Learn The Myths and Truths About Bedwetting
Throughout my career as a pediatrician, there’s one thing I’ve learned about bedwetting – people don’t like to talk about it. And because people don’t like to talk about it, families are usually quite confused and need a little more guidance on what bedwetting means to families. That’s why it’s so important for me to set the record straight and educate families about bedwetting by correcting some of the misinformation out there, including some of these common myths.
Myth: Bedwetting is uncommon.
Truth: The truth is that one in six kids in the U.S between the ages of 4 and 12 experience bedwetting.
Myth: My child is wetting the bed on purpose.
Truth: Bedwetting is characterized by unintentional urination during nighttime sleep, and is caused by the brain and bladder not communicating correctly while a child is asleep. Bedwetting is a developmental issue, not a behavioral one, and ultimately out of your child’s control.
Myth: Using bedwetting management solutions will only prolong your child’s nighttime wetting.
Truth: Using nighttime pants will not extend your child’s bedwetting, since it’s a developmental issue. Nighttime pants are a discreet way to manage your child’s bedwetting to ensure your child feels comfortable and confident at night.
Myth: Bedwetting will not have an impact on my child’s self-esteem.
Truth: Unfortunately, bedwetting can cause your child to feel shame and lose confidence in themselves. The good news is there are a number of things parents can do to help their children feel better about themselves, like reminding them it’s not their fault, maintaining a positive and calm attitude towards bedwetting and making sure siblings don’t tease them about it. Remember that your child takes their cues from you, so it’s important to be empathetic and reassuring. Parents should also let their children know that you aren’t upset or disappointed.
Myth: Bedwetting isn’t genetic.
Truth: Seventy-five percent of children who wet the bed have at least one parent or another close relative who had the same issue as a child. This can be a very positive thing for your child – often when they find out that other family members wet the bed, they feel less embarrassed about the condition.
Myth: Establishing a bedtime routine isn’t helpful to manage bedwetting
Truth: This can be very effective in helping your child avoid the negative feelings associated with bedwetting. Establishing a bedtime routine, like using the bathroom before going to bed and using nighttime pants can help ease the stress and struggles of bedwetting for both you and your child.
Myth: My child can’t have a sleepover or go to camp because they wet the bed.
Truth: What’s most important is to talk to your child about the overnight outing and find out if they have any concerns. Once you know what your child is worried about, you can help them develop a plan to make the sleepover a success. Using disposable nighttime pants can also offer a discreet and easy-to-use management solution, so no one has to know your child is even wearing them.
Myth: My child has been dry for a few weeks, which means they’ll be accident-free in the future.
Truth: Even if your child has been dry for a few weeks, it’s still possible that they will wet the bed again. Some kids will wet the bed occasionally, even after long periods of dryness. If your child wets after a dry period, he or she may be discouraged and upset. What you can do as a parent is to help your child understand that this is no big deal, and they are not alone.
Myth: My child does not want me to talk about their bedwetting.
Truth: As a parent, you should foster open and honest communication about bedwetting. When you first discuss this with your child, be sure to remain calm and upbeat. Sometimes it’s helpful to make an analogy – explain that some children have a hard time learning to ride a bike or swim, and others have difficulty staying dry at night. The best thing you can do during these discussions is to make them feel comfortable, and let them know you are not upset or disappointed.