Bedwetting is something every parent has to contend with. Basically this is due to immaturity of the bladder not of the mind. To understand why some children wet their beds, we need to understand how toddlers achieve bladder control.
Toddlers normally empty their bladders by reflex rather than consciously. This reflex action is commonly referred to as bladder emptying reflex.
When the bladder gets full to a certain extent, the bladder muscles becomes stretched to their limit. As a result the muscles contract automatically and empty the bladder.
By the time a child attains 18 to 24 months, most children are aware of the sensation that signals the fullness of the bladder. With time the child becomes aware of the ability to hold and control the bladder-emptying reflex consciously.
This conscious effort reduces the effect of the reflex bladder emptying as the functional capacity of his bladder increases. When his conscious effort overrides the automatic bladder-emptying reflex, the child achieves daytime bladder control which normally occurs at 24 months.
Night time control happen when the child’s bladder capacity increases and the bladder-emptying reflex becomes so weak that it is overtaken by the unconscious inhibition of urination.
Delay in bladder control whether nighttime or daytime can take place if there is delay in awareness of bladder fullness, prolonged activity of the bladder-emptying reflex or a small functional bladder capacity.
Is bed wetting hereditary?
Health experts claim that bed wetting can be hereditary. If both parents had bedwetting complications, there is a high possibility that their child will be a bed wetter.
Parents of bed wetter usually report that their children sleep soundly. Experts have discovered that in some children the signal from the bladder does not reach the mind due to deep sleep. As a result such children are unable to wake up to empty their bladders.
Some children have bed wetting problems as result of sleep disorders; in such children the child may wet their bed when transiting from one phase of the sleep to another.
If your child is bed wetting here is how to assist the child to keep dry at night:
Avoid focusing on bedwetting as a solitary problem
Most parents of bedwetting toddlers usually focus on the bed wetting tendency in isolation; however there is more to this problem than just bedwetting.
You need to understand the development of the bladder, regard bed wetting as a temporary developmental delay and a nuisance that you have to understand as well as support.
Developing a positive attitude towards a bedwetting toddler is critical as your child is likely to pick up on your thoughts and feel as you feel about his bed wetting.
If the child’s bed wetting mechanism are not yet matured, piling pressure on him to control his bladder will result in more complications. Such children often feels guilty and becomes emotionally disturbed, this in turn aggravates bedwetting rather than solve the problem.
Teach the child the principle of bladder control
Basically your child does not enjoy wetting his bed as he dislikes waking up in a wet, odorous bed just as you dislike changing his soiled bedding constantly.
Older children are painfully aware of the social stigma associated with bedwetting and do not need additional reprimanding from their parents. To help your bedwetting child, begin by drawing a simple diagram to illustrate how the bladder looks like and how it functions.
Explain to him how the donut-shaped muscles that opens and closes his bladder controls urination. Let him understand that his bladder is not yet matured enough to help him control his bladder reflex but if he keeps trying eventually he will be able to keep his donut muscle closed at night.
Teach bladder exercises
Some doctors recommend bladder exercises to enhance the child’s functional capacity and increase the muscular control of his bladder during the day.
This is done in the hope that they will carry over into his subconscious awareness of bladder control during the night. There are 2 main bladder control exercises, these are:
1- Stop and go
Stop and go technique involves having the child begin urinating when he experiences the urge and stop the stream several times before he actually empties the bladder completely.
This is aimed at building confidence in the child about his ability to control his donut muscle if he really works hard to master this skill.
2- Progressive urine withholding
Progressive withholding involves encouraging the child to increasing amounts of fluids and hold onto his urine for extended periods of time. This is meant to increase the functional bladder capacity and weakens the bladder-emptying reflex.
Ultimately bladder control exercises more effective for children who experience difficulty controlling their urine during the day.
Train your child to empty his bladder completely as most children usually use the toilet in a hurry especially when they are sleepy. As a result such children end up going to bed with their bladders half-full.