Once you’ve toilet trained your child through the day, you could be fooled into thinking that the hardest part of the process is over! But it can take young children a lot longer to stay dry through the night; in fact, you may still be facing wet sheets as they start school.
Bedwetting in five to six year-old children is quite common, as Heba Shaheed can attest. A physiotherapist who specialises in women’s health and children’s pelvic health, she says, “Up to the age of five, that is kind of normal but after the age of five, there are about 20 percent of children that will experience bedwetting.”
Common causes of bedwetting
The most important part of tackling bedwetting is to identify why it’s happening in the first place.
“Is it a bladder problem? Is it a muscle or pelvic floor problem? Is it a kidney problem? What is it?” Heba questions. A common reason for bedwetting in children is that their bladder can’t hold the volume of urine the kidneys produce when they’re asleep, “During the night your bladder doesn’t actually hold much urine, but the kidneys are making lots … but there’s nothing to hold it, so then [kids] just have those accidents.”
Listen to Kinderling Conversation:
Surprisingly, the bowels can often be a large factor in bedwetting too; “A lot of children, up to 25 percent of kids can get quite constipated. When you’re constipated, there’s this blockage in your bowel and that puts pressure on the bladder … then it fills even [less] because of this pressure from the bowel,” Heba explains.
“It could also be a nerve problem. So that connection from your brain, down to your kidneys, down to your bladder and down to your pelvic floor; it’s not working very well. Children are still developing, and ideally by the age of five that system should have been developed but unfortunately, in one in five children, it’s not completely developed.”
Rest assured though, there are plenty of techniques and strategies you can try to help address these root causes.
Bedwetting treatments to try
Not all children will wet the bed every night. If the bedwetting is infrequent, once every five nights or less, it could be related to something they drank before bed. A good way to manage this is to check when and what they drink. “Usually in the three hours before bed, we advise that they don’t have any fluids,” Heba says. Or if you suspect bowel issues, it’s about fixing that in the hope of lessening the bedwetting.
Also consider their emotional state at the time, Heba recommends. “Maybe they’re scared about going to school the next day.”
When to seek professional help
If you’re experiencing more frequent bedwetting with your child, you can go straight to a paediatric pelvic health physiotherapist. They can help identify the root cause with you and your child, then help find solutions.
“We sometimes have night-time alarm systems. It’s almost like a bladder drill program. They wake up and go and empty their bladder to retrain their brain and their bladder to wake up and go and wee, rather than emptying in the bed,” Heba says.
Ultimately staying dry throughout the night may happen naturally as your child matures – but you can certainly fast-track the journey to dry sheets by working to discover the reason why your child is wetting the bed, and having a supportive team around you to help your child.
This mum just gave birth in bath at home with her dog
The amazing video of this peaceful birth makes it look so easy...
Real Housewife Nicole O'Neil on motherhood and life after the cameras stop rolling
What does motherhood look like for a Real Housewife and former Miss Australia?
9 photos of Emma and Lachy Wiggle that make us go... sigh
We're kind of not really over it...
How do I know if my child is ready for school?
It's a question that causes a lot of worry for parents.
When it comes to co-sleeping, parents are being treated like idiots
We don’t need to be scared into doing the right thing by our children, writes Shevonne Hunt.
The simple question this mum asks herself on rough days
It's the way you go about the business of 'being' that provides unlimited self-worth.
A Wiggly love letter: "Anthony was the dreamiest Wiggle and the original babe."
Check out this hilarious declaration of passion for the blue Wiggle.
To dear Grandma and Grandpa, here’s why I love you
You can’t stop looking at me and smiling and this makes me giggle.