Beating Bedwetting: Avoiding The Horrible C’s

Waking up to wet sheets. It’s what happens to up to seven million American kids. Bedwetting is a normal part of the potty training process, but when it doesn’t go away, the worrying begins. Here are some tips to help kids overcome night time incontinence.

There are special concoctions and even alarms to help kids stop wetting the bed.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Penny Noto says, they might work for some kids, and every year another 15 percent outgrow the problem.

“It’s absolutely physiologically normal, for a child to wet passed the age of six,” Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Penny Noto, told Ivanhoe.

But if it continues after age seven, the bedwetting specialist says, there are simple things you can do that could help. First avoid drinks that contain the Horrible C’’, such as:

“Things that have caffeine, carbonation, artificial colors, too much citrus or too much calcium. All those things can irritate the bladder and make a child more likely to wet,” said Penny Noto.

Replace the Horrible C’s with water, cranberry juice, or apple juice. Another ‘C’ to look out for is constipation.

Types of bedwetting

There are two basic types:

1. Primary nocturnal enuresis: The child who has never been dry for more than a few months at a time.

2. Secondary nocturnal enuresis: The child who has been dry for six months or more and starts bedwetting again.

Some causes of bedwetting

Genes are high on the risk-factor list. If both parents were bedwetters, there’s an 80% chance the child will be too. Several other factors can contribute:

  Very heavy sleeping
  Breathing difficulties: snoring, adenoids, tonsil problems and blocked airways
  The bladder may be small and sensitive and can’t hold much urine
  Constipation, poor fluid intake or too much fluid before bedtime
  Not enough of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which slows down night-time urine production
  Emotional events, social changes and other stress-related factors can bring on secondary nocturnal enuresis.

“It is hugely undertreated and under recognized,” Noto stated.

Noto tells us it’s an issue in about 50 percent of her cases. When things get backed up she recommends reducing the amount of dairy, white bread and white rice your kids eat. She says try adding, ” things with fiber and nuts and seeds and whole grains.”

Noto says her tips won’t fix the problem overnight, but they have worked for many of her patients.

Bedwetting can be a worrying and frustrating, but it’s extremely common for children to accidentally wet the bed during the night.

We asked Clinical Psychologist Dr Denise Mc Cartan on how to deal with a child that is suffering from bedwetting.

“Nocturnal enuresis is common. For some children, they do not stop wearing nappies within the ‘normal’ timeframe and they may continue to experience regular wet nights until later in childhood. After the age of 7-years parents should approach their GP who will usually be happy to refer the child for further advice and help.

If a child who has previously been dry begins to have difficulty remaining dry through the night then this may require intervention. Parents should approach their GP to eliminate any medical cause, such as a urinary tract infection. If no medical cause has been identified or if the bed wetting begins after the child has experienced a significant emotional or traumatic event then parents may wish to ask their GP for a referral to Clinical Psychology.

It is important for parents to remain calm and relaxed, and to reassure their child that enuresis is usually temporary and can be resolved. Further help is always available if needed.”

Noto runs a special clinic to help kids overcome bedwetting. She says if one of the child’s parents was a bed wetter the kid has a 40 percent chance of being one. If both parents wet the bed, their child has an 80 percent chance of inheriting the problem.


Penny F. Noto, ARNP-BC, DNP, CPNP
      Florida Center for Pediatric Urology
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