Last Updated on July 6, 2016
Nighttime wetting can be embarassing for a child and overwhelming for a parent. Use these tips to help take the stress out of nighttime wetting!
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Goodnites Getaway at the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls and meet with Michele Kambolis, a clinical therapist and mental health specialist, to learn about nighttime wetting.
The kids enjoyed two days at Great Wolf Lodge playing in the waterpark area, tearing around the Loge with their Magic Quest wands and even had the opportunity to be filmed jumping on beds. Next time we visit Great Wolf Lodge we will need to get ourselves one of the cabin rooms because the girls literally lost their minds when they saw the bunk beds.
We ate lunch as a group with Michele Kambolis and the other families then afterwards headed to the Cub Club for a group discussion. She shared that she had been a nighttime wetter, and that her kids were too. Did you know that nighttime wetting is actually genetic? For children who are genetically predisposed to nighttime wetting, social stress such as the birth of a new sibling, starting school, and other stressful situtations can trigger nighttime wetting.
It can be embarrassing for children and overwhelming for a parent, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Thankfully for parents with a nighttime wetter, there are steps you can take to ease the stress and anxiety that surrounds nighttime wetting.
Arm Yourself with the Facts
Nighttime wetting is more common than you think! In fact:
• Up to 15% of five-year-olds and 8% of 8-yearolds experience nighttime wetting
• There’s a 77% chance that a child will wet the bed if both parents did as a child
• Nighttime wetting is more common in boys than girls
• While children generally achieve some level of nighttime dryness by about four years of age, accidents can happen even into puberty
Create a plan for success
The best thing you can do for your child is provide them with the tools they need to cope with nighttime wetting.
At the Goodnites Getaway we all agreed that the most important thing you can do for your child is to provide a supportive and empathetic environment. It is important to allow your child to lean into your emotionally and reinforce your support with encouragement.
Ensure that your child understands that nighttime wetting is not their fault, and it isn’t something to be ashamed of. Sitting down with your children and discussing nighttime wetting during the day when there are no accidents may help to decrease their embarrassment and eliminate the “secrecy.” Make sure they know that bodies develop at different rates and it is something that will pass.
If you have other children who are not nighttime wetters you may want to sit down with them as well and help them develop empathy towards their sibling.
Rather than limiting fluids before bedtime, try and fluid load your children during the day with one or two extra glasses of water in the morning or afternoon. That way you can allow them sips of water in the evening to quench their thirst, without loading them up before bed and potentially setting them up for an accident.
Most parents hold firmly to the belief that you shouldn’t wake a sleeping baby, even as they grow older. It may not be an easy thing to do but waking your children before you go to bed for the night for a routine bathroom visit may prevent them from unintentionally holding in their urine.
Maximize comfort overnight:
Keep your child comfortable all night long by having the right products on hand.
If your child is able to stay dry all day but sometimes has nighttime accidents then GoodNites® Bedtime Pants are a great choice. They are specially designed to be worn lying down and since they are plush and super absorbent they help keep kids dry and comfortable all night, no matter what sleep position they prefer. Plus, they are available in a variety of styles including designs from Disney featuring Cinderella and Iron Man!
Alternatively, you might want to give GoodNites® TRU-FIT Underwear a try. They look and feel just like real underwear but have added protection that kids need. They are washable and make use of absorbent inserts to keep your child dry at night. They are a great choice for a child who wants added discretion whether at home or while out at a sleep-over with friends!
Add GoodNites® Bed Mats to your nightly routine to help you further cut down on sheet changes as they provide mattress and sheet protection. Just place, peel and protect for a better night, every night.
Ease Your Child’s Stress and Anxiety
While we discussed how to create a plan for success, the children took part in play-based activities to help ease the stress and anxiety associated with overnight accidents that you can proactively do with your child.
Mindfulness Glitter Jar:
This is such a fun concept and you only need a tube of dry glitter, a tube of wet glitter and an empty mason jar with lid. Start by filling the bottle 3/4 full with hot water, add a few squeezes of glitter glue and a tube of dry glitter then tighten the lid.
Have your child sit in a quiet area and shake the jar repeatedly until the glitter is swirling around like busy thoughts in their brain. Take a few deep breaths in and out together, and watch the glitter as it settles to the bottom. Encourage your child to imagine the glitter as thoughts in their mind settling. This is a great activity to teach your child mindfulness, and help them connect with their body and emotions by teaching them to tune into their internal signals.
This technique can be used to help your child learn the difference between being tense and feeling relaxed and connect with the sensations in their body – something that nighttime wetter’s can often struggle with.
• Step 1 – Have your child find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, close his or her eyes, and let the body go loose
• Step 2 – Ask your child to take a deep breath in through the nose, hold their breath for a few seconds and breathe out, imagining their tummy is a big balloon filling up with air. Have your child slowly breathe out and imagine that the air in the balloon is slowly escaping. Ask them to pay attention to their body and how it feels
• Step 3 – Have your child squeeze and relax different muscle groups one-by-one following the same breathing technique to increase sensation and overall awareness (i.e. legs, arms, shoulders, tummy and face)
• Step 4 – Now have your child relax their whole body, imagining that they are a rag doll trying to relax all the muscles in the body until they feel relaxed and calm
• Step 5 – Encourage them to open their eyes when they are ready
The Balloon Buster:
Brain “muscles” are just like any other muscle in our child’s body. The more they flex, the stronger they’ll become. Introduce a thought buster to your child and watch them grow stronger, more positive
• Step 1 – Help children identify a negative belief that’s contributing to their anxiety or discomfort. The negative belief usually starts with “I” (e.g. “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do it”) Encourage children to let go of negative thoughts by breathing it out of the body and into a balloon
• Step 2 – Leave the balloon untied and tell them they can release negative thoughts by releasing it and letting it fly around the room. For an added effect, write the negative thought on the balloon with permanent marker
• Step 3 – Help them replace the negative thought with a helpful one like “I am good enough” and “I can take one step at a time”
• Step 4 – Finally, have them close their eyes and inhale deeply, imagining that they are breathing that positive thought into their body, to take up the free space where the negative thought once lived
The Worry Wall:
The Worry Wall thought buster lets children use their imagination and externalize those counterproductive worrisome thoughts by building walls that can be torn down “brick” by “brick.”
• Step 1 – Introduce your child to this activity by letting them know that you’ve been thinking a lot about their worries and you have a special way to help get those worries out of their head
• Step 2 – Encourage them to write or draw as many worry thoughts as they can onto sticky notes and stick all their worries on their very own worry wall. Remind them that once the worries have been written down, they don’t have to think about them anymore
• Step 3 – Have kids build another wall — their optimism wall. For each worry, create two thoughts to replace it and make sure those new thoughts are optimistic ones. By the time the wall of optimism is finished, it will be twice as big as the worry wall
• Step 4 – Once they have built their optimism wall, invite them to go ahead and tear down their worry wall, munching up the papers in their hands just like the hungry worry bug
We had such a fun and informative stay at the Goodnites Getaway and I hope some of these tips and advice can help other families going through Nighttime Wetting.
For more nighttime wetting answers, information and advice to help your family rest easy tonight, visit goodnites.com. Don’t forget to connect with Goodnites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date!
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!