Is your child wetting the bed?

May 16, 2012 at 6:00 a.m. ET

It can be upsetting for both your child and you when he or she regularly wets the bed, but this is a common problem you can work on together to resolve. Be patient, and follow these tips on how to handle the situation.

Little girl in bed

Your child may be fully potty trained and have no issues with using the toilet as he or she needs to during the daytime, but yet, during the night, he or she wets the bed. What's going on, and how can you help them?

Enuresis — or bedwetting — is actually quite common, especially in kids up to 3 years of age and some up until the age of 6 or so. Interestingly, some research findings suggest the problem is passed down from the parents. If you and your husband were both bedwetters as kids, your children are more likely to be bedwetters too.

Here are some ways to help your child deal with this problem and hopefully wake up with dry sheets sooner than later.

Be understanding

Don't make your child feel bad or embarrassed about having wet the bed, and don't make a fuss or show frustration about having to clean the sheets again. He or she is likely already upset, and this is a bodily function they cannot control (surely if they could, they would). It doesn't come as easily for some kids and their bodies to learn how not to pee and hold it in until the morning, or for their bodies to properly alert them that they need to wake up and use the washroom. This can be especially hard if your child is a naturally deep sleeper, as he or she may miss the physical triggers that wake other kids up.

Go slowly

It's a learning process, so be sure to give your child ample time to grasp the lesson. He or she may simply not be ready to give up wearing diapers at night. If their diaper is dry for several mornings in a row, switch to underwear for a week or two to see if they stay dry throughout the night. If your child starts wetting the bed again, you might have to revert to training pants. If this is the case, tell your child it's just not the right time and that it's OK. Be sure they don't feel like a failure by being supportive and encouraging.

Have them use the toilet before tucking them in for the night

The chances of having a dry bed in the morning are greater if your child's bladder is empty when they go to bed. Have them use the toilet just before bedtime, and avoid giving them a lot to drink in the evenings after supper until he or she gets past the bedwetting issue.

Be calm and tactful if they do wet the bed

If in the morning you find they've wet the bed, don't make a big deal of it. Change the sheets and help them to quickly wash up and change into new underwear and clothes. Your manner should be one that's loving and understanding.

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