help prevent bedwetting, there is no evidence they are effective.