How can parents deal with bed-wetting?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 19,704
    Parenting educator Dr. Rene Hackney talks about how parents can deal with bed wetting.

    Rene Hackney

    Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.

    For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide

    range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.

    Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.

    Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.

    Host: How can parents deal with bed-wetting?

    Rene Hackney: Bed-wetting is a separate issue, bed-wetting is part of potty training, but lot times children even as old as five years old, if they have been fully potty trained during the day, 20% of them are still wetting the bed at night. There are several things kind of working against children. They have to have a sufficiently mature urinary track cycle that can hold that urine until they need to get there, their sleep cycle has to be matured, they have to actually rouse from sleep because of that need, little infants, they do not rouse at all because they have got an immature sleep cycle. They also have to have high enough hormone level; it s the hormones that actually rouse the brain and that tends to lack for some kids. So, their brain just does not wake them when they need to potty. There are lots of things that you can do to help a child who wants to be dry over night, if they have been potty trained during that day, first though they suggest that if your child is still wetting the bed often, that you not make the transition to underwear overnight, until they woken up 30 days in a row dry. 30 days in a row is a good sign that they are ready to be dry over night; you can go ahead and make that shift. In the mean time though, what you can be doing, you could put a potty in their room, the little Graco potties on the floor, they can just as easily go in next to the child s bed. We have had parents who paint it with Dayglo paint, so it s bright, put it right next to a night light so the child can see it. We have also had parents who suggest to their child, there is ways to kind of practice holding that pee during the day. So, a child who says, Mommy, I got a potty in the afternoon, she says, All you need to go pee-pee, let s go into the bathroom now sing your A, B, Cs. It s a little awkward the first time at you, but the child is learning to actually just for a few seconds, hold that pee, so that they can give themselves time to get to the bathroom. It s kind of like of those Kegel exercises. Another thing you can do to build these muscles is have the child start and stop their urine stream, so when the child sits down to potty, you say, Can you stop? Can you start? Can you stop and then hopefully that child is building those muscles to be able to hold it overnight. Another thing that suggest that you can do is if your child really wants to be dry overnight and he is willing to do so, let s say they go to bed around 8 pm. Around 10:00 or 10:30, before the parent goes to bed, wake the child and walk them to the bathroom and have them try again, one, it s teaching them to wake during the night, but it s also giving them an empty bladder later into the night, so they might make it until morning. There are some products on the market, the rubber sheets, so you could make, sheet, rubber sheets, so you are just pulling up those two, rather than remaking the whole bed. There is also a sheet protector, which is about this wide and it goes across the middle of the bed. It holds about six cups of a liquid, so a child who is sleeping on that part of the bed, if they have an accident, you just take that part off, instead of having to change the whole bed.

    We have also had lots of parents put underwear on, underneath the diaper or underneath the overnight diaper, so that the child will really feel wet, when they do have an accident rather than just sleeping through till morning.