The term ‘bedwetting’ is used when a child who aged four or more years has a continence problem and wets the bed at night. A standard recommendation for helping such children is to avoid talking about bedwetting and focus instead on talking about dry nights. A calendar is attached to the wall of their bedroom and a mark made for each day when their bed is dry in the morning. Parents may also promise some type of reward when their child has collected an agreed number of “dry night” stickers.
Explain the reasons for this problem
Support your child by explaining why this problem occurs. Draw a picture of a human body that includes the head and the body, then add the brain and the bladder. Explain that there is a cable connection – a nerve – that runs between their brain and their bladder, and that the brain uses this connection to tell the bladder what to do. When their brain orders them to pee, a valve at the bottom of the bladder opens up and allows urine to flow out. While they’re asleep at night, the brain should make sure the valve stays closed, but sometimes, when they’re sleeping deeply, it forgets to do this and the valve opens allowing pee to flow out.
The best way of preventing children from bullying each other is to help them develop skills that promote friendship, collaboration and caring for others. Two such skills – apologising and defending – are particularly relevant when bullying is occurring.
Training and rewards
Once you have explained the problem in this way, engage your child in working out how they can help their brain keep the valve in their bladder closed until the morning, or, if their bladder gets so full that they need to go to the toilet, help it remember to wake them up. When they go to bed, for example, they could try closing their eyes and ordering their brain to make absolutely sure their bladder valve stays closed throughout the night. In addition, they could try doing exercises to train the cable connection between their brain and their bladder, either by holding on for a while before they start peeing, or by stopping urination a few times when they are peeing in the toilet.
With bedwetting problems, shift focus from wet nights to dry nights and find a way of recording the dry nights. Together with your child, decide how they would like to be rewarded for an agreed number of consecutive dry nights. Draw a picture that helps explain how the brain and bladder collaborate, then work out a way for your child to remind their brain about telling the bladder to keep its valve closed throughout the night.