Myths and facts about bed wetting

Mar 22, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Whether your potty-training toddler has wet the bed or your grade-schooler is struggling with nighttime accidents, don't let common misconceptions about "nocturnal enuresis" keep your youngster from getting a good night's sleep. Before another evening passes, sort out the myths and facts about bed wetting, from falsehoods about potty training to confusion about how to handle your kiddo wetting the bed.

Myth: Potty-trained kids don't wet the bed

Truth: Even though your youngster may be the king of the porcelain throne when the sun's up, this does not mean he is exempt from bed wetting. "Urine control is different in the daytime than it is at night," explains Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, MD, New York Pediatrician and "The bladder is growing at different rates in different children. In most kids, wetting the bed goes away with time."

Myth: Using something absorbent at night enables bed wetting

Fact: You may worry that using a diaper or absorbent pants at night may encourage bed wetting, but in fact, it doesn't make a difference. "It is a common myth that using something absorbent enables bed wetting by keeping kids dry and not letting them know they wet the bed. But, there is no research that supports that illusion," informs Aubrey Yuzva, Brand Manager for GoodNites. "Using an absorbent product while sleeping does not make a difference in conquering bed wetting."

Myth: Bed wetting is a toddler issue

Truth: When your school-aged child has wet the bed, you may feel like something is amiss. However, "Bed wetting is more common than they think," shares Dr. Trachtenberg. "About
20 percent of 5- to 10-year-olds wet the bed." Despite the gravity you may feel about your child's bed-wetting situation, GoodNites® reports that 72 percent of kids who wet the bed will outgrow it by the time they're 11 years old, and 99 percent of kids will outgrow nighttime potty accidents by age 15.

Myth: Bed wetting is an issue of laziness

Truth: Don't let your own frustrations as a parent translate into finger pointing at your child when he has wet the bed. Bed wetting is commonly an embarrassing situation, and your youngster is not purposely soiling his sheets at night. In fact, you may want to look at your own family history of wetting the bed. Dr. Trachtenburg reports that bed wetting tends to run in families.

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Myth: Children should be disciplined for wetting the bed

Truth: "Children do not wet the bed on purpose," assures Dr. Trachtenberg. "Open the lines of communication about bed wetting with your child, and explain to them that it is not their fault. Otherwise, they will become more anxious, and it may lead to habits that cause them to wet the bed more."

Myth: Gender doesn't factor into bed wetting

Truth: Fair or not, the fact is bed wetting is more common in boys. According to GoodNites, about 2/3 of the 5 million to 7 million children in the U.S. who wet the bed are boys. But, this doesn't meant that girls do not wet the bed, too. Boys just hold more of the percentages.

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Regardless of the myths and facts about bed wetting, in the end, "the key is to help your child feel in control of the situation at that time," advises Dr. Trachtenberg. Use an absorbent nighttime product such as GoodNites' new Bed Mats, which can absorb as much fluid as a L-XL pair of GoodNites Underwear and make cleanup after wetting the bed easy enough that your kiddo can help without much fuss. "When kids are involved, whether it's packing lunch or dealing when he's wet the bed, when your child is involved it boosts his self-confidence." Just remember to focus on spending more time bonding with your child and less time stressing about this phase he will eventually outgrow.

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