Should You Discipline Your Child for Wetting the Bed?

Effective Strategies to Deal with Bedwetting

Don't punish your child for wetting the bed.
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Bedwetting is a normal childhood behavior, especially in young children. It can however, go on for years. Sometimes children wet the bed long into their teenage years.

Never punish a child for wetting the bed. Many children are heavy sleepers and just don’t wake up in time to get to the bathroom. Therefore, you don’t want to shame them or blame them for accidents.

Talk to Your Child’s Pediatrician

Before doing anything, make sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

This is especially true if bedwetting is a new behavior for your child. Sometimes it can be a symptom of a health issue.

At other times it can be sign that your child is under stress. It’s important to rule out any emotional or physical issues prior to setting up a plan with your child.

Most often, bedwetting isn’t a symptom of anything serious. It may just mean your child is a heavy sleeper.

Accountability and Responsibility

You can make your child accountable for helping you clean his sheets after an accident. Without shaming him in any way, have him help you with the clean-up process.

Involve your child in the process as much as his age and abilities will allow. For example, young kids can be in charge of taking off their pajamas themselves or doing their share to help with the sheets. Older children can change the bed with some assistance.

Just make sure not to react with anger. Maintain a neutral tone of voice and make it clear that you’ll both work on the clean-up process together.

When kids have to help with the clean-up process it can be an extra way to motivate them to try and avoid future accidents.

Reward Dry Nights

Another helpful way to motivate your child to have dry nights is to set up a reward system. Give your child an incentive to have dry nights. If he has an accident, simply don’t give him his reward for the day and encourage him to try again the following night.

Young children can benefit from using a sticker chart. Create a chart and hang it prominently in your child’s room. For each dry night, offer one sticker. Get your child excited about the process and celebrate each successful night.

Older children can benefit from a token system. Allow your child to earn a token for each dry night and then let your child cash the tokens in for bigger prizes.

Avoid making your child have dry nights for an entire week before earning a reward, especially at first. Instead, be willing to give a little incentive for each night that is dry.

You can also set up a simple reward system where you tell your child when he has a dry night he can earn something extra the next day. Allow him to stay up 15 minutes later, earn extra TV time or allow him to pick a special reward.

Praise your child when he has dry nights. Also, offer praise when you know he’s putting in effort and trying hard.

Other Strategies to Deal with Bedwetting

There are products on the market to address bedwetting as well. Special bedwetting alarms are available. They are programmed to go off as soon as sensors detect your child has started to wet the bed. They help train a child to wake up when his bladder is full.

If your child is growing frustrated or is embarrassed by his problem, talk to him about his feelings. Encourage him to talk about it and remind him that he’s likely to outgrow soon.

If you have an older child who is missing out on going on overnight adventures with friends, problem-solve strategies to help him be able to participate. Sometimes kids are able to discreetly wear pull-ups without their peers noticing.