Dr Michael Mol, Brand Ambassador for DryNites Pyjama Pants, debunks six common bedwetting myths:
Myth 1: Bedwetting is caused by drinking too much fluids 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 that 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.
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: Using an absorbent product enables bedwetting
Bedwetting products have been shown to improve sleep quality, boost confidence and reduce stress (which can be a causational factor in bedwetting), as it makes wetting the bed less of a big deal.
Myth 3: 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 4: Children wet the bed because they are lazy to go to the bathroom
This is false and 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 they don’t have to wake up as much.
- A delay in bladder development can result in lower bladder capacity.
Myth 5: Your child will stop wetting the bed if you punish him
Remember that your child has no control over the situation and probably feels bad about it. Being punished for something they can’t help will only cause self-esteem to decrease and stress to increase.
Many parents go the opposite way and try star charts or reward systems for dry nights. 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 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 a gentle approach, Dr Mol recommends trying DryNites Pyjama Pants as a way to support your child and prevent any loss in confidence until he is able to stay dry at night.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.