6 common bedwetting myths

A lack of open discussion has allowed false information about bedwetting to proliferate – so here are some facts about this common childhood issue.

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South African research has shown that up to 25% of children at the age of four, and an estimated 10% of children aged between four and 15 years old, experience bedwetting. Even though bedwetting is common, it is not often spoken about openly because of feelings of embarrassment. This has contributed to a number of myths about bedwetting.
Dr Michael Mol, a well-known doctor and brand ambassador for DryNites Pyjama Pants, debunks some common myths below.
Myth 1: Bedwetting is caused by drinking too much fluid before bedtime
This is not true. The medical term for bedwetting is Nocturnal Enuresis, which is summarised as the involuntary discharge of urine after the age at which bladder control should have been established. The word to take note of is involuntary, which means that the child does not know they are wetting the bed. There can be numerous reasons for bedwetting. In most cases, it’s linked to delays in physiological development (children are unique and each child develops at a different pace). It could also stem from being in a very deep sleep or a bowel issue like constipation.
It is suggested that you limit your child’s intake of sugary or caffeinated drinks a couple of hours before bedtime but they should always be allowed to drink water as this doesn’t affect whether or not your child will wet the bed.
Myth 2: If your child is properly toilet trained, they shouldn’t be wetting the bed
If your child wets the bed it doesn’t mean that they haven’t been properly toilet trained. Urine control during the day is completely different to what goes on when your child is sleeping. In most cases it will rectify itself in time and is nothing to worry about.
Never blame yourself or think that you didn’t finish the job properly when you were taking them through the toilet training phase. Your child could be a star bathroom goer while they’re awake, but it is nobody’s fault if they wet the bed while they’re asleep.
Myth 3: Children wet the bed because they are too lazy to go to the bathroom
This is false and, if believed, could lead parents to blame their child for wetting the bed, which will only exacerbate the problem. There are several reasons why your child may be wetting the bed. These are the most common problems associated with bedwetting:
  • Delay in bladder reflex development, meaning your child’s bladder is not signalling the brain to wake up;
  • Their body may not be producing enough anti-diuretic hormone, which slows down urine production at night, so we don’t have to wake up as much;
  • A delay in bladder development can result in lower bladder capacity.
Myth 4: Punishing your child for wetting the bed will help their progress
Remember that your child has no control over the situation and probably feels incredibly bad about it. Being punished for something they can’t help will only cause self-esteem to decrease and stress to increase.
The best thing a parent can do for their child in this situation is to remain calm and supportive while helping their child to manage their bedwetting. Understanding the problem goes a long way in terms of maintaining your child’s confidence levels.
Myth 5: Bedwetting is a sign of psychological problems or anti-social tendencies
There is no evidence suggesting that primary bedwetting has anything to do with psychological issues. It is true that if your child begins wetting the bed after a period of six months or more of being dry at night (secondary bedwetting), it could be due to stress or an emotional issue, such as grief. If this is the case then you should talk to your child about what’s on their mind and flag the issue with your GP, play therapist or psychologist.
Myth 6: Waking your child in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit will end bedwetting
It is common practice for parents to wake their children in the middle of the night and encourage them to use the bathroom to prevent bedwetting. This is often referred to as ‘lifting’ and can seem like a good strategy if it helps keep the sheets dry.
The reality is that this will not improve your child’s bladder control and could frustrate them, especially if they don’t need to urinate when you wake them up. If your child is over five years old it may also cause them to feel discouraged. which will have a negative effect on their self-esteem.
For more information on DryNites Pyjama Pants, or to ask Dr Mol a personal question or to request a free sample, visit www.drynites.co.za. DryNites Pyjama Pants are a discreet, comfortable and absorbent form of bedtime protection. They can be worn under pyjamas or a nighty and come in designs suitable for age and gender to make them look and feel just like underwear. DryNites Pyjama Pants are available for boys and girls and come in two sizes, 4-7 years and 8-15 years. They are currently available nationwide.

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