Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 10:47 am

How common is bed-wetting?

Enuresis is the medical term used to describe an inability to control urination. Pretoria based counselling psychologist, Sigi Graham, from the Child Behaviour Centre says boys are more likely to have enuresis than girls.  “It’s estimated that 10% of five-year-olds wet their beds. These figures reduce steadily each year and only about 5% of children still wet their beds at the age of 10 years old.”
“A child will have to wet his bed at least twice a week for a period of three consecutive months before a diagnosis of enuresis can be made,” says Graham.

There are five different types of bed-wetting:
1. Nocturnal enuresis – this happens at night while a child is asleep.
2. Diurnal enuresis – this happens while a child is awake.
3. Nocturnal and diurnal enuresis – this happens both during the day and night.
4. Primary enuresis –the condition of a child who’s never developed bladder control.
5. Secondary enuresis –the condition of a child that develops enuresis at least six months after he learnt to control his bladder.

Causes of bed-wetting

There may be various causes of enuresis. “Bed-wetting may be a result of a medical condition, genetics, sleep problems, hormonal problems or emotional problems,” says Graham. If your child has a problem with bladder control, it’s best to take him to a medical professional to find out what the problem is.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

When to seek professional help?

“If you’re worried about your child’s health or bladder control you should voice these concerns to your paediatrician when you take him for his routine check-ups,” says Graham. If there’s anything to be concerned about, the doctor will advise you as to what to do next and how to handle the situation.

Treatment for bed-wetting

Graham says exercise, habit changes and medication may be used to treat enuresis. “Before treatment for bed-wetting can be prescribed, a child will have to undergo a medical examination to determine the possible cause of his problem. Treatment may sometimes include medication, psychological evaluation or therapy. The doctor may also advise adjustments to the child’s diet.”

“Parents should restrict their child’s fluid intake before bedtime and make sure he visits the toilet just before he goes to bed. The child should pay another visit to the toilet before the parents go to bed as well,” recommends Graham.

Children shouldn’t be shamed for wetting their beds. A positive and motivational attitude is necessary to work towards success.

Dos and don’ts when your child has enuresis:

• Try to maintain a positive attitude and motivate your child to succeed.
• Invest in a mattress protector to minimise damage to your child’s bed.
• If your child does wet his bed, help him clean up and put him back to bed.
• Protect your child’s dignity. Don’t make fun of the situation.
• Don’t exclude any medical conditions that may be the cause of his bed-wetting.
• Avoid punishing your child and placing any unnecessary pressure on him as this may add to the problem and not resolve it.